CORRECTION, Nov. 24, 2023: Dr. Benjamin Neel is seeking at least $500,000 in damages. An earlier version of this article had a different number.
A Jewish cancer biologist who headed New York University Langone’s Perlmutter Cancer Center sued his employer for wrongful termination after he was allegedly fired for social media posts related to the current Israel-Gaza War.
Dr. Benjamin Neel, the former director of the Perlmutter Cancer Center, filed the lawsuit Thursday in the New York State Supreme Court, claiming he was a “casualty” of the cancer center’s “ill-considered plan to feign the appearance of even-handedness,” Business Insider reported.
Neel also accused the university of religious discrimination in his lawsuit, claiming that NYU “did not engage in any process” aside from a 10-minute interview with human resources prior to his dismissal from the institute, according to reporting from the independent student-run campus newspaper Washington Square News.
The Perlmutter Cancer Center “unceremoniously dumped” Neel after he reshared social media posts criticizing “people who supported the violence toward and death of Israelis” during the Oct. 7 terror attacks carried out by Hamas against southern Israel, the complaint stated, according to Business Insider.
According to the lawsuit, Neel’s employer first suspended him over his reposts on X before terminating him on Nov. 10 in what he alleged to be a violation of the employee agreement, Business Insider reported.
“Dr. Neel was offered up as sacrificial lamb so that NYULH could feign impartiality in its effort to curb political and religious expression,” the lawsuit alleged, according to the outlet.
Neel is seeking a trial by jury and at least $500,000 in damages, Business Insider reported.
“It is a travesty that after a stellar career fighting the battle against cancer, a long-tenured and world-renowned research scientist can be unceremoniously duped,” Milton Williams, an attorney working for Neel, told Business Insider in a statement.
“We believe Dr. Neel is the first person to lose their job and have their reputations besmirched for re-posting content on his private social media account that challenged those individuals who are seemingly celebrating the death of innocent people in Israel,” Williams said, according to the outlet.
The lawsuit stated that Neel reshared three posts on X, Business Insider reported.
Dr. Benjamin Neel sued NYU Langone Thursday, claiming he was “unceremoniously dumped” by the medical center for reposting contentious pro-Israel content on X (formerly Twitter) —> https://t.co/r0tfoUmNlr
— Ben Feuerherd (@benfeuerherd) November 17, 2023
One post was reportedly that of a cartoon with a caricature of climate activist Greta Thunberg “chasing a man who is holding a butcher’s knife in one hand and a plastic garbage bag labeled ‘Israeli babies’ in the other.”
“Thunberg is carrying a sign that displays the Palestinian flag and includes on the flag the text ‘HASHTAG FREE PALESTINE,'” the complaint said, according to Business Insider.
“Thunberg is shown yelling: ‘HOW DARE YOU…USE PLASTIC BAGS?? WE NEED TO SAVE THE WORLD!’” the lawsuit said.
Another reshared post was one that stated, “Anti-Israel protestors brought a combined Palestine/LGBTQ+ flag to the demonstration in Brooklyn, New York City to show the solidarity between the queer community and Palestine,” Business Insider reported.
Neel reshared the post and wrote, “Talk about an oxymoron…,” the lawsuit said.
Speaking to Washington Square News, NYU Langone spokesman Steve Ritea claimed that Neel violated the center’s Social Media Policy and Code of Conduct.
“As an institution dedicated to healing, NYU Langone remains committed to providing a safe and inclusive environment, free of discrimination, for all of our employees and patients,” Ritea said in a statement shared with the student newspaper. “NYU Langone stands by our decision and looks forward to defending it in court.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.