Mon, Aug 23, 2004 - Page 7 News List

US man loses job for heckling Bush during speech

EXPRESSION A graphic designer who attended a campaign rally and heckled the US president during his speech to supporters says he was only voicing his opinion

AP , CHARLESTON

A file photo showing US President George W. Bush speaking in the rose garden outside the White House in Washington, DC, Aug. 2, 2004.

PHOTO: EPA

A man who heckled President George W. Bush at a political rally was fired from his job at an advertising and design company for offending a client who provided tickets to the event.

The fired graphic designer said Saturday he won't try to get his job back.

"I'm mad less about losing the job -- I'm more mad about the reasons," said Glen Hiller, 35. "All I did was show up and voice my opinion."

Hiller was ushered out of Hedgesville High School on Tuesday after shouting his disagreement with Bush's comments about the war in Iraq war and the search for weapons of mass destruction.

The crowd had easily drowned out Hiller with its chant: "Four more years."

"He surrounds himself with people who support him," Hiller said of Bush. "Your opinion ... is viewed as right or wrong."

When he showed up for work at Octavo Designs of Frederick, Maryland, the following morning, he said he was told he'd embarrassed and offended a client who provided tickets to the event -- and that he was fired.

The client was a public relations worker who represents the Berkeley County school district, he said.

"It's just bizarre that you disagree with them and it all turns evil," Hiller said.

The father of two young girls had worked at the design firm for five months, doesn't plan to appeal the firing, and holds no grudge against his boss.

"To some degree I can see her point of view," Hiller said. "Advertising is all about having the perfect tan and driving a cool car. It's all about image."

Hiller said he now plans to pursue work as a registered nurse, a field in which he worked for 10 years before landing the design job.

Last month, Charleston City Council apologized to two protesters arrested for wearing anti-Bush T-shirts to the president's July 4 rally. The pair were taken from the event in restraints after revealing T-shirts with Bush's name crossed out on the front and the words "Love America, Hate Bush" on the back. Trespassing charges were ultimately dismissed.

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