Navy Walks Back Termination of LGBTQ Speaker Who Criticized Trump on Twitter

The United States Navy has walked back its decision to fire human rights activist Melanie Nathan from a Pride Month speaking event, according to Nathan’s attorney. The reason for the firing was reportedly because Nathan trashed President Donald Trump on Twitter.

Celebrity attorney Lisa Bloom announced in a press release Tuesday afternoon that the Navy has agreed to pay Nathan “the full amount she had been promised for the speaking engagement.” It also sent Nathan a letter expressing “sincere[] regrets” for “any inconvenience.”

Bloom accused the Navy of violating Bloom’s First Amendment rights.

In a statement, Bloom said:

It is well settled constitutional law that Americans have the right to criticize our government . . . Ms. Nathan is a shining example of the courage it takes to oppose the U.S. government’s growing authoritarianism, and I hope she inspires others to stand up for their rights.

Nathan, through Bloom, reminded the Navy in a June 22, 2018 letter that a federal judge had recently declared that President Trump “violated the First Amendment for blocking citizens on Twitter who were critical of him.” The judge’s ruling said that “when the government . . . actively restricts ‘the right of an individual to speak freely [and] to advocate ideas,’ it treads into territory proscribed by the First Amendment.”

Bloom said that Nathan is not required to keep the settlement confidential.

In announcing the settlement, Nathan took another swipe at the president:

After seeing Donald J. Trump, in his capacity as President of the United States, so shamefully capitulate American interests on the international stage in Helsinki, I am more resolved than ever to assert my First Amendment rights and to fight any attempt to silence me.

A sampling of Nathan’s tweets uncovered the following:

[Image via MSNBC screengrab]

Aaron Keller is an attorney licensed in two states. He holds a juris doctor degree from the University of New Hampshire School of Law and a broadcast journalism degree from Syracuse University. During law school, he completed legal residencies in the Office of the New Hampshire Attorney General and in a local prosecutor’s office. He was employed as a summer associate in the New Hampshire Department of Safety, which manages the state police, and further served as a summer law clerk for a New York trial judge. Before law school, Keller worked for television stations in New York and in the Midwest, mostly as an evening news anchor and investigative reporter. His original reporting on the Wisconsin murder of Teresa Halbach was years later featured in the Netflix film "Making A Murderer."

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