In an era where the interpretation of free speech seems to often teeter on the brink of deadly violence, one would be hard-pressed to find a more glaring example than the case of Shellyne Rodriguez, the Hunter College professor who allegedly threatened a New York Post reporter with a machete.
As the court proceedings loom, with a date set for August 14, 2023, Rodriguez is positioned at the epicenter of a cultural and legal storm. Not just for her threats of violence but also for her audacious stance, branding herself as the victim while decrying the public coverage of her actions.
Hunter College professor Shellyne Rodriguez is armed and dangerous!
This psychotic woman held a machete to a New York Post reporter's neck when he questioned her about a viral clip of her attacking pro-life students over the weekend. https://t.co/6hEQXKMDam pic.twitter.com/VnsDNabsPt
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) May 23, 2023
Rodriguez was charged with menacing and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, alongside other misdemeanors, after the infamous incident where she allegedly held a machete to the reporter’s throat and threatened to “chop him up.” However, Rodriguez’s reactions in the aftermath have stirred further controversy. She claims the incident and the subsequent publicity have damaged her mental health and implies that those who reported the story are complicit in the assault.
This warped reasoning – a distinct example of attempting to cast blame on everyone but oneself – illustrates a concerning trend in public discourse. It’s a trend that refuses to recognize accountability, seeks to redirect blame, and undermines our shared societal values of truth, responsibility, and justice.
So, NYC professor Shellyne Rodriguez threatened a reporter with a machete, and she claims she's the victim. When Hunter College fired her, she said that they gave in to "racist, white nationalist, and misogynist." Threaten someone, then play the race card.
— Will Laughlin 🇺🇲🍺😎🐰 (@WillboPM) June 28, 2023
Furthermore, the apparent eagerness of some to accept this distorted narrative, such as Wendy Olsoff, the cofounder of P.P.O.W., the New York gallery representing Rodriguez as an artist, adds to the concern. Instead of outright condemning Rodriguez’s actions, Olsoff appears to play into the narrative of victimhood, implying that the videos of Rodriguez’s behavior were somehow manipulated. Yet, she provides no substantive evidence to support these allegations.
Reporting is not assault; it is the pursuit of truth. The actual assault in this instance seems to lie not in the act of reporting the story but in the professor’s threats and actions, both of which violate the freedoms and rights our society holds dear.
The charges against Rodriguez provide a sobering reminder that the right to free speech does not extend to threats of violence, regardless of the guise under which they are made. Indeed, the cornerstone of our democratic society is the ability to voice differing views without resorting to physical harm or intimidation.
Given the extent of the allegations against Rodriguez, Hunter College’s decision to terminate her seems justified and crucial for preserving a safe learning environment for students.
As Rodriguez’s court date approaches, it provides an opportunity for reflection. It is time to return to discourse that promotes understanding and unity rather than division and hostility.
Regardless of the outcome, this case serves as a poignant reminder that accountability, personal responsibility, and respect for the rights and safety of others should always take precedence over political agendas.