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Michigan university fires professor after racist, homophobic tweets

Ferris State University in Michigan has fired a professor over a series of racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic tweets from last year, The Detroit Free Press reported on Sunday.

Thomas Brennan, a physical sciences professor, tweeted Saturday that he had been terminated, and the school confirmed his dismissal to the newspaper.

The content of Brennan's tweets, first reported by student newspaper The Torch, included using the N-word in reference to both astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye of "Bill Nye the Science Guy." He also called the coronavirus pandemic a "hoax" and "another Jewish revolution," in addition to using an anti-gay slur.

Other tweets promoted baseless conspiracy theories about smartphones causing COVID-19.

University President David L. Eisler said in a Nov. 23 notice that Brennan had been placed on administrative leave from the school in Big Rapids. Eisler said that in addition to his tweets, Brennan had interrupted an August meeting of the school's College of Arts, Sciences and Education to say coronavirus death rates were exaggerated.

In a six-page statement linked on his Twitter account, Brennan said he was "acting out and speaking out of despair caused by a personal crisis involving extremely painful migraines, [electromagnetic frequency] sensitivity and a series of repeated break-ins into my home."

"I am one of thousands of Americans from all walks of life who claim to be victims of a secret program that harasses people, breaks into their homes, and uses [electromagnetic frequency] along with bio, neuro, or nano-technologies to poison and torture their targets," the statement continued. "Rather than kill the target, the goal is to get the target to have a breakdown that discredits them and causes them to lose their livelihood."

Brennan further defended his tweets as an exercise of free speech and said they were "uttered as a result of my disability," including images of CT scans he said backed up his claims.