A University of Virginia professor has taken a leave of absence from the school after his comments comparing Black Lives Matter to the Klu Klux Klan came under fire.
Douglas Muir, who teaches at UVA’s engineering school, commented on a photo of a recent appearance by Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza in Charlottesville, saying Black Lives Matter is the biggest “racist” organization since the KKK, The Daily Mail reported.
“Black lives matter is the biggest rasist organisation [sic] since the clan,” Muir said in the comment. “Are you kidding me. Disgusting!!!”
Garza was speaking at an event titled “Rooting Out Injustice: Poverty, Race and the Role of Legal Aid” at the nearby Paramount Theater.
Muir deleted his comment after the backlash, but that hasn’t stopped his critics from saying he should be fired from his teaching gig or from telling people to boycott his restaurant that he owns with his wife in Charlottesville.
The university condemned Muir’s actions and told the community that Muir would be preparing a public statement.
“While free speech and open discussion are fundamental principles of our nation and the University, Mr. Muir’s comment was entirely inappropriate. UVA Engineering does not condone actions that undermine our values, dedication to diversity and educational mission,” the university said in a statement.
The mayor of Charlottesville, Wes Bellamy, called for the public to boycott Muir’s restaurant “Bella’s Restaurant” in an Instagram post.
“The notion that #BlackLivesMatter can be comparable to the Ku Klux Klan is not only incredibly misguided, but goes to show the lack of cultural awareness that still plagues many professors at our Universities across the country,” the mayor wrote on his Instagram account.
The NAACP has also called for Muir to be fired from the university.
“Not only should they drop his class, the university should get rid of him, if they can,” an NAACP representative, Rick Turner, told WVIR-TV. “They should not allow him to stand in front of students again.”
Muir is expected to make a public statement soon.