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U of Wisconsin Professor Pens Essay About Crusade to Get Him Fired for Creating Adult Content

LA CROSSE, Wis. — The veteran University of Wisconsin academic who was removed from his post as chancellor last year because he had made adult content, penned a piece for The Chronicle of Higher Education detailing his ordeal and ongoing attempts to fire him from his tenured position as a professor.

As XBIZ reported, Professor of Communications Joe Gow was fired as chancellor on the recommendation of Universities of Wisconsin President Jay Rothman, who called the professor’s actions — including posting adult videos with his wife on their OnlyFans account — “abhorrent.”

Both Rothman — a retired corporate attorney with no advanced academic studies beyond his law degree — and UW System Board of Regents President Karen Walsh issued statements the last week of December regarding the Board of Regents’ unanimous decision to terminate Gow.

Gow’s essay, published Wednesday by the leading academic trade publication The Chronicle of Higher Education, detailed how the professor and his fellow academic wife Carmen Wilson had used their vacation time “to secretly record a series of sex scenes with adult-industry professionals” for a decade.

“We made 18 of them in all, and we also published two books (using pen names) about our experiences,” Gow explained. “Late last year, after I had announced I was stepping down from my administrative position at the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse to focus on my faculty role, we thought it would be interesting to see how a few of our scenes might be received on popular adult websites. We uploaded five of them (featuring just the two of us). Knowing those platforms host millions of videos, we doubted anyone would pay much attention. How wrong we were.”

After a vaguely threatening HR meeting, Gow started to worry about his job.

“This wasn’t the first time I had been involved in a free-speech controversy,” he wrote. “Five years earlier, I had caused quite a stir when I arranged for an adult-film actress and sex educator, Nina Hartley, to speak on my campus. Back then, I caved in to pressure from the system’s Board of Regents and president, weakly apologizing and reimbursing Hartley’s speaking fee with $5,000 of my own funds — something I came to regret. With that unpleasant experience firmly in mind, I decided to keep the videos up on the web and wait to see how the system’s leaders would respond.”

Two days after Christmas, Gow wrote, President Rothman emailed him informing him of his termination from the chancellor position, and released the media statement referring to the professor’s actions as “abhorrent.”

To Gow’s surprise, Rothman then added that he was initiating a process to challenge his tenured faculty position in communication studies.

Rothman engaged an outside law firm to produce a report, which resulted in Gow being currently charged with failing to cooperate fully with the investigation, violating university computer-use policies, and engaging in unethical and potentially illegal conduct.”

“To retain my tenure, I need to defend myself before a faculty tribunal at a hearing to be held in mid-June,” he wrote. “I look forward to doing so.”

Back in late December and early January, conservative publications clamored for Gow to be disciplined and stripped of his tenure.

The Murdoch family-owned New York Post published an editorial calling Gow’s adult video postings on Only Fans part of “a rot in higher education” which “runs wide and deep.”

The Post editorial board said Gow “enjoyed the frisson of being a prominent figure in education who dabbled in smut,” and described his campus invitation to Hartley — a feminist sex educator with decades of experience in public sexual health, and a registered nurse who holds an honorary doctorate from San Francisco’s Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality — as “exactly the kind of coy but in-your-face behavior weirdos with respectable public personae engage in.”

Main Image: University of Wisconsin Communications Professor Joe Gow, with wife Carmen Wilson and performer Lauren Phillips

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