A Florida teacher who was removed from her post pending an investigation into allegations that she espoused racist sentiments online has released a statement denying that she is a white nationalist and defending her controversial remarks as “political satire.”
Dayanna Volitich, a 25-year-old social studies teacher at Crystal River Middle School in northern Florida hosted a podcast called “Unapologetic” and regularly tweeted under the pseudonym “Tiana Dalichov,” according to a 3 March 2018 Huffington Post report. She has self-published a series of sci-fi/fantasy novels under the same pen name.
In since-deleted tweets, “Tiana” expressed views such as that it will be necessary to “eradicate [Muslims] from the face of the earth” to end terrorism and “It isn’t supremacist or hateful to prefer your own people over others,” among other examples. She argued in a recent podcast that science has proven that some racial groups are less intelligent than others.
In response to the article, Citrus County School District released this statement from Superintendent of Schools Sandra Himmel:
We have not been able to reach Volitich for comment, but in a statement to NBC News, she denied being a white supremacist and characterized the activities of her alter ego as a “hobby”:
None of the statements released about my being a white nationalist or white supremacist have any truth to them, nor are my political beliefs injected into my teaching of social studies curriculum. While operating under the Russian pseudonym “Tiana Dalichov” on social media and the “Unapologetic Podcast,” I employed political satire and exaggeration, mainly to the end of attracting listeners and followers, and generating conversation about the content discussed between myself and my guests.
As an adult, my decisions are my own, and my family has nothing whatsoever to do with my social media accounts or my podcast. From them, I humbly ask for forgiveness, as it was never my intention to cause them grief while engaging in a hobby on my personal time.
As it’s usually defined, “political satire” refers to the use of humor and irony to lampoon politicians and particular political points of view (the writings of conservative/libertarian humorist P.J. O’Rourke and Stephen Colbert’s long-running television show The Colbert Report are contemporary examples of the genre). If Volitich intended her more controversial remarks to be taken as facetious or ironic, there’s no obvious indication of that in the statements themselves, however. Nor did Volitich identify herself as a satirist in her podcast, during a recent episode of which she defended the view that race determines IQ as “scientific.”
Likewise, Volitich’s defenders on the alt-right don’t seem to think her online remarks were satirical. Alt-right YouTube personality Lana Lokteff (who participated in Volitich’s podcast) tweeted, for example, that the views she and Volitich share are “rational, honest, and just”:
How pathetic! I was interviewed by Tiana Dalichov on her podcast ‘Unapologetic’ and it became national news, a witch hunt. Tells you how terrified & weak the left is. Our anti-globalist stance is rational, honest & just. All they have is empty words & childish commentary
— Lana (@LanaLokteff) March 5, 2018
Remember… drag queens with dragon horns can read books to kindergarten kids, but Tiana Dalichov is a heretic for believing in race realism as proved by many studies. Total clown world!!
— Bre Faucheux (@Bre_Faucheux) March 6, 2018
And anti-feminist “Wife With a Purpose” blogger Ayla Stewart posted a video of herself placing a phone call to Volitich’s school district during which she said “there’s nothing wrong with white people advocating for their race”:
As of 6 March, Volitich had erased virtually all traces of her former online presence. According to the Citrus County Chronicle, an examination of her personnel file found no record of suspensions or other disciplinary actions since she began working at the middle school in 2016. Though Volitich has not been accused of breaking any laws, the Citrus County School District upholds professional standards requiring teachers to “support the beliefs, shared vision, and mission adopted by the district” and “adhere to professional responsibility and ethical conduct.”
Update [8 March 2018]: Added examples of reactions of alt-right social media personalities to Volitich's suspension from teaching duties.