Uju Anya, Carnegie Prof Who Wished Queen Pain, Says Job Is Safe

A photo of the back of the late Queen Elizabeth II walking up the red stairs is shown.

Professor Uju Anya has said her job at Carnegie Mellon University is safe.
Photo: Ronny Hartmann/AFP (Getty Images)

Carnegie Mellon professor Uju Anya, who unleashed a social media storm last week when she wished the late Queen Elizabeth II “excruciating pain” in death in a tweet, is back on Twitter. In an update, she thanked the people who supported her, and assured them that nothing was going to happen to her job at the university.

Anya had been locked out of her Twitter account after she posted a tweet on Sept. 8, which Twitter subsequently deleted, that said, “May her [Queen Elizabeth II’s] pain be excruciating.” Anya made her comments in response to the United Kingdom’s dark colonial past, which included support for Nigeria in the country’s war against the breakaway Republic of Biafra in the 1960s. Millions died as a result of that war, including some people from Anya’s family.

“If anyone expects me to express anything but disdain for the monarch who supervised a government that sponsored the genocide that massacred and displaced half my family and the consequences of which those alive today are still trying to overcome, you can keep wishing upon a star, Anya said in a tweet, which remains up, in response to the criticism.

What followed was a soap opera-level drama, featuring real-life scenes in which: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos criticized Anya; Carnegie Mellon disavowed her tweet after Bezos posted his tweet (Amazon is one of the university’s donors); and students, faculty, and staff started online letters to support her and help protect her job.

On Tuesday, Anya announced that she was back on Twitter. Her first order of business was thanking her supporters, which included her partner Sirry Alang. Anya said she was grateful for everyone who had tweeted, spoken out, organized letters, and done whatever they could to support her.

“All of you showed me I have people in my life, in my new city of Pittsburgh, in my university, in this country, and around the world. I am deeply grateful to you, my people, for holding me in strength and community,” the professor wrote.

When it comes to her job as a professor of critical applied linguistics at Carnegie Mellon, Anya told her supporters and haters alike that she would not be going anywhere.

“From what I’ve been told, there is no plan to sanction or fire me, and my job is not in jeopardy. My university leadership showed very clearly that they did not approve of my speech; however, they stand in firm support of my freedom of expression on my own personal social media,” Anya tweeted. She added: “I am not in a battle with Carnegie Mellon University. As the letters of support from the students, faculty, staff, and others in my university community clearly show, I am wanted and I belong here.”

Gizmodo reached out to Carnegie Mellon on Anya’s remarks on Twitter on Wednesday but did not receive a response by the time of publication.

In addition, as anyone who goes viral knows, popup accounts on other social media platforms are one of the consequences. Anya addressed that as well, underscoring that she is not on Facebook and that her Instagram is private. She too pointed out that she is not involved in Nigerian politics and is not affiliated with any political party, leader, or movement.

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