A University of Virginia adjunct professor is in hot water for saying on social media that Black Lives Matter is as racist as the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), The Washington Post is reporting.
Until last week, Dennis Muir was a lecturer at the University of Virginia’s School of Engineering and Applied Science and the University’s Darden School of Business. He is also the owner of Bella’s restaurant in Charlottesville. Not only has Muir gone on indefinite leave since making the comment, but some local politicians are calling for a boycott of his business, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Here’s what happened.
Last Tuesday, Charlottesville’s Paramount Theater was host to a Black Lives Matter event. Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza was one of the speakers, who spoke on injustice, racial inequality, police brutality, and a handful of other issues. Charlottesville real estate agent Roger Voisinet was there and posted about it on Facebook. In a post that has since been deleted, Muir responded.
“Black lives matter is the biggest rasist (sic) organisation (sic) since the clan (sic). Are you kidding me. Disgusting!!!”
Charlottesville resident Joe Starsia took a screenshot of the professor’s comments and brought them to the attention of University officials through social media.
On another note…I will NEVER frequent @Bellasrestaurant again. I met Doug Muir for the first time a couple of weeks ago at the @tomtomfestival…and I didn't expect this from him, but if this is how he feels, he doesn't have anything else to say to me. I would encourage everyone in the city to boycott the restaurant. I would also implore the @theuniversityofvirginia and the Darden School of Business @dardenmba (One that's celebrating Diversity Week) to address this issue immediately. The notion that #BlackLivesMatter can be comparable to the Klu Klux Klan is not only incredibly misguided, but goes to show the lack cultural awareness that still plagues many professors at our Universities across the country. An organization, a movement, a collective body that aims to empower Black People, and rally allies is not a terroristic organization, but one that aims to collective bring people together to address systemic oppression and racism, amongst other things, is here to stay. If #blacklivesmatter✊????✊????✊???? offends you, makes you feel uncomfortable, or makes you believe that we are similar to the KKK…just understand this, times are changing, the movement is moving, and a people oppressed will no longer remain silent. We have support from the highest of the high to the lowest of the low, and WE are here to STAY and WE ARE GOING TO CONTINUE TO CREATE CHANGE!!! #blacklivesmatter✊????✊????✊???? #BoycottBellas You have my number Frank Muir, I'll await your call so that you can get the cultural training that you need. We can make a day, a week, a month, or however much time of it to get you where you need to be!
The backlash against Muir began almost immediately. Charlottesville Vice Mayor Wes Bellamy, whose Instagram post you can see above this sentence, criticized Muir and called on residents to boycott Muir’s restaurant.
In a statement, University of Virginia executive vice president and provost Tom Katsouleas said he was “disturbed and saddened” by Muir’s comments.
“The University of Virginia stands firmly against racism and social injustice of any kind. Statements such as Mr. Muir’s do not foster intellectual exploration, nor do they encourage the voices of others.”
Similarly, both the School of Engineering and Applied Science and the Darden School of Business distanced themselves from Muir.
“As a school within a public university, we respect and recognize people’s rights, including their First Amendment right to free speech. As an institution of learning, we also recognize that diversity of opinion is foundational. However, the personal statements made by Doug Muir regarding Black Lives Matter do not represent the views of this School.”
Muir, for his part, has taken a leave of absence from his position; it is not clear, as of this writing, how long he will be on leave or whether or not he will be disciplined in any way by the university. He has also not yet commented on the controversy; reached by a Washington Post reporter, a woman who answered the phone at Muir’s restaurant said the professor is out of town. Meanwhile, University officials say that Muir will release his own statement later.
David Muir is not the first person to accuse the Black Lives Matter movement of being racist. In June, 2015, John Perazzo, comparing Black Lives Matter to the Black Panther Movement, wrote in Front Page Magazine that the organization is destructive, hateful, and racist.
“Have you noticed that the supporters of BLM are able to recite the names of their sainted martyrs—Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, etc.—as easily you can name the members of your own immediate family? Notably, however, they can’t name any of the 6,000 black Americans whose lives are snuffed out each year by black killers. Those unfortunate, anonymous souls, you see, aren’t worth a damn to the BLM crowd, because their deaths can’t be exploited to gin up hatred against white cops, or to spark race riots in the streets.”
Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza, meanwhile, maintains that the organization is about ending “state-sanctioned” violence against all people.
[Feature Image by David McNew/Getty Images]