IOWA CITY, Iowa – The former director of Iowa's Department of Human Services is keeping his head up after the diehard Tupac fan was fired abruptly last month.
Jerry Foxhoven told the New York Times he still thinks his firing may be coincidental – he was forced out one day after sending an email praising the rapper to all 4,300 agency employees.
The 66-year-old routinely sent Tupac lyrics to other workers as inspiration, hundreds of emails obtained by the Associated Press show.
Foxhoven regularly invited others to his office on "Tupac Fridays" to listen to music. For his 65th birthday, Foxhoven celebrated at the office with Tupac-themed cookies, decorated with words such as "Thug life."
Foxhoven sent the mass email to co-workers to let them know that Father's Day was also Tupac's birthday, adding this inspirational quote he attributed to the rapper: "Pay no mind to those who talk behind your back; it simply means that you are two steps ahead."
Some employees wrote back to tell him how much they loved the emails, but at least one employee notified lawmakers last year, the AP found.
“I love your 2Pac messages,” one employee wrote on June 14. “And the fact that you still send them (despite the haters) makes me appreciate them even more.”
Gov. Kim Reynolds forced Foxhoven to step down June 17, the day after he sent the email encouraging thousands of employees to remember Shakur's birthday that weekend by playing one of his songs.
He told the Associated Press he sent the email in an effort to challenge racist stereotypes around rap music.
A spokesman for the governor, Pat Garrett, said "a lot of factors contributed to the resignation of Jerry Foxhoven," and that they needed to go in a "different direction."