Two months ago Riverfront Times featured local pseudonymous sex blogger The Beautiful Kind as part of our "Bloggers Bakers Dozen [scroll down]."
"The Beautiful Kind might make you blush," RFT's Kristen Hinman wrote of the blog. "Or it might make you barf. All depends on what the polyamorous, BDSM, swinging, all-around-sex-lovin' 'TBK' has been up to within the last week. A single mother who does more than kiss and tell, TBK thinks of her blog as 'a safe haven for perverts.' Everyone's welcome. Nothing's off-limits. As she puts it, 'I'll try everything, except for children. Pedophilia -- no way.'"
Live by social media, die by social media. Last week her blog cost TBK her job.
Where once The Beautiful Kind reposed, resplendent in lacy lingerie, chronicling the ins and outs of her polyamorous escapades, her blog now consists of a note from her "web guru" stating that "the site will remain closed until further notice" and implying that the virtual drapes have been drawn because the author's virtual fig leaf of anonymity had been stripped away.
As it turned out, said outing had gotten her fired. When she arrived at work last Tuesday, April 27, TBK tells RFT, she was terminated on the spot.
The cause: "a Twitter glitch" that came to light when her boss, at the suggestion of top management, performed Google searches seeking information about employees.
"My boss said that they couldn't be associated with anyone who was posting graphic images and erotica, and they wanted me to pretend that I never even was there; they want nothing to do with me, they want to act like it never happened," recounts TBK, who had been in the position about a month.
Declining to name the employer, she reveals only that that the organization is a nonprofit, and that she had been hired part time to do "office work" with the understanding that the position would soon go to full time. "They're something I really believe in and I really, really still believe in it and wish them the best and all that," she says. "And I understand why they did what they did, but it's still pretty crazy unfair. It's really lifestyle discrimination."
Following her termination, her former boss sent her a letter that stated:
"We simply cannot risk any possible link between our mission and the sort of photos and material that you openly share with the online public. While I know you are a good worker and an intelligent person, I hope you try to understand that our employees are held to a different standard. When it comes to private matters, such as one's sexual explorations and preferences, our employees must keep their affairs private."
It depends, says Tony Rothert, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri.
Rothert points out that if her boss had merely been concerned about the public at large connecting the dots from the blog to TBK and thence to her employer, the issue could have been addressed by TBK eliminating the "Twitter glitch" or, perhaps, taking down the blog.
"The fact that they didn't do that and instead just fired her causes one to believe that it really is the content that they had a problem with, and not really that they were concerned about a connection between her blog and the employer being made in the public," he says.
The letter from her boss, coupled with TBK's version of events, would seem to confirm Rothert's suspicion.
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