A Colorado doctor has been ordered to stop seeing patients after calling first lady Michelle Obama “monkey face” on Facebook and defending herself as “still not racist.”
Dr. Michelle Herren, a white pediatric anesthesiologist at Denver Health Medical Center, made the comment after another Facebook user called Obama eloquent, The Denver Post reported.
Herren responded with an unflattering photo showing the first lady yelling, and this:
“Doesn’t seem to be speaking too eloquently here, thank god we can’t hear her!” a post attributed to Herren read. “Monkey face and poor ebonic English!!! There! I feel better and am still not racist!!! Just calling it like it is!”
The post also criticized Obama’s Ivy League education: “Harvard??? That’s a place for ‘entitled’ folks said all the liberals!”
Obama is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Princeton University. Herren earned her medical degree at Creighton University School of Medicine in Nevada, according to a U.S. News online profile.
JoAnn Nietto, who spotted Herren’s comments on a friend’s Facebook page, told ABC-7 News that she flagged the post for the University of Colorado medical board after it stayed there for four days.
“It really outraged me to see that she works at Denver Health, which serves a huge minority population,” Nietto told the Denver Post.
Herren is listed online as an assistant professor at University of Colorado’s School of Medicine. According to ABC-7, it’s an unpaid position. The station said she makes a $363,600 annual salary at Denver Health.
Herren has since taken down her Facebook page. She said her comments were taken “out of context” and claimed she didn’t realize the term “monkey face” is racist, according to ABC-7, which spoke to her by phone. Herren suggested there’s a double standard that permits insulting future first lady Melania Trump, but not Obama. HuffPost couldn’t reach Herren for further comment.
Denver Health said in a statement Wednesday that Herren “will not be seeing patients or providing anesthesia services at Denver Health Medical Center” until further notice. The hospital added that it was “deeply disappointed” as well as “offended” by Herren’s words.
“Her views are contrary to the mission and values of Denver Health, and to our staff and patients,” the statement said. “We are reaching out to all of our patients, employees and physicians to reinforce our culture, mission and beliefs that all individuals regardless of their race, religion, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation are deserving of dignity and respect.”
The University of Colorado said the dean of its medical school reminded Herren “of her responsibilities as a faculty member to conduct herself with civility.” The school said it is reviewing Herren’s post to “ensure that its students and trainees and the patients who are served by our faculty are not exposed to unacceptable behavior.”
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