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Fresno State's Randa Jarrar Dragged Out of Event Featuring Big Bang Theory's Mayim Bialik
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By Bill McEwen, News Director
Published 4 weeks ago on
May 1, 2024
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Fresno State creative writing professor Randa Jarrar, left, disrupted a PEN America event in Los Angeles featuring "Big Bang Theory" star Mayim Bialik. Video captured Jarrar, who was protesting the war in Gaza, being dragged out by security while seated in her chair. (GV Wire Composite/Paul Marshall)

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Controversial Fresno State creative writing professor Randa Jarrar is again creating a social media buzz.

On Jan. 31, the Palestinian American writer was dragged out of a PEN America event in Los Angeles while seated in her chair by security.

The evening featured a discussion between comedian Moshe Kasher and “Big Bang Theory” star Mayim Bialik, who is an avid supporter of Israel and opposes a cease-fire in Gaza.

Jarrar began shouting during the event’s introduction. Before she was removed, Jarrar tried to read out the names of 13 Palestinian writers in Gaza whom Israeli forces have killed since Hamas mounted its terrorist attack on Israel on Oct. 7, 2023.

2018 Barbara Bush Death Controversy

Jarrar is an award-winning author of such books as “A Map of Home” and “Him, Me, Muhammad Ali.”

While known in academic and literary circles, her name exploded on the national radar following the death of former First Lady Barbara Bush in April 2018.

After tweeting that Bush was an “amazing racist,” Jarrar became a lightning rod of criticism and the center of debates about academic freedom, free speech, and good taste. These same issues —along with antisemitism — are being illuminated and debated today— on campuses across the nation as the war continues in Gaza and the Palestinian death toll exceeds 34,000, nearly two-thirds of which are women and children.

Jarrar followed up the remarks with more negative posts about Bush and her family and continued to engage with social media followers —bragging about her Fresno State salary and job security.

At one point, she tweeted out a phone number for people to call her with criticism. It was a crisis hotline number at Arizona State.

Some Fresno State donors said they would stop giving to the university because of Jarrar’s tweets, but then-university president Joseph Castro announced she wouldn’t face discipline.

 

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Bill McEwen,
News Director
Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email

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