A visiting University of Tampa professor of sociology was fired Tuesday after he suggested in a tweet Sunday that Texans deserved Hurricane Harvey because of their support for President Donald Trump in the 2016 election.
University spokesman Eric Cardenas said in a statement that Kenneth Storey was fired after the school weathered an outpouring of online outrage over the comments.
Officials said other faculty in the sociology department would take over Storey’s classes.
“We condemn the comments and the sentiment behind them, and understand the pain this irresponsible act has caused,” the school said in a statement to The University of Tampa community. “As Floridians, we are well aware of the destruction and suffering associated with tropical weather. Our thoughts and prayers are with all impacted by Hurricane Harvey.”
Storey tweeted Sunday: “I don’t believe in instant Karma but this kinda feels like it for Texas,” according to Campus Reform. “Hopefully this will help them realize the GOP doesn’t care about them.”
Responding to a commenter who pushed back on the tweet, Storey reportedly wrote: “Well, the good people there need to do more to stop the evil their state pushes. I’m only blaming those who support the GOP there.”
The commenter asked Storey if Trump supporters in Florida deserved a similar fate.
“Yep, those who voted for him here deserve it as well.”
After the tweet started to make waves on social media, the professor tweeted Monday afternoon: “I deeply regret a statement I posted yesterday. I never meant to wish ill will upon any group. I hope all affected by Harvey recover quickly.”
He ultimately deleted the original tweet, according to Campus Reform.
Harvey has been blamed for as many as 15 deaths including six family members who were believed to have drowned when their van was swept away by floodwaters.
The storm has dumped more than 30 inches of rain in parts of Texas and crews have rescued thousands of people left stranded by the storm.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.