Francis Schmidt is an art and animation professor at Bergen Community College in New Jersey. He is also a Game of Thrones fan, as is his family. In January, Schmidt posted a picture of his 7-year-old daughter doing a yoga pose while wearing her father’s t-shirt to Google+. The t-shirt had a quote from Game of Thrones printed on it: “I will take what is mine with fire & blood.” The college dean saw the picture and called Schmidt in to speak to college officials, who asked if the photograph “represented a threat against the dean.”
Schmidt said the Human Resources and security officials who interviewed him seemed unfamiliar with the show, so he searched for the quote on Google and came up with 30.8 million hits.
He said the interview, however, led to his suspension without pay and a trip to a psychiatrist before he was cleared to return to campus.
Schmidt said he asked the officials why they thought the slogan was threatening, and one said “when you see the word fire, then someone shows up with an AK-47 here shooting everybody,” he said.
“I had no idea what to say to that. For God’s sake, I’m a middle-aged art professor,” Schmidt said. “I don’t own any firearms.”
For one thing, the shirt is obviously mass-produced. For another thing, there was no mention of the college or the dean in the Google+ post. And the shirt was worn by his child! One explanation is that the college is going through some struggles: the faculty is working without a contract and have cast a no-confidence vote against the school’s president. The labor dispute must have the entire administration on edge -so much that none of them can watch TV or read about pop culture. Schmidt has since been reinstated, and given back pay for missing the first week of the semester. -via Uproxx