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Monday, January 8, 2018

Media Note: Top Burlington Free Press Editor Fired After Controversial Tweets

Posted By on Mon, Jan 8, 2018 at 9:10 PM

  • Courtesy Steve Earley/The Virginian-Pilot
  • Denis Finley
Burlington Free Press editor Denis Finley was fired on Monday, three days after he posted a series of controversial tweets.

Executives at Gannett, the Free Press' parent company, made the move after meeting with Finley, who joined the paper in 2016.

"Upon review, it was determined that Finley had violated the company’s social media guidelines on a number of occasions," the Free Press wrote in a story posted on its website Monday evening.

Finley suggested in his Friday evening Twitter post that Vermont’s proposal to offer a third gender option on government identification “makes us one step closer to the apocalypse.”

The comment drew swift backlash. Several Free Press readers said they planned to cancel their subscriptions to the paper. Others noted a slew of Finley's older tweets that they found objectionable.

After his firing Monday, Finley told Seven Days that he began to worry about his future at the Free Press as the criticism poured in over the weekend.

“The reaction was overwhelming, I’ll tell you that," Finley said. "It was pretty amazing to me.”

Finley declined to comment on the Free Press' internal handling of the situation, or the details of the meeting in which he was fired, other than to say he "didn't know what to expect" going into it.

Emilie Stigliani, the paper's planning editor, has been named interim editor during the search for Finley's replacement.

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