After his husband accosted Ivanka Trump on an airplane last week, thousands have called for the firing of Matthew Lasner, an associate professor of urban studies at New York’s Hunter College. Over 5,000 have signed a Change.org petition asking for the professor to be removed from his position in the administration for his “immature and cruel harassment of Ivanka Trump and her family at JFK airport.”
Created by a group called Right Wing Millennials, the petition states, “Someone like Mr Lasner, who would harass a mother and her child simply trying to go about their day, does not deserve the honor of teaching.”
It continued, “The fact that he tried to cover up and change the story around to avoid the consequences of his actions is also a testament to his character. He is NOT a good example for our youth.”
Lasner and his husband Dan Goldstein were thrown off of a JetBlue flight from New York to San Francisco last Thursday when Goldstein approached Ivanka and started yelling at her while she was holding her child. According to reports, Goldstein yelled, “Why is she on our flight? She should be flying private.”
Ivanka tried to diffuse the situation by ignoring him and coloring with her child.
The incident occurred while the plane was still boarding and with Ivanka’s husband Jared Kushner sitting beside her. When the crew tried escorting the couple off of the flight, Goldstein allegedly yelled back, “You’re kicking me off for expressing my opinion?!”
Lasner later tweeted about the incident, writing, “My husband expressed his displeasure in a calm tone, JetBlue staff overheard, and they kicked us off the plane.” The explanatory tweets were deleted less than an hour later.
Prior to this incident, Lasner was very vocal about his disdain for the President-elect, sharing videos of himself marching in Chicago in protest and Instagramming a sign that read “RESIST! Autocracy. RISE UP!”
Lasner earned a PhD in architecture, landscape architecture and urban planning at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, a MS in urban and regional planning studies from the London School of Economics and his BA in urban studies at Columbia. He currently studies the history and theory of the U.S. built environment, with particular focus on housing, and the relationship between housing patterns and urban and suburban form.
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