A leading cardiologist, Dr. Eva Lonn, from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. is being investigated by the university for comments made on social media about pro-Palestinian protests, calling for the expulsion of protesters.
“The position does not align with our values of promoting excellence or inclusive responsibilities as educators and healthcare professionals,” read an emailed statement from a spokesperson for the McMaster University. “This matter is being reviewed by the university in accordance with university policies and will be addressed expeditiously and in accordance with those policies. All parties involved have the right to confidentiality. Employment issues are therefore not addressed on a case-by-case basis.
Dr. Lonn is medical director of cardiac health and rehabilitation at McMaster University, as well as professor of medicine in the university’s faculty of medicine. The veteran doctor commented on a New York Post article on LinkedIn, about a pro-Palestinian protest in Brooklyn, New York, writing: “deport them all to where they came from.”
The post was flagged on social media sites and led to Dr. Lonn issuing a public apology on X, formerly known as Twitter, and on LinkedIn.
“I am deeply sorry for the pain caused by my recent comments on social media. Whatever my intention, the harm inflicted was real and undeniable. I wholeheartedly apologize for my poorly worded and problematic statement,” Dr. Lonn wrote in his public statement, insisting that his comments were made in “the heat of the moment.”
Dr Lonn said his comments were intended to target protesters using “hurtful” language that supported violence directed against Jewish people. She said she was unaware of the weight of her words. But Dr. Lonn’s comments were denounced, especially in light of her role as a medical educator.
“These kinds of comments are completely unacceptable, especially coming from a doctor,” said Dr. Aliya Khan, professor of medicine at McMaster University.
Dr. Khan said the comments about the expulsion are deeply troubling, especially coming from a doctor who should practice medicine without bias or discrimination.
“Comments like this indicate that this person has negative feelings toward individuals of that particular racial or religious group. And I would be concerned about the type of care they provide to members of that particular group,” Dr. Khan said.
From her perspective, Dr. Lonn said in a statement to Global News that she saw a “diverse community” of patients while practicing in Hamilton and always did her best to serve every patient that she had. ‘she saw, whatever her background. But coming from a position of power, particularly as a professor at McMaster, her actions can impact the learning experience of medical students, according to Dr. Khan.
“The power dynamic at the university favors professors. Negative comments like this are intimidating to students and create an environment in which the student is not able to fully benefit from the learning experience,” she said.
Dr. Lonn’s comments about the pro-Palestinian protest are troubling for Yara Shoufani, a member of the Palestinian Youth Movement, which has organized the largest rallies since the October 7 attack by Hamas.
“I think these comments reflect a broader attempt that we have seen, which is to dehumanize the Palestinian people,” she said.
Shoufani noted that with hate crimes against Muslims and Palestinians on the rise, calls for their expulsion add fuel to a combustible fire.
“I think as an alumnus of McMaster University, I am appalled by these comments. Under no circumstances should a professor at a public institution and a doctor advocate the expulsion of Arabs, Palestinians and Muslims who exercise their right to protest,” she said.
She added that Dr Lonn had an alleged history of xenophobic and disturbing posts dating back to 2019. That year, she published two articles about US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, one of the few Muslim elected officials, insisting that She was part of ISIS. , a terrorist organization, and tells him to go to them.
“Go to your ISIS friends and stay there,” one of the messages read, while another said “ISIS in US Congress supported by Democratic leaders,” under a news article on Omar.
From his perspective, Dr. Lonn said in his statement to Global News that these comments to Omar were made after she used an anti-Semitic trope to talk about the money Jews had.
But a year later, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, she commented under a post saying the coronavirus was the “Wuhan virus.” The following year, she published controversial articles about the Palestinians, particularly a 2021 article saying they should go to Jordan.
In fashion now
‘I didn’t think this would be my home’: Lung cancer survivor warns of radon risks
‘The Young and the Restless’ star Eric Braeden criticizes ‘dismal’ Air Canada
“Maybe relocate the Palestinians to Jordan, a land actually created for them,” she wrote on X.
Shoufani noted that Dr. Lonn’s assertion that her comments on the expulsion were made in the heat of the moment does not contrast with what she has written historically about Palestinians.
“I think it’s very clear, based on previous comments she’s made, that this is a regular trend. Calls for the expulsion of Muslim, Palestinian and Arab communities are things she has already engaged in,” she said.
Dr Lonn also ‘liked’ a post on social media platform X, with a visual highlighting violence committed by Muslims, but who act like victims when pushed back. Asked about her relationship with Muslims. Dr. Lonn said in her statement to Global that she had relationships with Muslims.
“I am proud of the relationships I have formed with people of all backgrounds and faiths, including many within the Muslim community,” Lonn wrote.
Tabassum Wyne is the executive director of the Muslim Advisory Council of Canada. Earlier this year, they conducted a study with help from McMaster on Islamophobia in health care.
“Calling for mass evictions is unacceptable,” Wynne said. “Racism and discrimination in health care impacts real life, it’s so embarrassing.”
Since his posts became public, Dr. Lonn has received numerous backlash, including threats. Dr Lonn said she had been in contact with the police to make a complaint. Hamilton police confirmed they received a complaint on Saturday, which is being handled by the hate crimes unit. In the meantime, Dr. Lonn has deactivated her social media accounts and said she wants to use this time to heal.
“I view this moment as a profound learning experience. It’s a stark reminder of the power and reach of our words, especially on a public platform. I commit to being more careful, compassionate and considerate in my future interactions,” Dr. Lonn said in his statement to Global.
Wyne noted that the hate speech directed at Dr. Lonn is unwarranted, but she must take responsibility for it.
“An apology is appreciated, but there must be accountability. She needs to be held accountable for posting such things on social media. This was not a single post, but multiple social media posts spreading hate,” Wyne said.
The onus now falls on McMaster University, according to Wyne, who said she needs to show that hate has no place on campus.
“(They must show) that anyone who promotes Islamophobia, anti-Palestinian hatred or anti-Semitism, particularly within health care settings, should be subject to action for spreading hatred and will face consequences,” she declared.
McMaster has not provided a timetable for when it will complete its review.