Two petitions to fire University of North Carolina Wilmington professor Mike Adams for his inflammatory comments over the years about women and minorities have collected a total of 73,000 signatures as of Monday afternoon.
One of the petitions says Adams’ Twitter account “contains threats towards minorities.” The other urges signatories to not financially support or apply to the university.
As calls to fire him gained momentum especially after George Floyd’s death, Adams tweeted: “When you write the university asking them to fire me don’t forget to leave a mailing address so I can send you a box of panty liners.”
In a statement that didn’t name Adams, the university said it is aware of comments made by a “faculty member” and is “reviewing all options” of how to deal with the situation. One publication wondered if the university is approaching cautiously because it had to pay Adams $710,000 in legal fees for a civil suit he filed claiming the institution discriminated against him — because of his views — when it didn’t promote him.
On May 29, Adams tweeted this about North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper COVID-19-related closures: “This evening I ate pizza and drank beer with six guys at a six seat table top. I almost felt like a free man who was not living in the slave state of North Carolina. Massa Cooper, let my people go!”
Adams told WCET he wasn’t referring to race when he used the words “Massa Cooper.” Rather, he said, he was talking about Cooper’s “oppression.”
In another recent tweet, Adams said, “Don’t shut down the universities. Shut down the non essential majors. Like Women’s Studies.” In 2016, a petition, which said that Adams should be fired for his “history of spewing misogynistic, xenophobic, transphobic, homophobic, racist rhetoric,” circulated after he ridiculed a Muslim’s student’s religion and sexual orientation.
In its statement, the university said it is committed to the right to free speech under the First Amendment but that doesn’t mean it condones such comments.
“… please know that the university’s constitutional obligations and support of free expression do not lessen our disgust when those viewpoints offend or otherwise upset those who read these comments,” the statement said. “These comments may be protected, but that is not an excuse for how vile they are. We stand firmly against these and all other expressions of hatred. We cannot and will not ignore them.”