Kasey Funderburg, a college sports reporter in America, has lost her job after historical racist tweets re-surfaced online.
The University of Tennessee reporter called out a racist joke made by a popular Tennessee parody account this week, before social media users dug up Funderburg's old tweets that were racist in themselves.
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The 'Richard G. West' account had tweeted: “Tennessee will be announcing Dark Mode for the 7pm matchup this Saturday against Kentucky. All fans will be asked to wear black clothes and paint their face all black as well.”
Funderburg quoted the tweet and told fans not to paint their faces black, while also calling the comments 'disgusting'.
“THIS IS A FAKE ACCOUNT and it’s disgusting that this person thinks putting out a joke like this is okay. Please don’t believe everything you read on Twitter,” Funderburg posted.
In a separate tweet she wrote: “A person who thinks it’s funny to put out that Tennessee is asking fans to wear blackface is disgusting. This is where I stand.”
But Funderburg then became the target of social media sleuths, who dug up racist tweets she'd made using the N-word between 2013 and 2014 when she was 17 and 18 years old.
Screenshots of the tweets were then posted online, which saw Funderburg lose her job.
Kasey Funderburg loses job over old tweets
Funderburg has since been fired by the University of Tennessee and has resigned from her role at Knox News.
She has also been removed from 'VFL Films' and 'Vol Calls' - a weekly call-in show for UT coaches - while her University of Tennessee profile has been deleted.
“The comments I tweeted as a high school student were unacceptable and ignorant. I sincerely apologise for using offensive language and to anyone I hurt or offended with those remarks,” Funderburg wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.
“I take full responsibility for my actions. This language is not appropriate in any context and has not been part of my vocabulary since then.
“Moving forward, I will continue my work to be a better ally so that I may promote a more inclusive society where everyone is welcome.”
There is now a petition calling for her to be reinstated at Vol Network, which has garnered over 1000 signatures.
“We want Kasey to know we are here to help and want her to have her job at Vol Network back and we know what she said was wrong but she clearly has changed because she was trying to stop someone racist and we love Kasey and her work at VFL,” the petition states.
Fans and journalists have also been quick to defend the 26-year-old online.
Clay Travis of Outkick tweeted: "Shame on the University of Tennessee for firing a great employee based on Tweets she sent back in high school. We have to stop this absurd practice of canceling people for things they did on social media as teenagers. It’s indefensible."
Shame on the University of Tennessee for firing a great employee based on Tweets she sent back in high school. We have to stop this absurd practice of canceling people for things they did on social media as teenagers. It’s indefensible. https://t.co/6dGe53eTXB
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) October 27, 2022
Last spring Kasey Funderburg came to speak to 15 video journalism students to help them grow. I’ve been a teacher for over 25 years—kids change; they grow because their brain grows. Google it. Frontal lobe development is science. https://t.co/av47gutPiD
— Kristi Atchley (@kristiatchley) October 27, 2022
Major L by the university for firing Kasey Funderburg.
— #1 Hendo Cinco (@HendoCinco) October 27, 2022
I'm telling you right now if someone went after Kasey Funderburg you got issues. I know her family and they are great people. You will find no better around. So if I see some bullshit you're gonna answer for it.
— Big Ridge Vol (@bigridge68) October 27, 2022
If Kasey Funderburg is fired over something she said before she was even a teenager, it will be an absolute travesty. Cannot fathom why there are people who love to destroy others’ lives. Rules for thee, not for me. #keepkasey
— Benji Sharrett (@BenjiSharrett) October 27, 2022
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