A professor at Carnegie Mellon University who sparked outrage on social media after wishing Queen Elizabeth “excruciating” pain on her deathbed defended her comments in a recent podcast.
“I said what I f—ing said,” Carnegie Mellon University professor Uju Anya said on the “This Week in White Supremacy” podcast, explaining that she was “triggered” by news of the late monarch’s deteriorating condition due to the “pain and trauma” her family in Nigeria suffered in the late 1960s.
Anya’s mother was present in Nigeria in 1967, seven years after Nigeria achieved independence from the U.K. during Queen Elizabeth’s rule, when England backed the Nigerian government in a civil war that led to the death and displacement of millions.
“It went deep into pain and trauma for me due to my family experience with the rule of this monarch,” Anya said.
Anya drew strong criticism on social media last week when she wished Queen Elizabeth “excruciating pain” while reports were circulating that she was in poor health.
“I heard the chief monarch of a thieving raping genocidal empire is finally dying,” Anya tweeted. “May her pain be excruciating.”
Anya’s tweet was removed from Twitter for violating the platform’s rules.
“If anyone expects me to express anything but disdain for the monarch who supervised a government that sponsored the genocide that massacred and displaced half my family and the consequences of which those alive today are still trying to overcome, you can keep wishing upon a star,” Anya later tweeted.
Queen Elizabeth II died later that day at the age of 96.
“The Irish were Riverdancing across the Internet, literally half the planet was overjoyed, so I was wondering, why me?” Anya said on the podcast, referencing another viral video featuring Irish step dancers, though that video was recorded and released back in February and only went viral after the Queen’s death. “I never wished her death. She was already on that path. I never said that anyone should kill her. All I said was: May she suffer the way millions of people have suffered at her hand.”
Carnegie Mellon University distanced itself from the comment in a press release later that day.
“We do not condone the offensive and objectionable messages posted by Uju Anya today on her personal social media account,” the university posted on Twitter. “Free expression is core to the mission of higher education, however, the views she shared absolutely do not represent the values of the institution, nor the standards of discourse we seek to foster.”
Anya’s tweet was one of many social media posts from liberal pundits and educators decrying the effects of “colonialism” on the day of Queen Elizabeth’s death.
“Telling the colonized how they should feel about their colonizer’s health and wellness is like telling my people that we ought to worship the Confederacy,” University of Michigan professor Ebony Elizabeth Thomas posted on Twitter on the day of Anya’s post. “‘Respect the dead’ when we’re all writing these Tweets *in English.* How’d that happen, hm? We just chose this language?”