WILMINGTON, N.C. -- Celebrities from the former hit TV show One Tree Hill are calling on University of North Carolina Wilmington to remove a professor after he called Governor Roy Cooper "Massa Cooper."
Mike Adams tweeted in May he dined with six men and said he "felt like a free man who was not living in the slave state of North Carolina" before adding "Massa Cooper, let my people go!"
Actress Sophia Bush and her former co-star, Hilarie Burton Morgan, are now calling on fans of the TV show to take action to remove Adams from the university.
UNCW posted the following statement on its website:
UNCW is aware of the outrage and sadness being expressed in regard to comments made by a UNCW faculty member.
Hateful, hurtful language aimed at degrading others is contrary to our university values and our commitment to an environment of respect and dignity. Its appearance on any platform, including the personal platforms of anyone affiliated with UNCW, is absolutely reprehensible. However, no matter how upsetting and distasteful the comments may be, they are expressions of free speech and protected by the First Amendment. We review any perceived threats that are brought to our attention, and at this point, the conduct and materials at issue do not contain any evidence of a true physical threat toward any members of our community.
That said, please know that the university's constitutional obligations and support of free expression do not lessen our disgust when those viewpoints offend or otherwise upset those who read these comments. These comments may be protected, but that is not an excuse for how vile they are. We stand firmly against these and all other expressions of hatred. We cannot and will not ignore them. The university is reviewing all options in terms of addressing the matter.
We know this isn't a fully satisfactory response to your concerns. We want to encourage all UNCW students and employees to continue to utilize university procedures and policies to raise issues or complaints related to discrimination, harassment, and/or possible threats. Further, we encourage everyone in our audience to fully engage in their rights of free expression.
The show had been filmed in Wilmington, North Carolina.