Professor Lisa Durden found herself suddenly out of a job after her appearance on Fox News earlier this month, where she defended a black-only Black Lives Matter Memorial Day event and ended up in a shouting match with host Tucker Carlson. "Boo-hoo-hoo,"Durden snapped while on-air. "You white people are angry because you couldn’t use your ‘white privilege’ card to get invited to the Black Lives Matter’s all-black Memorial Day celebration."
Carlson fired back, "You’re sick and what you’re saying is disgusting," also calling her "hostile and separatist and crazy." Though Durden did not affiliate herself with Essex County College, where she teaches communications, in the interview, she was suspended for six days after her appearance and later fired after a public meeting of the school's board. "The character of this institution mandates that we embrace diversity, inclusion, and unity. Racism cannot be fought with more racism,” said the college's president, Anthony Munroe, in a recent statement.
However, Durden's attorney sees her firing as an unconstitutional attack, calling it"a violation of her federal and state constitutional rights to free speech," and said they are considering legal action. Durden has turned to Twitter to exercise those First Amendment rights, responding to supportive Tweets, asking people to sign a petition to get her reinstated, and promoting the hashtag #ReinstateProfessorLisaDurden. She also told The Washington Post her thoughts on those who have called her racist against white people after the interview, saying "Reverse racism doesn't exist."
— Lisa Durden (@Lisardurden) June 28, 2017
As the free speech debate continues to be a hotly contested issue on college campuses, it remains to be seen what impact this might have on other schools throughout the country.