Thursday, December 12, 2013

Ayo Kimathi no longer works for DHS. We do not know how this separation was achieved.

I have previously noted that First Amendment protections are intended to protect people - even those with controversial views. I asked, can we demand that Ayo Kimathi be fired and simultaneously demand that Bradley Manning/Edward Snowden supporters be protected from firing? While different rules apply for private employers, Federal employees are protected from being fired just because of their views. This was due to civil service reform; otherwise, the arrival of a new President could result in the firing of hundreds of thousands of government employees.

So, even if I personally disagree with Ayo Kimathi's calls for race war, or his branding of Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey as Uncle Toms, I can understand why DHS did not fire him on the spot, but instead placed him on administrative leave.

Well, the National Journal has provided an update:

But Wednesday afternoon, DHS deputy press secretary Gillian Christensen confirmed to National Journal that Kimathi, a procurement specialist for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, has left the agency. "Mr. Kimathi is no longer an ICE employee. His last day with the agency was December 6," she said. She could not, however, clarify whether he resigned or was formally terminated, citing government-wide employment privacy policies.

Perhaps he resigned, no longer willing to work for Uncle Tom. Perhaps he was fired for lying about the nature of his website.

As of now, Kimathi's website lists no new events - the last listed event was in August. But perhaps a Kwanzaa-themed "Liberation from the DHS" event may be scheduled in the near future.

(And no, I don't believe that most Kwanzaa celebrants endorse War on the Horizon.)

P.S. Needless to say, I am in agreement with the sentiments posted by David Hart in comments on a Southern Poverty Law Center blog post:

In spite of my being both gay and Jewish I certainly hope that his guy was not terminated for his beliefs. He should be judged solely on his job performance....

The purpose of the First Amendment is to protect even the most offensive speech. It is a VERY dangerous precedent to start terminating government employees for their point of view - even if reprehensible.

Freedom of expression is a core American value. Termination from government service for disagreeing with the government is a form of censorship.
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