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OFF BEAT: Man's award-winning beard on a beer can fails to win over employer

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Paul Roof Chucktown Follicle Brown
Photo by AP Photo Tourists Elaine Oliveira, Zuleika Riveron and Daniele Alfonso pose with contestants Paul Roof of Charleston, South Carolina and Derek Nehrbass of New Orleans during a parade through the French Quarter kicking off the fourth annual Just For Men National Beard and Moustache Championships Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013 in New Orleans.

A college teacher's impressive beard has apparently proved to be his downfall, at least insofar as his employment is concerned.

Paul Roof won second place in the Full Beard Freestyle division of the third Mid-Atlantic Beard and 'Stache Championships in Richmond, Virginia, about a year ago, according to news reports.

However, the college where he worked as associate professor of sociology, Charleston Southern University in Charleston, South Carolina, was evidently less than thrilled when his image also appeared on a beer can.

The college was not moved by the fact that the beer, called Chucktown Follicle Brown, which is produced by North Charleston, South Carolina-based Holy City Brewing Co., was created to raise money for ovarian cancer research and support.

Mr. Roof, whose photo was taken by a professional photographer at a competition, did not find out he would be on the beer can until the cans were already in production, and he has received no payment for the use of his image.

According to the reports, Mr. Roof was summoned by email to a meeting with his dean over the issue, and afterward thought all was well. But two days later, he was called into a vice president's office and fired.

“I was told that it was not representative of a Christian environment,” he said of his beer can appearance. “And for me, a Christian environment entails two things: Looking out for other people and forgiveness of others who've transgressed you.”

According to the reports, Holy City Brewing has issued a statement on its Facebook page stating it was “shocked and disappointed” to learn of Mr. Roof's dismissal. “We are honored that he let us put his image on our can!” it states.

Mr. Roof has said he plans to consult an attorney to consider his next steps. No mention, though, of those plans also including a clean shave.

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