Lynchburg organization calls for action over ‘offensive’ city employee posts

Battle Over Social Media Posts
Published: Mar. 16, 2021 at 6:08 PM EDT
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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - Over the past weeks, city leaders have been working to respond to an issue raised by community members.

The issue concerns Facebook posts made by a Lynchburg City employee.

The posts caught the attention of Hill City Pride, which says the posts are offensive.

“He does have his rights to the first amendment and to express his concerns, but to do so on a public figure page where he lists that he is a public servant is concerning to us,” said Michael Kittinger, board chair.

Kittinger says posts made on Lynchburg fire captain Martin Misjuns’ public figure page are transphobic.

Some of the images depict cisgender men participating in women’s athletics and using women’s restrooms.

“Very transphobic, trying to make people think that these straight men are gonna try to do things to women or take over women’s sports - that kind of thing,” said Kittinger.

Misjuns says the issue is a matter of free speech.

He says the posts were not made in his capacity with the fire department, but as part of his political affiliation in the city.

“If it’s offensive, that’s what the first amendment protects is all speech, offensive speech, non-offensive speech. It protects the rights of people to be offended and to not be offended. So, pretty simple that this is a free speech issue,” said Misjuns, Lynchburg Republican City Committee Ward I chair.

The city says they’re working to do more diversity training, but for Hill City Pride, they’d like to see the posts come down.

“Obviously, that would be what we would like to see is to see him come out and apologize for the posts and take them down and not post anything similar in the future,” said Kittinger.

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