I just heard the astonishing news that Mountain Xpress editors Jeff Fobes and Jon Elliston fired Cecil Bothwell just days after he was voted Asheville’s best local print reporter by the publication’s own readers.
There is still some confusion regarding the reasons behind Bothwell’s firing. Cecil said that he was told that his termination was precipitated by a campaign contribution he had made. However, Cecil has stated that he made the contribution only after clearing it with Fobes, who told him there was no problem with him doing so.
Later, Elliston denied the contribution was the cause of Bothwell’s termination, but hasn’t yet stated the real reason for the firing. I think Fobes and Elliston need to come clean and tell Mountain Xpress readers why they sacked Cecil Bothwell. I, for one, am very curious as to why they would intentionally compromise their own publication by firing Asheville’s favorite local reporter. And regardless of the reason, Fobes and Elliston should know that fewer of us will be reading their publication once Cecil is gone.
— David Lynch