College professor: ‘I tried not to vomit’ when passenger gave up seat to soldier

(WSVN) - A Pennsylvania college professor sparked outrage on Twitter after he disparaged an airline passenger who gave up their first-class seat for a soldier.

Drexel University professor George Ciccariello-Maher tweeted about his reaction to the act of kindness he witnessed on the plane.

“Some guy gave up his first-class seat for a uniformed soldier. People are thanking him,” he wrote. “I’m trying not to vomit or yell about Mosul.”

U.S. troops are supporting Iraqi forces to oust the Islamic State from Mosul, one of the last major cities the terrorist group still holds in the region.

When asked in an interview why the act of kindness prompted his tweet, Ciccariello-Maher called it an “empty gesture,” and said he wants the government to enact policies that help both members of the U.S. military and innocent civilians.

It wasn’t the first time Ciccariello-Maher faced criticism for his social media posts. In December, he wrote, “All I want for Christmas is white genocide.” He later deleted the tweet, but claimed the post was satire.

After tweeting about the plane incident, Ciccariello-Maher made his Twitter account private.

A spokesperson for Drexel University released a statement regarding the professor’s latest tweet:

“The recent social media comments by George Ciccariello-Maher, Associate Professor of Politics and Global Studies at Drexel, were made outside the classroom, are his own opinion and do not represent the University’s views. Drexel is committed to and vigorously supports our ROTC students, student veterans and alumni who have served in the military. Our support for student veterans has helped us create an inclusive campus culture that honors service and Drexel’s deep connection to American military history.”

Ciccariello-Maher gave a statement to Fox 29 in Philadelphia about the controversy surrounding his post:

“Two days after U.S. airstrikes incinerated an estimated 200 civilians in the Iraqi city of Mosul, I sent a personal tweet in reaction to what I considered a smug and self-congratulatory gesture by a first-class passenger toward a uniformed soldier. Maybe predictably, my tweet has since been fed into and misrepresented by the outrage machine that is right-wing media. Needless to say, my personal views expressed off-campus have absolutely nothing to do with those of my employer, Drexel University. I respect anyone who makes difficult and dangerous decisions out of economic necessity — whether they are public school teachers, construction workers, economic migrants, or young soldiers. What I don’t respect is a brutal invasion and occupation of Iraq that has not made our world any safer — a war that has taken advantage of economically disadvantaged Americans, a war that has given the world ISIS, and a war that has wrought carnage like that seen in Mosul and elsewhere. The best way to support troops is not with symbolic gestures and first-class seats, but by bringing them home safely, by ensuring that women in uniform are not subjected to what is an epidemic of sexual assault, and by providing dignified medical and psychological care. Those who today claim to demand respect for the troops show little in the way of respect for how they are treated in and out of the military.”

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