Saskatoon Realtor fined $3K for sharing transphobic content on social media

Murray Kurtenbach, a Saskatoon Realtor, has been fined $3,000 for sharing transphobic content on a Facebook page. (Century 21 Canada - image credit)

WARNING: This story contains offensive language.

A Saskatoon Realtor has been disciplined and fined $3,000 by the Saskatchewan Real Estate Commission for making transphobic comments via social media.

The posts that caused the filing of a misconduct charge against Murray Kurtenbach first surfaced on the social media platform Reddit, though they originated from his public Facebook page last October.

Those now-deleted posts included shares of content that read, "I won't use someone's pronouns for the same reason I won't talk to a schizophrenic's imaginary friends," and "a good kick in the balls will solve your gender confusion," according to a decision issued earlier this month, after his case was heard by a Saskatchewan Real Estate Commission hearing committee.

Kurtenbach has been registered as a real estate salesperson in the province since 2007 and is currently working with Century 21 Fusion.

The June 6 decision found him guilty of breaching ethics with "conduct that is disgraceful, unprofessional or unbecoming of a registrant in the course of his or her practice."

The decision said he "published posts on his Facebook page perpetuating transphobia" and "his posts were detrimental to the dignity of the trans community and to the public perception of the professionalism of the real estate industry as a whole."

In addition to the fine, he received an official reprimand.

When reached by the CBC, Kurtenbach declined to comment on the decision.

During the course of the disciplinary process, he said his posts were "intended both as humour and as political commentary in support of the Saskatchewan government's proposed legislation" related to pronoun policies in schools, according to the decision.

"Mr. Kurtenbach alleges that the posts were not intended to offend any person or group, although he now understands that they could have that effect," the decision reads.

According to the hearing committee's decision, Kurtenbach said he had believed he was sharing the posts on his personal Facebook page and not in his capacity as a Realtor — a trademarked designation for members of the Canadian Real Estate Association.

However, he "has since been educated by his broker that because he shares real estate-related information to that Facebook page, it has become a part of his business page," the decision says.

The decision states that Kurtenbach has said the investigation has made him search his motivations and alter the way he acts.

"Mr. Kurtenbach realizes now this this issue is one he needs to stand up for personally, not professionally," it reads.

This is not the first time that a Saskatchewan Realtor has been disciplined for this type of misconduct.

In 2022, Cam Bird was ordered to pay $1,500 after publicly questioning the gender of Canada's chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, according to a January 2022 decision from a Saskatchewan Real Estate Commission hearing committee.

In that case, according to the commission, Bird shared an apology and underwent 2SLGBTQ+ sensitivity training — steps Kurtenbach, as of the time of the decision in his case, had not taken.

It was also noted by the hearing committee that Kurtenbach had not been sanctioned before this incident.

The Saskatchewan Real Estate Commission stated that topics that are part of complaints become part of ongoing training opportunities moving forward.

The commission said that once the fine is paid, no followup is expected and the matter would be considered closed.