According to Katherine Dettwyler, an anthropology professor at the University of Delaware, deceased American youth and former North Korean captive Otto Warmbier “got exactly what he deserved.” What did Warmbier get, exactly? The young man, who was arrested in North Korea for stealing a propaganda poster off of a hotel wall in 2015 and was sentenced to hard labor in a North Korean prison camp, lost his life in the ordeal.
The North Korean government says that Otto Warmbier contracted botulism shortly after being incarcerated in 2016. According to his family, who have declined an autopsy, the 22-year-old had been subjected to horrific conditions and physical abuse, and lost his life as a result of North Korean brutality just days after coming home in a coma on June 13.
As Fox News reports, Professor Katherine Dettwyler believes that death was an appropriate punishment for stealing a poster. The adjunct professor at the University of Delaware made her disturbing comments both on Facebook and an online article comment section. It didn’t take long for her words to get noticed, particularly because they were made on the website of conservative magazine National Review. According to Katherine Dettwyler’s comments, Otto Warmbier died because he went to North Korea acting like a “spoiled, naive, arrogant, U.S. college student.”
In her comments, which spawned almost immediate backlash, Dettwyler wrote that she had little sympathy for Warmbier when he emotionally pleaded for help at his sentencing hearing. The University of Delaware professor responded to his impassioned pleas with a question, namely, “What did you expect?”
“He went to North Korea, for f***’s sake, and then acted like a who had never had to face the consequences of his actions. I see him crying at his sentencing hearing and think ‘What did you expect?'”
Sorry! Not enough! Imagine how that family feels right Now! You let this evil person around our children? #BoycottUDel Perfect time b4 fall
— gab.ai/Momofmonday (@momofmonday) June 23, 2017
— Rufus V. (@RufusV_24) June 23, 2017
After all, the highly educated student entered a country he knew to be authoritarian and acted recklessly. Don't beat the beehive. Duh!
— Regan LL.M (@JRLLMESQ) June 23, 2017
— ???????? Always Right ???? (@MadnMoblMonster) June 23, 2017
Katherine Dettwyler went on to add that Otto Warmbier deserved no more consideration from the American public than the countless North Koreans who exist in the country’s prison camps every year.
“How about a few moments of thought given to all the other people in North Korea who are suffering under the repressive government there? Just because they are North Koreans, and not U.S. citizens, we shouldn’t care about them?”
While Katherine Dettwyler’s Facebook comments have been deleted (or been made private), it wasn’t until after they’d already gone viral and been shared far and wide. Outrage against the professor has come from both sides of the political aisle, with many calling on the University of Delaware to cut ties with Dettwyler over her arguably insensitive words.
— Univ. of Delaware (@UDelaware) June 23, 2017
The school has since issued a public statement disavowing the words of their professor, stating that they “do not reflect the values or position of the University of Delaware.” However, at this point the school has not stated whether or not Katherine Dettwyler’s comments about Otto Warmbier could end up costing her her job.
Dettwyler herself has declined to respond to media requests for comment. However, she has come out swinging in her own defense on social media. According to the anthropology professor, she has plenty of love and respect for her “hard-working, sincere, non-arrogant college students.” However, she was quick to add that many college students “don’t fall into that demographic.”
— Chuck Woolery (@chuckwoolery) June 23, 2017
In fact, according to Dettwyler, many students are more concerned with “raping drunk girls” and doing drugs than being “hard-working, sincere, non-arrogant college students.”
“They think nothing of raping drunk girls at frat parties and snorting cocaine, cheating on exams, and threatening professors with physical violence. I would not call them ‘ordinary’ — not at all.”
What is your opinion on the words of Katherine Dettwyler? Did she cross the line or write the truth with her online comments about Otto Warmbier? Is the University of Delaware’s public statement an appropriate response to the situation, or should Dettwyler be out of the job? Let us know in the comments below.
[Featured Image by Jon Chol Jin/AP Images]