Walt Baker was fired Monday afternoon by both the Tennessee Hospitality Association and the Greater Nashville Hospitality Association — and will split with longtime business partner Phil Martin — days after he created a political firestorm by forwarding an e-mail that compared first lady Michelle Obama to a chimpanzee.
Both groups’ executive committees were unanimous in their decisions to terminate their contracts with Baker and Mercatus Communications, the marketing and communications firm he launched with Martin in May 1995. Baker had served as the CEO of the associations, managing them and championing industry interests such as the recently approved Music City Center convention hall.
Executive committee members said Baker’s behavior misrepresented the nature of hospitality and the associations’ desire to promote diversity.
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