Trinity College Professor Johnny Eric Williams has drawn national outrage after he posted a handful of Facebook messages angrily attacking white people. He also shared an essay link that posited that first responders to last week’s congressional shooting should’ve let the lawmakers “f—ing die.”
Williams also reportedly shared an essay posted on Medium that featured a picture of Majority Leader Steve Scalise with the title, “Let Them F—ing Die.”
The anonymous author of the essay wrote that the Capitol police should have let Rep. Scalise and other Republican lawmakers targeted in the attack die.
“Saving the life of those that would kill you is the opposite of virtuous,” the essayist wrote. “Let. Them. F***ing. Die. And smile a bit when you do. For you have done the universe a great service.”
Williams’ posts and hashtags were originally reported by Campus Reform.
“I’m fed the f**k up with self identified ‘white’s’ daily violence directed at immigrants, Muslim, and sexually and racially oppressed people. The time is now to confront these inhuman a–holes and end this now,” the professor wrote.
Strangely, Williams’ curriculum revolves around race and racism.
Trinity College President Joanne Berger-Sweeney said in a prepared statement that she does not “condone hate speech or calls to incite violence.”
“I told Professor Williams that in my opinion his use of the hashtag was reprehensible and, at the very least, in poor judgment,” Berger-Sweeney said. “No matter its intent, it goes against our fundamental values as an institution, and I believe its effect is to close minds rather than open them.”
“The Medium piece went on to explore broader issues concerning race and the relationship between ‘victims of bigotry’ and ‘bigots,’” Berger-Sweeney said. “The piece culminated with a call to show indifference to the lives of bigots. That call was reprehensible, and any such suggestion is abhorrent and wholly contrary to Trinity’s values.”
Williams told the Hartford Courant that his words were taken out of context and he denied endorsing the essay. He also said his Facebook postings were not meant to be viewed publicly.
He told the newspaper his point was that people should “confront these people who are racists.”
“This is about free speech as well as academic freedom,” he said. “From my perspective, I’m considering whether I should file a defamation against these guys.”
Due to the high number of threats Williams’ comments elicited, Trinity College was forced to shut down its campus Wednesday.
“This incident has caused distress on our campus and beyond; threats of violence have been directed to Professor Williams and to our campus community, neither of which is an acceptable response,” Berger-Sweeney said.