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CA College Board Censures Trustee for Posting Apple Meme It Found Offensive

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A California community college district board in Dublin has censured one of its own trustees for posting a meme to his private LinkedIn page last fall, claiming that it was an insult to the transgender community. He says that was not his intention.

The censure reportedly led to Chabot-Las Positas Community College District Trustee Luis Reynoso losing his full-time job as a high school teacher. His board seat is an elected position and he cannot be fired from it, but the censuring has deeply affected his life and teaching career. 

Reynoso was punished by his colleagues on Feb 21 for posting an image last fall of an apple with the caption, "This is a banana ...if you see an apple, you are a right-wing extremist."

Screenshot of the post Luis Reynoso made to his private LinkedIn account. (Image credit: Luis Reynoso)

The trustee has repeatedly argued that no written or formal complaint was ever made against him. But the board of trustees said a number of no-confidence votes by faculty and other stakeholders against Reynoso constituted a complaint, according to East Bay Insiders

slider img 2The Express, the Las Positas College student-run newspaper, reported the censure came after a report from an investigation was presented to the board in November. The committee presented their findings that Reynoso did not exemplify the district's ideals. Specifically, the trustees concluded he failed to uphold the board's stated commitment to "Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility" as stated in the board's priorities.

In an email to CBN News, Reynoso explained he only posted the meme to his private LinkedIn account of around 4,300 followers.  

"I wanted my followers to be aware that the world has gone upside down, and the liberal media tell us that what we see is not what it is," he said. 

The meme has been used by critics for a variety of contexts and topics. To some, the meme is disparaging of the transgender community. But according to East Bay Insiders, it is mostly employed as a critique of Republicans and President Trump. CNN even used a variation of the meme in a 2017 ad campaign to push back at Trump's incessant claims of "fake news."

Reynoso said he was not targeting any group when he posted the apple meme. For him, it's all about freedom of speech and a broad commentary about the way Americans perceive the world we're living in. 

CBN News asked him if public servants have the right to freedom of speech just like other citizens are supposed to have.  

"Yes," he replied. "I posted that meme on my private LinkedIn account and not to the college campus through my home network on my own time."

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Last November, when the board asked him to publicly apologize for posting the meme, he refused. 

When CBN News asked Reynoso why he didn't apologize, he replied, "They demanded I apologize to show support for LGBTQ. I refused. I am a Christian, and it is against the word of GOD to support that type of lifestyle (LGBTQ)."

Following the censure late last month, he says he was let go from his job as a teacher. 

"I was mysteriously let go from a full-time local high school teaching position after this issue came out where I refused to apologize to the LGBTQ community," he said. "I was told by the school district that 'we are not a good match,' even though I received good reviews and was on the schedule to return and continue teaching Computer Science AP."

Reynoso went on to explain because the censure was done through malice using fabricated facts and has caused him to lose his job, he wants the censure rescinded. 

He told California Today, a YouTube news outlet, that the meme he posted was not a reference to any group. 

"And when I'm talking about freedom of speech, I practice it," Reynoso said. "I'm not going to take something down just because someone sees it offensive. I didn't write anything to that intent." 

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About The Author

Steve Warren is a senior multimedia producer for CBN News. Warren has worked in the news departments of television stations and cable networks across the country. In addition, he also worked as a producer-director in television production and on-air promotion. A Civil War historian, he authored the book The Second Battle of Cabin Creek: Brilliant Victory. It was the companion book to the television documentary titled Last Raid at Cabin Creek currently streaming on Amazon Prime. He holds an M.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and a B.A. in Communication from the University of