It was the worst mass shooting in American history. On Sunday morning, 50 people were killed and 53 wounded at The Pulse Nightclub in Orlando. Two of the victims were from Apopka. The vast majority of the community came together to give blood, pray, mourn and grieve together for the victims and the first responders of this horrific event.
However there was a dark side.
This past Sunday evening and again on Monday morning, Jim Turner had a different reaction. The longtime host of "My Home Town" on the local radio station, WBZW 1520 AM, posted these remarks on Facebook:
“Watch now as the news stations hang around at another homosexual hang out as if we're supposed to feel sorry for sexual deviancy.”
On Monday morning he posted this:
“50 homosexuals die hanging out at some sorry bar. As per the World Health Organization, 3000 babies are murdered every day. I'll make you a deal, I'll go along with an out right ban of assault rifles if it also includes an out right ban on abortions, abortion doctors and abortion clinics.”
By Tuesday community backlash had started.
Jim Meadows, the Founder of The AHA Players, denounced Turner’s remarks in this Facebook post:
“Jim Turner, host of "My Home Town" on the local radio station, WBZW 1520 AM, chose to post the following on Sunday, June 12, and Monday, June 13, on his FB page. It is because of Mr. Turner's "opinions" and "position" that the AHA Players, Apopka Community Theater while under my direction will never again participate on Mr. Turner's radio show. We do not wish to be associated with nor will we approve any promotion of our productions on WBZW as long this station supports a personality who holds such opinions.”
Bill Files, the General Manager of Salem Media Group in Orlando (that owns WBZW 1520 AM) immediately suspended Turner for his comments.
“This person (Turner) has been suspended and subject to review,” said Files. “He in no way speaks for the Salem Media Group. These were his own opinions posted on his personal Facebook page. We will not tolerate these type of comments.”
These were not the first controversial remarks Turner has made about national issues. On June 4th, he posted these two comments on his Facebook page in reference to Muhammad Ali:
"Cassius Clay FAILED to serve his country. Cassius Clay participated in a "sport", the purpose of which is to deliberately injure another person. There is no "greatness" in that no matter how anybody tries to stretch it!"
"What is "Greatness"? It is when you are called by your country to SERVE. It is when, in response to that call, you raise your right hand to answer that call! Making up some cowardly excuse to shirk that responsibility is simply that...cowardly! In the days ahead, always remember that!"
And on June 2nd, he posted this on his Facebook page in reference to Prince:
"So now the truth comes out. This "Prince" dies of a drug overdose. We're supposed to feel sorry about this? Do you want to feel sorry? I can take you to a section of our town right this very second where kids are standing on the streets with no future. There's drugs and crime there along with good people. That's something to feel sorry about!!!"
Turner was contacted by phone and was surprised by Meadow's comments.
"Anybody that knows me knows that I'm not bigoted. I don't hate anybody. As a Christian I cannot hate anybody. There's no prejudice in me."
Turner also confirmed that he deleted his personal Facebook page, and will issue a statement later in the day.