HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A library director in Tennessee has been fired after the actor and evangelist Kirk Cameron accused him of “unkind pushback” to visiting celebrities during a conservative event last month, officials said.
Sumner County Mayor John Isbell told The Tennessean that the county’s library board voted 4-3 on Wednesday to fire Hendersonville library director Allan Morales. The mayor said Morales’ termination was “related to the Kirk Cameron event.”
Photos of the Feb. 25 event posted by Cameron on Facebook show him reading a children’s book to a room full of dozens of kids and adults. He wrote that the event involved “praying and teaching faith in God and moral values to our kids,” as well as the national anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance.
Also in attendance were Missy Robertson of the reality TV show “Duck Dynasty” and former University of Kentucky women’s swimmer Riley Gaines.
In a video obtained by the Tennessean, Gaines can be seen recording a video near what appears to be the library’s front desk. As she speaks about transgender athletes, loud noises can be heard off-camera, which she believed were excessive and intentional.
Gaines, a resident of Sumner County, told the newspaper she also recalled Cameron felt Morales was speaking too loudly during filming, but she didn’t know if the noise was intentional.
In his social media post, Cameron described “unkind pushback (from one disgruntled librarian).”
Emails obtained by the Tennessean indicated Morales was concerned about the event’s size.
“Our invitation was sincere to read a book during our story time,” Morales wrote to a representative from Brave Books, which helped put on the event.
“We guard that time because it is for small children and not adults. We work hard at not promoting any agendas left or right,” Morales wrote in an email dated Feb. 22.
Morales declined to comment about the episode to the newspaper.
“I don’t want to add to all this. I’m hoping, now that they have fired me, that the community can move on. There’s not much of a point to giving my side. At end of the day I don’t hate anybody,” Morales said.
Copyright © 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.