WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) — The death of a North Carolina professor, who recently announced his retirement amid backlash for comments he made on social media that included calling the state’s governor “Massa Cooper,” has been ruled a suicide.
An investigation showed University of North Carolina-Wilmington professor Mike Adams killed himself with a single gunshot wound to the head, the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office announced Monday.
Deputies found his body last Thursday during a welfare check at his home after he was not seen or heard from in several days, Lt. J.J. Brewer said.
Adams, a tenured sociology and criminology professor at the university, was due to retire early on Aug. 1, and had reached more than half-million-dollar settlement with the school for lost salary and lost retirement benefits.
He had been involved in several controversies through the years, including in 2016 when he posted an article about a student activist under the title “A ‘Queer Muslim’ Jihad,” The News & Observer of Raleigh reported at the time.
The latest controversy surrounding him started in late May when Adams posted a tweet about the limit on social gatherings signed by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.
Adams, who is white, tweeted he dined with six men at a six-seat table and “felt like a free man who was not living in the slave state of North Carolina.” He then wrote: “Massa Cooper, let my people go!”
An online petition to get him fired from his job was signed by more than 60,000 people. Some celebrities also called for his firing on social media.