MU professor receives hateful emails after CNN appearance

Cynthia Frisby posted screenshots of the emails to Facebook shortly after.

After an appearance on CNN on Monday afternoon, MU professor Cynthia Frisby received several racist and hate-filled emails. Frisby, who is an associate professor of strategic communication, posted screenshots of the two emails on Facebook shortly after.

The first email included the message, “You ugly fuckin (sic) niggers are good for one thing: Pickin (sic) cotton! All of you should be expelled for causing trouble on campus!” Attached was a picture of a Confederate flag.

The second email appeared to be a direct response to Frisby’s CNN appearance, saying in part, “HAAA you’ve never been called the N word on campus! … Nobody believes your ridiculous claims! How do you sleep at night. Racism doesn’t exit (sic) in this country anymore except for on CNN and MSNBC.”

“Thankfully I have a good sense of humor,” Frisby said.

Frisby said her initial reaction to receiving the emails was shock. She yelled for a couple of her colleagues that were in the other room, exclaiming, “Racism is alive and well!”

“We just kept blinking because we really didn’t believe that people had actually said these things,” she said.

Although the emails are not anonymous, neither were sent to her by anyone she knows.

Frisby said she had somewhat of a hard time understanding how her CNN spot could have elicited such harsh responses, noting that what she discussed on the news channel did not seem inflammatory to her at all.

“From what others have told me, my segment was pretty positive, very fair and objective,” she said. “It’s concerning why people are outraged since I had the message of ‘Let’s sit down and talk things through.’”

Although Frisby said these are the only two emails she has received so far, she has been told that some fellow faculty and students have received hateful comments in recent days as well. However, another possible threat presented itself Tuesday afternoon.

“I did get a call that a reporter found some stuff on Twitter and that they’re very concerned for my safety,” she said. “So I wasn’t actually scared until about 10 minutes ago.”

Frisby had this message for other professors and students that have been on the receiving end of similar messages lately in the context of recent campus events:

“You have to overlook them,” she said. “That’s the whole problem: if you let it get to you, it’s only going to hurt (your) health. It’s just ignorance, it really is. The more we allow people to say these things, the more visible they become. When you allow people to put a face with their feelings, that’s when you can get progress, and they can see ‘Oh, not everybody agrees with me.’”

Despite the racist and hateful natures of the emails, Frisby said that she will not cower from the insults she has received.

“I’m going to live like I’ve always lived,” she said.

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