Babson College staff member fired for Facebook post suggesting Iran should tweet out list of American cultural sites to threaten


A staff member at Babson College was fired Thursday after sharing a Facebook post that suggested that Iran should make a list of American cultural sites to bomb.

The Massachusetts college announced the termination of lecturer Asheen Phansey Thursday. He shared a post allegedly mocking President Trump’s tweets that threatened to target 52 unnamed Iranian sites, including some that are culturally significant.

Trump’s tweets came after Tehran threatened to retaliate for the killing of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani last week. 

Phansey joked on Facebook that, “In retaliation, Ayatollah Khomenei should tweet a list of 52 sites of beloved American cultural heritage that he would bomb,” Phansey wrote in the since-deleted post. “Um… Mall of America? Kardashian residence?” USA Today reported.

A slew of critics lashed out at Trump over his tweets, accusing him of threatening war crimes, including Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and several 2020 Democratic presidential candidates. 

Trump later backed off of the threat, saying that he wants to “obey the law” when asked whether or not he would target the sites.  

Trump added, “But think of it. They kill our people. They blow up our people and then we have to be very gentle with their cultural institutions. But I’m OK with it. It’s OK with me” during a meeting Tuesday with the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

Babson College said they were suspending Phansey with pay Wednesday, pending the completion of an internal investigation.

In a Thursday statement, the school confirmed that Phansey was no longer an employee, sharing “Babson College conducted a prompt and thorough investigation related to a post shared on a staff member’s personal Facebook page that does not represent the values and culture of the College. Based on the results of the investigation, the staff member is no longer a Babson College employee. As we have previously stated, Babson College condemns any type of threatening words and/or actions condoning violence and/or hate.”

Phansey criticized the move in local media reports, saying that he is “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.” 

“I would have hoped that Babson, an institution of higher education that I love and to which I have given a great deal, would have defended and supported my 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 continued.

CORRECTION: Phansey worked as the director of sustainability at Babson College. An earlier version of this story included incorrect information. 

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