Doctor, professor under fire for racially-charged Facebook post

DENVER -- It's the Facebook post Joann Nieto calls "entirely unacceptable."

"I think it's sad," Nieto said.

It depicts a picture of a yelling Michelle Obama with the comment, "doesn't seem to be speaking too eloquently here, thank god we can't hear her! Harvard??? That's a place for "entitled" folks said all the liberals!” The poster goes onto comment, "Monkey face and poor ebonic English!!! There! I feel better and am still not racist!!! Just calling it like it is!"

"Hiding behind the excuse that you're not racist, doesn't negate the fact that you are being racist," Nieto said.

What's worse, Nieto discovered the poster is Dr. Michelle Herren, a pediatric anesthesiologist who works at Denver Health Medical Center, Children's Hospital Colorado and is listed online as an assistant professor at the University of Colorado's School of Medicine.

"I think you have to hold yourself to a higher standard as being a public employee, as well as being a professor in such a critical field," Nieto said.

The comment has since been removed and Herren has taken down her Facebook page. 

"It stayed on there for four days until I had said something to the CU Board of Regents, and I sent an email to them. If I never would have mentioned anything to them, how much longer would that comment have been out there in the public world?" Nieto said.

Dr. Herren declined an on-camera interview, but told Denver-based KMGH Molly Hendrickson over the phone that her comment was taken "out of context" and insists she didn't realize the term “monkey face” is offensive. Herren said she was responding to another post pointing out people say whatever they want about Melania Trump, but if they do the same about Michelle Obama they're considered racist.

Denver Health released the following statement Tuesday night:

Denver Health's mission is to provide high quality health care to all, regardless of income levels, ethnicity, gender or social background. Our staff and our patient population are reflective of the diverse Denver Community we serve. We don't condone nor do we agree with the statements Dr. Herren made, as they are inconsistent with Denver Health's mission and values. However, we cannot control the opinions our staff choose to express as private individuals.

Denver Health said Dr. Herren has been employed there since October of 2007 and currently makes $363,600 a year.

 

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