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Rental agent says she's had death threats

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Rental agent says she's had death threats

Thiago Derucio and his boyfriend, Chris Prentice, filed a complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal after the owner of Rental Diva, Juliet Stewart, refused to rent them an apartment because they are gay. IMAGE 1 OF 1
Gay couple move forward with OHRC complaint
The owner of Rental Diva, who is facing a human rights complaint, says she is the real victim, not the gay couple who she denied an apartment to in July.

The gay couple, Thiago Derucio and his boyfriend, Chris Prentice, filed a complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal after the owner of Rental Diva, Juliet Stewart, refused to rent them an apartment because they are gay.

The community responded to the story with outrage. Many people calling and emailing Stewart personally to express an opinion on the policies of the agency, she says.

Stewart is now digging in her heels, saying she plans to file a complaint of her own against Thiago. She says he should be held responsible for the angry reaction of members of the gay community.

“You don’t even understand what I’ve endured,” she says. “Death threats, harassment, slander from the entire [gay] community. I had to call the police… Shame on these people who are calling and threatening me.”

Stewart, the owner of the unlicensed rental agency in Brampton, maintains that she was only doing what the landlord, her client, instructed. He explicitly told her that the apartment should not be rented to gay couples, she says.


The reason for the discrimination is on religious grounds, she says. The landlord is a member of the Seventh-day Adventists, a Christian denomination distinguished by its observance of Saturday as the Sabbath.

Derucio, who meets his human rights lawyer next month, is directing his OHRC complaint at both Stewart and the landlord. Steward has so far refused to reveal the identity of the landlord.

“If they want [the identity of the landlord], the Tribunal can go after Rental Diva to get to the landlord,” he says. “If Rental Diva doesn’t give up their information, I’m guessing the Tribunal can still go after them.”

Derucio says he has been inundated with encouraging messages and support.

“Everyone has been really supportive of me, telling me to keep pursuing it and fighting,” he says. “I walked into Crews and Tango and people shake my hand, congratulate me and tell me they’re all proud of me.

“I am not doing this for myself. I am standing up for everybody. I’m sure there is more than one person this has happened to in Toronto, and they kept their mouth shut. I’m not one to keep my mouth shut. If [Stewart] wants to see a diva, I’ll show her a diva.”

Barbara Hall, chief commissioner of the OHRC, told Xtra at the time that housing providers are not permitted to discriminate against anyone, regardless of sex, sexual orientation, race, disability or religion. The only exception is if the apartment is a shared space with the landlord, which, in this case, it was not.

“Housing providers offering rental opportunities to the public need to do so in a non-discriminatory way,” Hall said.

Stewart says she is not worried about a complaint to the OHRC. Asked if she regrets the discrimination inflicted on Thiago, Stewart says “no.”

“No, absolutely not,” she says. “You know why? It’s not directed at Thiago. That’s why I never felt bad. It’s his lifestyle. Why don’t people understand that? It’s not him. It’s his lifestyle.”

“Gay people have choices about who they are. Religious groups also have rights. This is religion versus homosexuality.”

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Comments

She's a bigot
Being gay isn't a choice, but being religious is. I'm sick of religious people choosing to be hateful bigots and then expecting to be protected by their beliefs.
what a nasty reporter
the title says it all. and I've seen Andrea's photos. she's not only a mean reporter. she's also ugly. good luck in the unemployment line for reporters. PR won't take you. what about bad haircuts anonymous?
Never
Never thought about that David..thanks
Why are you taking her claims at face value?
Thiago, just because she says something is happening doesn't mean it's true.

If she's receiving death threats she should contact the police. When they start an investigation, I'll believe it's happening. Not before. I've never encountered a less credible person than her.
Death threats are a no no!!!!
In the current battle I am facing between religion and homosexuality I am asking all my gay friends who have heard the story that happened in the summer to please stop any calls or death threats that are being made to the company rental divas. I am handling this with the law and will take it upon my self to make sure that justice is served for all of us. YES what she did was WRONG but two wrongs don't make a right!!! So please although many of you are passionate about this story please leave it in the hands of the HRC! This is all I ask! Yes she discriminated all of our human rights and it was uncalled for but I am confident that this will not go un noticed or swept under the carpet. Ive been saying it for months that death threats and prank phone calls are not the way to go around this! it makes us look bad as a community and it's not what i believe in. Thanks guys and I promise you I am fighting not only for my rights but for all of our human rights as a gay community!
She is SO wrong!
She says, “Gay people have choices about who they are. Religious groups also have rights. This is religion versus homosexuality.”
Clearly she isn't just standing behind these anonymous landlords, she is just as bigoted as they are. Shame on her!
ALL Religion is a violent threat
against ALL LGBT people.
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