Late last week, the Center OC pushed out its executive director, Kevin O'Grady, in a surprising move no one saw coming. O'Grady–formerly regional director for the Anti-Defamation League's Southern California chapter–had boldly pushed the Center to the Orange County mainstream since getting the job in 2012, taking on haters of the stupid (Westboro Baptist Church) and political (Newport Beach councilmember Scott Peotter, the idiot who says gays appropriated rainbows from God) kind, rallying for inclusion at the Tet Parade, opening a satellite branch in downtown SanTana, increasing the Center's budget and donor rolls, and forcing notoriously cisgendered OC to pay attention.
And despite all of this, O'Grady was axed.
He did not respond to a request for comment, but sources tell the Weekly some in the Center's board of directors bristled at O'Grady's pugnacious (in the best sense of the word) approach to the homo-haters in Orange County. Those folks would prefer an in-the-closet approach, something O'Grady never stood for. Those same sources describe his termination as a power struggle.
"It's a damn shame," said one Center insider, who requested anonymity. "Kevin was what we needed–and still need."
We'll see what's the official story, but O'Grady's end is a damn shame. As someone who's been covering hate groups in OC for nearly 15 years, he has always been one of the good guys, and it was awesome to see him grow the Center by leaps and bounds. We wish him well–and, as always, #fuckthehaters