As calls for a University of North Carolina Wilmington professor whose tweets the school deemed "vile" grew louder, the university announced he had decided to retire.
Mike Adams, a sociology and criminology professor, has come under fire for previous tweets and publications, and recent tweets regarding racial justice protestors, coronavirus and other topics have sparked renewed pushback on social media.
On May 29, Adams tweeted: “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 a slave state of North Carolina. Massa Cooper, let my people go.” He was referring to Gov. Roy Cooper's measures put in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus. “Massa” is a dialect term that is often used in a mocking way to mimic what users imagine was the pronunciation that enslaved people used for “master.”
"When I tell covid 19 jokes people seem to get them right off the bat," Adams had tweeted earlier in the month.
After protesters took to the streets following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, Adams shared: "Rioters don’t care about social issues. They are thugs looking for an opportunity to break the law with impunity."
And another May tweet from Adams read: "Don't shut down the universities. Shut down the non essential majors. Like Women's Studies."
As more people began to publicly criticize Adams, he responded: "When you write the university asking them to fire me don’t forget to leave a mailing address so I can send you a box of panty liners."
A statement from the university earlier this month called Adams' tweets "vile" and said "the university's constitutional obligations and support of free expression do not lessen our disgust when those viewpoints offend or otherwise upset those who read these comments."
On Monday, a statement from Chancellor Jose V. Sartarelli said, "Over the past several weeks, many of you have inquired about the status of a UNCW faculty member, Dr. Mike Adams, in light of the public attention generated by comments he made on his personal social media channels."
"We can now share the update that after a discussion with Chancellor Sartarelli, Dr. Adams has decided to retire from UNCW, effective August 1, 2020," the statement said.
Two separate Change.org petitions calling for Adams' removal from his position had garnered about 90,000 signatures, and a Facebook group called "Justice And Equality For UNCW: Soaring to Stop Hate #CancelMikeAdams" has nearly 8,000 members.
Adams is the author of the book "Feminists Say the Darndest Things: A Politically Incorrect Professor Confronts 'Womyn' on Campus."
He also faced backlash after publishing an article titled "A 'Queer Muslim' Jihad?" questioning a student activist at the University of North Carolina Wilmington who identified as both queer and Muslim.
Adams was awarded $50,000 in backpay and a $9,000 raise in a settlement with the university after he sued claiming that school had denied him a promotion because he expressed his views, violating his First Amendment rights, according to Wilmington's StarNews.