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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Temple University professor is under fire for what she allegedly wrote online, but she’s fighting back against those claims.
Journalism Professor Francesca Viola is accused of making anti-Muslim remarks on a conspiracy theory site.
Temple University says it’s looking into allegations claiming that she posted conspiracy theories and anti-Muslim remarks online.
Viola was identified on Twitter by Joshua Benton, director of Harvard’s Nieman Journalism Lab, as the user behind the account name “truthseeker.”
Benton screenshotted and tweeted several of the posts.
In one of the posts, truthseeker’s comment reads,”Scum. Deport them. They hate us. Get rid of them.” in response to an article about Muslims praying in front of Trump Tower New York, according to Benton’s tweet. The post was allegedly made on a conservative conspiracy theory site.
Temple University has responded to the allegations, saying they are “looking into the situation and putting the facts together.” According to Temple’s statement, Viola has admitted to writing some of the posts.
“Professor Viola has admitted to writing some but not all of these posts and specifically denies writing the post that is derogatory of Muslim protesters, a comment we find particularly abhorrent,” the university said in a statement. “We are troubled by the content of some of the other cited posts but acknowledge that those in the Temple community are entitled to exercise free speech within constitutional parameters.”
Viola called it “false accusations.”
“I am deeply troubled by false accusations that I harbor anti-Muslim sentiments. I would encourage those interested to look at the work my students and I have done on behalf of the Muslim community.
According to her bio on Temple’s site, Viola teaches courses in broadcast news writing, TV news reporting, and journalism and the law.