A college in Massachusetts has fired a professor who joked on social media that Iran should include the Mall of America in a list of cultural targets in the United States after President Donald Trump threatened to attack cultural sites in the Middle Eastern country.
Babson College, a private business school in Wellesley, Mass., announced Thursday that it fired adjunct professor Asheen Phansey for a post he wrote on Facebook suggesting that Iran’s leader should tweet a list of American sites to attack.
“In retaliation, Ayatollah Khomenei should tweet a list of 52 sites of beloved cultural heritage that he would bomb. Um … Mall of America? … Kardashian residence?” Phansey wrote in the since-deleted post on his personal Facebook page. He was referring to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The school quickly moved to end Phansey’s employment.
“Babson College conducted a prompt and thorough investigation related to a post shared on a staff member’s personal Facebook page that does not represent the values and culture of the College. Based on the results of the investigation, the staff member is no longer a Babson College employee,” the school said in its statement. “As we have previously stated, Babson College condemns any type of threatening words and/or actions condoning violence and/or hate.”
Phansey expressed regret for the post, which in comments to WBZ in Boston he called a “bad attempt at humor.” However, Phansey suggested the school overreacted in firing him.
“I am disappointed and saddened that Babson has decided to abruptly terminate my 15-year relationship with the college just because people willfully misinterpreted a joke I made to my friends on Facebook,” Phansey said in a statement to CNN.
The Bloomington megamall, which receives an estimated 40 million visitors annually, has been the subject of terror threats in the past, notably in 2015 when the East African terror group al-Shabab named it specifically in a video threatening attacks on Western shopping malls.