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.”

Comments

  1. says

    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.

    chump.

  2. Pete n SFO says

    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.

  3. Jaxxy21 says

    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!

  4. Dastius Krazitauc says

    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.

  5. JerzeeMike says

    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.

  6. candideinnc says

    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.

  7. Kevin_BGFH says

    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.

  8. Guy Johnson says

    @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.

  9. Bobby says

    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.

  10. Pete n SFO says

    @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.

  11. says

    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.

  12. says

    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.

  13. White Buffalo says

    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.

  14. Carrie says

    The only problem I have with stories/comments such as these is that the prevailing mindset seems to be if you don’t support gay rights you are a bigot. I don’t verbally attack or think less of anyone who does support it but, on the other hand, if you’re a person who does not, you’re branded a bigot, anti-gay, evil, and the list goes on – even though you’re not a person who ostracizes or persecutes homosexuals. But it seems, and this is just an objective observation, that the more gay people try to make it mainstream, open, etc., the more it pushes the straight people who usually keep quiet and keep their opinions to themselves to speak up. Maybe it was mostly “in the closet” because it “kept the peace.” But to each his own. It should just be fair and even – whether your support or not support, if you’re not denying rights and physically attacking people, everyone should have a right to their opinion, pro or con, without being automatically labeled.

  15. KEVIN KENNEDY says

    I know I should have used better judgement in this day and age. I would love to tell my side of it in detail but it’s something I would rather just let go of. However, two years after the fact these people are still posting this garbage. So, for the record, I will say this much. I was home, Off duty, and had some to drink. I turned on my computer and seen two male coworkers kissing as a profile pic and made a knee jerk comment. It bled over to a shared page and the guys took it to the gay media and made a crusade out of it.

  16. KEVIN KENNEDY says

    I know I should have used better judgement in this day and age. I would love to tell my side of it in detail but it’s something I would rather just let go of. However, two years after the fact these people are still posting this garbage. So, for the record, I will say this much. I was home, Off duty, and had some to drink. I turned on my computer and seen two male coworkers kissing as a profile pic and made a knee jerk comment. It bled over to a shared page and the guys took it to the gay media and made a crusade out of it.

  17. KEVIN KENNEDY says

    iVE ALWAYS DONE THE RIGHT THING IRRESPECTIVE OF PEOPLES LIFESTILES. i WOULDNT HAVE LASTED 32 YEARS AS A MEDIC, OR THE LAST 20 WORKING WITH NASHVILLE IF I DIDNT. THANKS FOR UNRAVALING MY LIFE!

  18. rick says

    Why is it that the most racist people I know are gay,the most closed minded people I know are gay,and the most intolerant people I know are gay. Why don’t you put your little bitchass’s in someone elses shoes for a while. We get that your spoiled little brats.How about we go about slandering your good(?) names,huh, cupcake.If you want to take it up the ass that’s your business,when you make it public your just disgusting faggots.

  19. John says

    Just to be clear. The pic was not of two coworkers. It was of one and his partner in a completely appropriate picture that, had it been a straight couple, wouldn’t have even been noticed. Additionally, neither of the employees he referenced in his facebook rant went to the press. In fact, we both declined EVERY request for comment and the person who took it to the media is someone Mr. Kennedy thought was a friend. When the initial post was noticed, I contacted the page admin to have the post removed BEFORE Mr. Kennedy got into trouble. Myself and the other employee took no part in “unraveling” anything. Despite what he may think, I hold no ill will towards Mr. Kennedy. I support his right to free speech and wish him well.

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