LISTEN: Complaint about LGBT pride flag honoring Orlando victims outside Hillsborough County center
TAMPA — The Tampa Bay Times obtained the audio of a voicemail left on Hillsborough County Commissioner Stacy White's phone line last week complaining about a LGBT pride flag hung outside the county to honor victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting.
An unidentified woman, who said she is a county employee, said through a choked-up voice that the flag was offensive to her "as a Christian" and she "cannot bear to go into the office."
Here's a transcript of the phone call:
"Hi, Commissioner White. This is a county employee that works in the county center. I’m calling from my private phone after hours, hoping there’s something you can do to get the flag off of our building. My heart goes out to the, to every person that was touched by the Orlando shootings, it truly does. But I think that one commissioner is using this tragedy to promote his personal agenda. As a Christian, that flag is so very offensive to me that I cannot bear to go into the office. I urge you to speak to Mr. Merrill, to the civil service or anyone who can find a way to get the flag down. Thank you so much."
Hillsborough County's human relations department has not received any other complaints about the flag, a spokeswoman said.
White, an east Hillsborough Republican, fired off an angry email to the county's HR director regarding the voicemail and the flag, which commissioners voted 5-1 on Wednesday to hang outside the county center for the rest of June, pride month. White, who missed the meeting and the vote, called the pride flag a "divisive political symbol" and questioned whether it should be removed in light of the complaint.
The flag was raised just four days after the June 12 deadly mass shooting at Pulse, a LGBT night club in Orlando, that resulted in the deaths of 49 people and wounded dozens of others.