Toronto Maple Leafs fire coach alleged to support anti-vax and extreme far right views
Just two days after announcing that they'd hired goaltending coach Dusty Imoo for their AHL affiliate, the Toronto Maple Leafs have effectively canned the 51-year-old former pro hockey player over his social media activity.
"Dusty Imoo will not be joining the Toronto Marlies," said Toronto Maple Leafs Brendan Shanahan in a statement issued Tuesday evening as controversy over Imoo's hiring swirled.
"We made a mistake by not thoroughly following our organizational protocols when considering this candidate for the position of goaltending coach for the Toronto Marlies."
Of particular concern to fans were a series of likes made from Imoo's personal Twitter account, which has now been set to private.
Screenshots of the B.C. native's account before it was locked down show that he had clicked the heart button on a number of tweets containing transphobic, anti-Black, pro-Trump and anti-vaxxer sentiments.
And it wasn't just a few tweets, but many over a long period of time, including several in support of the U.S. Capitol Hill riots and various far-right conspiracy theories.
While some fans were initially pleased on Sunday to learn that Imoo would be joining the Leafs organization, based on how well he performed for the L.A. Kings and his work with renowned goaltender Jack Campbell, it wasn't long before backlash began.
They got to Dusty Imoo's Wikipedia page right quick. pic.twitter.com/Nnnkh6Lrnb— Mike Beauvais (@MikeBeauvais) August 10, 2021
"When the Marlies announced Dusty Imoo I was excited, my only knowledge of him was that he helped reform a broken Jack Campbell," wrote one on Sunday.
"That excitement was quickly turned to disgust the moment I checked his Twitter likes. This man should not be employed by MLSE. Disgusted and disappointed."
In addition to his public endorsement of anti vax conspiracies, he’s also deranged in other ways. https://t.co/U0YrN30jEH— Arjun (@_marlanderthews) August 8, 2021
"I can keep repeating this until I'm blue in the face but actually yes Dusty Imoo's social media likes should preclude him from certain positions considering I know someone who was fired from a $35K/yr sales job for posting vaguely pro-Palestine stuff on a private Twitter account," wrote another fan.
On paper, the Dusty Imoo hiring is a great move for an organization desperately searching for a diamond in the rough in their goaltending system.— Spence (@FreeNylander) August 8, 2021
However! I am very shocked to see the Leafs stray from their image as a progressive organization. Not the first move to show this..
Now that the Leafs have backtracked on the hire, some fans are praising the organization for listening to public opinion.
"I am going to say this and only this. The Toronto Marlies made a bad error in judgement with Dusty Imoo. They have rectified that error and apologised," wrote one on Twitter. "Certain NHL clubs refuse to take similar action. That is all."
In the space of 24 hours, Leafs Twitter made Dusty Imoo deactivate his account and Raptors Twitter made Goran Dragic apologize. Don’t mess with Toronto sports fans.— Sports Fan (@PatCSportsFan) August 10, 2021
While some are defending Imoo as a "victim" of cancel culture, many more have noted that Imoo's posts were public and there for all to see.
"It's important to remember that Dusty Imoo did this to himself. If he didn't have a Twitter account, he would be employed by the Marlies right now," tweeted sports journalist Mike Stephens.
"But he had to go around liking heinous shit and publicly outing himself as a bigot. This isn't 'cancel culture'. This is consequences."
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