Utah Teacher Fired Because Grammatical Term Homophone Sounded Gay
A “social media strategist” for a Utah school serving foreign students said he was fired after his school’s owner reprimanded him for the allegedly gay connotations of a blog post concerning homophones, the Salt Lake City Tribune reported.
Via Raw Story reports:
“People at this level of English may see the ‘homo’ side and think it has something to do with gay sex.” the owner, Clarke Woodger, allegedly told Tim Torkildson while firing him last week.
Torkildson reportedly was hired as a teacher at Nomen Global Language Center in Provo this past April 1 before being re-assigned to handle the school’s social media. Torkildson gave his account of the meeting with Woodger on his personal blog.
“I’m letting you go because I can’t trust you,” Woodger allegedly said. “This blog about homophones was the last straw. Now our school is going to be associated with homosexuality.”
Woodger also allegedly complained that he didn’t know what homophones — words that sound identical while having different meanings and spellings — were, and that it was the kind of “advanced stuff” Nomen did not teach its students. He also accused Torkildson of not being reliable enough to continue working for the school.
“I never have any idea what you’re going to do next. I can’t run my business that way,” Woodger said, according to Torkildson. “You’d probably make a great college professor, but since you don’t have a degree you’ll never get that kind of work. I would advise you to try something clerical, where you’ll be closely supervised and have immediate goals at all times. That’s the only kind of job you’ll ever succeed at.”
Woodger denied to the Tribune that his concern over Torkildson’s work centered on homosexuality, but that Torkildson would go off on confusing and sometimes offensive “tangents” in his posts for the school. The post on homophones was removed from the school’s website.
Nomen did not return a call seeking confirmation of Torkildson’s account of his final meeting with Woodger.
The more you know.