Ex-Hogan aide fired for backing teen Kenosha shooter threatens legal action

This content was republished with permission from WTOP’s news partners at Maryland Matters. Sign up for Maryland Matters’ free email subscription today.

A former member of the Hogan administration who was fired over the weekend for posting statements and memes on social media that sympathized with the 17-year old indicted for shooting protesters in Kenosha, Wis., says he will be looking into every possible legal remedy following his dismissal.

“I’m not asking nor do I want my job back, would you?” Arthur (Mac) Love IV said during a press conference outside Lockerman Bundy Elementary School in Baltimore Monday afternoon. “I just want my life back — I’m an innocent American.”

Love, the former deputy director of the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives, had been commenting about memes on Facebook posts, supporting Kyle Rittenhouse, the teenager from Illinois who brought a semi-automatic rifle to Kenosha last week and opened fire after scuffling with protesters who were there to demand racial justice.

He was fired Saturday afternoon for his social media comments.

The protesters have been in Kenosha since the police shooting a week ago of Jacob Blake, a Black man.

One of Love’s Facebook posts includes a photo of a white police officer holding two thumbs up, with the caption, “Don’t be a thug if you can’t take a slug!” Another features a photo of actor Leonardo DiCaprio raising a glass of champagne with the caption, “When you see a skateboard wielding Antifa chickens*** get smoked by an AR toting 17-yr-old.”

Love did not directly answer the question of what he was trying to get across by posting and reposting those memes. There are potential legal ramifications, so Love has been advised to keep his statements to a minimum, said Gary Collins, a friend serving as a spokesman for Love.

“What Mr. Love was looking to do is basically express that there should be due process in any and all situations,” Collins said. “We live in the United States, and in this country, everyone should get a free shot and a fair shot regardless of what the circumstances or the twisting and turning might be in any given story.”

Love’s social media posts were not meant to be hateful, but suggests that everyone in the United States, including Rittenhouse, should have due process, Collins added.

“I stand by the Constitution of the United States of America, and I stand by the rights of due process for all,” Love said.

Love said he was told by his office not to speak with the media and that he was not fired on Saturday. It was not until 8 a.m. on Sunday morning that he was formally told that he had been fired.

The Hogan administration on Saturday afternoon released a statement from Steven J. McAdams, an old friend of Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) who heads the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives, saying Love had been fired.

Love believes he was unfairly and hastily terminated from his job because of something that was “just a tongue in cheek meme,” Collins said. He called Hogan an “authoritarian” and “dictator” for not allowing public servants the freedom of speech on their private social media accounts. He also blames today’s “cancel culture” for Love’s termination.

Collins compared Love’s circumstance to the case of Len Foxwell, the chief of staff to Maryland Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot (D). Franchot defended Foxwell and refused to fire him after Foxwell suggested on a Facebook post in April that people who did not follow coronavirus safety measures should be “lure[d]” into a “big, big warehouse,” in order to “bar the door and then let Darwin work his magic.”

Foxwell’s post linked to an NPR article about a militia group and conservative elected officials in Idaho who were defying stay-at-home orders in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Several prominent Republicans at the time accused Foxwell of wanting President’s Trump supporters to die and demanded that Franchot fire him.

“Either both should go or neither,” Collins said. “One man is left out in the rain, while the other is safe and secure in the halls of government.”

“There should be some consistency across agencies and departments,” Love said. “It shouldn’t be a question — if you’re a Republican, you get fired and if you’re a Democrat you keep your job, or vice versa,” he said, tearing up. “This is my life, or was.”

“I wish someone would explain to me…why is it OK to call for the death of Marylanders and keep a government job yet calling for someone to get due process in Maryland gets you fired,” he said.

Love’s supporters at the news conference included individuals of color.

Jovani Patterson, an African American community activist who is the Republican nominee for Baltimore City Council president, defended Love’s free speech and said he had worked with Love on food distribution efforts in the city.

“Freedom of speech is being dragged through the mud right now,” Patterson said.

Dr. Surinder Singh, a Sikh who had worked with Love to provide healthy food options for children, said Love is “not racist,” but rather a “dedicated, sincere, hardworking man” who should have been given more time to explain his social media posts before the state officials decided to fire him.

Tim Kingston, a union representative and retired police officer, and Ahmed Nasser, a tax accountant who spoke on behalf of the Pakistani community, defended Love during the news conference.

Michael Feldman, the person who made the original post in which Love commented on multiple memes, including one that suggested protesters were “thugs,” called Love’s defense “disingenuous.”

“You do have the freedom of speech, but you do not have the freedom of consequences for that speech,” he said in an interview with Maryland Matters.

Love does not regret what he posted and will be pursuing all legal remedies possible, Collins said.

Love’s supporters have set up an online fundraising page, launched within hours of his dismissal, seeking “to help support Mr. Love through an emergency defense fund to help relocate, ensure physically protect and help to support him through this challenging time.”

Their goal is to raise $150,000.

The page is hosted at GiveSendGo.com, which bills itself as the “#1 Free Christian Crowdfunding Site.”

As of 11:30 p.m. Monday, 22 people had donated $1,065. 

Bruce DePuyt contributed to this report.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up