Now tell me with a straight face that when you see a swastika today that the Nazis aren't the first and only thing that come to your mind.
Obviously queer doesn't have quite as powerful a reaction as the swastika but I think you can see my point. Queer, just like the words "gay" and f** is now synonymous with homosexuality. Both of those words, just like queer, had different meanings at some point in history.
The reason why it wasn't a big deal back when you were kids to use the name "smeer the queer" is because gay bashing was consider OK back then. No one blinked an eye if you were to call someone a f*****. You may have not known what it meant but the adults around you certainly did. No one bothered telling you not to use it because very few people felt obligated to stand up for homosexuals back then. This is exactly how bigotry perpetuates itself. You use words like that in your everyday language as if it's "normal", and then when you grow up it's perfectly fine to call someone a queer, just as it was perfectly fine to call someone a n***** 60 years ago.
I'm not calling for Ahlers job and I can probably even believe that he didn't mean any harm by it, but he definitely should have known better. It was plain stupid. I would hope that they at least pointed it out to him and he'll know better next time.