It’s the First Amendment that Rutgers University history professor James Livingston can thank for avoiding punishment for posting on Facebook his hatred for “white people.”
He responded in anger when he found a restaurant in his Harlem neighborhood was too busy: “OK, officially, I now hate white people. I am a white people, for God’s sake, but can we keep them–us–us out of my neighborhood?”
Livingston said the restaurant was “overrun with little Caucasian a——-.”
“I hereby resign from my race.”
His posts were noticed by news outlets, and members of the public complained to the university. Rutgers’ Office of Employment Equity then investigated and considered punishment.
However, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education wrote to Rutgers President Robert Barchi, arguing the diatribe was protected speech.
Barchi ordered a review and the school now has determined the speech was protected.
“FIRE is pleased that Rutgers did the right thing and reversed the charge of racial discrimination against Professor Livingston,” said Marieke Tuthill Beck-Coon, FIRE’s director of litigation. “Any other result would have undermined the free speech and academic freedom rights of all Rutgers faculty members.”
Barchi noted that “few values are as important to the university as the protection of our First Amendment rights – even when the speech we are protecting is insensitive and reckless.”
Livingston said in a statement: “I’m relieved that my right to free speech and my academic freedom have been validated by this retraction, thanks to FIRE, the AAUP, and colleagues, who made this strange episode an issue to be debated and decided in public.”
WND reported Facebook removed Livingston’s post, citing its Community Standards on hate speech.