Former director of New York University Cancer Center, who was dismissed for postings on social media that some claimed were racist towards Arabs and pro-Israeli, is suing both the hospital and university.
Washington Square News reported that Benjamin Neel was the former director at NYU Langone Health’s Perlmutter Cancer Center. He claimed he had been fired without due process this month and was being discriminated against based on his religion.
Neel was fired after he reposted tweets that criticized those who support violence against Israelis. He had held the director position for nine years. Neel was accused by some online of promoting anti-Arab sentiments, racist tropes and glorification violence.
The New York Post said that a cartoon depicting a group protesters with signs saying “BEHEADING RESISTANCE”, “I HEART HAMAS” and other slogans were retweeted. Thirdly, a cartoon depicting negotiations between Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Hamas member who holds a piece paper that says: “DEMANDS – DEATH TO ALL JESUS” was retweeted.
NYU Langone Health says that all employees received reminders about the institution’s code of conduct, including its social media policy.
Steve Ritea said that Dr. Ben Neel was a leader in the hospital and had disregarded standards by posting on social media. He then locked his Twitter/X accounts. “NYU Langone is standing by its decision and will defend it in court.”
Ritea claimed that Neel made emails between colleagues public in an attempt to “pressure” the hospital.
He said that “some of these emails were critical of the specific decisions made by university leaders, for not taking an even stronger stance against the terrorist attacks of Oct. 7, and for failing to hold accountable those who had engaged in discriminatory language.” “Dr. Neel now lashes out hypocritically for being held responsible for such conduct.”
The newspaper reported that Neel had been suspended initially before he was terminated on 10 November. He claimed in the 20-page complaint that he was fired after a 10-minute interview with human resources.
Milt Williams is Neel’s lawyer. He called the firing of Neel a “travesty.”
Williams, in a Fox News Digital statement, said: “We believe that Dr. Neel was the first person who lost their job and had their reputation tarnished for re-posting on his private social networking account content that challenged individuals who were seemingly celebrating the deaths of innocent people. Williams said that, “A careful review of Dr. Neel’s social media profile would reveal that he took balanced positions on Israel related issues.”
Zaki Masoud was scheduled to be terminated at the same time as Neel, for allegedly making racist statements. Masoud’s removal was allegedly due to his posting of a message in supporting Palestinians.
His lawsuit alleges that Neel was made a “sacrificial animal” by the hospital to justify Masoud being terminated. More than 89,000 people have signed a petition calling for his reinstatement.
The filing says that “Dr. Neel has become a political victim of NYULH’s efforts to terminate Dr. Masoud, and other doctors: Dr. Neel served as a sacrifice lamb to NYULH so it could pretend impartiality in their effort to limit political and religious expression.”