Vulture writer Erik Abriss has been fired from his job at digital entertainment company INE for wishing death upon teenagers from Kentucky’s Covington Catholic High School, Fox News is reporting.
The teens from the school have been at the center of a nationwide controversy since last Saturday when the teens – and in particular, student Nick Sandmann – showed up at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington for a pro-life march. The students were greeted by counterprotesters, and video emerged later that day of Sandmann appearing to confront an elderly Native American man, later identified as Nathan Phillips.
Several Twitter users, including journalists and celebrities, rushed to condemn the young man for apparently showing disrespect to the elderly Native American. Some used more tempered words than others.
Erik Abriss from Vulture, however, let loose completely.
“i don’t know what it says about me but I’ve truly lost the ability to articulate the hysterical rage, nausea and heartache this makes me feel. I just want these people to die. Simple as that. Every single one of them. And their parents.”
The tweet has since been deleted, but screenshots remain.
On Monday, INE confirmed in a statement to The Wrap that Abriss’ tweet was inappropriate and that he’s been let go.
“We were surprised and upset to see the inflammatory and offensive rhetoric used on Erik Abriss’ Twitter account this weekend. He worked with the company in our post-production department and never as a writer. While we appreciated his work, it is clear that he is no longer aligned with our company’s core values of respect and tolerance. Therefore, as of January 21, 2019, we have severed ties with Abriss.”
— WKYT (@WKYT) January 19, 2019
A Rush To Judgment?
Abriss is, and was, far from the only Twitter user to comment negatively about Sandmann, his colleagues, and the way the protest initially appeared to have gone down.
However, later video showed a fuller picture of the events of that day, and by most measures, it appears that Sandmann and his teen colleagues actually kept their cool in the face of almost palpable hostility.
Specifically, the teens claim – and are backed up by video – that they arrived on the scene of the Lincoln Memorial that day to find the place already occupied by a group of protesters calling themselves “black Hebrew Nationalists,” who shouted obscenities at the young men. Also, there that day were Native Americans, including Phillips, who said that he was so close to Sandmann simply because he was trying to insert himself between the Covington students and the Nationalists.
Both Phillips and Sandmann continue to claim that they were trying to defuse the situation, not escalate it.