May 19, 2022

Botu Linum

The Car & Automotive Devotees

Alabama man gets to keep ‘Let’s go Brandon’ plate, state even apologizes

3 min read

Alabama, in a sudden reversal, will allow an Oneonta man to keep his personalized license plate that slams President Joe Biden. The state even apologized for its original effort to take back the plate.

Nathan Kirk, owner of Blount County Tactical gun store, personalized his license plate with the acronym LGBFJB, a reference to the political chant “Let’s go Brandon” followed by a vulgar insult of Biden.

To make the message even clearer, Kirk told Al.com that he added a “don’t tread on me” plate cover which has the words “Let’s go Brandon” on it.

“I see it as a goofy tag,” Kirk told AL.com on Tuesday, “But the meaning behind it does seem like a victory. Not like I was just throwing a fit that somebody told me I couldn’t do something, it was the principle is what I was fighting for.”

Kirk applied for the specialized license plate in October and received it after paying $700. Then, in a letter dated Feb. 17, the Alabama Department of Revenue explained that registration for the plate would not be renewed due to objectionable language.

“The Alabama Department of Revenue, Motor Vehicle Division, has determined the above referenced license plate contains objectionable language which is considered by the Department to be offensive to the peace and dignity of the State of Alabama.”

The department, which declined to comment on the recent reversal, previously told AL.com that it was concerned about the F-word reference on the plate.

“The department does not allow the ‘F-word,’ or any acronym for such, on a personalized license plate. That is the department’s only issue with this plate,” said spokesperson Frank Miles in an email to AL.com on March 1.

Kirk spoke out and he received thousands of messages, mostly in support, after Newsmax, One America News Network, and several other right-leaning national publications shared the story.

Then last week, following the national attention, Kirk got another letter from the department stating that he could keep the license plate. He also got an apology.

“The Alabama Department of Revenue, Motor Vehicle Division, has determined the above referenced license plate will not be recalled,” the department said to Kirk in a letter dated March 9. “We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.”

The department has discretion over specialized license plates and has rejected a wide range of requests, from sports rivalries to disses on HWY280 to discriminatory language.

For example, in 2014, Alabama recalled a license plate with the homophobic slur “NOHOMO:”, stating that Alabama prohibits offensive or vulgar messages on license plates.

The saying “Let’s go Brandon” began at the Talladega Speedway last year and has taken off nationally. It began when a reporter misheard cheers of “F— Joe Biden” for a cheer of “Let’s Go Brandon!” for one of the drivers, Brandon Brown.

Kirk said his use of the letter F in his plate is not a reference to a curse word but rather to his modification of the more vulgar refrain to “forget Joe Biden.” Kirk argues that the state cannot prove otherwise.

“If one side can say their opinion,” asked Kirk, “why should another side feel like they can’t?”

https://www.al.com/news/2022/03/alabama-man-gets-to-keep-lets-go-brandon-plate-state-even-apologizes.html