A real estate broker has been fired from working as an independent contractor with Skyline Properties after posting homophobia on Instagram. In an incident first reported on by The Advocate, Andre Kravchenko commented on a photo of Pete and Chasten Buttigieg with their children.
"Someone gave these [censored] kids??" he wrote. It is not known what Kravchenko originally wrote as his account is no longer available and Chasten Buttigieg censored the word when he reposted the comment to his Instagram Stories. "Holy [censored.]"
Buttigeg responded to the comment on his Stories.
"In the year 2022, you'd think these people would be wise enough to post their homophobia from an alt account, not one easily connected to their job," he wrote. He went on, calling out American Homes 4 Rent which was listed online as Kravchenko's place of employment.
The post caused Buttigieg followers to flood American Homes 4 Rent's latest posts.
On Tuesday, the company responded to the backlash saying that Kravchenko had not worked for them for over five years.
"We were saddened to learn that a former employee—or someone using their account—recently posted an offensive comment aimed at [Chasten and Pete Buttigieg,]" they wrote. "We want to clarify that, despite this individual’s outdated LinkedIn account information, they have not been employed by our company for 5+ years, and further do not represent our beliefs and policies. We do not approve of nor do we condone discriminatory language or behavior."
They went on to write that the company would "continue to stand for equity and belonging."
In Buttigieg's original posts, he responded to a comment from Skyline Properties. Kravchenko was listed as a broker for Skyline online.
"Skyline could not possibly know what 1,200 of our independent contractors could be doing at any given moment," Scott Hotes, a vice president with the company wrote. "There is no way on gods [sic] green earth that you, me air [sic] anyone else could know in advance what someone might think or post." He went on to write that he would have a conversation with the broker.
Buttigieg responded by calling the comment "defensive."
On Wednesday, Skyline Properties announced that it had fired Kravchenko.
"After spending time to properly review the comments made by this individual, we have found that this was not some fluke, mistake, or hacking situation, and have promptly FIRED him from Skyline Properties," the company wrote on its official Instagram. "That being said, we would like to sincerely apologize to the Buttigieg family and the LGBTQ+ community for any harm that came from the bigotry of this individual. We do not tolerate ANY hate speech of any kind, nor do we have a place for ANY brokers who participate in such hateful behaviors."
On his professional Facebook page, Hotes went further, writing from a personal standpoint. In his post, he revealed that he is the father of a "27 year old non-binary/queer child."
"I know my initial post responding to the matter might have been a bit defensive, and looking back at it I can see that," he wrote. "I’m sorry for that. It can be jarring to have hundreds of people flock to your account on behalf of one of the most prominent American political families in the country right now. Thank you for your patience as we work to better navigate this situation." In the post, he explained that he did "not have the luxury" to assume Kravchenko was guilty and needed to investigate before coming to any conclusions. And then he turned personal.
"I thought you might like to know a little about me and my family," Hotes wrote. "I am the proud father of a 27 year old non-binary/queer child, Ryan, and my journey to stopping homophobes began with them." He continued with an anecdote around how at three, Ryan wore a tutu in public and a man began to berate him. Hotes stood up to the man.
"This is my first exposure to publicly having to deal with this type of bigotry, but I hope you have a better understanding of me as a person and what our company stands for."
Buttigieg reposted the official apology in his Instagram Stories.