Nashville man's Tweet on firing, marriage equality draws buzz

9:50 PM, Jan 22, 2013   |    comments
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By Heidi Hall and Brian Wilson / The Tennessean

A former Rocketown employee attracted internet buzz today by taking to Twitter, claiming to have been fired.

On Monday afternoon, Wes Breedwell wrote: "Got fired from Rocketown today. Social media is what did it. So here is a picture to show my support for equality and free speech including social media."

An accompanying Instagram picture shows him wearing a T-shirt for the band Hostage Calm which, on the back, reads: "I support same-sex marriage."

Georgia Jeffreys, a friend of Breedwell's, answered his cell phone Monday and said he would be releasing a statement because he's had a lot of media attention. As of 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, there was no statement or any communication with Breedwell despite multiple voicemails left for him and messages to his Facebook and Twitter account.

Jacquelyn Marushka, publicist for Christian music artist and Rocketown founder Michael W. Smith, issued this statement from Rocketown late Monday night:

"Rocketown does not comment on personnel issues, but, generally speaking, an employee would not be fired for expressing opinions on marriage.

"At Rocketown we are welcoming and accepting of all youth. We reach out to all kids, are inclusive and very much care about acceptance of youth from different ethnicities, sexual orientations, financial backgrounds and religions. Our mission is to provide a safe and drug-free environment where kids are welcomed, accepted and loved."

What remains unclear is the reason for Breedwell's apparent firing. A comment about the Tweet rose to third most popular on social media site Reddit. "After 7 years of employment the official reason for his termination was, 'He liked an inappropriate picture on Facebook.' I guess this is what happens when you try to work at a Christian music venue," the comment by poster spaghettispaghetti reads.

But Hostage Calm's website said the firing was over wearing the punk band's shirt.

A post reads: "Today, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a longtime supporter of Hostage Calm and marriage equality was fired from his job at the Nashville music venue, Rocketown, for wearing his 'I Support Same-Sex Marriage' shirt to work. A friend from Nashville contacted me about the situation and told me of Wes Breedwell, this seven-year employee of Rocketown who now finds himself the victim of discrimination. We called this brave man to hear his story, demonstrate our support, and figure out how we can help."

Rocketown, located at 601 4th Avenue South in Nashville, hosts both religious and secular events. Breedwell's LinkedIn profile says he's the music venue manager for Rocketown and has worked there since 2006. He is not on the Rocketown website, which lists names, titles and pictures of all staff members.

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