Gone viral: Tampa Bay Lightning mascot ThunderBug performer fired, fans petition

Justin Jolley, an 18-year-old Apopka resident was outraged enough to start a Facebook page entitled, “Save Tampa Bay Lightning's ThunderBug's Job,” and it already has more than 1,300 likes.

There's also a petition by the same name and it has more than 400 signatures.

"We're keeping this internal," Lightning spokesman Bill Wickett commented. It was also said the incident played only a part in the firing.

In other news, it turns out the performer is a woman, Kelly Frank and she'd been with the team since 2009.

I've read that Frank was previously fired from her position as the Tampa Bay Rays' mascot Raymond at the end of the 2008 season, which is indeed curious.

It appears the overall opinion is divided — some feel ThunderBug’s actions completely crossed the line, while others chalk it up to it being part of the job (and the fan being a drunk, whiny douchebag).

As someone who has been attending hockey games for 10+ years, I’m gonna have to side with the Bug.

But let’s flash back to last May for a moment. The Lightning and Bruins faced off in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the Eastern Conference Finals series went to Game 7. There was plenty of normal animosity between the respective teams, but the Bruins took it a step further.

  • The Boston Sports List

Yeah. Those lovely posters likening us to mythical monsters were put up all around the city of Boston. Talk about crossing a line, eh? (Lightning fans immediately responded by flooding the Bruins' PR department until they took the signs down.)

So…do I really feel badly for a fan who got harmlessly silly string-ed? Not so much.

Who I really feel badly for is the woman now out of a job. I mean, it’s hockey. Our mascot isn’t a LadyBug for a reason…

Oh, and for the record, I was at that edge-of-your-seat game. The energy in the building was electric from start to finish. The Lightning won 5-3.

Shit went down last week (Jan. 17) at the Tampa Bay Times Forum when the Tampa Bay Lightning’s mascot, ThunderBug, sprayed Silly String on a Boston Bruins fan.

Video of the incident was uploaded onto YouTube and the story spread nationally. It wasn’t revealed until Jan. 24 that the performer was terminated. [Read more & check out the video after the jump.]

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