A professor at Charleston Southern University is claiming he was fired over his moustached likeness adorning a Holy City beer can.
Paul Roof, founder of the Holy City Beard & Moustache Society, says in a Facebook post Tuesday that he was let go from his position as an associate professor of sociology at the Christian liberal arts college in North Charleston.
On the label of Holy City's Chucktown Follicle Brown, Roof sports a curling, coiffured beard and white cowboy hat.
A CSU official said the school would not comment on personnel matters.
Attempts to contact Roof via social media were not immediately successful.
However, Chris Brown, an owner of the North Charleston brewery, said that he was shocked by the news. He didn't want to comment on the firing directly but said that he had come into contact with Roof some three years ago and that Holy City supported the Moustache Society and its charitable efforts.
The society, which lists Roof as its Commodore and held a beard and moustache competition last weekend, raises money for Lowcountry Women with Wings, Brown said, The society delivered a $6,000 check last week, he said, to the group dedicated to fighting ovarian cancer.
The image of Roof that allegedly sparked his dismissal was shot by Las Vegas-based photographer Greg Anderson at the 2013 Beard and Moustache National Championships and was part of a series of portraits from the New Orleans event.
Phil Olsen, a Lake Tahoe lawyer and organizer of the championships, said Roof was participating in the freestyle portion of the event. "In some ways, it's the same as wearing a Halloween costume," Olsen said. "It's not what Paul normally looks like."
Olsen said he first met Roof some eight years ago, when Roof was trying to organize the Holy City Beard & Moustache Society. Chucktown Follicle Brown was first brewed for the 2013 Southeastern Beer and Moustache Competition held in Charleston, Brown said. When it came time to bottling it, Holy City asked Roof if they could use his likeness.
"I talked to Paul and said, 'Hey, man, this is what we want to do.' And he said, 'All right, let's do it," said Brown.
According to Roof's Facebook post, the image has also been used at Dig South and the Young Life worship services. "As a sociologist who studies popular culture & symbolic interaction the diverse areas where the image appears makes it a great educational tool," Roof wrote.
"I'm outraged," Olsen said. "I hope they reconsider and hire him back. I think he's an asset to the community"
Josh Black, in comments on Roof's page, was sorry to hear of the alleged firing.
"You were a positive role model that showed passion and charity while being a beer icon in a college town," wrote the poster. "That kind of representation should be rewarded."
Reach Matt Sartwell at 937-5590.
Previous versions of this story had an incorrect first name for Chris Brown.