Columbia University suspends psychiatry head after ‘freak of nature’ tweet

The chair of the department at the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons issues apology for his comment on a model.

Columbia University’s psychiatry department head has been suspended after he tweeted a photo of a dark-skinned model and commented on her skin color, referring to her as a “freak of nature.”

Jeffrey Lieberman shared the tweet about model Nyakim Gatwech, who is of South Sudanese descent, writing: “Whether a work of art or freak of nature she’s a beautiful sight to behold.”

He was suspended Wednesday as psychiatry department chair at Columbia’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and also removed as psychiatrist-in-chief at the university’s Irving Medical Center/New York Presbyterian Hospital, according to an email sent to Columbia faculty and staff that was shared with NBC News.

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