MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - There's more controversy for one member of the infamous West Memphis Three. FedEx pulled its sponsorship after learning Damien Echols was scheduled to speak at a Memphis business conference.
But, that didn’t stop the former death row inmate from taking the stage to recount the tale of a technological time warp.
Everywhereelse.co was supposed to be a good thing, generating a positive vibe for the city and for entrepreneurs struggling to get their start-ups off the ground. But when FedEx pulled out, the good stuff was overshadowed.
“It put me in a frenzy,” said Kyle Chandler, co-founder of Everywhereelse.co, “but there are no hard feelings.”
When the business conference announced Damien Echols of West Memphis Three infamy would take part in a fireside chat, FedEx pulled its sponsorship.
“They told me they didn’t want to associate their name and brand with somebody so polarizing in the community.” Chandler told abc24.com.
That left Chandler scrambling for sponsors. He found one in a start-up called Xtrant, which bore Echols no ill will.
“It was an interesting thought,” said Xtrant founder James Sposto, “that he’s like a time traveler coming from twenty years in the past.”
That is exactly how Echols came across, describing his introduction to technology after nearly twenty years on death row.
“I had never seen a cell phone,” said Echols, “computers I still really haven’t learned. It was almost like seeing a completely different species.”
To those, like FedEx, who took exception to Echols appearance, Chandler said: “The conference never vacated the idea of entrepreneurship, or innovation or technology. That was always the theme of Echols appearance.”
While some enjoyed Echols appearance, others said they didn’t really get the connection.
As for Echols and technology, he’s now getting into Twitter and likens it to writing haiku.