On Wednesday, Columbia University terminated its psychiatry department because it posted a racially insensitive retweet about the South Sudanese model Nyakim Gatwetch, reports the Huffington Post.
Jeffrey Liberman is no longer the head of the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons nor the chief psychiatrist at Columbia University Irving Medical Center/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, following an email shared with faculty and Columbia staff and obtained by NBC News.
Lieberman’s dismissal was fast and furious after he commented on the Gatwech, writing: “Whether it’s a work of art or a freak of nature, it’s a beautiful sight to see. to see.” according to at NBC News.
Lieberman directed his remarks at the dark-skinned Gatwech seen in a photo another user posted and insulting referred to her as an “it”. The photo claims that the Guinness World Record lists Gatwech as having the darkest skin on the planet; however, Guinness deny define any record keeping based on skin tones.
A highly regarded psychiatrist, Lieberman deleted the tweet and apologized for posting such an offensive message.
“TWEET DELETED. My sincere apologies for any offense and indiscretion. Live and learn,” he wrote, but not before Twitter users took screenshots of his comments. Lieberman then closed his account.
Gatwech called her views ‘straightforward racism’, she noted at NBC New York.
“Coming from someone with so much power, it was so disappointing,” she added and posted the tweet on her Instagram page.
Members of the medical community were quick to condemn his remarks. Especially when Lieberman holds such a high position at one of the best educational institutions in the country and systemic racial bias against black patients is so pervasive in the healthcare system.
“It also makes me wonder what other things about people of color that doctors like him and others think are ‘weird’ and how that affects the way they provide care to those people,” Dr Heather said. Irobunda, an obstetrician in New York. -gynecologist commented on his Instagram page.
Dr. Ima Ebong, assistant professor of neurology at the University of Kentucky, also expressed concern in a tweet about Lieberman’s troubling perspective on Blackness, “[this is] why we need more black leaders in medicine… Calling us “Freaks of nature” is racist, fetishizes our bodies and is rooted in slavery and colonialism. Shameful.”
Why we need more black leaders in medicine…
Calling ourselves “Freaks of nature” is racist, fetishizes our bodies, and is rooted in slavery and colonialism. Shameful. #medtwitter
Columbia University Department of Psychiatry Chairman Called Out for Racist Tweet | NewsOne https://t.co/OYcZSNbfZj
— Ima Ebong, MD (@ImaEbongMD) February 23, 2022
On Tuesday, Lieberman issued a formal apology in an email to colleagues acknowledging his tweet as ‘racist and sexist’ and expressed remorse saying he was ‘deeply ashamed’, according to an email from the spokesperson. from Columbia sent to NBC News.
“An apology from me to the black community, to women and to all of you is not enough,” Liberman’s email said. “I’ve hurt a lot and I’m beginning to understand the work that needs to be done to make the necessary personal changes and, over time, regain your trust.”