College employee fired for Facebook post about Iran attacking U.S. 'cultural sites'
WELLESLEY, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts college employee who was suspended for posting a controversial Facebook post about Iran bombing the U.S. has been fired, the school said.
Babson College's director of sustainability, Asheen Phansey, was suspended and then fired for a post Tuesday that suggested Iran list 52 American cultural sites that it could bomb, the Boston Herald reported.
President Donald Trump posted on Twitter on Jan. 4 that the U.S. had a list of 52 targets that it could hit if Iran attacked American assets to avenge the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani. Trump said some of the targets were important to Iranian culture.
“I am disappointed and saddened that Babson has decided to abruptly terminate my 15-year relationship with the college just because people willfully misinterpreted a joke I made to my friends on Facebook,” Phansey said in a statement through a spokeswoman.
Phansey said he wished that Babson had defended and supported his right to free speech.
“Beyond my own situation, I am really concerned about what this portends for our ability as Americans to engage in political discourse without presuming the worst about each other,” he said.
The school, located in in Wellesley, said Phansey's post “does not represent the values and culture of the College" and, as a result of an investigation, Phansey is no longer an employee.
In the now-deleted post, Phansey wrote: “In retaliation, Ayatollah Khomenei should tweet a list of 52 sites of beloved American cultural heritage that he would bomb. Um… Mall of America? Kardashian residence?”
Prior to this firing, Phansey said in a statement Wednesday that he regretted his “bad attempt at humor."
"As an American, born and raised, I was trying to juxtapose our ‘cultural sites’ with ancient Iranian churches and mosques," he said, adding that he his “completely opposed to violence.”
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