Temple University student condemned for calling North Philadelphia “the ghetto” in TikTok video

The student has reportedly been sacked from Temple’s Owl Team after the video went viral on Twitter.

This story was updated at 11:30 p.m.

A TikTok video posted by a Temple student has received backlash on Twitter for its characterization of the neighborhood around the university as “the ghetto.”

The video depicts Liam McDowell, a freshman marketing major, walking from Temple to nearby houses mouthing audio from the Real Housewives of Atlanta in which Nene Leakes exclaims “oo, ah, the ghetto.” The video is captioned, “going to a city school and walking two blocks off-campus for a party.” 

Tweets criticizing the video have been liked and retweeted thousands of times. 

“I swear so many college students don’t have respect for the city their school is in, as if these universities aren’t displacing people and changing neighborhoods,” a user wrote in response to the video. “Y’all are the visitors in this situation if you’re not from the area.”

“We appreciate you bringing this video to our attention,” the university wrote in response to a Twitter user on Thursday. “This is upsetting, disappointing and never acceptable.”

In a statement emailed to The Temple News, McDowell apologized for making the video, calling it “insensitive” and “a mistake.”

“The video does not reflect the person that I am,” McDowell wrote. “I have started the process of educating myself about the surrounding neighborhoods by speaking with people who seek to teach others like me about local community issues and I would like to be a part of the dialogue on these issues going forward.”

The student in question had been provisionally accepted to serve as an Owl Team Leader earlier this semester but the offer was rescinded when Temple administration was made aware of the video, said Ray Betzner, a spokesperson for the university. 

Owl Team Leaders are responsible for assisting with summer orientation for new students. The student who posted the TikTok had not yet gone through the orientation and education sessions required for leaders, Betzner said.

“Part of what they learn is that as ambassadors and representatives of Temple University, the things that they post on their personal social media are to be construed as being representative of the university,” Betzner said.

The Temple University Progressive NAACP called on both the student and the university to apologize earlier today in a press release that was posted on Twitter and Facebook by Gary Lawery, the organization’s press and publicity chair. 

“Racial insensitivity serves no purpose on Temple’s campus and is not conducive to the already fragile relationship between Temple University and the North Philadelphia community,” Lawery wrote in the press release.

1 Comment

  1. This is why and what the Stadium Stompers we’re trying to avoid by teaching the students about the neighborhoods and what came before them! We were teaching them about the historic sites in the neighborhood and Temple University’s purpose but so many of them over there in their ivory tower are afraid of the truth and the people who tell it! The Stompers and others have requested educational sessions for students but clearly that hasn’t occurred.

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