Joel Morgan has been through a lot over the past decade. A National Guardsman, he's served at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, been deployed twice to Iraq, and completed a final tour in Afghanistan last year. You'd think that when he came home as a veteran, he wouldn't have to endure one more totally ridiculous battle ... with a landlord!
After attempting to rent an apartment in April, Morgan had to file a complaint against landlady Janice Roberts last week, because he claims Roberts said she was a member of a grassroots organization opposed to the Iraq war and "would have problems renting to him." Ouch! No wonder the vet feels he was discriminated against.
Morgan, who says the incident worsened his Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, told The Boston Herald:
For her to do that to me, it was like a spit in the face. For what we have gone through overseas, to come home to our country and have people ... discriminate against us. ... It made me extremely insecure about being a soldier.
When Roberts spoke with The Herald, she would only say that 30 people were interested in the apartment, and "we had to choose somebody." But then she had her lawyer release to the newspaper a 16-page "response," in which she claims she had questions about Morgan's ability to pay the rent and whether he had been racially insensitive when he mentioned a noise complaint he had with his prior neighbors, who were black.
She also seemed incredulous about the idea of Morgan even wanting to rent from a peace activist like herself, writing:
This bodes the question, "Why would someone like Joel Morgan, who apparently fought so valiently (sic) in wars in which he believed, want to even choose to subject himself to renting an apartment from people — like myself — who were so vigorously seeking an end to the Iraq War??" There was never any mention to Morgan that his being a veteran would impede his chances to rent from us. If anything, he was a victim of U.S. greed, and for that, I feel much empathy.
Sounds seriously nutty, if you ask me, and not really indicative of what most peace activists are striving for. (Although, I'm sure that's what Fox & Friends would like us to believe.) The bottom-line: At the heart of it, this sounds like a clear-cut discrimination issue. If she held any bias against Morgan for being veteran, it seems like her actions will be construed as illegal.
I'll bet the law will fall on Joel Morgan's side, as Massachusetts state law forbids owners from refusing to rent to someone because he or she is a veteran or member of the Armed Forces. If they can show that Roberts had inhibitions about Morgan as a tenant for that reason (which doesn't seem like it'll be that hard to do), Morgan will be good to go. It's just a shame he had to go through all of this in the first place.
Here's a news report on the story ...
Do you think the landlord is guilty of discrimination?