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Nashville Paramedic Suspended for Telling 'Perverted' Gay EMTs to 'Crawl Back into the Closet' on Facebook

Kevin Kennedy, a 20-year-veteran of the Nashville Fire Department, has been suspended for making anti-gay remarks on Facebook, The Tennesseean reports:

Kennedy Fire Chief Steve Halford ordered the two-month suspension after a departmental hearing last week for paramedic Kevin Kennedy. Kennedy was accused of posting on his own Facebook page and the Nashville Fire Department Emergency Medical Services’ page that homosexuality was a perversion. He also said two gay EMS workers should “crawl back into the closet,” said Deputy Chief Kim Lawson, spokeswoman for the department.

Kennedy must "show proof of his participation in an anger management program and diversity training" before coming back on the job, according to Deputy Chief Kim Lawson.

Said Lawson: “We have not faced this issue before, but as social media expands, it is a concern. In no way did we want people to think the department was associated with anti-gay comments.”

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  1. good. like with anti-Semitism, racism and xenophobia we need to start sending out the message - bigotry will not be tolerated.

    this aint about freedom of speech. this aint about censorship. this is about taking responsibility for the speech you put out into the universe.


    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Sep 21, 2011 11:00:00 AM

  2. Why do these people keep posting stuff on department or company sites?

    Posted by: Gus | Sep 21, 2011 11:01:50 AM

  3. The dipshit can say whatever he wants on his own page. On his employer's page? Not so much.

    Posted by: justinw | Sep 21, 2011 11:04:58 AM

  4. Imagine the quality of care this medic's openly gay or lesbian patients must have received. SMH!

    Posted by: Nathan James | Sep 21, 2011 11:05:22 AM

  5. Very interesting... Is free speech bumping into reality...

    Does an employer's responsibility to provide a safe work environment extend to accountability once made aware of hostile attitudes such as this man displayed?

    This would be a welcome shift in thinking for USA. A woman in my office donated to Prop 8 but we're not allowed to mention it, lest she feel she's in a hostile work environment. Bring on the new day.

    Posted by: Pete n SFO | Sep 21, 2011 11:06:55 AM

  6. good. hold haters accountable for their actions. most str8 people keep their opinions to themselves. when supposedly str8 people make such vicious comments all it does is make you wonder what they are hiding from. kudos to the fire chief!

    Posted by: Jaxxy21 | Sep 21, 2011 11:08:22 AM

  7. If this idiot had used the N word, he would have been canned. Double standard!!!

    Posted by: Arturo Beeche | Sep 21, 2011 11:17:06 AM

  8. This man's job is providing emergency medical treatment and lifesaving procedures to the general public, and that includes gay people. I don't think it matters how it came out that this man is hostile toward people that he might be called on to help, but that it was learned and appropriate steps were taken.

    Posted by: Dastius Krazitauc | Sep 21, 2011 11:19:03 AM

  9. 'X has made anti-gay remarks on Facebook' is a story that never stops giving.

    Posted by: Skye Winspur | Sep 21, 2011 11:22:06 AM

  10. Cue the Christian Victim Squad!! I'm surprised they're not out there saying the gays are trampling on this idiot's right to free speech. Interesting that that argument works for them but how they howl discrimination when we call them out.

    Posted by: JerzeeMike | Sep 21, 2011 11:27:12 AM

  11. If I were a betting man, I would say this is a self-loathing, fearful, hateful, closeted gay man.

    Posted by: Xavi | Sep 21, 2011 11:31:30 AM

  12. People never "CRAWL" out of the closet, as*hole. When they come out, it is always on their two feet. Now, if you would please crawl back under your slimy rock.

    Posted by: candideinnc | Sep 21, 2011 11:42:34 AM

  13. Oh, you bet he'll play the victim card!

    Posted by: Robert in NYC | Sep 21, 2011 12:11:27 PM

  14. I am, in general, uncomfortable when people get in trouble job-wise for things they do off-duty. If he simply made a general homophobic comment on his own Facebook page, I would advocate for no punishment. But once he made the comment on his employer's page and singled out specific co-workers, he's contributing to a hostile work environment. It then becomes the employer's responsibility to take action and their liability if they do not do so.

    Posted by: Kevin_BGFH | Sep 21, 2011 12:24:27 PM

  15. ..and Kevin Kennedy becomes a Martyr for NOM & FRC & the AFA in 5, 4...3...2..

    Posted by: Gay American | Sep 21, 2011 12:26:40 PM

  16. @Kevin_BGFH: I, too, am uncomfortable when people get in trouble job-wise for off the job behavior. Had Mr. Kennedy just made said comment on his own Facebook page, I would be the first one leading the charge to have the suspension lifted.

    However, the minute he posted on the Department's Facebook page, he seems to have overstepped the line. He is held to a higher standard, in my opinion, and I would personally be uncomfortable if he was the paramedic who showed up to administer aid to me.

    What one does in their private life is their business. However, when you enter the work place, and let's be honest, the Facebook page is an extension of said workplace, you are then under the auspices of the employer and subject to their rules.

    Posted by: Guy Johnson | Sep 21, 2011 1:14:01 PM

  17. Anger Mgmt. is the Driving School of HATE... totally useless.

    Posted by: Hollywood, CA | Sep 21, 2011 1:17:26 PM

  18. He serves the public. If he feels any part of the public is less than or unequal to, then he should not be serving the public. His employer could get sued now if he gave less than his all to help a homosexual victim of a fire or emergency situation. People like that him should be behind a desk where they can't harm anyone.

    Posted by: Bobby | Sep 21, 2011 1:49:42 PM

  19. @Bobby's got it right, and that's what makes this story really interesting.

    What responsibility does an employer have when their employee is supposed to serve everyone but is known to hold discriminatory beliefs?

    Were something to go wrong, in today's world I think we all can agree a lawsuit would be inevitable, so what happens when free speech & public responsibility collide?

    It's been said before, the speech is allowed, as are owning the consequences.

    Posted by: Pete n SFO | Sep 21, 2011 2:03:17 PM

  20. Posting on the fire department's FB page is an obvious no-no, but when are people going to understand that FB is not your "private life"; it is your public life and a representation of your public self. If you're in a sensitive job, how you publicly present yourself matters. You have the freedom to speak, but you should also have the wisdom to know when not to, unless you're willing to accept some consequences for your bigotry.

    Even if the had posted his bigotry only on his own page, it still casts into doubt his ability to serve all of the public with decency and respect--FB is not your private home. I don't know why anyone would say anything on FB that they wouldn't be willing to say in a public forum with their friends and employers watching . . . cause that's what FB is.

    Posted by: Ernie | Sep 21, 2011 4:12:19 PM

  21. If you're going to exercise free speech rights then keep it classy. Facebook is NOT totally private. Nobody should think like he does anyways. Bigotry is never correct no matter what anyone says. Stupid hurts.

    Posted by: Corey Lynxx | Sep 21, 2011 4:54:49 PM

  22. I wouldn't want this guy in the same ambulance with me.

    Posted by: ophu | Sep 21, 2011 9:06:10 PM

  23. He's just another young closed minded individual from Tennessee...Redneck!!! Obviously, raised by bigoted parents; Who knew?

    Posted by: Jeffrey Dunivant | Sep 22, 2011 7:58:21 AM

  24. The EMS Dispatch has a facebook page, where they took the time to announce his suspension. I figured it was worth liking the announcement.


    Posted by: Ryan Joseph | Sep 22, 2011 8:57:18 AM

  25. Freedom of speech in America only for those who are politically correct. All others will be found guilty immediately. They can expect the thought police, re-education, and constant surveillance.

    Posted by: White Buffalo | Sep 26, 2011 1:26:17 PM

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