A social media strategist for a school in Utah has allegedly been sacked for writing about the grammatical term homophones over fears the school would be associated with homosexuality.
Tim Torkildson claims he was fired from his role at the Nomen Global Language Center in Provo for writing a blog post about homophones in order to help foreign students.
Torkildson said he thought it would be necessary to explain how there are words that sound the same but have different spellings and meanings – for example which and witch - as there are "hundreds of these in the English language, and it is one of the first subjects tackled when teaching ESL [English as a second language]".
However, after the post was published, Torkildson claims he was called into his boss Clarke Woodger's office where he was told he would be let go because he "could not be trusted".
According to Torkildson, Woodger added: "This blog about homophones was the last straw. Now our school is going to be associated with homosexuality."
He allegedly added: "You've done a good job on most things but you're just not reliable enough. I never have any idea what you're going to do next. I can't run my business that way."
Woodger denied the reason he fired Torkildson was for homophobic reasons but instead because he would "go off on tangents" with his blog posts, which might confuse students.
He told the Salt Lake City Tribune the students at the facility can only speak basic levels of English and are not ready for the more advanced concepts such as homophones.
"People at this level of English may see the 'homo' side and think it has something to do with gay sex," he said.