- Former adjunct professor of Italian at Temple University
- Was fired from Temple University for anti-Semitic remarks
- Holocaust denier
Alessio Lerro was an adjunct professor of Italian Language and Literature at Temple University in Philadelphia. After receiving both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Modern Letters from the University of Bologna (Italy), he attended Rutgers University where he earned a master’s degree in Italian Studies (2010), a master’s degree in Comparative Literature (2011), and a doctorate in Comparative Literature (2013). He taught a couple of Italian courses at Rutgers in 2010-11, before joining the Temple faculty in 2013.
A devoted Marxist, Lerro uses a picture of Karl Marx as his header on Facebook; he lists Marxism among his research interests in his Temple University profile; and his personal website features not only a quote from Marx on the homepage, but an entire section titled “Marx.”
Lerro achieved a measure of notoriety as a critic of Israel in the spring of 2014, when he took part in a listserve discussion regarding a proposed Modern Language Association resolution to push the U.S. State Department to “contest Israel’s denials of entry to the West Bank by United States academics who have been invited to teach, confer, or do research at Palestinian universities.” Indicating his support for the measure, Lerro stated: “It is time that Zionists are asked to finally account for their support to the illegal occupation of Palestine since 1967. This resolution rightly targets only Israel given the humongous influence that Jewish scholars have in the decision making process of Academia in general.”
Lerro also posted (and later deleted) comments in a Marxism forum on Facebook, expressing his own skepticism about the claim that 6 million Jews had died in the Holocaust. Said Lerro: “6 million? mh… we all know (or should know) that the counting of Jews is a bit controversial.” Shedding light on the meaning of Lerro’s comments, Philadelphia reporter Dom Giordano wrote: “… mh is internet slang for map hack, a term meaning cheating to gain an advantage. In other words, this professor is claiming Jews are ‘gaming’ the Holocaust numbers in order to gain a sympathy advantage.”
Temple University refused to censure Lerro for his remarks and defended his right to engage in “open discussion and expression.”
Later on, a statement was released indicating that Lerro would no longer be employed at Temple University.
Lerro has yet to publish any books, but he has contributed chapters to two collections of essays and has published a number of scholarly papers.