Blogger says boss fired him due to assumption about homophones and homosexuality

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PROVO, Utah -- Do you know what a homophone is? That was the question that a blogger from Provo said got him fired from his job at a learning center.

According to Tim Torkildson, his boss at Nomen Global Language Center thought the word was associated with homosexuality, so he let him go.

“I was taken by surprise when he just said, ‘You’re gone,’” Torkildson said.

A writer, Torkildson landed a position as a social media coordinator at the center in April. His job was to blog and tweet for the center, sharing educational tips, as well as information about Provo.

“I wrote about punctuation, capitalization, homonyms, homophones,” Torkildson said.

But in July, it was that last topic on the list that Torkildson said got him fired from his job. He posted a blog on the topic of homophones. The concept is defined as any words that sound the same, but have different meanings. In the post, Torkildson explained it and then gave some examples.

“This kind of condition does not exist in very many other languages,” he said. “So, it’s confusing to foreign people.”

The concept was also confusing to Torkildson’s boss, Clarke Woodger. According to Torkildson, Woodger saw the prefix “homo” and jumped to a wrong conclusion.

“He was now afraid that people would associate Nomen Global with some kind of gay agenda. That was his fear,” Torkildson said. “And he expressed his frustration to me very clearly. He just said, ‘This particular blog is the last straw.’”

Woodger declined to do an on camera interview, but did release the following statement:

“Mr. Torkildson was fired for cause. Nomen Global does not have an anti-gay agenda, nor do we discriminate against anyone. We have had 6,500 students in the last 15 years from 58 countries. We do not discriminate.”

The post, which has been deleted from the center’s website, was not intended to offend anyone, according to Torkildson.

14 comments

    • Desert Pete

      The story says the company fired Torkildson for cause. The fired employee may, or may not, have deserved to be terminated. If Torkildson could have made a claim with the Department of Workforce Services he would have (or will).

  • Scott Hagerman

    Unjust cause Paul? How do you know? Maybe they have had issues with this person before? Maybe he did something outside of what he was supposed to do. They dont (and shouldnt) comment on a personnel issue especially when the guys already acting like a drama queen because then the guy would probably sue them for that.

  • Dwight R

    Scott, attitudes and comments like yours are symptoms of mental illness. Thank goodness we aren’t related or I would have no choice as a decent person other then to disown you and never speak to you again. That said I am left with no other choice except to conclude that you and your relatives who choose not to disown you are the kind of people I will not associate with.

    Have as good of a life as you can considering who you are and do the world a favor and stick to talking to your family, friends and others like you. We have made the choice to not associate with scum so please respect that and don’t talk to normal people when you have other abnormal people who willingly associate with their own kind. Thanks.

    • Desert Pete

      You’re suggesting that Scott Hagerman doesn’t have the 1st Amendment right to express an opinion without being disowned Dwight? And by the way, he’s correct. Without hearing the other half of any story intelligent people ask questions.

      • dbp

        Actually, no one has the right to express their opinion without being disowned. They have the right to express their opinion without being arrested. That doesn’t save them from social consequences.

      • Desert Pete

        An advantage to living a traditional lifestyle with a traditional family is that no one in their circle of friends no one is going to disown them for their opinions. We just don’t think in those terms.

  • rich

    And the writer had no idea people would jump to conclusion similar to his boss… Sounds more like a set up by the writer.

      • Desert Pete

        Wow, just wow, SI. We still don’t have the whole story, and only a fool jumps to conclusions without knowing why this man was REALLY let go. Most juries like to hear all the evidence before convicting the wrong person.

      • Cat

        Wait, Pete, they want the evidence BEFORE they convict the wrong person? Is it to make sure it’s the wrong person?

      • Desert Pete

        You’re right, CAT, we expect juries to hear all the evidence so they won’t convict the wrong person. It is only fair.

  • rextrek

    they better hope that John Stewart or John Oliver, or Stephen Colbert don’t find this story! Talk about laughing stock

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