American public servant Jerry Foxhoven made headlines earlier this week when it seemed he might have been forced out from his position because of his love for the late rapper Tupac Shakur. But that is unlikely, Foxhoven himself has said.
Last month, 66-year-old Foxhoven, then-director of Iowa’s Department of Human Services, was forced to resign one working day after he sent out an email to over 4,000 co-workers that included a reminder of the late rapper’s birthday.
“I am sure that you are already aware that this Sunday (June 16) is also 2pac’s birthday. (He would be 48 if he were alive),” Foxhoven wrote in his email, which he sent on June 14. “So, of course I will be celebrating both Father’s Day and 2pac’s birthday. I hope you all enjoy the day as well—and take the time to enjoy one of his songs.”
The director of @IowaDHS sent this email lauding Tupac to all 4,300 staff on Friday, June 14 – his latest missive in a quirky fixation with the late rapper. The governor told him to resign the next work day but won't say why https://t.co/2GIANXzbTZ pic.twitter.com/BmZqc53FPX
— Ryan J. Foley (@rjfoley) July 16, 2019
The public servant, who had been in the position since 2017, didn’t keep his admiration for the slain rapper a secret from his colleagues. Foxhoven threw weekly “Tupac Fridays” events in his office where he played Tupac’s music. He also frequently sent out emails with quotes from the rapper—he sent at least 350 such correspondences, according to emails obtained by Associated Press.
He was let go on June 17, and was not given a reason for his dismissal. But Foxhoven told The New York Times he believes the timing of his removal and the email was just “a coincidence.” He went on to explain that the Governor’s office had requested a meeting with him a day before he sent the email.
In a separate interview with NPR, Foxhoven also stated that he “can’t imagine that [the governor] would base her decision on the Tupac incident.”
The office of Governor Kim Reynolds, on the other hand, has issued a brief statement regarding the resignation. “[A] lot of factors contributed to the resignation of Jerry Foxhoven and now Gov Reynolds is looking forward to taking DHS in a new direction,” said spokesman Pat Garrett.
Foxhoven is taking his dismissal in stride, saying that he’s glad his emails made national headlines as they pave the way for “discussions about race and what we have in common, instead of what separates us,” he told NPR. “It’s important for us to break down those stereotypes: if you listen to rap music, you’re a criminal or dangerous. It’s not true at all.”