Professor fired after TikTok of p0rn bookmark goes viral

imageTurns out there are worse things than being outed with your pants off during a video call.

University of Miami professor John Peng Zhang was fired this month after accidentally sharing with students his X-rated penchant for “busty college girls.”

The lewd gaffe was discovered by administrators after students shared videos and images on social media of a Zoom screen-share during class with the business analytics instructor, whose browser clearly displayed a bookmark for pornographic content related to physically-endowed coeds.

A student called attention to the bookmark during class, according to the University of Miami Hurricane student newspaper, causing classmates to take notice. However, Zhang, allegedly, continued with his lesson as if it didn’t happen.

Within a few hours, eight seconds of video evidence, which zoomed-in on Zhang’s browser as he carried on with his lecture, had gone viral on TikTok with 800,000 views. The clip, which has since been deleted, also clearly showed the Miami.edu URL in the browser — officially connecting the video with the institution.

By the next day, screenshots of the TikTok had made its rounds on Instagram, as well as college-centric media outlets Fifthyear, Barstool and more.

“I had friends sharing it with me from other schools who saw it,” freshman student Ethan Hartz, who was present when the bookmark was revealed, told the student newspaper.

“I don’t know how it happened,” Zhang reportedly told students in the next session. “I didn’t see it, I’m pretty sure everybody else did … My apologies to the class.” He followed-up in an email telling students he was “investigating” the ordeal, and asked students to refrain from sharing details or links to the story.

Zhang reportedly continued on to teach a few more sessions before ceasing to show up for class, leaving students without an instructor for about 20 minutes before they received an email from the business analytics department chair Robert Plant that class was canceled.

According to the Hurricane, the student who posted the original viral TikTok was asked to remove it by the school administration. Zhang, Plant and vice dean for undergraduate business education Ann Olazabal have declined to speak to the press. New course instructors Gery Perez and Maikel Espinosa also declined.

Rather, the university responded with a general statement: “The University of Miami aggressively investigates all complaints of inappropriate behavior or sexual harassment. After receiving a complaint through the University’s ethics hotline, the incident was investigated by the Office of the Provost, Title IX investigator and Miami Herbert Business School.”

Now, some students are grappling with the outcome.

“[My] first thought was this is super funny,” Hartz told the Hurricane. When he realized that Zhang’s career may be in jeopardy, he added, “I felt guilty afterward for even sharing it with my close friends.”

“This is someone’s livelihood,” said junior Jade Johnson. “I told my friends, this guy could lose his job.”

She added, “I think firing him is a little extreme … He didn’t do anything illegal.”

But other students, particularly young women, found themselves discomforted by the situation.

“It’s hard not to think he’s looking at you like that,” said freshman Samantha Hill. “I wouldn’t turn my camera on … I don’t want him to look at me.”

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