02/16/2016 12:02 EST | Updated 02/16/2017 05:12 EST

Party City Edmonton Valentine Could Be Probed As Hate Crime

"They said it is a hate crime."


EDMONTON — A man says he is filing a complaint with police after he received a Valentine at work that was defaced with a homophobic slur.

Degas Sikorski, 20, said the Valentine that he received from a Party City store in Edmonton where he has worked for years said he wasn't getting any shifts for a reason.

Sikorski says police have given him witness forms to fill out that could lead to the slur being investigated as a hate crime.

"They said it is a hate crime," Sikorski said Monday. "The guy at the police station said absolutely this is a hate crime. We will absolutely have to look into this."

Edmonton police were not available for comment.

Wants an explanation, apologies

A public relations firm that speaks for Party City issued a statement on the weekend that said the company does not condone the behaviour and is committed to creating a fair and inclusive work environment.

Company officials were not available for comment Monday, but have indicated they will release more information when it becomes available.

Sikorski, who has been working at the party supply store while putting himself through the University of Alberta, said no one should have to face such treatment.

He wants an explanation as well as apologies from the person who wrote the Valentine and from company management, he said.

"The name is Party City for Pete's sake. It should be about a friendly and welcoming atmosphere."

Sikorski said he is still not on the company's work schedule and isn't sure he wants to go back.

Support from family, friends, strangers and community leaders has helped him speak out about what happened, he said.

"It is terrifying being seen in the public eye like this and for something as horrible as this hate speech."

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