Lisa Durden made headlines when she took on Fox’s Tucker Carlson in a heated debate about a Black Lives Matter gathering that was meant for blacks only. Now it seems her rhetoric has run afoul of her employer’s willingness to tolerate hate speech. Durden has been fired and won’t be returning to Essex County College.
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Her dismissal comes two weeks after her initial appearance on Fox’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
Essex County College’s president Anthony Munroe made the dismissal public on Friday. The school had received numerous complaints after the interview.
The controversy surrounded a Memorial Day event hosted by a Black Lives Matter in New York. The event was for blacks only. Carlson, sensing the controversy, asked Durden how she felt about the event being so exclusive. “Boo hoo hoo,” she responded. “You white people are angry because you couldn’t use your white privilege card’ to attend the event.”
That was enough to spark outrage, but Durden continued. She accused people like Carson, who is white, of having “White Day forever.” The event in New York was “one day for black folks to focus on ourselves.”
Carlson was quick to call out her remarks. He labeled her stance “hostile, separatist and crazy.”
Essex County College agreed with Carlson. After the phone lines lit up, they suspended Durden. She’s not pleased with the school’s response and said that the school “publicly lynched” her.
Clearly the lynching remark is meant to be interpreted as metaphoric. Critics claim it is a bit hyperbolic, as actual public lynching is very closely tied, historically, to extreme extrajudicial intolerance and racism.
Essex County College, making their stand, announced that “‘the character of this institution mandates that we embrace diversity, inclusion, and unity. Racism cannot be fought with more racism.’ ”
“When the administration receives an outpouring of concern regarding our student body, it is our responsibility to investigate those concerns,” Essex County College’s president Anthony Munroe.
“In consideration of the college’s mission, and the impact that this matter has had on the college’s fulfillment of its mission, we cannot maintain an employment relationship with the adjunct.”
“The college affirms its right to select employees who represent the institution appropriately and are aligned with our mission.”
“[The college] should be a safe place for me,” Durden told NJ.com . “I thought when I came home from war, I would be safe.”
The leader of Black Lives Matter in New York, Hawk Newsome, defended Durden. “The area where Essex County College is situated is one of the most racist places in the US, so I am not surprised they have sacked her. But I believe that under the First Amendment she has the right to voice her beliefs and say how she feels. Black Lives Matter will be going to Long Island to protest on her behalf. It is wrong to make an example of her when so many people are allowed to say what they want about black matters whenever they want.”
Yet Newsome did not endorse the black-only event. “As the head of Black Lives Matter, let me tell you we are a group that is open to people of any race, gender and religion. I would never have allowed such a blacks only event. Its just wrong and that group had nothing to do with mine which is the biggest.”