November 8th, 2010
04:00 PM ET

Update: Shirvell fired after targeting openly gay student leader

Editor's note: Tonight on AC360°, Deborah Gordon, attorney for college student Chris Armstrong, speaks with CNN's Anderson Cooper. Tune in beginning at 10 pm ET.

CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) - An assistant attorney general in Michigan has been fired, weeks after coming under fire for targeting an openly gay University of Michigan student online and in person, Attorney General Mike Cox said Monday.

Andrew Shirvell "repeatedly violated office policies, engaged in borderline stalking behavior and inappropriately used state resources," Cox said.

Shirvell's lawyer, Philip J. Thomas, acknowledged his client's termination but did not add anything further. Deborah Bond, the attorney for university student body president, Chris Armstrong, said she and her client "had no comment."

In late September, Cox defended Shirvell's authoring of a blog titled "Chris Armstrong Watch" that railed against the "radical homosexual agenda" of Armstrong.

"Here in America, we have this thing called the First Amendment, which allows people to express what they think and engage in political and social speech," Cox told Anderson Cooper on CNN's "AC 360." "He's clearly a bully ... but is that protected under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution? Yes."

Shirvell's dismissal stemmed from actions "unbecoming a state employee" that went beyond the blog, Cox said in Monday's announcement.

Cox said he wasn't firing Shirvell for "exercising ... First Amendment rights, (however) unpopular (the) positions might be," but for persistent and personal harassment.

Full story

Updated: 6:17 pm

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow
soundoff (94 Responses)
  1. Jared

    while it was good shirvell was fired for his idiocy. I don't think it is good for the image of others to pile on and demand for his disbarment.

    The quotes from the wall street journal are out of context like usual and having James Carville comment on this Rand Paul issue is like having Jesse Jackson comment at a KKK rally.

    November 9, 2010 at 1:28 am |
  2. Dorothy

    It's long over due! I live in Michigan and could not believe this man was allowed to get away with this. Attorney General Mike Cox didn't seem to care!

    November 9, 2010 at 12:52 am |
  3. PATTI

    Anderson, I was glad to see you hold your ground with this guy.... it doesn't matter if you are for or against the gay agenda, this guy
    had no compassion, care, or heart for his fellow-man... I believe you road a few waves with the guy and just the stark contrast between your integrity and his raw demeaning, was startling!
    I had this ominous sense that this man is on the edge; I pray we don't hear of another crime, due to his explosive hatred...

    November 8, 2010 at 10:48 pm |
  4. Elizabeth

    If you see the Daily Show interview with this guy, you can see just how crazy he really is

    November 8, 2010 at 9:47 pm |
  5. tstorm

    I've only one question... Why did it take so long to fire this extremely disturbed public figure? And secondly, can he be charged with anything?

    November 8, 2010 at 9:35 pm |
  6. Bob

    What took so long for this to happen? Firing this person should have been a no-brainer. The AG should also be subject to appropriate disciplinary action for not acting on this until all the publicity happened.

    November 8, 2010 at 9:32 pm |
  7. Teresa Harris

    It's about time Shirvell was fired. The definition of a bigot, as quoted by Anderson, seems to fit Shirvell and his actions.

    November 8, 2010 at 9:28 pm |
  8. Edward Nashville, TN

    This Shirvell guy appears to have some mental issues and should have been fired long ago. His boss Mr. Cox in my opinion has acted like a spineless politician.

    November 8, 2010 at 9:22 pm |
  9. Teresa Harris

    It's about time Shirvell was fired. Anderson pegged him correctly for being a bigot.

    November 8, 2010 at 9:19 pm |
  10. Henry Miller

    "He's clearly a bully ... but is that protected under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution? Yes?"

    The Fist Amendment says, "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech..." It says nothing at all about protecting people from the consequences of what they say. As Justice Holmes put it, "The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man falsely shouting fire in a theatre..."

    Words can hurt; words can cause damage, and nothing in law or equity protects people from the consequences of the harm caused by their words. Words can kill–it's not even uncommon to read of yet another kid being cyber-bullied into suicide.

    November 8, 2010 at 9:17 pm |
  11. Sennen

    What took them so long? This man is obviously not quite sane, and certainly should not be representing anyone in a court of law.

    November 8, 2010 at 9:09 pm |
  12. Mitch

    Wonderful and good riddance, I hope Chris Armstrong files a civil suit against him and he is disbarred.

    November 8, 2010 at 9:01 pm |
  13. Susan Smith

    And last week this guy was in one of the segments on Jon Stewarts show – he seemed a bit excessive with his dislike for Mr. Armstrong, at first I thought he was just some guy, but after they said what he did for a living it was a bit scary – I mean, someone with the power of that office could ruin a young mans life. I am glad they fired him, I just hope he doesn't take it out on Mr. Armstrong.

    November 8, 2010 at 8:57 pm |
  14. Sam

    Thou doest protest too much Mr. Shirvell....

    November 8, 2010 at 8:56 pm |
  15. Steven

    Ok... good first step. But as a bully, he has commented a crime and he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. People need to understand that this sort of behavior is NOT acceptable.

    November 8, 2010 at 8:40 pm |
  16. Kathleen

    How wonderful that this Attorney General was finally able to correctly identify harassment. Next thing we know he'll be able to identify blatant crimes in under two weeks.

    November 8, 2010 at 8:33 pm |
  17. Lise

    This was a really weird story (I mean the blogging about the gay student leader). I wonder why it took so long to fire him for the stalking weirdness??

    November 8, 2010 at 8:28 pm |
  18. Kay Smith

    The timing of the firing may be suspect. Week after an election? Seriously? Couldn't figure this out before now. Shirvell should be under arrest!

    November 8, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  19. Bryan Campbell

    About time he was fired. Freedom of speech isn't intended to protect intolerant lunatics who foster hate and discrimination. The sad thing is that this guy will think he was wronged and it will only further entrench his warped perspective. He should have received counselling. I suspect its only a matter of time before Cox ends up out of his job too.

    November 8, 2010 at 7:59 pm |
  20. James

    It's about damn time. No state official should be protected for illegal behavior

    November 8, 2010 at 7:30 pm |
  21. Philip

    Good for Mr. Cox!

    November 8, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
  22. Gretchen

    Good! I'm glad he was fired. Stalking is ILLEGAL; a kindergartner could have told him that.

    November 8, 2010 at 7:11 pm |
  23. James

    Way to credit Colbert for breaking this 2 weeks ago.

    November 8, 2010 at 7:05 pm |
  24. mike Morgan

    I sincerely hope that Shirvell seeks counseling for his apparent emotional problems. I watched the interview several times and even went to his site to draw my own conclusions. I found this man's obsession with the student clearly beyond the limits of free speech. Thanks, Anderson, for confronting this person and exposing this offensive behavior.

    November 8, 2010 at 6:51 pm |
  25. Michael

    This firing is much appreciated and was long overdue. Two more important questions (more important, that is, than the fate of this neanderthal): 1) How did this guy manage to get hired in the first place? He has the maturity of about a 12-year-old boy. 2) How did he manage to get into and graduate from law school? Ave Maria Law School must be right proud of him these last couple of months.

    November 8, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
  26. Cheryl

    Good. This guy deserved to be fired. You can't be an asst AG and target students.

    November 8, 2010 at 6:44 pm |
  27. Jimmy Mcgowan

    Attorney General Mike Cox comes up somewhat tardy in dismissing Andrew Shirvell, a member of his staff and an advocate, for actions "unbecoming a state employee". His legalese double-talk under the guise of jurisprudence, in protecting Shirvell, "clearly a bully", "for exercising First Amendment rights", is preposterous, shameless and "somewhat dishonest", but unmitigated gall and disgraceful, it clearly is.

    November 8, 2010 at 6:40 pm |
  28. Joe

    To all of those who will argue that Shirvell shouldn't have been fired because he was only practicing his First Amendment rights... Please remember that the First Amendment does not guarantee that you can't get fired from your job.

    November 8, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
  29. Nick

    Anybody else get the feeling he was waiting for this to happen??? Lawsuit, severence, or maybe just to have more time to stalk that kid. Who knows but it seems like he's been begging to be fired for a while now.

    November 8, 2010 at 6:33 pm |
  30. Joe Blow

    Glad to see him go.

    November 8, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  31. K Buchs

    Good that joker has no right doing what he did. I don't care what the reason was, he stalked that young man and his family.

    November 8, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  32. Tinga

    first amendment grants your the right to say what you want. It does not protect you against people's opinions. Hope he goes down in flames.

    November 8, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  33. edwin

    As I understand it, his blog showed an obsession about this student - very creepy if you ask me.

    November 8, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  34. Mark

    Finally, justice is done. This behaviour was inappropriate for an office of the court and far beyond any concept of first amendment rights from the beginning.

    November 8, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  35. Jeff

    He was only fired after being featured on the Daily Show last week.

    November 8, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
  36. Thorne

    Mr. Cox made the right decision. I'm a huge fan of the First Amendment and a Pro-Gay Rights supporter. Shirvell's behavior clearly went beyond the bounds of the First Amendment and into criminal harassment. There is a line and Shirvell crossed it. I am pleased to see that Shirvell will have to learn that actions have consequences.

    November 8, 2010 at 6:06 pm |
  37. Linda B

    Thank God he was fired. Blatant stalking, harrassment, and clearly, a bigot and a hater.
    Good riddance! Can Cox be next out the door, please!?

    November 8, 2010 at 6:05 pm |
  38. Malcolm in St Louis

    The first amendment stops the government from prohibiting free speech.

    Your working conditions may stop you as a condition of employment.

    November 8, 2010 at 5:53 pm |
  39. Kevin

    I've watched several tv interviews with this Shirvell and he appears unbalanced – awkward, tongue-tied, talks in circles, about the maturity level of a 10 year old – I think he was dropped on his head as a infant (my apologies to 10 year olds and people dropped on their heads as infants)

    November 8, 2010 at 5:53 pm |
  40. Lee Oates

    It's a positive step that Andrew Shirvell has been fired for abusing his office, but it should be followed up with charges of stalking and harrassment. He should be barred from practicing law, fined, and at least 6 months in jail.

    November 8, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
  41. Al

    About time!!!

    November 8, 2010 at 5:49 pm |
  42. Gabriel

    A completely appropriate response to a completely inappropriate behavior. It took too long, but it is definitely the right decision.

    November 8, 2010 at 5:47 pm |
  43. Tim

    Shirvell is gone! Way to go Anderson, I listened to his interview with you and he a a total troll!
    You are my new hero! I dislike that type of bigoted gay bashing by anyone.

    November 8, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
  44. Brian

    This went on too long and he should not been allowed to stay employed with in the AG's office with tax-payers money.

    November 8, 2010 at 5:41 pm |
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