Congressman who defended racist Ole Miss protester posts ‘sick’ joke about Kennedy family: ‘Hole in the brain’

Mike Collins has come under fire online for the second time in as many days, this time over a joke about reports of a worm having eaten part of Robert F Kennedy Jr’s brain

Mike Bedigan
Wednesday 08 May 2024 20:13 BST
Related video: ‘Ole Miss student’ uses shocking racist taunt at Black woman during campus protest

A US Congressman who came under fire for defending racist counter-protests at the University of Mississippi has sparked fresh outrage after making a poor-taste joke about the Kennedy family.

Mike Collins, a Republican from Georgia, was described as “sick and deplorable” after posting a message seemingly about reports that a worm had eaten part of Robert F Kennedy Jr‘s brain.

According to The New York Times, during a deposition held as part of his 2012 divorce proceedings, the anti-vaccine activist turned independent presidential candidate revealed that the worm had died inside his skull.

According to the newspaper, the record of his 2012 deposition showed Mr Kennedy had initially feared he had a brain tumour.

Mr Kennedy reportedly said he’d begun to experience “cognitive problems” and both short and long-term memory loss in 2010, not long after his uncle, the late Massachusetts senator Edward Kennedy, died from the effects of brain cancer.

On Wednesday, Mr Collins took to X to make fun of the incident and the historic tragedies that have hit the Kennedy family.

“You either die a Kennedy with a hole in the brain or live long enough to become a Kennedy with a hole in the brain,” he wrote.

The joke appeared to refer to the death of RFK’s uncle, former president John F Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1963. His father, Senator Robert F Kennedy, was also assassinated several years later, in 1968.

The post from Mr Colllins prompted a fierce backlash from online users, who described it as “repulsive,” “disgraceful” and “disgusting”.

“You are a very sick deplorable man!” one user tweeted, while another added “Ouch. This is beneath a member of Congress.”

Another wrote: “One of my major issues with many of our political leaders today is they do not possess true leadership qualities. This post of yours illustrates my point. Spewing hate and malice is unbecoming at best and one of the lowest forms of the ego. Do better.”

It is the second time in as many days that Rep. Collins has received heavy criticism online, following his response to student protests at the University of Mississippi, colloquially known as Ole Miss.

During one pro-Gaza demonstration staged last week at Ole Miss, protesters clashed with counter-protesters. One man was caught on camera jumping up and down and making monkey noises, a racist trope.

At the time, Rep Collins had shared the video with the caption: “Ole Miss taking care of business.” After several days of backlash over his comments, he walked back his statement.

On Monday Mr Collins wrote on X that if the counter-protester “is found to have treated another human being improperly because of their race, they should be punished appropriately, and will hopefully seek forgiveness”.

He continued: “Frankly, I did not believe that to be the focal point of the video shared at the time, but I recognize that there certainly seems to be some potentially inappropriate behavior that none of us should seek to glorify.”

The Georgia Republican clarified that he does not “tolerate any form of discrimination racism or otherwise”.

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