A Ferris State University professor in Michigan was fired on February 25 after allegedly issuing anti-Semitic tweets.
The professor, Thomas Brennan, had been placed on leave since November after the university’s student newspaper, The Torch, reported that Brennan had called COVID-19 “another Jewish revolution” and tweeted that the Holocaust was a “Zionist eugenics program.”
Brennan tweeted on February 27 that he had been fired from the university; a university spokesperson confirmed this to the Detroit Free Press.
Brennan’s tweet linked to a defense statement he had given to the university earlier in the month. In the statement, Brennan claimed that the tweets had come during a time when he was dealing with “intense pain” from migraines and sensitivity to electromagnetic fields while break-ins were occurring at his house. He said that his private Twitter account was his outlet to voice his “despair” and he had developed the mindset of “‘f* it, f* everybody and everything.’ That’s what chronic head trauma will do to you.”
Brennan claimed that the tweets had come during a time when he was dealing with “intense pain” from migraines and sensitivity to electromagnetic fields.
The former professor also claimed that by the summer he was feeling better, and that the break-ins had stopped after he nailed his windows shut. Brennan speculated that the university may have started compiling a “portfolio” against him after he started criticizing the university’s policy requiring faculty to wear masks on campus and wrote in a Zoom chat with faculty and administrators, “The pandemic and [Black Lives Matter] riots are a leftist stunt to overthrow the U.S.”
“From the standpoint of the law, it could be argued that the migraine pain and possible delusions constitute a disability,” Brennan’s statement read. “Since I had no way to speak about my disability at work, I was exercising my free speech rights on twitter as a result of my disability. Therefore the things I said on twitter were not expressed in order to discriminate against people of different races or social categories but were uttered as a result of my disability. This is one of many reasons why freedom of speech exists.”
Brennan also claimed that The Torch reporter who unveiled his tweets reached out to him about the tweets “a day or two” before it was published but rejected overtures from the report to interview him about his COVID-19 views. The Torch claims that Brennan only declined their interview requests once before he stopped responding to them altogether. The Torch also claims that they reached out to Brennan multiple times about the tweets for about a month before publication.