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Brian Jones: ‘You’re fired’ gains traction


It is now socially acceptable, when you have personal or political differences with someone, to try to get him or her fired.

Brian Jones

Henry Crane, chairman of Tourism Bell Island, admitted this week he was one of the people who tried to get Tonya Kearley, principal of St. Michael’s High School on Bell Island, fired from her job (“I am not a bully,” The Telegram, Aug. 15).

Crane and others sent letters/emails to the premier, the Department of Education and the English School District demanding Kearley’s removal.

Her offence was alleged to be a picture posted to Facebook of some sort of girls’ night out in which Kearley is licking another woman’s ear. The latter is laughing, so it appears to be a bit of fun.

That’s not how Crane saw it. As he told The Telegram, he “took great offence” and “was appalled.”

If you are offended or appalled, fire off a missive — so to speak — to try to get the source of your offence fired.

The Crane/Kearley rift had its roots in Radio Bell Island. Kearley was on the board. It was housed in the high school. Tourism Bell Island leveraged control of the board and the radio station. Et cetera.

In a mediator’s report on the radio station issue, retired judge Robert Smith stated the Department of Education and the English School District both determined the complaints against Kearley were unfounded. He added that the attempt to get her fired “appears to be an organized attack on (Kearley’s) professional reputation.”

Teachers and journalists probably lead the pack of professionals who occasionally become targets of people who want them fired. But the “you’re fired!” phenomenon can be found even in the biggest international headlines of the week.

Amid the plentiful reportage about Charlottesville, Va., and the violence, tragedy and idiotic presidential statements was an item about social media vigilantes who began a campaign to identify each of the marching white supremacists, and find out their name, residence and place of employment … and get them fired.

The leftist/liberal activists look at the horrible events in Virginia and conclude — as did Henry Crane on Bell Island — it is their right to seek the firing of anyone they disagree with.

Let’s be clear: the marching white supremacists are racist, fascist, violent, Nazi thugs. Only two of those adjectives are illegal in the United States. (Although all five are illegal or borderline illegal in Canada.)

When white supremacists resort to violent thuggery, the police and courts must intercede. This is “rule of law,” about which Canadians have heard so much lately.

As for racism, fascism and Nazism, well, the so-called “antifa” (anti-fascist) activists can try to punch or club them into submission, but it is best to heed the adage, “beware of becoming what you hate.”

The aptly named Cole White was fired from his restaurant job in California after he was “outed” as a white supremacist marcher in Charlottesville. This was considered a victory by the social media vigilantes, who, if they are at the University of Virginia or any other campus, should open a history book. Punishing those who disagree with you is a fundamental tenet of fascism. Flip to the index and look up “McCarthyism.” A mere two generations ago, some Americans were fired on suspicion of being “communist” or socialist.

Not too long ago in Canada and the U.S., gay men and “slatternly” women (usually a young, single, female teacher who, gasp, was in a sexual relationship) could be fired because their behaviour offended and appalled their employer.

This is not to equate gay men or sexually active women with white supremacists — but they are equitable in terms of offence and firing. I’m appalled. You’re fired. It’s a back-door victory for fascism, as liberals and human rights advocates become what they hate.

 

Brian Jones is a desk editor at The Telegram. He can be reached at bjones@thetelegram.com.

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