A controversial student newspaper has sparked a new firestorm for publishing an outrageous headline and an obscene photo targeting a student at UC San Diego.
Student Carli Thomas told 10News the editor of "The Koala," a student-run publication, personally attacked her by doctoring a picture she describes as obscene and pornographic. The picture shows a man's genitalia in Thomas' face. The headline next to the photo reads, "Carli Thomas is a fat whore."
Thomas said her first reaction was mortification.
"It's distasteful," she said. "[I] just kind of fell apart and called my mom."
This student body leader believes it's retaliation for her decision to cut funding to "The Koala" newspaper.
When asked to respond to the incident, a UCSD representative gave us this statement:
"The University does not endorse, condone, or approve of the material the Koala publishes; however, the First Amendment protects their speech, even though we find it objectionable. Under the First Amendment, the University is severely limited in the actions it can take in response to content published by students."
"I don't think it's free speech when it's obscene. There's sexual harassment, said Thomas.
Kris Gregorian is "The Koala" editor behind the controversial picture and article. Late Wednesday, Gregorian returned a phone call from 10News and refused to do an interview unless 10News gave him a case of beer. 10News did not, because it is 10News' policy not to pay for interviews, so Gregorian ended the conversation.
When 10News showed the picture to student Kirk Freeman, he said, "It's disturbing and inappropriate."
"It's offensive," said student Rebecca Wittenberg. "I understand the whole free speech thing. I know where they're coming from, but is it really necessary to go this far?"
Thomas said she is fighting back but is not having much luck.
"The UCSD police said they couldn't take the report based on the First Amendment," said Thomas.
Thomas' mother has contacted a couple of lawyers and has written several letters to university administrator and has yet to hear back from them.
Thomas said she worries future employers will research her before an interview, see the picture and move on to the next candidate.
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