Smirnoff founded the publication in 1992 in Oxford, Mississippi. OA has survived numerous financial crises, and was moved to Little Rock in the late 1990s, and then the publication was put under the control of The Oxford American Literary Project nonprofit and moved to the University of Central Arkansas in in Conway in 2004.
OA publisher Warwick Sabin said Smirnoff and Fitzgerald were fired in unanimous votes by the publication's board. According to reporting by the Arkansas Times, Smirnoff said he was asked whether drinks were served at a function where under-age interns were present, and that he admitted to the charge. It's unclear whether that incident provoked the firings.
Sabin, a former columnist at the Times, will serve as interim editor. Smirnoff says he is planning to meet with an attorney to determine his course of action.