Black Lives Matter
The Black Lives Matter social justice movement which was started in 2012 following the death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin calls for racial equality. Photo: Getty

A professor at the University of Virginia apologized Tuesday after a Facebook comment landed him in trouble with school officials. Douglas Muir, a lecturer in entrepreneurship, received swift backlash after he called the Black Lives Matter movement the “biggest racist organization since the KKK.”

“Black lives matter is the biggest rasist [sic] organization since the clan,” Muir said in his Oct. 4 comment referring to a Facebook post about a Black Lives Matter event in Charlottesville. “Are you kidding me. Disgusting!!!”

His remarks prompted a wave of criticism on social media and from university officials who said it raised “serious concerns” about the school’s commitment to inclusion.

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“While free speech and open discussion are fundamental principles of our nation and the University, Mr. Muir’s comment was entirely inappropriate,” university officials said in a statement. “UVA Engineering does not condone actions that undermine our values, dedication to diversity and educational mission.

In his own statement Tuesday, Muir said his actions were wrong and apologized to his students and the community.

“I was wrong in my comparison and want to offer my profound apologies for my words. To my students, the University of Virginia, the citizens of Charlottesville and the thousands of responders, I am truly sorry. I have been saddened by the pain it has caused this wonderful community,” Muir said.

He agreed to take a leave from the school three days after posting the comment and is expected to return to his classes Monday. In an email Wednesday, university spokesman Anthony de Bruyn said Muir “volunteered” to take his leave.

“The university did not take disciplinary action against Mr. Muir and he remains on the teaching faculty,” de Bruyn said.

Muir also owns a chain of Italian restaurants in the Charlottesville, Virginia, area. Protestors at The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church and Showing up for Racial Justice Charlottesville were organizing a rally at one of Muir’s restaurants Friday.