Corey Multer, a longtime manager for New York Life Insurance, has been fired for writing a violent death threat to a prominent activist in the Movement for Black Lives.
For that activist, Shanelle Matthews, death threats are something of a way of life. Matthews works as the director of communications for the Black Lives Matter Network. In an interview with Mic, she estimated that she gets anywhere 150-200 threatening messages across social media and email each day. But after the group released its long-awaited policy platform that denounced Zionism and expressed support for Palestinians, Matthews received a private Facebook message from Multer's account that stopped her in her tracks.
"You fucking racist pig whore," the message began. "The world would be a much better place if you jumped in front of a moving train." It ended with: "Die!"
Matthews later wrote that she was "unhinged by Mr. Multer's arrogance." Why? "Before messaging me, he didn't create an alias or try in any visible way to conceal his identity or make private the details of his place of employment," she wrote on Facebook, making Multer's message public. The full post is below.
Now, New York Life Insurance has severed ties with Multer. "This comment is completely indefensible and inconsistent with our values of integrity and humanity," a spokesperson for the company wrote in an email to Mic. "This individual is no longer employed by New York Life."
Multer was fired on Aug. 10. He had been with the company since 1987, the spokesperson confirmed.
Multer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In her interview with Mic, Matthews was conflicted over whether or not to make Multer's message public:
I almost never respond to the vitriol that we get, and what I found most astounding is that I think that [Multer] was a Zionist, and he was responding to my assertions that Zionism is racism. ... Because I believed that the ... occupation of Palestine was wrong, he thought I should die. It's a philosophy that led to the human rights violations against Jews in World War II.
Matthews says that she didn't expect Multer to be fired. "We have so few wins," she said. But she wanted to raise awareness of how vitriolic the rhetoric against Black Lives Matter really is.
She was clear that one person being fired would not do anything to mitigate racism, "but it will make people reticent to say those things publicly," Matthews said, noting that many of the messages she receives come from people who insist that racism is a thing of the past. "For me one of the easiest ways to showcase that racism is still alive is to show that that's not true."