by Jim Ridley
... Wes Breedwell alleged he was fired from his job as music venue manager at Rocketown — the Nashville non-profit, all-ages music venue, coffee bar, skate park and youth ministry founded by Christian singer Michael W. Smith — when he showed up to work wearing an “I Support Same-Sex Marriage” T-shirt.
On Instagram and via Twitter, Breedwell posted pictures of himself wearing the shirt, which bore the name of Connecticut band Hostage Calm — a group that has performed at Rocketown multiple times, and vowed in a statement yesterday never to play there again — on the front and the pro-gay-rights slogan on the back. In a caption, he stated, “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.”
Breedwell had worked for Rocketown for seven years.
Along with a statement on Breedwell’s behalf, Hostage Calm emailed a photo ... presumably of Breedwell’s “employee discipline notice.” Under a checked category for “lack of judgment,” handwritten comments read, “You cannot wear a shirt to work on an office day or a show day supporting same sex marriage.” Below, in the “future action steps" section, the notice reads: “It is imperative that our beliefs are not personal or presented [at] work that contradict the mission. Future action will be based on the action but will include suspension or termination.” An employee signature line — to acknowledge the infraction and agree to work to improve said behavior — is left unsigned.
... When contacted by the Scene Monday night, Rocketown director of development and communications Lisa Bergen-Wilson did not address questions as to the validity of Breedwell and Hostage Calm’s claims, but said she would provide the Scene an official statement after conferring with Rocketown’s board of directors. This morning, however, she forwarded the Scene to Rocketown publicist Jacquelyn Marushka, who issued the following statement without further explanation:
"Rocketown does not comment on personnel issues, but, generally speaking, an employee would not be fired for expressing opinions on marriage. ..."