Probably the best test case for “never apologize”.
The chair of the Columbia University Department of Psychiatry was suspended on Wednesday, “effective immediately,” after referring to a dark-skinned model as possibly a “freak of nature” on Twitter.
All models are freaks of nature. If he had referred to a white woman that way, he presumably would have been fine.
What exactly was he suspended for?
“Whether a work of art or freak of nature she’s a beautiful sight to behold,” the department chair, Jeffrey A. Lieberman, tweeted on Monday in response to a photo of Nyakim Gatwech. Ms. Gatwech is an American model of South Sudanese descent; her fans refer to her as the “Queen of the Dark.”
Okay. Tacky probably, but obviously racist, and has nothing to do with his job. But cancel culture of course doesn’t care. And academia has long since given in to cancel culture and wokeness.
Department leaders called a meeting for faculty and staff on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the situation, and to announce that an interim chair would be named. Several hundred people attended the Zoom meeting, according to a person who attended, and the tone was serious and grave. The head of the hospital described the tweet as “outrageous,” the person said.
Elle Lett, a medical student and postdoctoral fellow in medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, wrote a Twitter thread and a Medium post about the comments.
“To not understand how racist language like that is harmful when your profession is supposed to care for the mental health of people makes you unqualified to be a psychiatrist at all, let alone the chief of the top program,” Lett said in an interview.
Apparently working as a psychiatrist requires also closely policing your speech in your off hours.
Liebman, as usual, dug his own grave, by frantically apologizing and admitting guilt.
In an email to his colleagues on Tuesday before he was suspended, he apologized for the tweet, describing it as “racist and sexist.” He added that he was “deeply ashamed” of his “prejudices and stereotypical assumptions.”
“An apology from me to the Black community, to women, and to all of you is not enough,” Dr. Lieberman wrote in the email. “I’ve hurt many, and I am beginning to understand the work ahead to make needed personal changes and over time to regain your trust.”
Now he sealed his own fate. But in the future everyone will be canceled for 15 minutes.