The South Strikes Again: Security Guard Says He Was Fired for Black Wife

John Smelser, Knox Count Schools security officer. (KNOX COUNTY SCHOOLS)

John Smelser, Knox Count Schools security officer. (KNOX COUNTY SCHOOLS)

Recently we heard about a Mississippi couple evictedfrom their trailer home because they were an interracial couple. And now we have a Tennessee security guard claiming that he was fired because his racist supervisor discovered he has a black wife and “black” (that is, biracial children). John Smelser is fighting back with a lawsuit, according to

In April 2015, Smelser was charged with domestic assault, stemming from an incident at his home involving his stepdaughter’s boyfriend, the lawsuit notes, according to the Sentinel. Smelser was placed on paid leave pending the outcome of the case, and on May 18, 2015, charges were dropped.

However, when Smelser returned to work, he noticed that Paidousis “refused to speak” to him. The following day, Smelser received a letter dated May 15, 2015, from School Superintendent Jim McIntyre, saying, “It has been determined that your services are no longer needed.” A reason for termination was not given.

“Thereafter, the plaintiff was advised by several supervising officers employed by the defendants that Chief Paidousis had admitted to them that the reason [Smelser] was terminated was because he had a black wife and his children were black,” the lawsuit stated, according to the Sentinel. “[Smelser] alleges that he was terminated due to being married to an African-American and that he had ‘black’ children. The failure to provide a reason by the defendants for [Smelser’s] termination is a cover-up for blatant race discrimination.”

Looks like this guy Padiousis is a loose cannon and has made a lot of enemies of his employees, and Smelser is just one in a multitude of complaints about him–from sexual harassment to angry outbursts. Yet, the school board is pay him nearly $100,000 to be a bully.

June is on the horizon, where we celebrate Loving Day, the 52nd anniversary of Loving Vs. The State of Virginia and the overthrow of legalized discrimination against couples of different races. Yet, here we are in 2016, and The South continues to cling to it’s old, racist ways. Wonder if us well-heeled, upwardly mobile, educated with high disposable income mixed marriage folks did an organized boycott of those states when it comes to giving them our tourism dollars might force their hand against the persistent bigots, or nah?

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