Founder of USWeb quits over UFO views

USWeb founder Joe Firmage resigned last Friday, saying that he believed continued publicity over his belief in UFOs would damage the company's reputation, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

"In a move of extreme maturity, Joe came to me and said his primary concern is what's best for USWeb/CKS. Given the market exposure associated with his outside interests, Joe suggested we would all be better served if he no longer had an official role with the company," Robert Shaw, CEO of USWeb/CKS said in a statement.

Firmage, 28, founded the US-based Internet consulting firm, which merged with CKS last month to become a $US2.1 billion company. He was quoted as saying that he wanted "to ensure the company is not impacted in any negative way". Firmage was pressured to step down as CEO in November, shortly before the merger, and take the title of chief strategist, due to his belief in extraterrestrial beings.

Firmage has said he is willing to put his own career on the line to publicise his theories, which include the belief that many of today's high tech discoveries are actually products of the Government using reverse engineering on materials discovered at the site of a supposed UFO crash in Roswell, New Mexico in 1947.

Firmage has published a 600-page manifesto, "The Truth", on his Web site, http://www.thewordistruth.org. In one of the chapters on the site titled "My Contact", Firmage recalls an incident one morning in 1997 at his California home, during a "nine-minute snooze" after he had spent a long night preparing for USWeb's initial stock offering.

"As I snoozed, something amazing happened. A remarkable being, clothed in brilliant white light, appeared hovering over my bed in my room. He had dark hair and a beard, I believe. He looked rather annoyed, and asked 'Why have you called me here?'

"I answered without a moment's pause: 'I want to travel in space.' This was always my lifelong dream, and it naturally came out in a state of semi-waking thought. He chuckled sceptically, paused, and asked 'Why should you be granted such an opportunity?'

"I responded without hesitation, in the only way I could have responded given my life to that time: 'Because I'm willing to die for it!'"As opposed to many people who try to benefit financially from their belief in UFOs, Firmage has spent more than $3 million on Project Kairos, his Web site, as well as on ads in Rolling Stone, the Wall Street Journal and other print and online publications to publicise his book.

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