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Indian American professor loses job for joking about Iranian bomb

New York: In a bizarre incident, Indian-American professor Asheen Phansey from Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, who posted a joke on Facebook about Iran choosing 52 US cultural sites to bomb, has been fired by the college.

Phansey, who was Director of Sustainability, was fired because the post on his “personal Facebook page does not represent the values and culture of the College”, according to WBZ television.

He had apologized for the post last week calling it “sloppy humor” that was “read as a threat”.

“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 was quoted as saying in Boston Herald.

The college said in a statement: “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.”

His post was a reaction to US President Donald Trump’s tweet about targeting sites “very high level and important to Iran and the Iranian culture”.

Bombing cultural sites is a war crime under international law and contradicting Trump, US officials said that Washington would not target them.

Phansey suggested on Facebook that Iran selected 52 US sites such as the Mall of America in Minnesota or the residence of the Kardashians, a family of American celebrities made famous by the reality TV series “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”.

He was the director of sustainability at Babson College, an institution that specializes in business and entrepreneurship education. It is located in Wellesley, about 20 km from Boston.

“I am really concerned about what this portends for our ability as Americans to engage in political discourse without presuming the worst about each other,” Phansey said in a statement quoted by WBZ.

“People willfully misinterpreted a joke I made to my friends on Facebook,” and had hoped the college “would have defended and supported my right to free speech”.

The college however, said that it “condemns any type of threatening words and/or actions condoning violence and/or hate”.

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