Iowa’s Department of Human Services director Jerry Foxhoven is out of a job because somebody apparently didn’t want him sharing quotes from late rapper Tupac Shakur with his staff.
According to Complex, Foxhaven, 66, was reportedly axed the day after sending out a mass email to the department’s 4,300 employees telling staff to mark the late rapper’s impending birthday, including a photo of a smiling Shakur along with an inspirational quote, reading, “Pay no mind to those who talk behind your back, it simply means that you are 2 steps ahead.”
That was hardly the first 2Pac-related mass email that Foxhaven had sent to employees; in fact, Associated Press obtained approximately 350 pages of emails Foxhaven had sent to employees that referenced Shakur, including a quote about love on Valentine’s Day and another on Father’s Day. However, the emails demonstrate that Foxhaven consistently used the rapper’s words to help build morale and improve the culture of the department — even hosting weekly “Tupac Fridays” and celebrating his own 65th birthday with Shakur-themed cookies, including ones decorated with the words “Thug life.”
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds insists Foxhaven’s 2Pac obsession had nothing to do with his firing.
“As the governor has said, a lot of factors contributed to the resignation of Jerry Foxhoven and now Gov. Reynolds is looking forward to taking DHS in a new direction,” said the spokesperson, with Foxhaven himself backing up that claim.
Foxhaven believes the governor does indeed want to take the department “in a new direction,” and while he told AP he wasn’t given a reason for his termination, he doesn’t believe his emails were a factor.
Speaking with NPR, Foxhaven added: “I’m a 66-year-old white guy from the Midwest who likes rap music, who likes Tupac! I always try to assume the best of everybody, and I can’t imagine that [the governor] would base her decision on the Tupac incident… If this is the reason, I’m really disappointed.”