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Professor fired after saying Otto Warmbier was a 'clueless white male' who 'got what he deserved'

The Independent logo The Independent 26/06/2017 Emily Shugerman

© Provided by Independent Print Limited An adjunct college professor who suggested Otto Warmbier “got exactly what he deserved” has lost her position at the University of Delaware.

Professor Katherine Dettwyler recently posted a Facebook status about Mr Warmbier, the 22-year-old college student who died after being held in captivity by the North Korean government.

Mr Warmbier visited North Korea with a tour group in January 2016, and was detained upon exit for allegedly stealing a government poster. When he was returned to his family earlier this month, he was in a state of “unresponsive wakefulness,” unable to speak or respond to commands. He died last Monday of unknown causes.

In a since-deleted Facebook post, Ms Dettwyler reportedly compared Mr Warmbier to her own students who “cry about their grades because they didn’t think they’d really have to read and study the material”.

“His parents ultimately are to blame for his growing up thinking he could get away with whatever he wanted,” she continued, according to the Philly Inquirer. “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.”

The professor reportedly doubled down on her stance in comments on a National Review article, writing that some of her students “think nothing of raping drunk girls at frat parties and snorting cocaine, cheating on exams, and threatening professors with physical violence”.

The comments reflect a growing opinion in some circles that Mr Warmbier’s race and social status played a role in his death.

“When will we stop and consider that Otto Warmbier ultimately made a deadly choice to travel to North Korea?” reporter Terrell Star tweeted, adding, “Did his privilege blind him from making a deadly choice?”

The sentiments echo those expressed in a Huffington Post article written after Mr Warmbier’s sentencing last year, titled, “North Korea Proves Your White Male Privilege Is Not Universal”.

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