(CN) - A personalized car tag that reads "NOHOMO" has been recalled by the Alabama Department of Revenue after an image of the tag was posted on social media on Monday.
The Alabama car tag was posted on Twitter by a user named Paul Fulton Jr., who said the picture was taken by a friend of his in an Atlanta suburb.
The tag's personalized message is a variation on the slang phrase "no homo," which is used by some people in certain situations when they don't want to appear gay. The term is widely considered offensive, as it's viewed by many as homophobic.
The reaction to the tag on social media was largely negative, though some individuals considered it a free speech issue.
The phrase was reportedly used last year by NBA basketball player Roy Hibbert in a press conference following an Indiana Pacers playoff game. Hibbert was subsequently fined by the league and forced to issue an apology.
According to the Associated Press, the Alabama Department of Revenue has sent a letter to the car's owner recalling the tag, though the owner will be allowed to appeal the recall.
Alabama Department of Revenue spokesperson Amanda Collier said the state prohibits offensive messages on car tags, and the issuance of this tag was a result of human error.
Based on the specialty license plates currently posted on the Alabama Department of Revenue website, the tag appears to be the state's "Fight Breast Cancer" plate, which features a dark pink ribbon on a lighter pink background.
Like other states, Alabama offers drivers an option to get a specialty plate in support of a variety different causes or organizations at an additional annual fee.
The state also offers drivers an option to customize their license plates by creating a unique message or phrase.
According to the Alabama Department of Revenue website, residents can purchase a personalized license plate by searching and reserving their own personalized message online or by visiting an issuing office "to determine if the requested letters and/or numbers are available for issuance."
There are no specific limitations mentioned in an online FAQ, but the website does indicate that requested messages must be "approved by the Department."
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