A university professor in Michigan has been fired for using racist, homophobic and anti-semitic slurs on social media, which were cited in a tirade of science denialism by the school’s student newspaper.
Thomas J. Brennan, an assistant professor of physical sciences at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Mich., was terminated by the school’s administrators, which he posted on Twitter Saturday (Feb. 27), and The Detroit News confirmed it. He had been on administrative leave since Nov. 19, 2020.
He fell under scrutiny when he posted several offensive remarks on social media platforms last November.
In a November article, the Ferris State Torch outlined the extent of Brennan’s remarks from a Twitter account allegedly linked to him. There were references to the N-word referring to noted astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, lunar astronaut Buzz Aldrin, and engineer and science show host Bill Nye.
In the tweets, he also called coronavirus a “hoax” and labeled people who wear masks to protect from it “cowards.” He also used a homophobic slur and made numerous anti-Semitic remarks as well. He has also denied that the 1969 moon landing took place in other writings, that black holes exist, and that atom bombs are “fake.”
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Among his other remarks are false references to the cause of coronavirus, which fall in line with many conspiracy theories that have circulated since the disease surfaced.
“Could be as simple as: Corona virus [sic] is partly caused by cell phones, wifi, and not just 5G, but 4G and 3G. When 2G/3G started, I could feel it. In 2005, I got mysteriously short of breath. It was horrible. Apricot pits helped me recover. You could easily confuse that for corona,” the Torch quoted Brennan as saying in one post.
But he also said he was the victim of a secret conspiracy to target, harass and torture certain individuals. In a tweet over the weekend, along with acknowledging he was fired, he linked a lengthy letter defending himself, claiming that he was suffering extreme migraine headaches and was being affected by electromagnetic fields, plus constant break-ins to his home.
In another letter, he also defended the use of the N-word, calling the slur a “mind control spell designed to make us hate each other,” and that he “uttered the word to try to neutralize its power.”
At the time, the university released a statement expressing its shock over Brennan’s behavior and said that he had been investigated.
“Individually and collectively, we were shocked, and outraged by these tweets. They are extremely offensive and run counter to the values of our University and our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Ferris State president David L. Eisler. “Our students, faculty, staff and members of the community are upset and offended by these comments, and they should be.”
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