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Utah man fired for writing about gay phones

Saying people will think the school is associated with gay sex, the owner of a Utah school that teaches English as a second language was fired from his job as a social media specialist for a blog post he made on homophones. No, not a gay phone, like those in the picture above, but words that sound like another word.

Tim Torkildson told Paul Rolly of the Salt Lake Tribune that shortly after his lesson went up, Nomen Global Language Center owner Clarke Woodger fired him, complaining “now our school is going to be associated with homosexuality.”

“I’m letting you go because I can’t trust you. This blog about homophones was the last straw.  Now our school is going to be associated with homosexuality,” Torkildson said, according to the account he published on his personal blog. “I had to look up the word because I didn’t know what the hell you were talking about. We don’t teach this kind of advanced stuff to our students, and it’s extremely inappropriate. Can you have your desk cleaned out by eleven this morning? I’ll have your check ready.”

Torkildson’s former employer confirms the incident of homophonia actually happened.

“People at this level of English,” Woodger told the Tribune, “may see the ‘homo’ side and think it has something to do with gay sex.”

Torkildson says that homophones are “one of the first subjects tackled when teaching ESL,” and said his piece about them was very straightforward. Nomen actually still has another blog post on the topic written in 2011.

Torkildson had only worked at Nomen for three months. He is now seeking a new social media job.

People are taking to social media, giving the school bad reviews on such websites as Yelp.

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11 Comments

  1. Maybe the "English as a Second Language" school owner needs to take some English classes himself.

  2. Michael Aaron Green, the real kicker is that Clarke Woodger, the Director/Owner of Nomen Education is a closeted homosexual with whom I associated in the 1990's during my days at Evergreen. He ended our "friendship" when I started to move towards accepting my homosexuality as he felt I had "given into temptation". I feel sorry for him.

    As I read Rolly's piece, I thought, "well, since Nomen's students ARE at a lower level of English and it might be confusing for a few of them, so it's understandable that he would want to be careful, but his reaction is way overboard. Unnecessarily knee-jerk". So, to his dismay, he has probably called MORE attention to himself and his company by firing Torkildson in this manner than less.

  3. English is tricky. You can't really blame the poor guy for assuming that any word with the letters "homo" all mean the same thing.

  4. On Clarke Woodger's facebook page, one of his "likes" is "I Support Boyd K. Packer." Clarke undoubtedly "liked" that page in response to the backlash due to Boyd K. Packer's comments a few years back: "There are those today who not only tolerate but advocate voting to change laws that would legalize immorality…" effectively suggesting that equality should not only be advocated for, but not even tolerated. Obviously, Woodger is a bigot. He not only supports oppression, but fired someone for teaching the correct use of the word "homophone," because, well you know- "no homo."

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