A Drexel University professor has been summoned to a meeting with school officials after he tweeted a Christmas Eve message that appeared to support "white genocide."
George Ciccariello-Maher, who is white and an associate professor of politics at the Philadelphia university, told the Associated Press by email Monday that his Christmas Eve message to nearly 11,000 Twitter followers — "All I Want for Christmas is White Genocide" — was meant to be satirical.
Drexel was not amused, condemning Ciccariello-Maher's tweet and saying in a statement it was "taking this situation very seriously."
"While the University recognizes the right of its faculty to freely express their thoughts and opinions in public debate, Professor Ciccariello-Maher's comments are utterly reprehensible, deeply disturbing, and do not in any way reflect the values of the University," Drexel said.
Ciccariello-Maher, whose online biography says his academic specialties include "race and racism," said Drexel apparently didn't understand "the content or the context" of his tweets. The professor told AP he was mocking what he called the "imaginary concept" of white genocide, which he says was invented by white supremacists.
"It is a figment of the racist imagination, it should be mocked, and I'm glad to have mocked it," he said.
Ciccariello-Maher followed up his initial tweet by praising the "massacre" of whites in Haiti during the country's slave uprising and revolution more than two centuries ago.
Though his Twitter account is private, he is a prolific tweeter, and his weekend messages spread quickly online. He said he has received hundreds of death threats. The professor said Drexel's statement "sends a chilling message."