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Insider 12-03-2005 05:29 PM

Opinions on end of days, 'Illuminati' get man fired
 
Opinions on end of days, 'Illuminati' get man fired
AP | December 3 2005

The Knoxville general manager of Knology Inc. was fired after he repeatedly appeared in local media espousing his belief in a coming apocalypse and a shadowy, all-powerful secret organization called the "Illuminati."

John Gilmore, 34, has worked for the West Point, Ga.-based cable television and Internet access provider for the past five years.

In a column published Tuesday in The Knoxville News Sentinel and in subsequent interviews on local television stations, Gilmore said the number 11 holds significance: the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks occurred exactly 11 years after President George H.W. Bush said the words "New World Order" in a speech to Congress.

Gilmore said Friday was a big day: Add up the digits of Nov. 11, 2005, as 1+1+1+1+2+5, and it equals 11.

Knology's vice president of marketing, Mike Roddy, confirmed Friday that the company fired Gilmore for continuing to express his opinions without drawing a clear enough separation from the company.

"The company's position is that everybody is entitled to their opinions and John is certainly among them," Roddy said. "John was asked not to represent his opinions as the company's and he continued the appearance of doing that as general manager of Knology and we decided to let him go. They just weren't the company's opinions."

Gilmore said he understood the company's decision, because "I'm kind of well known in Knoxville being associated with Knology."

"There was no animosity," he said "We're all still friends."

"I was pretty much told that I'd be leaving at some point. ... Our heavenly Father told me that. I didn't know a time or anything, but it just worked out this week," he said.

"To be honest, I'm waiting to see where my heavenly Father will lead me. I'm really being called to do other things."

A Knoxville lawyer who specializes in First Amendment issues said any kind of punitive action against someone expressing their opinions has a chilling effect.

"Anytime any action is taken adverse to an individual as a stated or implied consequence of that individual's expression or statement on a matter of public or general concern, there are First Amendment implications," Rick Hollow said.


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