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Knology manager fired for his apoc visions
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11/14/2005 11:25 PM
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Apocalyptic views lead to firing
Knology manager trumpeted visions of end times to media
By LARISA BRASS AND BILL BREWER, [email protected], [email protected]
November 12, 2005
The general manager of Knology´s Knoxville operations has been fired after expressing religious views about the
end of time to local media outlets, including the News Sentinel.
John Gilmore, 34, has managed the local office of the Georgia-based provider of cable television, Internet and
phone services for the past five years and has been with the company for six years. He was relieved of his duties Thursday.
Mike Roddy, vice president of marketing for Knology in Atlanta, confirmed Friday that Gilmore was fired for eschatological comments he made in a Tuesday column in the News Sentinel and on a subsequent local television appearance.
"The company´s position is that everybody is entitled to their opinions and John is certainly among them," Roddy said. "John was asked not to represent his opinions as the company´s and he continued the appearance of doing that
as general manager of Knology and we decided to let him go. They just weren´t the company´s opinions."
Roddy further said that Gilmore was asked to not do another media interview on his beliefs, but he appeared on WVLT, Channel 8, Thursday night after he alerted Knology he was going to.
"If John wants to give his own opinions, that´s fine. But he needs to not do it as a representative of this company," Roddy said.
In the past week, Gilmore has been quoted and interviewed live about his views on events he believes will take
place leading to the final judgment of God and the end of the world.
He spoke of the power of a secret organization called the Illuminati that he said is trying to destroy national sovereignty. He said the group finds significance in the number 11, with the Sept. 11 attacks occurring 11 years
to the day after the first President George Bush used the phrase "New World Order" before Congress.
Gilmore predicted a big event Friday as well - Nov. 11, 2005, whose digits, if one counts November as the 11th month, add up to 11 (1+1+1+1+2+5).
His comments appeared in a column by Ina Hughs on Tuesday, accompanied by two letters he wrote that appeared
on the News Sentinel´s Web site, Knoxnews.com.
After being interviewed on WVLT, he gave interviews to two local radio stations Friday morning.
Gilmore said company officials contacted him Thursday and asked him to leave the company.
"They said, ´If you have to continue to talk publicly I don´t know if we can continue working together,´ " Gilmore said, adding that the company expressed concern about the association of its brand with his beliefs.
"I´m kind of well known in Knoxville being associated with Knology," he said, pointing out that the company
felt he was representing Knology´s views with no disclaimer.
When asked if he planned to pursue legal action against the company, Gilmore said, "absolutely not," because he understood the company´s decision.
"There was no animosity," he said. "We´re all still friends."
Gilmore said he already knew he would leave Knology.
"I was pretty much told that I´d be leaving at some point. Our heavenly Father told me that. I didn´t know a time or anything, but it just worked out this week," he said. "To be honest, I´m waiting to see where my heavenly Father
will lead me. I´m really being called to do other things."
Roddy said the company is not concerned about being sued over the matter based on freedom of speech or religion concerns.
Knoxville lawyer Rick Hollow, who specializes in First Amendment issues, said judgment shouldn´t be passed on either side of the issue without knowing all the facts.
"But the situation certainly has implications which suggest a potential chilling effect on free expression and should therefore be closely scrutinized," Hollow said.
"Anytime any action is taken adverse to an individual as a stated or implied consequence of that individual´s expression or statement on a matter of public or general concern, there are First Amendment implications," he said.
"This is particularly true where the comment relates to matters of individual opinion because the U.S. Supreme
Court has said there is no such thing as a false opinion."
Business writer Larisa Brass may be reached at 865-342-6318. Assistant business editor Bill Brewer may be
reached at 865-342-6319.
[link to 188.8.131.52]