Cancel Culture

Auburn University Is Considering Unhiring a Professor for Tweeting a Swear Word

The right also has an affinity for cancel culture.


Jesse Goldberg, an incoming professor at Auburn University, recently took to Twitter to criticize the police: "Fuck cops. Fuck every single one," he said. Now there's a good chance Goldberg will no longer be teaching at Auburn in the fall.

Goldberg, who is to begin a position as a part-time instructor in American literature and composition, made the remarks in response to a July 28 tweet from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) detailing New York Police Department officers allegedly detaining a protester in an unmarked van, as was seen in Portland.

Goldberg set his tweets to private but not before Auburn caught wind of them. The university has since labeled the sentiment hate speech and threatened to terminate his contract.

"As stated earlier this week, Mr. Goldberg's comments on social media are inexcusable and completely antithetical to the Auburn Creed," the university said in a statement. "Higher education is built upon the premise of the free expression of ideas and academic dialogue, but Auburn has not and will never support views that exclude or disrespect others, including hateful speech that degrades law enforcement professionals." They added that Goldberg "was hired on a temporary, non-tenure-track assignment."

I agree that Goldberg's use of profanity was coarse and tasteless,  but Auburn's chosen response is a manifestation of the same cancel culture that conservatives typically decry.

It's also against the law. "At public universities anywhere in the country, faculty members have a First Amendment right to speak on matters of public concern, even if others find that expression deeply offensive," writes Adam Steinbaugh of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), a nonpartisan organization that defends free speech on college campuses, in an open letter to Auburn. "At Alabama institutions, they also enjoy a right under state law to 'take positions on public controversies,' and it is not the 'role' of the institution to suppress 'unwelcome, disagreeable, or offensive' ideas and opinions. And at Auburn in particular (which has earned a 'green light' rating from FIRE), university policy grants faculty the right to 'speak or write on matters of public interest' without 'institutional censorship or discipline.'"

That a state Republican lawmaker also called for Goldberg's dismissal on ideological grounds is instructive. "You wonder how our society raised a bunch of communist [sic] that hate our country? Here is one of the main sources of the problems in our society. Universities!" wrote Alabama Rep. Brett Easterbrook (R–065) on Facebook. "Not all college professors are complete liberals that are educated beyond their understanding, but here is a prime example. He also thinks we should abolish a society that could have prisons. Simply release all prisoners? Obviously he has no idea what type of people are in those prisons and yet he is educating our youth."

In other words, it's not just about Goldberg's strong language, but his ideas and conservatives' willingness to tolerate them. Yet many right-leaning folks have pushed back against that sort of cancel culture in recent years, particularly on college campuses.

Consider the case of Mike Adams, formerly a tenured professor at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW), who killed himself two weeks ago after finalizing a separation agreement with the school. He, too, had inspired backlash over his tweets, though they were of a conservative persuasion.

"When someone kills a cop you know his last words were probably either 'Allahu Akbar' or 'Black Lives Matter,'" he tweeted in August of 2016. His incendiary tone did not die down over the years. "This evening I ate pizza and drank beer with six guys at a six seat table top. I almost felt like a free man who was not living in the slave state of North Carolina," he wrote in May of this year. "Massa Cooper, let my people go!"

That last tweet led to his departure from the school.

Adams, like Goldberg, had a vulgar and unproductive way of expressing some of his views. He was also a defender of free speech on campus.

Social media culture may have led to a race to the bottom to see who can be the most inflammatory when defending their own positions. But we can't elevate the debate by banishing those we disagree with from the public sphere—something Auburn apparently doesn't understand.

NEXT: 'Literally Hitler' Election Mailer Is Protected by the First Amendment

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  1. Billy Billy Billy Billy…..cancelling leftists and communists is time tested to make society a better place. That a university is considering it is surprising to be sure. Let me be clear that i don’t care if they are part of the homeless crowd eating out of soup kitchens. I just don’t want them in positions of power or education.

    1. Because society would be a better place if it was ideologically conformist. Got it.

      1. You’ve been arguing for ideological conformity for the last two years. Refreshing to learn that you’ve had a change of heart.

        1. Whatever.

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      2. Yes, unless you’re the kind of head case that thrives on conflict, it would.

  2. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has called on Wall Street regulators to probe the trading activity of investors in Kodak, whose share price has surged in recent days after an announcement by President Trump of a $765 government financing deal to make critical drug ingredients.

    Shares of Kodak rose nearly 25 percent the day before the massive deal was made public, and the volume of trading far outpaced the company’s average. The dramatic stock surge prompted Warren to write to Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton, asking for answers concerning potential insider trading.

    “To the extent that the individuals who traded in Kodak stock were privy to any nonpublic information, how and from whom did they obtain this information?” she wrote in a letter dated Monday as first reported by Roll Call. “Did any individuals with knowledge of the loan deliberately or inadvertently share information with anyone inside or outside of Kodak who was not authorized to have the information

    1. Probably one of her fellow Senators or maybe Sen. Warren herself.

    2. “after an announcement”

      Someone doesn’t actually understand what insider trading is. Hint: There is no insider trading that happens after public disclosure if information.

      1. I think the part being referenced is this:

        “Shares of Kodak rose nearly 25 percent the day before the massive deal was made public, and the volume of trading far outpaced the company’s average.”

    3. At least someone’s doing something productive.

  3. – Unhiring a Professor for Tweeting a Swear Word.

    – Jesse Goldberg, an incoming professor at Auburn University, recently took to Twitter to criticize the police: “Fuck cops. Fuck every single one,”

    Pretty sure it wasn’t just the swear.

    Auburn University = The right


    1. As a state university Auburn may be on the right, at least relative to its fellow institutions of higher ed. Also, it tolerates having 4th he Von Mises Institute on campus.

      1. It’s not on campus.

    2. “Pretty sure it wasn’t just the swear”.

      That was my reaction completely. I’ve really come to miss the old Reason. An analogous headline would be “University Fires Professor For Recommending Roasting Meat with Rosemary” when the tweet is “I want to rape and kill babies and then eat them after roasting them with rosemary”.

  4. >>labeled the sentiment hate speech

    Police are a protected class from words?

    1. I recall an article, probably here, about an effort to add law enforcement to the list of special classes. Don’t know if it was successful or not, and I’m too lazy to look it up. But the point was to make any action that a cop doesn’t like into an instant felony. Assault a cop’s boot with your face? You’re going down for a hate crime, buddy.

      1. Sure dumb ass. Let’s make it okay to assault cops. Let’s not only get rid of the special penalties for doing so but also stop considering it a crime at all. I am sure that will go a long ways to making cops less violent.

        You are really thinking things through here.

        1. Who are you replying to? Wasn’t me, because that’s not at all what I said.

      2. “Don’t know if it was successful or not, and I’m too lazy to look it up.”

        So, you aspire to become a journalist?

        1. Good one!

      3. If we’re going to have protected classes, and those classes include non-immutable traits such as homosexuality or transgenderism, why not cops too?
        What’s your logic there?

        1. “homosexuality or transgenderism, why not cops”

          One of these does not belong.

        2. You have seen ACAB spray painted on walls?

          Assigned Cop At Birth

      4. Got tired of socking this morning?

    2. Maybe. Did Alabama pass one of those “Blue Lives Matter” laws after that attack on cops in Dallas a few years back? If so then technically, yes.

      1. but they’re *words* (Auburn). the Dallas guy shot bullets.

    3. Since hate speech is not a legal issue why would it incorporate the legalistic concept of “protected class”?

  5. “It’s also against the law. “At public universities anywhere in the country, faculty members have a First Amendment right to speak on matters of public concern, even if others find that expression deeply offensive,” writes Adam Steinbaugh of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), a nonpartisan organization that defends free speech on college campuses, in an open letter to Auburn.”

    Would note that freedom of speech is directly tied to the academic environment, and Goldberg wasn’t in class. Auburn is clearly within the law to boot his stupid ass.

    1. In other words, it’s not just about Goldberg’s strong language, but his ideas and conservatives’ willingness to tolerate them.

      It’s revealing that entire industries (academia, media, etc) discriminate ideologically against non-leftists but only the tiny fraction of cases against left wingers draw any criticism.

  6. Is it possible that Aubern administration were troubled by the outrageous slander against police officers and not just the dirty word?

    1. The Auburn Alumni were. This has been a major topic of convo, and tremendous heat has been applied. He has a history of saying all kinds of incindiary stupid things, (as a Jewish kid hired to teach Black Studies) and it naturally brings to light the question of what educational value a 26 year old professional protestor brings to the table

  7. Adams didn’t kill himself.

    1. That reminds of the palindrome: Madam, in Eden, I’m suicidal.

  8. The idea that Auburn University is the right has to be the dumbest thing Reason has printed in a while other than Antifa being protesters.

    And this guy said fuck the cops. IT is the cops that is the problem not the swear word. To pretend that it is, is just lying. Does reason think it’s readers are so fucking stupid they can’t see that?

    1. It is super helpful to finish reading the article before commenting.

      “That a state Republican lawmaker also called for Goldberg’s dismissal on ideological grounds is instructive.”

      1. Then Auburn isn’t doing it are they? Moreover, it still isn’t about the swear word. It is about his condemning of all police.

        Super helpful if you would understand what you are reading. Reading it isn’t enough. You have to understand it too.

        1. You seemed to be criticizing the subheading of this article, which says, “The right also has an affinity for cancel culture.”

          Your OP misinterpreted this tagline to be in reference to Auburn University. I pointed out the Republican lawmaker to which Binion was likely referencing with that subheading. I was making no comment on the validity of condemning police.

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  10. “Fuck every single cop. Every single one.”

    They should have fired his ass for his grammar. Throw a comma in and make it a compound sentence.

    1. alternatively nothing more after the first period and probably an edit on “every single” for redundancy. Ice Cube wrote it best.

    2. And what about married cops?

      1. You mean wife beaters with qualified immunity?

  11. If he were at a private left-leaning university, there would be no story because they would share his hostility towards police no doubt. But Auburn is public and police are public officials, so the case could be made that he might be a threat to their safety? If this were at a public university in some deep blue state, he would probably still get the job.

    1. If he had said “all lives matter”, he would have lost his offer at pretty much any college in the country outside of a handful of avowed conservative places like Liberty and Hillsdale. But, somehow one university even thinking about not hiring him means the right is just as bad about the cancel culture as the left.

      Laughable false equivalence is reason’s primary product it seems.

      1. “Just as bad”? More like “not completely innocent” from what I read.

        1. The article compares this guy maybe losing an offer to Mike Adams, a guy the left drove to suicide. That is called false equivalence.

          1. Comparison and equivalence are not the same thing. There are degrees in between that include “similar,” “kinda like,” and plenty more.

  12. “Fuck cops. Fuck every single one,” he said. Now there’s a good chance Goldberg will no longer be teaching at Auburn in the fall.

    So now he’s saying, “Fuck me!”

    1. The people of Alabama might not want their tax money going to pay a guy to teach their kids English who hates the police and wants them dismantled. The nerve of those people. How dare they.

      1. Good luck finding any English or humanities prof who doesn’t hate police or anyone to the right of Mao.

        1. Exactly why I left the academy. There was no room for someone like me. Every conversation devolved in to political claptrap. It was hostile, and that was 11 years ago.

          I can’t imagine that even had I managed to get a job that I’d still have one.

          At least I was pretty adept at reading those tea leaves before things got downright nasty.

        2. My best friend was one.
          Of course, he left academia after a few years to get into data science instead

        3. He wasn’t a professor. He was a part-time instructor, which means his place on the organizational chart was somewhere between the security guards and the bus boys in the cafeteria.

      2. The people of Alabama might not want their tax money going to pay a guy…who hates the police and wants them dismantled.

        Contra Binion and his utter lack of reading comprehension skills, this is not remotely about profanity. Auburn is threatening to not retain the retard because he shows an incredible lack of intelligence and presence of poor judgment.

        1. Most academic types do not have very good judgement, that’s a major reason why they never left the campus.

      3. Having a bad opinions shouldn’t be enough to get you fired, but it does in this case because his class is literally just about teaching students to agree with his opinion. The appropriate response isn’t to withdraw his offer of employment. The appropriate response is to review the fact that such a position exists in academia in the first place. If all a class has to offer is indoctrination, it does not have a reason to exist in a serious university.

        1. I now see he’s being hired for english not critical race theory. Critical Race Theory is just his educational highlights. In which case, who the fuck hired this guy in the first place? If someone puts that down on their resume they are advertising that they aren’t qualified for their position. Who hired them and how was this guy not screened out by a competent HR department?

          1. “competent HR department”

            Oxymoron, unless it’s automated.

          2. He is teaching composition with a focus on A-A Literature. His degree is in A-A studies. He is not going to have a class studying the English language, or great works of English Lit. It will be about Critical Theory

            1. Has western civilization been reduced only to its English-speaking parts now?

              You guys already for some reason think Karl Marx wasn’t part of western philosophical history.

              When it comes to whether African American culture counts as part of western civilization, they weren’t even given a choice but to be included.

              So I’m not sure why you think a professor ought to teach a subject he doesn’t want to teach.

      4. I mean, you’ve complained that gay people might not want to shop at a grocery store that says gay people go to hell. So sure, “the nerve”.

        1. This sounds like a fair summary.

  13. It’s not like the guy isn’t going to have a couple dozen colleges begging him to come and teach. Talk like that makes leftists hard, and leftists run most college administrations.

  14. Reason has once again shown their penchant for idiotic articles and “reason”. While a professor, or any faculty or student member for that matter, can and should have a First Amendment right while on campus, the university also has the right to terminate or rescind an employment offer if they don’t like what is said or believed. Under Reasons’ “reasoning” then any and every person has a right to free speech without any reprisal from their employer, and the employer has no right to terminate that person for said free speech.

    And, if it was up to me, his employment offer would have been rescinded the moment I got word of it. I as an employer would surely not want to be associated with someone of that thinking.

  15. If you look at Goldberg’s other writings, you will find him to be a cariacture of the rotten neo-communst, critical studies intellectual movement. Him not teaching at Auburn raises its credibility.

    1. Sometimes it’s hard not to end up an unshowered existentially traumatized radical once you start really looking into things. The reason capitalism must be uncritically worshiped is because of the dread that would overtake our psyches if we ever examined the price humanity has payed in blood for it. A Nazi could only daydream about such horrors, welcomed with open arms and wallets.

      1. Now do the blood lost to socialism. It is considerably higher, after all.

  16. Actually, I suspect it is because he used a word with sexual context without obtaining prior consent from all cops.
    He is right on the edge of sexual assault here. If an actual cop had been within hearing distance, Goldberg would be up against the wall.

  17. Like with most people, I partly agree and partly disagree with them. This professor continues that trend.

    But calling Auburn “the right”? I’m going to need to see some evidence of that.

    1. Only if you go by being east of Montgomery – – – – –

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  19. Conflating this with cancel culture is idiotic. So goes Binion.

  20. It’s revealing Reason puts this up even as it ignores efforts by Cornell to cancel William Jacobson. Plus Binion minimizes the issue by pretending it is about a swear word instead of about an extreme anti-cop pathology.

    As I wrote that last sentence I started to laugh considering how many Reasoners harbor an extreme anti-cop pathology. Reason used to make an effort to push freedom for all sides regardless of partisanship. I guess we’re seeing the new breed of journalist here as well.

  21. Terrible reporting, as usual

    He was hired as an Instructor, not a tenured Professor. He is a dumbass kid months removed from school himself. He’s never taught anything.
    He gave an interview to a blog on being hired a few months ago, where he said he could never say “War Eagle”, because of war.
    He was hired to teach Critical Race Theory at one of the 5 most conservative major campuses in America
    When this quote hit the light of day last week, every single, and I mean Every single major donor was on the phone with the School Presidents office reading him the riot act. They hired a BLM activist for the same position a couple of years ago who was a major spreader of falsehoods and conspiracies about a couple of riotous Chicago cop shootings.

    1. Every major donor except a Tim Cook, probably

  22. In other words, it’s not just about Goldberg’s strong language, but his ideas and conservatives’ willingness to tolerate them.

    It’s revealing that entire industries (academia, media, etc) discriminate ideologically against non-leftists but only the tiny fraction of cases against left wingers draw any criticism.

  23. On one hand, he’s being hired to teach a class that has 0% to do with educating students about facts and 100% about teaching students to hold the same opinion as the professor, so his opinions do matter more than a law professor or a math professor. On the other hand, people should not be fired for their opinions outside of work.

    I think the real answer is he shouldn’t be fired. Instead his position should be eliminated. In any real class, he’d either have to actually teach or get fired for wasting students times, but the course he’s in charge of is fluff grievances. You can’t fire him for failing to teach when there is nothing for him to teach beside hate in the first place. So why the fuck does the job exist?

    1. He wasn’t supposed to tell the whole world he was teaching hate! What happens in Hate Class stays in class.

    2. He also objected to saying “War Eagle” on the grounds that he disapproves of war. “War Eagle” is Auburn’s battle cry for sports events and a standard greeting for members of the Auburn community off campus. He essentially rejected being part of the school community by that refusal.

    1. Why is it still called Reason?

      1. Who is John Galt?

  24. Such a dumb headline and poor journalism all around. He clearly wasn’t fired for saying “fuck”. If he had said “fuck the patriarchy” he would have gotten a promotion. Reason has been getting worse and worse these last few months (years?).

    1. He could have been promoted for “Buck Fama”

    2. You “where muh reason gone” people are nuts. I’ve been laughing at this den of retards since at least Weigel covered the 2008 election. Nothing here is significantly worse.

      1. Oh, it definitely is much worse

    3. Its pretty bad. There have been a slew of lazy, misleading, click-baity headlines (more than usual) all over lately.

      These guys take some incident, put the spin they need on it for whatever outlet, do the most superficial research imaginable, and try to make a coherent narrative out of the hour of research they spent looking into it. And this is what gets churned out with that process.

  25. The man is entitled to his opinions and so long as he is not representing the university or using a website or email account that affiliates him with the university, he should not be fired. However, eplace the word “cop” in this guy’s tweet with the word “black” or “homosexual” or “Lesbian” and see how many of the ‘outraged’ people would be defending him.

  26. This is a ridiculous article. It clearly wasn’t the swear word that got people upset. What he said is far more bigoted and vindictive that what the Left is cancelling people for.

    The Left wants to cancel Kindergarten Cops because it’s racist and pro-police. That’s cancel culture.

    Or J.K. Rowling for criticizing ideas associated with the trans rights movement.

    This is a false equivalency.

  27. Could have been worse, he could have said “Blue Lives Matter.” The resulting riots, looting, and arson would have lasted weeks.

  28. Yes, this too is ridiculous. The wand of cancellation can be wielded by left or right, and it is a wand of evil. Not sure why people can’t just argue why the clown is wrong, why his comfortable upper-middle class university life is only possible because police protect it.

  29. America – a festering, war-mongering, cronyism-laden shithole of a crumbling empire.

    Oh and fuck the Kochs…the Soros of the “right.” Of course, they have posed as libertarians, but they are actually rent-seeking pieces of shit.

  30. “Fuck” is not a swear word. It is merely a vulgarity. Swear words are words like “zounds” (i.e., “God’s wounds”) or “sblood” (i.e., “God’s blood”).

    1. Jesus shitfucking Christ too.

  31. Should cops be considered a suspect class?

    A suspect class is a class likely to suffer harmful discrimination. If people are likely to discriminate against a group of other people for individual infractions or for perceived group traits, then to the extent that intervention is considered good policy, you must intervene the same as you would any other suspect class, and for the same reason: to protect its individual members from harm due to this circumstance. It scarcely matters whether they chose to belong in the group or not.

    Bad copping is a separate issue. Cops clearly need more two-parent cop homes and should speak proper English and pull their cop pants up. Or whatever the problem is.

  32. Goldberg has been in the ill graces of the Auburn family since he openly refused to say War Eagle for a stupid (and pedantic) reason. I don’t agree with cutting ties with him yet, but the moment he lets his politics impact his grading of students who he disagrees with he should get tossed. Also, painting the home of the Mises Institute as a bastion for conservative cancel culture is pretty dumb. Especially since the politics of the university administration errs toward the liberal side of things (to the point of designating free speech zones on campus)

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