MIAMI — A Florida Atlantic University professor who suggested in blog postings and radio interviews that the 2012 massacre of children at Sandy Hook Elementary and other mass shootings were a hoax designed by the Obama administration to boost support for gun control was fired Tuesday.
James F. Tracy, 50, a tenured associate professor of communications at the Boca Raton university, has repeatedly called into question the authenticity of recent mass shootings, including the slaying of churchgoers in Charleston, S.C., and office workers in San Bernardino, Calif. In his blog postings and radio interviews, Mr. Tracy has said the Newtown massacre may have been carried out by “crisis actors” employed by the Obama administration.
Mr. Tracy’s ideas fall into part of a larger movement of Internet conspiracy theorists who believe the spate of mass murders have simply been staged by the government. A few of the theorists do not think the shootings took place at all.
Florida Atlantic University, which first reprimanded Mr. Tracy in 2013, dismissed him less than a month after the parents of 6-year-old Noah Pozner, the youngest victim of the shooting at Sandy Hook in Newtown, Conn., publicly accused the professor of harassment in a Sun Sentinel opinion piece. Lenny and Veronique Pozner, angered by Mr. Tracy’s conspiracy theories, had asked Mr. Tracy to remove a photograph of Noah from his blog, Memory Hole. In return, Mr. Tracy sent them a certified letter demanding proof that Noah ever lived and that the Pozners were his parents.