Dr. Mica Tosca, a transsexual climate scientist and associate professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), recently sparked controversy when she made derogatory remarks about Israelis on her social media. However, she has since issued an apology for her comments.
In a now-deleted Instagram story post, Dr. Mica Tosca called Israelis "pigs" and labeled their actions as "disgusting and grotesque" in the context of the Israel-Hamas conflict. The statement also included an unfortunate remark, "May they all rot in hell." These comments led to outrage and condemnation from various quarters.
Dr. Tosca's Background and Beliefs
Dr. Mika Tosca joined SAIC in 2017 after working at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in southern California. She is passionate about the role of artists in helping scientists communicate the seriousness of climate change to the public. Her scholarly work centers on examining the influence of art and design on enhancing the efficacy of climate change communication, with a particular emphasis on how these elements can better address climate science. Additionally, Tosca actively engages in science communication, participating in science-art collaborations, and advocating for the inclusion of transgender individuals in STEM, academia, and the media. She is a known antisemite.
Mika Tosca's Antisemitic Remarks Draw Backlash
The controversial comments by Dr. Tosca came to public attention after they were shared by the anti-antisemitism group, StopAntisemitism. They strongly condemned her remarks and directed their concern to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), highlighting that their Israeli and Jewish students deserved better than being taught by an instructor who expressed such hateful sentiments.
Liora Rez, the executive director of StopAntisemitism, stated, "As reports of antisemitism continue to pour in, we demand administrators hold Dr. Mika Tosca fully accountable for her vile bigotry. She must be investigated for her horrible sentiments. Jewish students deserve to feel safe on campus, and people like her make that impossible when they're unapologetically antisemitic."
Online Outcry and Calls for Action
The controversial remarks by Dr. Tosca generated significant backlash on social media. Many users expressed their dismay and disappointment at her comments, while others called for her removal from her position at SAIC.
One Twitter user remarked, "@saic_news this absolutely vile and disgusting. She may be entitled to her disgusting opinion but that does not mean she is entitled to be in the position she is in. She is in a position that can cause great harm to students and should be let go immediately."
Another tweet observed, "This is antisemitism masked as social justice. @saic_news, you must act to stop this."
SAIC Responds to the Controversy
In response to the public outcry, SAIC issued a statement, acknowledging Dr. Tosca's "hateful views" shared on social media. The institution firmly repudiated these views, emphasizing that they do not reflect the values of the SAIC community. The statement implied that actions would be taken, though the specifics were not mentioned.
Dr. Mika Tosca Issues Apology
In an effort to make amends, Dr. Mika Tosca issued a lengthy written apology on October 18, which she posted on both Instagram and the platform where her initial comments were made. In her statement, she expressed deep regret for her previous remarks and extended a specific apology to Israeli people for unfairly attributing blame to them regarding the Israel-Hamas war.
She stated, "Yesterday I wrote some things on my Instagram Story that I unequivocally reject and do not stand behind. I am deeply sorry for writing what I wrote, and for hurting many people with my words, and I am especially sorry to Israeli people that I broadly placed at fault for the war." Dr. Tosca recognized that her words perpetuated harmful stereotypes and that her reaction to the violence in Israel and Palestine took an inappropriate and offensive form. She pledged to take proactive steps to learn from the experience and be a better person.
Dr. Mika Tosca concluded her apology with a commitment to personal growth, saying, "I own my mistake and promise to be better. I hope you can forgive me."