Landlord Defends Hanging ‘White Only’ Sign at Duplex Pool

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Michael Gunn / AP

This June 9, 2011, photo provided by Michael Gunn, shows a "white only" sign posted on the gate to a swimming pool at a duplex in Cincinnati where Gunn lived

A landlord in Ohio is claiming that not only is her “White Only” pool sign not racist, but that the state’s civil rights commission was wrong in declaring it discriminatory.

The landlord, Jamie Hein, posted the sign on a fence near the pool when an African-American teen was visiting her parents, who were then living in a duplex owned by Hein. After seeing the “Public Swimming Pool, White Only” sign, the parents filed a discrimination charge with the state civil rights commission and moved out of the duplex to “avoid subjecting their family to further humiliating treatment,” the commission said in a release announcing its finding. The Ohio Civil Rights Commission determined that Hein, who is white, violated the Ohio Civil Rights Act by posting the sign at the pool.

Hein, however, disagrees. As reported by the Associated Press, she claimed that she only posted the sign to prevent the chemicals in the girl’s hair products from rendering the pool “cloudy.” Somehow the commission managed to see past that statement and concluded that the posting of such a sign “restricts the social interaction between Caucasians and African-Americans and reinforces discriminatory actions aimed at oppressing people of color.”

Hein is appealing the decision, and is now saying the sign is just an antique, and nothing else. If the Ohio civil rights commission upholds the findings, penalties in the case could include a cease-and-desist order and even punitive damages, commission spokeswoman Brandi Martin told the AP. If only the commission could also penalize Hein with a very very cloudy swimming pool.

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