Conservative columnist fired from Mizzou student paper
A conservative columnist was fired from the University of Missouri’s student newspaper after writing a column that criticized the Black Lives Matter movement.
Chris Vas, who began the school year as an editorial columnist for The Maneater, garnered criticism on campus for at least two of his preliminary op-eds—one criticizing what he considers the excesses of the BLM movement, and the other questioning President Obama’s controversial transgender bathroom mandate.
On Monday, shortly after the articles ran, The Maneater announced his firing.
The newspaper, however, denied that it terminated Vas due to a difference of opinion, asserting instead that he was fired because he coordinated with a friend to share his columns in a social justice-themed Facebook group using “inciting language.”
“We fired him because we cannot have members of our staff actively seeking to spark controversy rather than foster healthy discussions,” they said.
Vas’s friend posted the article with the comments: “Look at this. Why is our campus publishing hate speech??” which Vas told Campus Reform was intended to be stated sarcastically.
Vas later asserted that his friend asked to post the article in the group with those comments, and that he agreed, but insisted “it wasn’t a calculated attack move,” adding, “it just happened organically.”
It is also hard to decide which comments are meant to spark controversy and which are meant to foster a healthy discussion, he added, referencing the newspaper’s statement on the firing.
Although the newspaper maintains that it did not fire him over the content of any of his columns, the editors did note that they “regret the hurt we know this column caused to people and communities on this campus” in their statement announcing Vas’ dismissal.
Vas, though, questioned this comment, pointing out that “if it had nothing to do with the content, why apologize for it?”
In an earlier shake-up at The Maneater, he noted, a staffer leaked debate questions to a candidate in order improve the candidate’s performance, yet while the paper did terminate the staffer, his name was not released.
Vas contrasted that case with his own “very public firing,” speculating that the difference had everything to do with ideological differences.
“I believe that I was wrongly fired in order to pander to the social justice warriors at Mizzou,” he declared emphatically.
Vas told Campus Reform that he has received major backlash on social media for his article, including some unambiguously racist tweets.
One tweet asked “Which white asshole wrote this shit?” while another read “white people suck.”
“LMFAOOOOOO they got yo bitch ass up out of here peace out!!!!” one particularly venomous tweet began. “Journalism is not for you to pick another dream! God bless!”
Even before his firing, Vas said he had gotten the distinct impression that his views were not particularly welcome, noting that he only had the chance to write three conservative-leaning columns before his firing, whereas several liberal opinion pieces are published on a daily basis.
Campus Reform reached out to The Maneater for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.
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