Jerry Foxhoven, former director of Iowa’s Department of Human Services, might have lost his job because of his love of Tupac.
On June 14, Foxhoven, 66, sent an email to all 4,300 of his coworkers to remind them that the late rapper Tupac Shakur’s birthday was imminent.
“I am sure that you are already aware that this Sunday (June 16th) is also 2pac’s birthday. (He would be 48 if he were alive),” Foxhoven wrote in his email. " So, of course I will be celebrating both Father’s Day and 2pac’s birthday. I hope you all enjoy the day as well — and take the time to enjoy one of his songs.”
The director of @IowaDHS sent this email lauding Tupac to all 4,300 staff on Friday, June 14 - his latest missive in a quirky fixation with the late rapper. The governor told him to resign the next work day but won't say why https://t.co/2GIANXzbTZ pic.twitter.com/BmZqc53FPX— Ryan J. Foley (@rjfoley) July 16, 2019
The following workday, June 17, Foxhoven was fired.
He told the Associated Press that he was not given a reason for his firing. This naturally led to thinking that he was fired because of his email. But Foxhoven does not believe that, noting that his boss had decided to “go in a different direction” prior to the offending message.
However, this wasn’t the first time the sexagenarian has expressed his affinity for the L.A. rapper to his coworkers.
In his two years at DHS, Foxhoven sent 350 Tupac-related emails, including a birthday email very similar to the message in question. He also hosted “Tupac Fridays,” in which he would play Shakur’s music in the office.
Part of the reason Foxhoven dispersed so many notes about the “California Love” artist was to “break down racist stereotypes about rap music,” pointing to Shakur’s masterful and layered lyricism.
While many of Foxhoven’s coworkers either appreciated or didn’t mind the constant emails, there was at least one confirmed complaint from a former coworker.