‘DEI=DIE’, Utah lawmaker blames 'diversity' for Baltimore bridge collapse - Hindustan Times
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‘DEI=DIE’, Utah lawmaker blames 'diversity' for Baltimore bridge collapse

Mar 28, 2024 06:22 PM IST

Utah state representative, Phil Lyman, has claimed DEI initiatives led to Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore

Utah state representative, Phil Lyman, sparked controversy by suggesting that diversity initiatives led to the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore, where six people are presumed dead.

TOPSHOT - The US Coast Guard Cutter Frank Drew (R) patrols near the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge after it was struck by the container ship Dali in Baltimore, Maryland, on March 27, 2024.(AFP)
TOPSHOT - The US Coast Guard Cutter Frank Drew (R) patrols near the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge after it was struck by the container ship Dali in Baltimore, Maryland, on March 27, 2024.(AFP)

Republican Rep. Phil Lyman criticized diversity efforts in a tweet. "This is what happens when governors prioritize diversity over the wellbeing and security of citizens," said Lyman, who is running for governor.

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Lyman's tweet shared a post from the Young Conservative Federation, which introduced Karenthia A. Barber, a Black woman, as a commissioner for the Port of Baltimore. The post stated, "She knows nothing about Ports, but she is a 'diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) auditor and consultant.'"

The Dali cargo ship collided with the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore on Tuesday, causing the tragedy.

Phill Lyman tweeted, “DEI=DIE”

Barber is one of six commissioners overseeing the Port of Baltimore. Her bio highlights her work in DEIB training, coaching, and consulting, as well as experience teaching at the university level and being the first female chair of the board of Maryland Automobile Insurance. The other commissioners have diverse career backgrounds, including maritime science, shipping, the airline industry, corporate law, and Maryland’s department of transportation.

Lyman's remarks 'anti-Black, and anti-woman'

Nika White, a DEI consultant, criticized Lyman's comments as "irresponsible, anti-Black, and anti-woman." White added, "By linking Port of Baltimore Commissioner Karenthia Barber’s background to the accident solely because of her involvement with DEI efforts, conservatives like Lyman reveal their bias, ignorance, and willingness to say anything for votes."

Neither Lyman’s office nor the Baltimore Port Authority responded to NBC News' requests for comment.

Lyman later told The Salt Lake City Tribune that his social media staff posted the tweets without his approval. “It was not our best moment,” he admitted. “The post was a knee-jerk reaction to some of the things others were putting out there.”

“I prefer a dignified approach and sometimes the people who handle the social media are more provocative than what I’m comfortable with,” Lyman said.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the controversial posts, including one that labeled DEI as "poison" and another retweet stating “DEI = Didn’t Earn It,” were still visible on Lyman’s account.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Vertika Kanaujia is Editor Audience Growth at Hindustan Times and oversees the website’s coverage of business news, health, technology and internet culture. She is a Chevening Scholar and a Columbia Journalism University Fellow. Vertika has been a journalist for more than 18 years. After starting her career as a business journalist in TV she has worked with various leading news channels. You can email her at vertika.kanaujia@htdigital.in.

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