Economics professor John Strauss, who is openly pro-Israel, was walking past a group of students at a local "Shut It Down for Palestine" walkout rally at the school.
He claims he said "Israel forever, Hamas are murderers" while passing them on his way to class. After class, he ran into the same group and said one of the protesters yelled "Shame on you" to him, to which he responded by calling Hamas murderers and suggesting every one of them should be killed.
The clips that went viral on social media show the section where he says they should all be killed, claiming he was referring to Palestinians, which he vehemently denies in an interview with Annenberg Media.
Either way, it was enough for USC Administrators to request that he stay off campus and teach his classes via Zoom, especially after many calls and emails denouncing the interaction.
USC issued the following statement to FOX 11:
"Online video clips of Professor Strauss – some of which appear to have been edited in misleading ways – have been widely shared on social media, generating millions of online global engagements and comments, many of them quite alarming. There also have been reports in the media and in social media that he has been placed on administrative leave. That is not the case.
After reviewing the overwhelming volume and types of comments, the university directed him to teach his two remaining classes online and to remain off campus as a precautionary measure until classes are finished this term. These measures were designed to minimize disruption in the classroom and to ensure a safe environment for both him and students. He has in no way been disciplined or punished for engaging in protected speech. For details about the university’s formal processes for handling all reports, please see USC’s Network of Informational and Support Resources in Times of Conflict."