Conservative Christian cancel culture is once again rearing its ugly homophobic head!
Over the weekend, reports made the rounds on social media that Michael O'Keefe – a beloved, influential and apparently very fit art and graphic design professor from Oklahoma Christian University – was allegedly fired by the school last week as punishment for allowing a gay, former student to give a presentation to one of his classes.
At least that's the story according to O'Keefe's wife. She left the following FB post on Saturday morning:
Wow. Can you believe it? A conservative Christian university located in Edmond, OK fired a professor for having the audacity to allow a gay person to talk to a class???
Actually, that is very believable and not surprising at all.
Yesterday, a friend of O'Keefe's shared a long Twitter thread with more details about the firing.
According to her, O'Keefe invited a former student to give a presentation to his "Business of Branding Yourself" class. The presentation contained a couple of bad words. Those words, along with the subject matter of the presentation, was apparently too much for some incredibly bland, boring and homophobic students to handle. They complained to the administration and... well...
First of all, I guess this type of stuff explains why every Oklahoma Christian grad I've met seems embarrassed and ashamed to have gone there. Seriously, ask an Oklahoma Christian grad where they want to college, and their first instinct is to look around and make sure nobody else is listening!
Second, there are always two sides to every story, and I'm sure Oklahoma Christian is hastily conjuring up some alternative narrative as to why they parted ways with such a popular and influential professor. It will be fun to see what their excuse is.
Since the news broke, O'Keefe's former students have been leaving glowing testimonials on social media praising his work and influence. My pal Matt Goad – one of the best graphic artists in this state and the guy behind the big public art piece at Will Rogers World Airport – claimed in a FB thread that he literally wouldn't do what he does if not for O'Keefe:
Here are some more tweets:
I don't know much about O'Keefe, but he seems like a cool dude, an awesome professor and – if we're being honest – someone who was probably way too qualified to teach at a draconian place like Oklahoma Christian. If anything, he should probably be proud to have survived at such an intolerant place for over 40 years! We wish him the best of luck finding new work, and hope he lands at another University where he can continue to teach and inspire our youth, and not have to worry about being canceled by stodgy homophobic Christian bigots.