A University of Delaware professor has come under fire for arguing that Otto Warmbier, who passed away after being imprisoned by the North Korean government for over a year, deserved his fate because he was an affluent white male.
“Is it wrong of me to think that Otto Warmbier got exactly what he deserved?” University of Delaware Professor Katherine Dettwyler wrote on her Facebook page and in the comments section of a National Review article on the left’s reaction to Warmbier’s death. “He went to North Korea, for f*ck’s sake, and then acted like a spoiled, naive, arrogant US college student who had never had to face the consequences of his actions. I see him crying at his sentencing hearing and think ‘What did you expect?’”
Breitbart reports that Dettwyler drew a parallel between Warmbier’s alleged stealing of a propaganda poster with “white males routinely [getting] away with raping women” in the United States. This comparison served as a suggestion that he had been conditioned to act recklessly by the society in which he grew up and that for the alleged crime of stealing a poster, Otto Warmbier deserved his fate.
Dettwyler wrote on her personal Facebook page on Tuesday that Warmbier was “typical of a mindset of a lot of the young, white, rich, clueless males who come into my classes.”
Her since-deleted remarks came a day after Warmbier died – less than a week after he returned to the U.S. in a mysterious coma.
Dettwyler’s remarks sparked a wave of fury on social media, calling for the school to fire her and prompting the University of Delaware to issue a statement.
— Univ. of Delaware (@UDelaware) June 23, 2017
The New York Daily News reported that the school’s student government said in a five-paragraph statement issued Friday that her posted was “highly inappropriate.”
“While we are supporters of free speech, we believe that the comments made by Dettwyler are assumptive and offensive,” the statement said. “It is not our duty to make assumptions on the case of Otto Warmbier without all the fact necessary, but we believe that stating he deserved death is highly inappropriate and lacks both professionalism and empathy.”
As Warmbier’s family grieved, the professor railed.
“These are the same kids who cry about their grades because they didn’t think they’d really have to read and study the material to get a good grade … His parents ultimately are to blame for his growing up thinking he could get away with whatever he wanted,” read the deleted post, which was captured by the News Journal.
“Maybe in the US, where young, white, rich, clueless white males routinely get away with raping women. Not so much in North Korea. And of course, it’s Ottos’ parents who will pay the price for the rest of their lives.”
When asked by the News Journal if action would be taken against Dettwyler, a spokeswoman for the school declined to say.
“We are not able to comment on the specifics of her employment,” she told the newspaper. “Personnel matters are confidential.”
Dettwyler couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.