Protester who hung effigy of Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear fired from job at car dealership

Sarah Ladd, Louisville Courier Journal

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The protester who hoisted an effigy of Gov. Andy Beshear from a tree at the Kentucky State Capitol has been fired from his job at an auto dealer.

Terry Bush, president of the Kentucky 3 Percenters group, was fired by Neil Huffman Auto Group on Tuesday, his wife Patsy Bush confirmed on Wednesday morning. 

The auto dealer had announced Tuesday evening that it had terminated an unnamed employee who was involved in the protest Sunday where the effigy was hanged, saying it did not "condone threats of violence in any form."

Terry Bush has not responded to a request for comment left with his wife.

Patsy Bush is the state secretary of the Kentucky 3 Percenters and was also present at the protest in Frankfort.

"He was fired because this governor is more important than the regular joe out in this state trying to put food on their tables," Patsy Bush said Wednesday morning.

Beshear on effigy: 'I will not be afraid. I will not be bullied. And I will not back down'

She said the effigy wasn't her group's idea and that her husband only helped when it came time to hang it. 

Ben Kennedy, an organizer behind the rally, did not return a Wednesday phone call from The Courier Journal. On Facebook, an account with the same name posted in a group dedicated to the rally that "As far as what happened at the rally I take full responsibility for everything." 

Beshear addressed the effigy hanging during his Tuesday press conference, calling for unity and criticizing the group of protesters who brought a demand that he resign to the door of the Governor's Mansion. He said they were chanting "on the other side of the glass from where I raise my kids" and that it was "an action intended to use fear to get their way." 

A man wearing a Three Percenters T-shirt helps hang an effigy of Gov. Andy Beshear at a Patriot Day/2nd Amdendment rally Sunday afternoon at the state capitol in Frankfort. About 125 people attended the rally to protest Gov. Andy Beshear as well as listen to speakers about protecting the 2nd Amendment. May 25, 2020

He called the group a "mob" that carried out "a celebration of assassination on our Capitol grounds." 

"I will not be afraid. I will not be bullied. And I will not back down," Beshear said.

Patsy Bush, who says her family has been threatened with violence, contends the firing was unjust. 

"Neil Huffman let outside influences cause a man who had never been late, always professional and had been an outstanding employee be fired for no good cause," she said. "They fired him for exercising his (First Amendment) right to free speech where no laws were broken, no one was terrorized, no one was threatened and Neil Huffman was never mentioned or involved in any way." 

Shannon Huffman, the auto dealer's human resources manager, said in a statement Tuesday night that the unnamed employee was fired following an internal investigation.  "The Neil Huffman Auto Group does not condone threats of violence in any form, whether they be a call to action or an implied threat," she wrote. "... There is no place for hate or intolerance at any of our dealerships." 

Patsy Bush told The Courier Journal on Wednesday morning that the whole thing isn't right and lashed out at Beshear. 

"When is his iron grip on this state going to end, how many more families is he going to devastate before the people realize how poisonous he really is?" Patsy asked. "I heard him yesterday, he has no intention of lifting his grip on this state, he absolutely loves the fact that he believes he is so big, listen to the way he states things and tell me he isn’t on some warped trip of power." 

Beshear officials did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday morning.

Contributing: Joe Sonka, Louisville Courier Journal. Follow Sarah Ladd on Twitter: @ladd_sarah. 

This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Kentucky governor hanged in effigy: Protester fired by dealership