Journalism Professor Reinstated Months After Suspension for ‘Stupid as F*ck People’ Tweet

Karl Marx, Kirstie Alley, Twitter and Internet trolls dramatically intermingled in a recent blow-up involving a journalism professor Down Under. The biggest takeaway lesson of the whole shebang: Don’t curse people out on a social media platform — unless you have tenure.

The 90-second backstory: Martin Hirst, a j-prof at Australia’s Deakin University, once snapped a photo of himself standing near the grave of Karl Marx. He then made the pic his Twitter profile shot, earning enough buzz that a journalist later proclaimed it “the finest leftie selfie ever taken.” Cute, in a cheeky way — except not everyone thought so.

Instead, a growing gaggle of Internet trolls — and later a prominent conservative columnist — attacked Hirst for the selfie (and it seems other real and imagined offenses). This spring, Hirst finally lost it and posted a copy of a tweet that actress and weight loss guru Kirstie Alley once sent to her own haters.

The 140-character smackdown (with the letter ‘u’, ahem, blotted out): “To my trolls … dear stupid as f*ck people who just like to be stupid, go be stupid with other stupid people. #stupidf*ckcity.”

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Deakin’s response: Oh no he didn’t. The Guardian: “The university suspended Hirst without pay for serious misconduct, amid claims he had brought the university into disrepute.” An investigation followed and the final outcome was up in the air.

Fortunately, 150 of his fellow faculty members and some doctoral candidates recently intervened, writing and mass signing a letter on his behalf. Deakin admins have apparently been swayed by the show of support and just reinstated Hirst.

What do you think? An ultimate victory for free speech? One more social media cautionary tale? An indirect ode to the continuing influence of Marxist imagery? Or a fable for why you should think twice about posting historical-figure-grave selfies?

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