Sunday, July 26, 2009

Fla. town employee fired over porn actress wife

From the AP via the Houston Chronicle:

The mayor of a small southwest Florida town on Thursday defended the town council's decision to fire its city manager after officials learned his wife is an adult film actress.

Fort Myers Beach Mayor Larry Kiker insisted that Scott Janke's termination had nothing to do with his spouse's job, that the town was merely trying to maintain order.

"What we were addressing was a situation where we weren't going to be able to govern the town with all the disruption and interruption," Kiker said.

The plan appears to have backfired.

"I've done over 30 interviews (with media) ... I've gotten hundreds of e-mails, we're getting threatened," Kiker said. "Nobody is getting any work done around here."


Councilman Tom Babcock said at a council meeting Wednesday that Janke was fired because his wife's profession brought an inaccurate image to Fort Myers Beach, the News-Press of Fort Myers reported.

"When you become a public figure you are held to a different level of scrutiny and ethics," Babcock said at the meeting.

More here.

So you've got the mayor insisting it has nothing to do with Janke's wife and a city council member saying that it does. Obviously, the city council guy is willing to tell the truth, and I wonder why Kiker feels like he's got to spin this--I mean c'mon, what's the difference between fired because your wife is a porn star and fired because being married to a porn star will cause controversy? I guess the former is about Puritanical morals and the latter is about pragmatism. Whatever. They amount to the same thing, no matter how thinly you slice it.

This is part of a disturbing trend, on which I've written here at Real Art several times over the last three years or so. Or maybe it's not a trend; maybe this kind of story is getting better press coverage, and maybe it's actually getting rarer. Who knows? Either way, this is lame, and reeks of nineteenth century Victorianism. What good was the twentieth century if we can't hang loose a bit during off hours? It's not like Janke's breaking the law or anything, not like my Senator, David Vitter, who slept with prostitutes privately while pushing "family values" publicly. Why does Vitter get to keep his job and Janke doesn't?

This is all such bullshit.

Even though Janke apparently had a fire-at-will clause in his contract, according to the Free Speech Coalition and the ACLU, says the above linked article, the poor guy's got some options as far as litigation goes. Okay, I say "poor guy" even though he's married to a hot porn star, but losing your job because the local government doesn't want to be associated, however loosely, with porn, is not a desirable situation. Heh. I said "loosely." Anyway, best of luck to Janke. He's been railroaded.