Axios parted ways with Tampa-based reporter Ben Montgomery this week after a staffer in Florida’s Education Department shared an email that Montgomery sent in response to a missive from the department’s press office.
On Monday, the press office sent out an email headed, “In Case You Missed It,” followed by a message from the office of Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) about a roundtable discussion the governor held on “Exposing the Diversity Equity and Inclusion Scam in Higher Education.”
“This is propaganda, not a press release,” Montgomery replied.
DeSantis, widely expected to launch a presidential campaign, has waged a noisy war against “wokeness” which has even some fellow conservatives worrying whether he is abusing his governmental powers. Among his targets are schools and institutions of higher education; DeSantis claims they push “woke” ideology onto students inappropriately.
Alex Lanfranconi, the Education Department’s communications director, posted a screenshot of the email exchange to his personal Twitter account Monday, tagging both the reporter and his employer.
Axios confirmed to HuffPost that Montgomery is no longer with the company but declined to comment on the reason. Montgomery did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Montgomery addressed the incident publicly by retweeting a Vanity Fair reporter who said he’d been fired Monday over the email.
“Some personal news: I made crepes this morning for the first time in years,” he wrote Wednesday. “They were delicious.”
He had been in charge of putting out Axios’ Tampa Bay newsletter, one of around two dozen local news publications the purveyor of “smart brevity” started rolling out in 2021. Before that, Montgomery worked for the Tampa Bay Times.