North Carolina professor set to retire after racist comments found dead weeks after backlash

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WILMINGTON, N.C. — Authorities on Thursday discovered the body of a North Carolina professor who recently announced his retirement amid backlash over controversial comments he made on social media.

The body of 55-year-old Mike Adams, a professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, was found as deputies performed a wellness check at his home.

Officials did not provide further information about a possible cause of death.

Adams, who was white, had made national headlines for his polarizing statements on race, gender and sexual orientation, but his comments on the COVID-19 shutdown and violent protests over George Floyd’s death amplified calls for his ouster.

In May, he referred to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper as “Massa Cooper” and compared COVID to living in a “slave state.”

“This evening I ate pizza and drank beer with six guys at a six seat table top. I almost felt like a free man who was not living in the slave state of North Carolina. Massa Cooper, let my people go!” he said in a May 29 tweet.

Adams’ tweets prompted over 60,000 people to sign an online petition to get him removed from his job. 

The petition was organized in June citing Adams’ “bullying a student into transferring to an inflammatory Twitter account that contains threats towards minorities and those exercising their first amendment rights.”

Adams was set to retire from the university on Aug. 1.

A UNCW statement on behalf of the Division of Academic Affairs was sent Thursday about his death:

“It is with sadness that we share the news that the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office is conducting a death investigation involving Dr. Mike Adams, professor of criminology. Please keep his friends and loved ones in your thoughts.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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