Gannett has fired Burlington Free Press editor Denis Finley for violating the company’s social media policies after he issued a series of tweets criticizing Vermont’s proposal to add a third gender option to driver’s licenses.
Gannett leaders fired Mr. Finley on Monday after determining that he violated the company’s social media guidelines “on a number of occasions,” the Free Press reported Monday evening.
The tweets that led to his termination started when a Twitter user said the proposal to add a third gender option to Vermont driver’s licenses was “awesome.”
“Awesome! That makes us one step closer to the apocalypse,” Mr. Finley responded Friday, The Washington Post reported.
After catching some heat for the tweet, he attempted to elaborate, writing, “The world isn’t coming to an end yet. I think it’s just falling apart, piece by piece.”
“My issue is simply why is this awesome?” he asked one user.
The user replied, “It’s awesome because recognition is awesome. Your turn.”
“All recognition?” Mr. Finley asked. “Any recognition, Tim? What if someone said it’s awesome they are going to recognize pedophiliacs on licenses? I’m not being snarky, I’m just asking. Not all recognition is awesome.”
Free Press President Jim Fogler said Mr. Finley’s comments represented his personal views “and are not those of the staff or leadership of the Burlington Free Press.”
Mr. Finley, who joined the Free Press in September 2016, told “Seven Days” in an interview that his tweets may have been poorly worded but that his intent was journalistic in nature.
“I really just wanted to ask the question: ‘Why is that awesome? And why is that necessary?'” he said. “That’s all, and I think any journalist would ask that question.”
Mr. Finley said his use of the word “apocalypse” was a “riff” on the regular Sports Illustrated feature “Signs of the Apocalypse.”
“It was poorly chosen,” he admitted.
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