On Tuesday, a Delaware University professor wrote a Facebook post saying the North Korean prisoner, Otto Warmbier, “got exactly what he deserved,” sparking controversy among students.

Her Post

Katherine Dettwyler, an anthropology professor at Delaware University, wrote a post on her Facebook account on Tuesday saying Otto Warmbier, the North Korean prisoner, “got exactly what he deserved.” She described Warmbier to have “the typical mindset of a lot of young, rich, clueless males who come into my classes.” Accusing him of “growing up thinking he could get away with anything.”

“Is it wrong of me to think that Otto Warmbier got exactly what he deserved?” her post said.

“He went to North Korea, for **** sake, and then acted like a spoiled, naïve, arrogant, US college student who had never had to face the consequences of his actions. I see him crying at his sentencing hearing and think “What did you expect?” How about a few moments of thought given to all the other people in North Korea who are suffering under the repressive government there? Just because they are North Koreans and not US citizens, we shouldn’t care about them?”

She also said: “These are the same kids who cry about their grades because they didn’t think they’d really have to read and study the material to get a good grade. His parents ultimately are to blame for his growing up thinking he could get away with whatever he wanted,” her post said.

“Maybe in the US, where young, white, rich, clueless white males routinely get away with raping women. Not so much in North Korea. And of course, it’s Otto’s parents who will pay the price for the rest of their lives,” she continued to say.

Her post sparked an outrage on the Internet, and she deleted the post. However, many had already screen grabbed the post and shared it around. Many have called for her firing by the university

The University’s Response

On Friday, the University commented on the controversy condemning her actions.

“We condemn any and all messages that endorse hate and convey insensitivity toward a tragic event such as the one that Otto Warmbier and his family suffered.”

“The University of Delaware values respect and civility and we are committed to global education and study abroad; therefore we find these comments particularly distressing and inconsistent with our values. Our sympathies are with the Warmbier family.”

The university also responded to tweets from Paul Watson and Ann Coulter who asked them whether or not they condemn her words.


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