On Tuesday we published a blog about a Babson College professor named Asheen Phancy who responded to President Trump’s threat to bomb 52 Iranian cultural sites if they continued to provoke the United States, by urging the Ayatollah to do the same to our country on his Facebook page:
On Wednesday Boston Herald “reporter” Alexi Iafrato published a story on the same topic, after reading our blog, passed it off as her own, and the story blew up and led to the suspension of the professor.
There were some turtle riders saying things like, “Who cares? As long as the guy gets called out.”
Yes, that’s very easy to say when you’re here for entertainment. But for me this is work. This is my livelihood. I invest everything into finding and breaking stories like this, because they have the potential to go viral and help legitimize the brand. Thus it’s very important to be cited, because media outlets always say, “as first reported by.” Luckily turtle riders responded like they always do – by invading the Herald’s Facebook page with turtle emojis – and the next thing you knew they had updated the story with a link to the Turtleboy home page, but not the story itself.
I knew as soon as I saw the Herald didn’t cite us that they would get credit for breaking the story, and it turned out I was right.
That’s why citing your sources properly matters.
I know how these people work, and I know what sells. It’s stealing and it’s unethical, which is why they updated it. Too little, too late. It’s frustrating, but it won’t deter me from my mission of being the most reliable source of news on the Internet.
Gerry Callahan and I talked about this extensively today on the Gerry Callahan podcast, where it looks like I’ll be the regular Thursday guy moving forward. Click here to listen.
As I said on the podcast, I really didn’t think it was that big of a deal. My whole point in writing it was to show that you can say the craziest, most offensive thing possible, and as long as it’s a left leaning opinion you will not lose your job. Turns out I was wrong.
Daily Beast: An adjunct professor is no longer on staff at Babson College in Massachusetts after what he described as a “bad attempt at humor” in a Facebook post, in which he said Supreme Leader of Iran Ali Khamenei “should tweet a list of 52 sites of beloved American cultural heritage that he would bomb.” The prof suggested those targets might include Minnesota’s Mall of America and a home of the Kardashian family, among other locations. The since-deleted Facebook post by Babson’s director of sustainability Asheen Phansey has been widely circulated on social media and was first reported by Turtleboysports.com on Tuesday.
The Wellesley school said in a statement Thursday that it had suspended Phansey with pay “pending the completion of our investigation” and that the college “condemns any type of threatening words and/or actions condoning violence and/or hate.” Hours later, Babson sent another statement, writing: “Based on the results of the investigation, the staff member is no longer a Babson College employee. As we have previously stated, Babson College condemns any type of threatening words and/or actions condoning violence and/or hate.”
Phansey told local news outlets he regretted making his ill-received “attempt at humor,” which was an apparent response to a tweet from President Donald Trump on Saturday warning that, if Iran retaliated for the drone strike killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, it could face attacks from the United States on 52 Iranian sites, including those of cultural significance, a number the president said was symbolic of the 52 American hostages “taken by Iran many years ago.”
WHDH-TV reported that Phansey was working with a public relations firm to handle the negative press after the post began circulating.
“I am completely opposed to violence and would never advocate it by anyone,” he told the Herald. “I am sorry that my sloppy humor was read as a threat. I condemn all acts of violence,” he said. “I am particularly sorry to cause any harm or alarm for my colleagues at Babson, my beloved alma mater and the place where I have enjoyed teaching students and serving as its sustainability director,” Phansey added.
Of all the places to cite us, the Daily freaking Beast. Weird.
It’s an odd feeling knowing that you are the sole reason a man lost his job. I felt the same way after the Leigha Genduso blog. I don’t like taking people’s livelihoods away from them, because it’s pretty traumatic. The mainstream media might not know who broke this story, but this guy sure as hell does, and he’s never going to forget me now.
I’m actually going to defend him because I disagree with this decision. The guy made an off color joke. It was inappropriate, but at the end of the day nobody died. Sure, he was probably an intolerant liberal who would cancel me in a second if I said something that offended him.
But at the end of the day he wrote words on a computer screen and then erased them. If he was thinking those things in his head he’d still have a job. It’s not like the Ayatollah actually read his Facebook post and decided to bomb the Mall of America. If we’re going to be consistent, which I think is important, we have to call out cancel culture whenever we see it. I like taking scalps from really bad people like Kylie Kirkpatrick and Greg Bates, but I just don’t think this guy deserved to lose his livelihood over a tweet.
This is a long shot here, but if Professor Phancy wants to come on the live show this weekend to discuss his termination, I’d be willing to have him on. I’m not going to say sorry, because all I did was report what he said. I never once called for his job. The irony here is that he would never feel bad for me if the shoe was on the other foot, but sometimes you just have to ask what would Jesus do? Because Turtleboy models himself after Jesus.
If anything good comes out of this it’s that Professor Phancy now sees what the culture his team has cultivated can do to him. I’ll be discussing this on live tonight. If you’re planning on tuning in for the show please send links to every mainstream media outlet you can find that wrote about this and didn’t cite us so we can organize an email campaign like we did with the Herald.
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