Lisa Durden, filmmaker, political commentator, Black Lives Matter activist and professor at Essex College, is apparently paying a stiff price for her contentious appearance on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
She has been suspended indefinitely from her teaching duties.
“They did this to humiliate me,” Durden told NJ.com. “Essex County College publicly lynched me in front of my students.”
Two weeks ago, Durden appeared on the Fox News program to defend Black Lives Matter for hosting an all-black Memorial Day party in Brooklyn. People of other races were not permitted to attend.
The interview quickly turned into a heated argument when Durden shot back at Carlson’s criticism of the organization’s exclusion, saying: “What I say to that is, ‘Boo hoo hoo.’ You white people are angry because you couldn’t use your white privilege card to get invited to the Black Lives Matter all-black Memorial Day Celebration.”
The two sparred throughout the interview, with Carlson finally telling Durden that she was “demented,” while adding: “You’re sick, and what you’re saying is disgusting, and if you were a Nazi, I’d say the same thing to you, because what you are saying is indistinguishable to what they are saying.”
Apparently the administration at the New Jersey campus wasn’t thrilled with her appearance. Two days later when she arrived back at school, she was told to cancel her classes and report to human resources.
A letter signed by the vice president of academic affairs, Jeffrey Lee, said Durden was suspended “until further notice.” According to NJ.com, the letter did not mention her Fox News segment, but school officials made it a point to mention it to her in person.
In a meeting with Lee and Assistant Director of Human Resources Karen Bridgett, Durden said Bridgett told her someone “complained” that she associated herself with the college during the television show appearance.
Durden argued that wasn’t true and proved it with a clip of the segment. In the six-minute interview, she is called a political commentator and is never represented as being a professor at Essex County College. She said she was representing herself while advocating for Black Lives Matter.
“There’s got to be some other agenda,” Durden’s lawyer, Leslie Farber, told NJ.com. “It seems to me they’re going to make up some reason. We’ve got to figure out what that is and why. Is she too outspoken?”
Colleagues have started an online petition for Essex College to reinstate Durden. It has amassed more than 800 signatures.