Real estate giant Re/Max has fired one of its Toronto-area realtors after he was accused of disseminating homophobic material as part of a promotional brochure.
Andrew Ciastek was fired for “poor judgment on his personal marketing,” Christine Martysiewicz, director of internal and public relations for Re/Max Ontario-Atlantic Canada, told Xtra.ca Friday.
Several residents of Mississauga’s Lorne Park and Port Credit neighbourhoods complained to Ontario’s real estate regulator, the police and even the province’s Human Rights Commission after a flyer from Ciastek circulated earlier this week.
One side of the flyer featured “information on how to maintain your air conditioner, how to save money … all things you need to know if you're looking to purchase a home,” resident Jon McDonald told the Mississauga News.
But the other side of the flyer featured an article titled “Traditional Family Is the Best for the Future of the Kids.”
It cited research from University of Texas–Austin sociology professor Mark Regnerus, who said unemployment among children of same-sex couples was three times as high as among children of heterosexual couples. According to Xtra, Regnerus has since backtracked on some of the claims in his research.
"My blood pressure went up 100 per cent. I read it and thought, ‘What does this have to do with selling houses?’ ” McDonald said, as quoted at the Star.
Re/Max, one of North America’s largest real estate agencies, went into damage control mode after the controversy erupted.
“We assure the general public that his actions in no way reflect RE/MAX or our associates. We're offended by the insensitivity shown here just as much as the community is. We take pride in the diversity of our workforce and our clients,” Martysiewicz told Xtra.ca.
Martysiewicz had earlier issued an apology over Ciastek's flyer, telling the Mississauga News that "it was a poor choice on (Ciastek's) behalf."
Ciastek himself also apologized. “I didn’t want to offend anybody . . . I didn’t have bad intentions,” he told the Mississauga News.
Martysiewicz said the flyer wasn’t vetted by the Mississauga office, “but it should have been.”
She also said Re/Max will be making a donation to Pride Committee of Peel.
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