My Blog__ BYE BYE T.B.K
The T.B.K photo taken from Riverfront Times
On Monday an anonymous sex blogger who once hosted the popular blog The Beautiful Kind was fired from her part-time day job at a nonprofit organization in St. Louis when her superiors discovered her internet existence. The 37 year-old single mother had been running her sex blog for about three years without financial compensation (as most bloggers do). "That's why this job [nonprofit] was such a godsend," she told The Riverfront Times. "I felt such relief, I felt human. I was very excited to have benefits."
"And I understand why they did what they did, but it's still pretty crazy unfair. It's really lifestyle discrimination."
When T.B.K (as she is commonly referred to in the press) was let-go her superiors explained that even though she was a great employee they could not have someone associated with their organization who made such explicit and sexual content public. T.B.K had only been at the nonprofit outfit for a month.
"We simply cannot risk any possible link between our mission and the sort of photos and material that you openly share with the online public. While I know you are a good worker and an intelligent person, I hope you try to understand that our employees are held to a different standard. When it comes to private matters, such as one's sexual explorations and preferences, our employees must keep their affairs private."
The need to disassociate from "preggo sex advice" and "cunt talk" is the choice of the employer, however Tony Rothert (legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri) believes that firing T.B.K was not the only choice. T.B.K's employers could have simply asked her to remove her blog or fixed the "Twitter glitch" that got her caught in the first place.
"The fact that they didn't do that and instead just fired her causes one to believe that it really is the content that they had a problem with, and not really that they were concerned about a connection between her blog and the employer being made in the public," Rothert noted. "One of the unfortunate things is that a lot of people are uncomfortable about unconventional sexuality, especially when a woman's involved. That is not an employer's job -- to police the sexual lives of its employees -- and when an employer discriminates on that basis it is sex discrimination and it's against the law."
And this is the problem, if the content of T.B.K's private life does not affect her work performance than the employer has no right to fire her. However, the problem with most "private" lives now is that they are not so private anymore. Surveillance, blog tracking and Google allow anyone to play Nancy Drew for the day - it's no longer difficult to retrace the messy past of any person with some simple research. How do we define the growing gray space between private and public? In this case, T.B.K should have been given the choice to delete her blog and keep her employment or quit. But even that choice, I think, is a bit unfair. Why does her sexuality on the internet (remember, she was a sex columnist - pretty vanilla for some of the stuff she could have been involved with) suddenly make her unfit for the job? She's not doing anything illegal. She's just writing about sex. You know sex, right? That wonderful, fun thing that we all do. More over, unless this non-profit organization was one advocating for abstinence until marriage then why should T.B.K's sexual life matter? Besides the unjustified firing, this story is another case of slut-shaming. If she had been a "relationship advice columnist" she'd be getting a pat on the back.