Tweets about Obama cost MN man his job

Updated: June 3, 1:54 p.m. | Posted: June 2, 2:00 p.m.

A Minnesota man under investigation for violent tweets he addressed to President Barack Obama says he's been fired from his job over the controversy.

Obama posted his first official tweet last month, which elicited a number of racist and sometimes violent responses.

Jeff Gullickson of Plymouth was among the most vitriolic of the tweeters when he wrote, "hope to see you hang soon you treasonous fraud." He followed that up with an image of Obama with a noose around his neck and the caption, "we need 'ROPE FOR CHANGE' we still hang for treason don't we?"

Those tweets were mentioned in a story by the New York Times and gained the attention of the U.S. Secret Service, who confirmed last month that Gullickson's statements were being investigated.

Gullickson said then that he didn't intend to threaten the president and that the tweets weren't meant to be racist.

"My only regret is being called racist when my opinion of the president has more to do with [Obama] being a communist as opposed to being black," he wrote to MPR News.

In an email on Tuesday, Gullickson said he'd been fired from his job at a used car lot. A manager at that sales lot declined comment and referred questions to Lexus of Wayzata.

Lexus of Wayzata General Manager Robert Katz responded after publication to say that Gullickson was not an employee of Lexus of Wayzata but of the Auto Center Bargain Lot, which is located nearby and also owned by Lexus of Wayzata's parent company Village Automotive Group. The human resources director for Village Automotive Group said in an email after publication that Gullickson was not fired due to the tweets. Company representatives declined to say why he'd been fired.

Gullickson declined further comment on the incident because he said he's considering legal action.

Minneapolis employment lawyer John Klassen said it's very unlikely that Gullickson will receive legal compensation for his termination in this case.

"I would certainly think that it's within the rights of the dealership to fire an employee who posts racist tweets about our president, or racist tweets about anybody," Klassen said. "That's just the kind of conduct that the law is not going to protect as some sort of First Amendment right."

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