Editor Fired Over ‘Gaystapo’ Screed Claims To Be Victim Of Discrimination

An Iowa newspaper editor who was fired in May over a vehemently anti-gay blog post is claiming that he was the victim of religious discrimination.

In a complaint filed this week with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Bob Eschliman said that he was fired by the Newton Daily News for “holding and talking about my sincerely held religious beliefs on my personal blog during my off-duty time from the comfort of my own home.”

Those beliefs were detailed in April on his now-deleted blog. In the post, which was spotted by journalist Jim Romenesko, Eschliman invoked scripture in railing against “the LGBTQXYZ crowd and the Gaystapo.”

[Jesus] said there would be deceivers. He said those deceivers would cause Christians who remain true to His teachings to become reviled. He said false prophets would follow to deceive even more, and that lawlessness will abound.
If you ask me, it sounds like the Gaystapo is well on its way. We must fight back against the enemy.

The blog was taken down after Romenesko asked Eschliman in an email “if his paper can cover gay issues fairly and objectively when he’s declared gays the enemy.” (Romenesko did not hear back.)

Eschliman was suspended, and then subsequently fired. The president of Shaw Media, which owns the Newton Daily News, wrote in a column for the Newton Daily News that although “Eschliman is entitled to his opinion, his public airing of it compromised the reputation of this newspaper and his ability to lead it.”

And now with the assistance of the Liberty Institute, a Christian legal advocacy group, Eschliman is ready to make his case that he was wronged.

Eschliman’s attorney, Matthew Whitaker, filed the “formal charge of religious discrimination and retaliation against Shaw Media, Inc. and Newton Daily News” with the EEOC on Wednesday.

h/t Gawker


Tom Kludt is a reporter for Talking Points Memo based in New York City, covering media and national affairs. Originally from South Dakota, Tom joined TPM as an intern in late-2011 and became a staff member during the 2012 election. He can be reached at tom@talkingpointsmemo.com.