A Drexel University professor’s supposedly satirical tweet in support of white genocide sent waves through social media and jeopardized his career with the university.
Assistant Department of History and Politics Professor George Ciccariello-Maher spent Christmas Eve boldly tweeting, “All I want for Christmas is White Genocide.”
On Sunday, Maher followed up with a tweet regarding his controversial comment.
Soon after, conservative news websites like the Daily Caller and Breitbart picked up on the tweets that are no longer available for public viewing. Ciccariello-Maher’s Twitter account has since become private.
In an email with the Philadelphia Inquirer on Monday, the professor shed light on his comments, assuring that he is not in support of white supremacy. Instead, he ridiculed the idea.
“On Christmas Eve, I sent a satirical tweet about an imaginary concept, ‘white genocide,'” he said. “For those who haven’t bothered to do their research, ‘white genocide’ is an idea invented by white supremacists and used to denounce everything from interracial relationships to multicultural policies (and most recently, against a tweet by State Farm Insurance),” he said. “It is a figment of the racist imagination, it should be mocked, and I’m glad to have mocked it.”
Whether satirical or not, the university did not find his comment something to laugh about. Drexel released an official statement on Sunday, assuring that though it recognizes freedom of speech, the tweet doesn’t reflect university values.
“While the University recognizes the right of its faculty to freely express their thoughts and opinions in public debate, Professor Ciccariello-Maher’s comments are utterly reprehensible, deeply disturbing, and do not in any way reflect the values of the University,” the university said.
“The university is taking this situation very seriously. We contacted Ciccariello-Maher today to arrange a meeting to discuss this matter in detail.”
Ciccariello-Maher further told the Inquirer that the university’s response was worrisome.
“What is most unfortunate is that this statement amounts to caving to the truly reprehensible movements and organizations that I was critiquing,” he said. “On the university level, moreover, this statement—despite a tepid defense of free speech—sends a chilling message and sets a frightening precedent. It exposes untenured and temporary faculty not only to internal disciplinary scrutiny, but equally importantly, it encourages harassment as an effective means to impact university policies.”
As of now, a meeting has been arranged for Ciccariello-Maher and university officials to discuss the matter in more depth.
H/T Philadelphia Inquirer