Stars, including from the popular television series “One Tree Hill,” are banding together and urging that a North Carolina professor be removed from his post after sending a tweet calling the state’s governor “Massa Cooper.”
“This evening I ate pizza and drank beer with six guys at a six seat table top,” Mike Adams began in a tweet on May 29. “I almost felt like a free man who was not living in the slave state of North Carolina. Massa Cooper, let my people go!”
The criminology and sociology instructor appeared to tweet in reference to the executive order signed by Gov. Roy Cooper that placed a limit on social gatherings amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Sophia Bush attends the Time 100 Gala, celebrating the 100 most influential people in the world, at Frederick P. Rose Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center on Tuesday, April 23, 2019, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
Adams was met with pushback from social media users days later and soon after his tweet made the rounds, an online petition – which describes Adams as “a thorn in the side” of the school – was created calling for the University of North Carolina Wilmington lecturer to be fired from his job at the higher education institution.
Garnering more than 57,000 signatures as of publication, the petition has caught the attention of some in Hollywood who are now joining the effort in demanding the university serve Adams his walking papers.
Adams also came under fire in 2018 when faculty members at the University of Montana moved to stop a campus visit from Adams to their school, alleging in a drafted letter that Adams has “a long record of mocking, demeaning and verbally attacking women, people of color, members of the Islamic faith and the LGBTQ community,” according to The News & Observer.
On Monday, “American Gods” star Orlando Jones – who is a Wilmington, N.C., resident – tweeted that having Adams “educating young minds is a PROBLEM!”
Jones’ tweet sparked “One Tree Hill” alum Sophia Bush to echo his sentiment and called for fans to mobilize in Wilmington, where “Sleepy Hollow,” which Jones starred more than 30 episodes, filmed.
“This feels like another change for Wilmington that the #OTHfam could make some noise about,” Bush fumed in her Twitter post, tagging the university and asking “How do you employ this person?!?”
Hilarie Burton attends the Build Series to discuss ‘A Christmas Wish’ at Build Studio on November 19, 2019 in New York City.
(Jim Spellman/Getty Images)
Meanwhile, Hilarie Burton, who appeared in 130 episodes of the hit CW series “One Tree Hill” from 2003 to 2009, pressed that Adams’ “harassment+hostility toward women and POC is unconscionable” and added that she would be “actively discouraging” students from attending UNC Wilmington “until Adams is removed.”
Despite the concerted efforts put forth by everyone who has signed the petition and wrote to the university, Adams appeared to hardly be fazed by the onslaught of online criticism and took to Twitter once more to respond to the backlash, writing, “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.”
The university has also released a statement calling the comments “vile” without naming Adams. “No matter how upsetting and distasteful the comments may be, they are expressions of free speech and protected by the First Amendment,” the statement said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report