An English blogger writing for the Nomen Global Language Center in Utah was fired for posting about “homophones” last week after his employer said the word was too close to “homosexual” and “homophobe.”
“A homophone, in case you do not know, is a word that has a different meaning for each different spelling, but always sounds the same; such as ‘be’, ‘bee’, and ‘Bea’,” Tim Torkildson wrote. “There are hundreds of these in the English language, and it is one of the first subjects tackled when teaching ESL.”
Torkildson’s boss, Clark Woodger, allegedly found the word offensive, even after looking up the definition.
“I had to look up the word because I didn’t know what the hell you were talking about,” Woodger said. “We don’t teach this kind of advanced stuff to our students, and it’s extremely inappropriate.”
Woodger called the blog post “the last straw” before asking Torkildson to clean out his desk.
“I’m letting you go because I can’t trust you” Woodger said. “Now our school is going to be associated with homosexuality. Can you have your desk cleaned out by eleven this morning?”
Woodger confirmed the firing in an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune but claimed it was more due to the blog’s confusing and “possibly” offensive nature.
“People at this level of English may see the ‘homo’ side and think it has something to do with gay sex,” Woodger told the Tribune.
Bizarre incidents of political correctness gone wild have seemingly become commonplace in recent years.
Last year, an employee with the City of Seattle sent out a memo demanding that the term “brown bag” be banned from use. The employee, who also tried to ban offensive words such as “citizen,” claimed brown bags were offensive to African Americans.
Washington State Governor Jay Inslee signed legislation that same year to ban government employees from using “sexist” words such as “freshman” and “penmanship.”
Similarly, police in the U.K. were ordered to stop using the words “blacklist” and “whitelist” last year after the words were said to be racist.