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SAVE Executive Director Fired After Welcoming Men Accused of Attack On Gay Couple

Steve Rothaus
SAVE Executive Director Tony Lima, right, at the annual White House LGBT Pride reception with Florida state Rep. David Richardson, D-Miami .

Tony Lima, the executive director  of SAVE, one of Miami's oldest LGBTQ rights group, was fired Monday night. 

Lima, who led the organization for six years, sparked controversy in Miami's LGBTQ community after he recognized at SAVE's gala last month four men who were accused of violently attacking a gay couple on Miami Beach last year. 

Read More:
SAVE Executive Director Defends Men Accused of Beating Up Gay Couple

All four men are awaiting trial on hate crime charges.

"“The SAVE Board of Directors has made the unanimous decision to terminate Tony Lima’s employment as executive director of the organization following the events that transpired around this year’s Champions of Equality Gala and thereafter," said the board in a statement, "We deeply regret the damage this has caused the LGBTQ+ community in South Florida, particularly during a time when the country was reflecting on the riots at Stonewall as well as the many other hardships and abuses that our community continues to endure."

In a video posted on Facebook before his firing, Lima apologized for having the men stand up to be recognized at the gala. He said they had been volunteering with SAVE to rehabilitate themselves and to give back to a community they harmed. 

Lima said  SAVE's board was not  involved with having the men recognized at the gala. 

In their statement announcing Lima's firing, the board wrote, "These actions have been incredibly upsetting to the community and most of all, hurtful to the victims of this terrible crime. We deeply apologize for the pain that has been reignited."

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