WESTWOOD (CBSLA.com) — A UCLA researcher is accused of making a death threat to a writer about an opinion article he wrote for the Harvard Crimson entitled “Troubles with Thai Studies.”
“I swear that if I saw this (expletive) on the street I’d elbow his middle meningeal artery and leave him dead from epidural hematoma,” UCLA microbiologist Peera Hemarajata allegedly posted on Facebook.
The bizarre threat was aimed at writer Ilya Garger who is in Hong Kong.
Rachel Kim spoke with Garger Thursday via Skype.
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Garger said the point of his article was not to debate a coup in Thailand but to discuss Harvard taking money from one political side.
“It was surprising to see that a doctor and especially one at UCLA, would say something so silly. I had to read up on Wikipedia to figure out what it is that he was going to do to me,” said Garger.
The author said he isn’t surprised about Hemarajata’s reaction because he says on his Facebook post the doctor is still loyal to the Thai monarchy. But he is surprised that UCLA says it cannot take action against Hemarajata for making a perceived threat.
UCLA said in a statement:
“While UCLA and UCLA Health System abhor violence and condemn any threat of violence, we have no jurisdiction or authority to censor such hateful comments made in social media when they are made outside the course and scope of an employee’s work.”
“The university ought to consider taking stronger measures than just saying they’re not responsible,” Garger says.
Kim said she tried to get a comment from Hemaraja but that his Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts have all been taken down.