Fuck...against my better judgement, here goes nothing.
I was fired from one of my bartending gigs tonight. I wasn't fired for my ability, my attitude or for anything performance related. I was fired for something I wrote on my blog.
A few weeks ago I posted something about a Richmond Mayorial candidate and about how I bartended for him. (Click on "Richmond" for the post in question.) The candidate I bartended for was City Council President Bill Pantele. The posting itself is meant to be funny and does not speak poorly of Pantele, and infact up until an hour ago, I was endorsing Pantele for Mayor. Really the post is a light-hearted joke about how much I would like the guy as our mayor.
The story, as I was told by my manager when she canned me tonight is this: The restaurant, or I should say a consultant for the restaurant received two separate calls from people who are either associated with Pantele's campaign or our Pantele supporters. They came across my blog after the Style Weekly article involving my dust up with Channel 6 last week raised a ruckus and got me a bunch of attention. The people who called were not happy about their guy getting blogged about, especially considering the fact that they were paying the restaurant to hold the fundraiser (although who actually "paid", if anyone, is another story for another time) and that their designated bartender was the one who wrote about Pantele.
The restaurant then told me that they cannot have other politicos or city big wigs hearing that they have a bartender who blogs because it might disuade them from coming to the restaurant or using the restaurant for their functions.
At first I backpeddled and I said that I would take down the posts and would never blog about the restaurant again, but then I calmed down and really started thinking about this situation. I realize now that I can't back down. It wouldn't be me and it wouldn't be the person I want to become. I understand why I got fired, and that's that.
Bartending gigs come and go and I'll probably have another by next week. But a situation like this, well, I can't just ignore it. It would be against everything this blog is about, which if you didn't know, is me doing and saying whatever I think about (within the law of course).
The real questions here are, did Pantele indirectly get me fired? Or did one of his bonehead lackies make the call without his knowledge? If, and I'm not saying this as truth, Pantele was outraged and then orchestrated those calls? Hmmm. "Local politician goes to a public place (a restaurant), someone writes truthfully about him, he threatens restaurant, and 25 year old bartender loses job for trying to get more civically involved." Not a pretty headline. I guess running for mayor makes you immune to bloggers?
It doesn't sound good for Pantele or his campaign. Although I will say this again, I have no proof that anyone involved with him or his campaign made those calls. I'm only repeating the reasons given to me by the restaurant for my termination. I was told multiple times by my manager that they love having me there and they love my work behind the bar, and that this was an extremely tough situation for them. The reason I was given for getting fired was my blog. Plain and simple.
I don't blame the restaurant and I truly adore my managers and co-workers there. I put them in a tough spot and they did what they had to do. I'll miss that bar and I hate to make this into another shitstorm because it will probably look bad on their part too. Although let's be real honest here, more controversy surrounding this blog and I, will only hurt my chances in the future of landing "real" jobs. It hurts my reputation in certain circles. In a sense I guess I'm sort of taking a fall here, but I feel I've been wronged and I won't just lie down. I'M NOT STATING THIS AS FACT, but in my opinion, I lost my job because the restaurant was threatened by the oh-so powerful Bill Pantele campaign and they got scared. Again, this is all based on hearsay and I'm not saying that this is the stone cold, lead pipe reason that I'm not employed there anymore. It is strictly my semi-informed opinion.
Maybe something will come of this, maybe it won't. I always read those stories about bloggers losing their jobs because of their blog, I just never thought it would happen to me. It speaks to the tightassery of Richmond. In a city like NYC, this is a blip on the radar, a joke. Up until an hour ago I had never even considered taking the blog down, now, well, I'm flirting with the idea.
This goes without saying but I'm now de-endorsing Bill Pantele for the next Mayor of Richmond.