Wednesday, August 31, 2011

'Porno Pete' LaBarbera tries to correct me and fails miserably

Peter LaBarbera is angry at me.

The American Family Association's One News Now is probably spooked with me.

It's an interesting controversy which has brewed over a comment I made on One News Now's site.

On the particular piece, the author, Jerry Newcombe, said the following:

I know a man (Matt Barber) who was fired from a job with a Fortune 500 company a few years ago because on his own time, on his own computer, at his own home, he posted a blog expressing his own opinion, opposing same-sex “marriage.” He was confronted by his boss at the office and asked if he was the same Matt Barber as on the blog. He was.

Now those who follow this blog know the story of Matt Barber, who is now affiliated with Liberty University. He was originally employed with AllState Insurance before being fired for writing an anti-gay column while using a company computer and also identifying himself as an employee of the company. Barber was able to become a religious right cause celebre and soon, an active player in this so-called culture war as an employee of Concerned Women for America and now the Liberty Counsel.

I wrote a comment to Newcombe's piece saying the following:

Sorry but Mr. Newcombe is inaccurate about one part. Matt Barber used his company’s computer AND identified himself as an employee of the company [Allstate] in his column. That’s why he was fired.

I should have known that it was strange when not only my comment but the ability to leave any comments was eliminated from the article.

And now I see why. This morning on his site, "Porno Pete" LaBarbera (apparently he hates it when I call him that) put the following comment on his website:

Below is a longer version of an article I posted in Facebook responding to homosexual activist Alvin McEwen, who repeated an oft-used bit of “gay” misinformation about Allstate’s 2005 firing of pro-family advocate Matt Barber. (Barber sits on the Americans For Truth Board, is Associate Dean at Liberty University School of Law, and is Director of Cultural Affairs for the Liberty Counsel.) Alvin is a bitter fellow who — although purporting to factually correct alleged pro-family falsehoods — regularly dishes them out himself (go HERE to see him viciously slander me as “Porno Pete”). In posting a response to an AFA column by pro-family writer Jerry Newcombe (reprinted at bottom), McEwen writes:
Sorry but Mr. Newcombe is inaccurate about one part. Matt Barber used his company’s computer AND identified himself as an employee of the company [Allstate] in his column. That’s why he was fired.
Here is my correction of Alvin’s tendentious “correction”:
Matt Barber is a good friend of mine, a Christian man of high integrity, and a Board Member for my organization, Americans For Truth. As one living in Illinois who was intricately familiar with Matt’s case, I want to set the record “straight” here and correct the lies that homosexual activists like Alvin McEwen repeatedly spew about his unjust firing.
Barber was fired after writing a column (which was published by conservative websites) against the homosexual agenda — on his home computer, on a Saturday. He did NOT identify himself as an employee of Allstate, but a third-party blog publisher did so by mistake. A staffer with the homosexual lobby group Human Rights Campaign then “reported” Barber’s web article to Allstate’s HR depart, and Matt immediately was called in on a Friday afternoon. Ironically, he was told that Allstate “celebrates diversity,” and that his (traditional) values did not reflect those of Allstate. Barber was suspended and informed that he likely would be fired for writing the column. He was then escorted by Allstate security guards off the corporate grounds. Monday morning, Barber was canned over the telephone.
The Illinois Department of Employment Security [see graphic above] investigated the firing and found Barber innocent of misconduct; IDES made this judgment (emphasis theirs): “The claimant was discharged from ALLSTATE INS. CO. because AN OUTSIDE ORGANIZATION HAD COMPLAINED ABOUT AN ARTICLE HE HAD WRITTEN WHILE ON HIS OWN TIME.”
Furthermore, even if Barber had used his company laptop for personal use (which he did not), Allstate policy allowed such personal use — especially for employees who traveled frequently, as did Barber.

Barber sued Allstate and as the trial date approached, Allstate frantically contacted Matt’s attorneys and begged for a cash settlement so that the details of his discriminatory firing would not become public.
Needless to say, Allstate had to pay Barber a very significant sum of money to make the embarrassing scandal go away. Had the case gone forward, Allstate’s blatantly anti-Christian (and anti-conservative, anti-family) employment policies would have been exposed. This would have included Allstate’s self-serving lies designed to discredit Barber, which were disseminated to the media — and which Alvin McEwen cynically regurgitates here. — Peter LaBarbera, Americans For Truth.

First of all, let's look at this charge from LaBarbera:

The Illinois Department of Employment Security [see graphic above] investigated the firing and found Barber innocent of misconduct; IDES made this judgment (emphasis theirs): “The claimant was discharged from ALLSTATE INS. CO. because AN OUTSIDE ORGANIZATION HAD COMPLAINED ABOUT AN ARTICLE HE HAD WRITTEN WHILE ON HIS OWN TIME.”
 
"Porno Pete" even has a copy of the letter on his site, which I won't reprint here. You can go there to read it if you want. However, that letter had to do with Barber receiving unemployment benefits. The Illinois Department of Employment Security found that Barber did not commit willful misconduct, so he was therefore able to receive benefits.

But in relation to whether or not AllState was correct in firing Barber, the letter is irrelevant.

During the controversy, AllState contended that Barber was fired "because he used the company's information technology systems and other resources for his personal journalism activities, many of which took place on company time."



At the time of the controversy, the company had the following posted to its webpage (it's not there now but this comes reprinted in a post I wrote about the controversy at the time):

The company has stated its position to the court in our answer to Mr. Barber’s lawsuit, and the following statement is included in those papers: “Plaintiff, James Matthew Barber, was not discharged from his employment with Allstate Insurance Company because of his religious beliefs or practices, but because he used the company’s information technology systems and other resources for his personal journalism activities, many of which took place on company time, and which identified Plaintiff as an employee of the Allstate Insurance Company.”

The company also went into detail about the Illinois Department of Employment Security allowing Barber to receive benefits:

The role of the Illinois Department of Employment Security is to implement the Illinois Unemployment Insurance Act, which provides unemployment compensation to residents of the state who meet the eligibility requirements provided in the act. The Department determines whether anyone is eligible for unemployment compensation. Apart from this role, the Department does not rule on the reason for terminations.


According to the Windy City Times:

(AllState) Company spokesman Michael Trevino said that Allstate has never terminated an employee for expressing his or her personal views away from the office. Barber said he wrote the articles at home but admitted that he sometimes sent personal e-mails, including some related to his writing, from his company laptop.

LaBarbera contends that a third party publisher made the mistake of identifying Barber as an employee of AllState. My beliefs about that claim are irrelevant, even though I can't help wondering why did said publisher feel that it was important to include this information in Barber's bio. 

The main fact was that Barber was identified as an employee of AllState, which means the company was unwittingly involved in an ugly anti-gay column which was bad for its business.

LaBarbera also contends that AllState paid Barber a significant amount of money to hush the controversy up:

Needless to say, Allstate had to pay Barber a very significant sum of money to make the embarrassing scandal go away.

But here is the strangest thing about that claim. How do we know that this is accurate? AllState and Barber settled the case, but under confidential terms. And at the time of the settlement, Barber had another job. 

For the record,  I try to be accurate with everything I publish. If someone shows me an error which I made, I try to correct it. I have done this on a few occasions (no one is perfect). If LaBarbera or anyone else can show me adequate proof (because that trash "Porno Pete" has on his page is far below adequate) that I was incorrect, then I will make corrections.

Now that other stuff  "Porno Pete" said about me - me being bitter - is totally inaccurate. Right now, I have this huge smile on my face. All I did was publish the truth and I pushed the religious right's buttons really hard.  Seems to me that "Christian people" shouldn't be worried about the truth.


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9 comments:

Marcus99 said...

If there is an indication that it was a "considerable" amount of money in settlement, then that would infer LaBarbera may have violated the terms of the settlement through disclosing the amount to someone. Thus, he may have to pay the money back.

PJB863 said...

You're absolutely right Alvin! "Christian" people like Porno Pete are not concerned with the truth!

BlackTsunami said...

U mean Barber, Marcus. It would be interesting to see.

Patrick said...

I believe in most lawsuits, it's actually extremely common for the defendants to offer a small settlement amounting to less than what would be required to take the matter to court. My father (a lawyer) referred to this as a "nuisance fee". It's designed to make the plaintiff go away, rather than go through the hassle of fighting them. I would be curious to know if that was all Barber managed to get.

Anonymous said...

I knoe I have mentioned this before. but I swear "Porno" Pete and Bam Bam, just remind me so much of those happy poolside snapshots of Cary Grant and Randolph Scott.

CowboyinBRLA said...

Something to remember: if there was a confidentiality agreement regarding the settlement, it would only be binding on hose who were signatories to it, i.e. presumably Barber and Allstate. *Barber* might have violated the terms of the settlement agreement (depending on what he was allowed to reveal, to whom, and under what circumstances), but Porno Pete, once he was in possession of the information, could do what he wanted with it.

Regrettably, Allstate probably wouldn't seek repayment of the settlement unless it were clear Barber had revealed the substance of the agreement - the exact amount, etc. - and that were distributed somehow. As someone suggested, these are usually "nuisance" settlements designed to make something go away, and trying to get the money back just brings it back to the forefront again.

Joel said...

You made him feel bad that you called him a name. It's a good thing he didn't retaliate in the same way. Oh, wait...

Whatever the details of Barber's termination, the big picture is still that he was let go for his naked bigotry. All Porno Pete and the rest of the professional liars on the right are doing is trying to distract us with some hand-waving over the details of the settlement. Let's not fall into that trap. Barber, LaBarbara, and all of their ilk are anti-gay bigots; it's very simple.

ol&p said...

It would seem to me that if Bam-Bam had such a good case, he wouldn't have settled, but would have gone to court to expose Alstate for their misdeeds. All that a settlement implies is that Bab-Bam didn't have much of a case.

Jacob said...

He said this: "Alvin is a bitter fellow who — although purporting to factually correct alleged pro-family falsehoods — regularly dishes them out himself (go HERE to see him viciously slander me as “Porno Pete”)." He links to this very same article debunking him! How can you be this stupid?!?!?