Trouble at a recent library event featuring Kirk Cameron and other celebrities caused the director of the library to lose his job.
Last month, Cameron, "Duck Dynasty" star Missy Robertson, and women's sports advocate Riley Gaines joined forces for a children's story time event at Hendersonville Library, about 20 miles northeast of downtown Nashville, Tennessee. Cameron, Robertson, and professional female surfer Bethany Hamilton have each written children's books published by patriotic and God-centered publishing company Brave Books, which sponsored the event. Gaines, a former elite college swimmer, attended the event on behalf of Hamilton, who had a scheduling conflict.
In the days and weeks leading up to the event, some library staff were thrilled about the community response. In fact, the person in charge of the library claimed it was the biggest response the library had ever gotten about a public event like that, Missy Robertson, the wife of Jase Robertson, said on a recent episode of BlazeTV's "Unashamed with Phil & Jase Robertson."
Though Robertson did not mention anyone by name in that moment, she may have been referring to Allan Morales, who was the director of Hendersonville Library at the time. Whomever she meant, Robertson implied that the man, who was at first so enthusiastic about the event, quickly soured on it after he learned more about Cameron's recent work.
"He started a campaign in the community to shut [the event] down without officially canceling it because then he knew that it wouldn't be good for their library," Robertson said, presumably referring to Morales.
Despite possible efforts to sabotage the event and some unfavorable weather, hundreds of people from around the area arrived at the library for the big day. But even as library visitors waited outside in the cold rain for doors to open, some library staff were already trying to disrupt the proceedings. Robertson alleged that while she and the others were trying to film some promotional videos, some library employees began banging books, kicking cabinets, and blaring music to prevent the team from recording the footage they needed. Cameron also accused Morales of speaking loudly at that time as well.
In a Facebook post about the event, Cameron made a veiled reference to the uncooperative behavior reportedly exhibited by library staff that day. "Despite the rain and the unkind pushback (from one disgruntled librarian), an OVERFLOW crowd of families, mayors, county commissioners, and celebs welcomed and joined us at the library in Hendersonville, TN. for singing the National Anthem, Pledge of Allegiance to the flag, praying and teaching faith in God and moral values to our kids," Cameron wrote.
Though the event appeared to be a success, many in the community were not willing to overlook the treatment that Cameron, Robertson, and Gaines received that day. On Wednesday, the Sumner County Library Board voted 4-3 to remove Morales as library director.
Morales' sister, Marilyn Kleist, slammed the decision. "To terminate him so publicly. That was not right. That's not right, that I know for sure," she said.
"That is shocking, and it's sad, and it has literally divided a community," Kleist continued. "It has, you know, branded the library team in ways that only told one side of the story."
Kleist said she was disappointed that none of the celebrities from the event attended the library board meeting that day. "I was hoping that they would also be held accountable," Kleist stated. "And that would be brought to light, but it wasn't. And today Allan did not get an opportunity to speak. He was asked to show up at the hearing and was pretty much invisible."
Morales did make a comment after the board had voted to oust him. "I just have chosen not to say anything," Morales said. "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."
Gaines, who lives in the Nashville area, seemed heartbroken about the way everything unfolded. "It’s not an accurate representation of Hendersonville, Gallatin, or Sumner County," insisted Gaines, noted for her vocal opposition to male swimmer Lia Thomas competing as a woman. "I hate that it resulted in termination. I don’t know if it was politically driven. There were bomb threats (reported), a lot of things going on (leading up to the event). I don’t know if it is an accurate representation of [Morales]."
There are allegations that someone emailed a bomb threat against the library or some of its staff because of the hostility shown toward the presenters. That threat remains under investigation, according to WTVF.
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