Anti-LGBTQ Professor Found Dead at Home of Gunshot Wound After 'Erratic' Behavior

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Thursday July 30, 2020

Mike Adams
Mike Adams  (Source:Mike Adams / Twitter)

A North Carolina university professor with a long and contentious history of racist and homophobic commentary online and in right-wing publications was found dead in his home after a concerned friend contacted authorities and requested a wellness check, reports NBC News.

Mike Adams, who taught criminology at University of North Carolina Wilmington, had been set to retire Aug. 1, news reports said. That retirement date had been pushed up following a social media post that prompted alumni - including a former university board member - to call for Adam's removal and vow to withhold donations to the university as long as he was still on the faculty.

News reports said that the concerned friend who requested the wellness check told authorities that Adams' conduct had been "erratic" in the days leading up to his death. News reports also said that Adams was found dead of a "gunshot wound," but that no foul play was suspected to have occurred.

Adams had long targeted women, LGBTQs, and racial minorities in his social media posts and in commentary written for right-wing publications. In one column titled "Rape Wins," he wrote about a man's having hired a photographer with "moral" qualms to take photos at his same-sex wedding, equating the hire with rape.

UK newspaper The Sun reported how at another juncture, during the Obama years, Adams slammed the inclusion of openly trans servicemembers in the military, posting "The government wants to keep semi-automatic weapons out of the hands of normal citizens & put the transgendered in combat with machine guns."

But the last straw came in the form of a tweet on May 29, when Adams slammed NC Gov. Roy Cooper's actions seeking to limit the spread of COVID-19.

As NC Policy Watch reported at the time, Adams posted:

"This evening I ate pizza and drank beer with six guys at a six seat table top. I almost felt like a free man who was not living in the slave state of North Carolina."

The post went on to add:

"Massa Cooper, let my people go!"

It was a step too far for the university, which had decried Adams' rhetoric but defended his First Amendment rights. As pressure mounted from students, faculty, and alumni, the university announced it was "reviewing all options" in considering how to respond.

One prominent critic, a former UNCW board member named Gary Shipman, took to Facebook to denounced Adams' rhetoric.

As NC Policy Watch reports, Shipman wrote that "No one of common intelligence could read Prof. Adams's rants and ever believe them to be 'protected speech.' "

Shipman said that Adams' comments had "caused... disruption" to the university, and that while claiming First Amendment freedoms for himself, Adams had "substantially interfered with the protected free expression rights of others."

Wrote Shipman:

Prof. Adams has 'harassed' and abused students and others who have dared to take issue with him. He has used the 'authority' of his position to endorse his 'agenda.'

In the end, Adams' retirement, originally scheduled for 2024, was pushed up to Aug. 1 of this year.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

Comments on Facebook