Professor Fired For Saying Harvey Was Karma For Trump Voters
A University of Tampa sociology professor, Kenneth Storey, was recently fired from his position at the university after a series of tweets claimed that the devastating hurricane that ravaged Texas was "karma". The actual tweet said, and I quote, "I don't believe in instant Karma but this kinda feels like it for Texas. Hopefully this will help them realize the GOP doesn't care about them.”
ABC spoke to Storey and the Orlando native said that he is now in hiding after he received numerous death threats. He noted that he is hunkered down as the death threats seemed to have credibility and supposedly are from white supremacists who said they are coming from Georgia to kill him.
Storey admitted that he was wrong when he made the controversial tweets and did not realize the extent of the dire situation for millions of Texans. He said at the time he made the first controversial tweet he was just having a relaxing lunch, saw the news, and at the time it did not seem like the storm was nearly as strong as he found out later it was.
Storey's tweet almost immediately went viral on social media and the backlash was swift and wrought with disgust and anger.
A Twitter user tweeted to him, "I guess since we’re a Red state we deserve some bad karma too, right?”
The sociologist's tweets have since been deleted.
Many students and faculty at the University of Tampa said that Storey was completely out of line.
The university's administration spokesperson, Melissa Paradise said that he does have the right to free speech but the problem is he is also a representative of the institution and what he says and does reflects onto the school. She said it is particularly touchy when a professor who is charged with shaping the minds of young people, she was not sure this was the type of professor she wants shaping and molding young minds. She demanded and apology.
On Monday evening, Professor Storey finally gave that apology via his personal Twitter account saying that he deeply regrets 'a' statement he made the day before. He went on to say that he never meant to wish ill on any group, anywhere and that he hoped all people affected by Hurricane Harvey would recover quickly.
Storey sent a more detailed apology statement to a news outlet.
I apologize for the the tweets. My intention was never to offend anyone. This was a series of tweets taken out of context. I was referring to the GOP denial of climate change science and push to decrease funds from agencies that can help in a time like this. I hope all affected by the storm are safe and recover quickly. I also hope this helps the GOP realize the need to support climate change research and put in place better funding for agencies like NOAA and FEMA.
I've been clear with that through various tweets that followed the initial tweet. It is hard to express one's full thoughts in 140 characters and I realize that taken out of context some tweets may sound extremely off-putting. I never intended it to be that.
The University of Tampa also sent out a statement of their own noting that the school stands in solidarity with all people affected by Hurricane Harvey and that their thoughts and prayers are with them. They went on to say that the comments made by now-former Professor Storey where made via his own private Twitter account and not issued within his capacity as a faculty member of UT and his words in no way represent the University's views. UT administrators made it clear that the University of Tampa vehemently condemns the words and sentiment behind them.
It may be tough for the outspoken professor to secure a new job.