TAMPA (FOX 13) - The University of Tampa professor fired after suggesting Texans deserved Hurricane Harvey because of their support for Republicans apologized Tuesday.
Ken Storey posted the now-deleted tweet on his personal Twitter account Sunday, according to Campus Reform.
“I don’t believe in instant Karma but this kinda feels like it for Texas,” Storey's tweet read. “Hopefully this will help them realize the GOP doesn’t care about them.”
Storey continued after another Twitter user pointed out that the UT professor teaches in a state that also went to President Donald Trump in the 2016 election, quipping, “so we must deserve some bad karma too, right?”
Storey reportedly replied, “Yep, those who voted for him here deserve it as well.”
Storey later posted an apology to his Twitter page.
“I deeply regret a statement I posted yesterday. I never meant to wish ill will upon any group. I hope all affected by Harvey recover quickly.”
— Ken Storey (@klstorey) August 28, 2017
The tweets were later deleted, and then Storey deleted his Twitter account.
Since then, Storey spoke to FOX 35 Orlando about how his ordeal unfolded.
"I got caught up in the moment. I got caught up in the discourse we're having and I lowered myself to that. That is not who I am," Storey said. "I was talking about climate change. I was upset with what was happening but at this point, it doesn't matter. It matters how people took the tweet. For that, I apologize."
The university, meanwhile, announced he was "relieved of his duties" as of Tuesday morning, later issuing the following statement:
On Sunday, Aug. 27, visiting assistant professor of sociology Kenneth Storey made comments on a private Twitter account that do not reflect UT's community views or values. We condemn the comments and the sentiment behind them, and understand the pain this irresponsible act has caused.
Storey has been relieved of his duties at UT, and his classes will be covered by other sociology faculty.
As Floridians, we are well aware of the destruction and suffering associated with tropical weather. Our thoughts and prayers are with all impacted by Hurricane Harvey.
Despite his apology tweet, Storey's comments received backlash from incensed parents, students and UT alum alike who sounded off on UT’s Facebook page.
One Facebook user wrote, “He needs to be fired and forced to apologize. I am a UT alum who now lives in Texas and Galveston is my second home. The devastation down there is worse than Katrina and it doesn't matter who they voted for. The comments do represent UT because you choose to employ this individual. To say that Houston and all of Texas deserves this devastation is reprehensible and needs to be dealt with with swift and forceful action. Anything less is unacceptable."
And Storey's own colleagues are responding on social media as well. UT professor Hemant Rustogi wrote, "Ken Storey is an idiot and his views do not represent the views of other faculty members who know how to differentiate between a political stance and a natural disaster. As someone who is taught here for 27 years this is a special place with special people our hearts go out to those affected by the disaster in Houston we send our prayers."