Language School's Blogger Fired For Writing A Post On Homophones; Director Fears Association With 'Gay Sex'

from the not-a-hoax dept

Let’s say you’re a company and you hired a social media expert to run your social media and blogging tasks. Now let’s say you want to fire that person. You need a decent reason, right? Maybe your company is just going through layoffs and that job happens to fall under the ax (though, make sure you get control of your Twitter account before dropping the blade). Or maybe your “expert” ran a tweet/response campaign that backfired as badly as it possibly could. Those are good reasons to fire your social media and blogging guy.

What’s a poor reason for firing that person? How about: Well, we thought the person’s post about homophones for our language school’s blog might make people think we’re all gay and whatnot? Yeah, that pretty much covers it.

But when the social-media specialist for a private Provo-based English language learning center wrote a blog explaining homophones, he was let go for creating the perception that the school promoted a gay agenda. Tim Torkildson says after he wrote the blog on the website of his employer, Nomen Global Language Center, his boss and Nomen owner Clarke Woodger, called him into his office and told him he was fired.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: that didn’t f#&$ing happen. Well, au contraire, bonjour, it sure as hell did happen. A school entirely built to teach the English language to non-English speaking immigrants in Utah fired a guy for blogging about homophones. And, just so we’re clear, homophones are not telephones run by the homosexual-ati as a hotline designed to disrupt the traditional family values of ‘Merica. No, homophones are words that sound alike but have different definitions, like “I” and “eye.”

Torkildson’s account includes some eyebrow-raising quotes of Woodger claiming not to know what homophones were, claiming that they don’t teach that kind of “advanced” language study to their English language students, and worrying that the post would associate the school with homosexuality for reasons uknown to this writer. Woodger’s account is different, but vaguely not so different.

Woodger says his reaction to Torkildson’s blog has nothing to do with homosexuality but that Torkildson had caused him concern because he would “go off on tangents” in his blogs that would be confusing and sometimes could be considered offensive…Woodger says his school has taught 6,500 students from 58 countries during the past 15 years. Most of them, he says, are at basic levels of English and are not ready for the more complicated concepts such as homophones.

Er, so yeah. It had nothing to do with homosexuality, except it has something to do with tangents and being offensive, and they don’t teach the concept of homophones to English students because it’s so advanced. I’d ask you to hazard a guess what the tangents and “offensive” stuff were in these damned language posts, but you’ve already probably guessed correctly.

Regardless, if homophones associate a language school with homosexuality, then I guess all of us Homo sapiens are at least a little gay. Right?

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Companies: nomen global language center

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Comments on “Language School's Blogger Fired For Writing A Post On Homophones; Director Fears Association With 'Gay Sex'”

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72 Comments
Dr. Sigmund Freud says:

Sooo, tell me about your Fasha.

Looks to be, as I like to call tit, a Freudian slip.

Otherwise known as parapraxis, an error in speech, memory, physical action, or Human Resources policy, that I interpret as occurring due to the interference of an unconscious subdued wish, or conflict guided by the ego.

Clearly Clarke Woodger is not able to acknolwedge and express his own repressed homo-sexual desires and urges and is lashing out due to his own inner tension, and possibly self hate.

That is my professional opinion.

Anonymous Coward says:

The truly sad part is that a person with Woodger’s level of mastery of the English language could even be hired by an organization tasked with teaching people English much less rise to a level of authority with in it. If our educational system in general ever considers homophones an “advanced language concept” we are truly doomed.

cereal (profile) says:

PC and stupidity

political correctness is turning everyone into idiotic socially acceptable morons. Common sense has left the building. The fear of having some group destroy a reputation that must be publically apologized for has everyone on eggshells and because offensiveness has trumped the belief in free expression, and acknowledgement that we ALL say and do stupid things has made us all emotionally retarded. Yes, I purposely said retarded. Get over it. It’s not derogatory. It’s descriptive.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: PC and stupidity

Curtail the hangwringing. In this case political correctness actually would have ironically saved us from this bit of stupidity. If homophobia was considered highly unacceptable it would have prevented a firing on the grounds of sounding remotely similar to homosexual. Woodger could still come up with a stupid excuse for firing but he would have to come up with a better one.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Double strike

OK, a director of a school that not only has no idea what “homophone” means but thinks that it’s an advanced concept (I remember learning about them in about the 6th grade) is one level of stupidity.

But this guy takes it to the next level for summarily firing a teacher who actually has mastered the basic concepts of English — rather than actually looking into the issue or at least asking the teacher about it first.

That director should be fired for gross incompetence.

Anonymous Coward says:

What a PR campaign!

We have here an owner and administrator of an English language school, neither seem a better grasp of the subject then their clients. Maybe their next endeavor will be a target shooting school, should be at least as proficient as the current school. Of course the knee jerk reaction to anything that starts with homo is classic right wing nutcase that seem to cluster in Utah by some magnetic force.

Scott Enk (user link) says:

Teacher Fired Regarding Homophones

Stooopid. People like Timothy Torkildson are only doing their job in trying to bring up the level of English used by his students and, for that matter, such ignoramuses as Clarke Woodger. This incident reminds me of cases where people have been accused of being racists or even fired for using the word “niggardly,” a word of Scandinavian origin that means “stingy” and has nothing to do with race.

Woodger and his school owe Mr. Torkildson not only his job with full back pay and then some, but also an abject and *very* public apology. Woodger’s actions, not to mention his self-admitted ignorance *and* homophobia, are making him and his school, community, and state worldwide laughingstocks.

Tell Clarke Woodger and his school what *you* think of this. Write your own comments on their blog at http://nomenglobaltoday.blogspot.com/2014/06/english-is-key-to-your-success.html?showComment=1407022290898#c4056874921915073665.

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