Editor's note: Additional quotes from Adam Smith have been added below the video.
Should someone be fired from their job and threatened with violence, torture, even death because they have an opinion different than yours? Of course not. And yet, that is what Adam M. Smith of Arizona says happened to him.
Adam Smith's life has been turned upside-down in the 36 hours that followed his posting the video of his protest at Chick-fil-A, which involved letting a young, female employee at the drive-thru know what he thinks about the company. (You can watch the video here.)
We had an exclusive conversation with Smith where he shared his side of the story. Here's a taste of what he said:
- He has lost his job as Chief Financial Officer at Vante. (Smith claims that he was not given a chance to really explain himself before being terminated)
- His family has been threatened with violence and death. (At one point, his email account was getting 3 messages a minute, mostly vulgar and threatening)
- Because his home address was made public, he cannot live in his house. (And Mr. Smith is a married father of four - two of his children are adopted, special needs kids.)
- Smith said that his original intent was to follow guidelines laid out in an online video, which included quoting a scripture.
Before the original Blaze story ran and then again following the news of Adam's termination, I reached out to him for further comment and clarification. I wanted to see if he wanted to apologize or possibly speak with Rachel, the girl he's seen berating in the video. There was no comment or reply from Adam until early this morning.
Mr. Smith asked me to watch the video that he claims inspired him to act. It is a YouTube clip from a Christian writer named Jackson Pearce. In the video seen below, Ms. Pearce explains her thoughts on Chick-fil-A and suggests that people go to the restaurant on August 1st and ask for a large water and mention Proverbs 25:21, and if you video your protest, she will post it as a response.
For the record, Proverbs 25:21 says:
If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat;
if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.
Smith's initial reasoning for his protest at Chick-fil-A springs from his belief that same-sex marriage is a Human Rights issue and that any laws denying it must be changed. And he chose to protest against the restaurant using the method suggested in the above video.
After he returned home from his now-infamous protest, Smith posted the video as a response to the YouTube video on Ms. Pearce's page. He claimed that this was the first video he ever posted on YouTube. He later walked that statement back saying that he had only posted a few personal family videos, but nothing of a political or protest nature.
Shortly after his video reply hit YouTube, Smith claims that threats started hitting his email inbox. Threats to his family and to himself. So, he removed the video as quickly as he could, but it had already been saved and was in the process of being re-posted by others. One re-poster is tied to the group Stormfront.org. In fact, before he actually spoke with me on the telephone, at 9:34 this morning, Adam sent an email stating:
At this point, this is my comment on the story: read this........
The link he attached to that email took me to a blog site from someone who identifies themselves as "Florida Squeezed." The headline of the post read:
Chick-Fil-A Becomes Iconic for Neo-NAZIS & Tea PartyYoung-Adult fiction writer's idea accidentally leads to Arizona Chick-Fil-A protester being cyber-bullied by "White Power" website based in West Palm Beach, Florida
I was a bit confused by this. Was Smith now claiming that he was the victim of cyber-bullies that he claims are Neo-Nazis? No. He wanted me to see how Stormfront.org had re-posted his initial video and also added his contact information. As the video went viral, the threats and emails increased.
"My inbox was getting 2-3 emails per minute," he explained via phone. He added later: "I'm not even at my house, you don't know that. I can't live in my house right now. I'm in an undisclosed location right now."
I wondered about his terminations. Did both the biotech manufacturing company (Vante) and the college react without giving a "hearing?"
When asked if there is any chance to appeal his abrupt termination from Vante, Smith said he doesn't not have legal counsel and thus has "no idea."
So often in cases like this, a lawyer or law firm will step up and offer to assist, so I wondered if anyone had made such a proposal:
"I don't think anyone can find me right now. I can't find the emails through my ***** account because... it took me an hour to find your email, and I knew you did it, I knew you sent it, and it took me an hour."
Smith started reading off some of the offensive emails he was receiving, telling me how people were referring to him and his family:
"I'm a fa**ot, I'm so glad you got fired, it's so funny, I hope you're slitting your wrists, your kids have a horrible example of a father, ya know, all kinds of real tolerant stuff.... Ya know, they have free speech so great... they can do whatever they want... they can do it."
So given all the fallout, I wanted to know if he cared to see Rachel again. "If you encountered her again, what would you say to her?" I asked.
"I will say to her... what I will say to her... and I will figure out what the right words are," he responded. And then he shed a little more light, saying that he had already gone back to Chick-fil-A the next morning to talk to Rachel.*
She refused to talk to him.
"I wanted to see if she was OK, that's all," he explained. "She was actually working there, and her manager went to get her... and she wouldn't come back."
Considering the controversy that's erupted, you can't really blame her.
By the way, we have repeatedly reached out to his former employer Vante for comment and have not yet received a reply.
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*(Author's note: No matter what you think of Adam Smith's position on same-sex marriage and his failed protest, I was pleased to see that he had gone back to the Chick-fil-A in an effort to check on Rachel. And I told him so.)