Wednesday, 18 September, 2019

Iowa official forced to resign after sending mass email with Tupac lyrics

Rapper Tupac Shakur appears at the MTV Music Video Awards in New York on Sept. 4 1996 Rapper Tupac Shakur appears at the MTV Music Video Awards in New York on Sept. 4 1996
Lora Ball | 18 July, 2019, 08:58

In his last email as director of the agency - a mass email he sent to about 4,300 agency employees - Foxhoven wanted to remind everyone that Sunday (Father's Day) was Tupac's birthday. He also hosted "Tupac Fridays", in which he would play Shakur's music in the office.

In his two years at DHS, Foxhoven sent 350 Tupac-related emails, including a birthday email very similar to the message in question.

The agency that Foxhoven headed, the Iowa Department for Human Services with headquarters in the Hoover State Office Building in Des Moines, provides services for the poor, seniors, physically and mentally disabled citizens on a yearly budget of almost $7 billion.

A Reynolds spokesman says "a lot of factors" went into the decision to seek Foxhoven's resignation.

Jerry Foxhoven, the 66-year-old former director of Iowa's Department of Human Services, loves Tupac.

Foxhoven's email, however, turned out to be only one of many times the director has showcased his Shakur fandom during his tenure.

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It was presumed at the time that 66-year-old Jerry Foxhoven's departure was the result of a tricky two years in which he'd failed, as the Associated Press put it, "to help fix a hard transition from state-run Medicaid to a program run by private insurance companies". For his part, Foxhaven does not believe it was the Tupac content that got him fired. Luckily, only God can judge him.

However, AP also noted that Foxhoven's resignation came at a time that the agency was embroiled in multiple controversies, including problems with ongoing contract negations, a trial following allegations of abuses at a juvenile home, and an unexplained increase in deaths at a home for disabled persons. But Foxhoven does not believe that, noting that his boss had chose to "go in a different direction" prior to the offending message.

The email included what Foxhoven called an inspirational quote from the artist: "Pay no mind to those who talk behind your back, it simply means that you are 2 steps ahead".

But in interviews with other news organizations, Foxhoven has expressed doubt that it was his love of Shakur that prompted Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) to ask for his resignation. He felt that these emails would help break down racist stereotypes about rap music in the office. "And the fact that you still send them (despite the haters) makes me appreciate them even more".

It appears that all eyes, were indeed, on Foxhoven and his emails.

"I agree totally. I am going to hang in there on him - despite all of the naysayers", Foxhoven responded.

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