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MAGA Insurrectionist Identified by Daughter Fired by UMass Hospital

by Kevin Schattenkirk

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Thursday January 21, 2021

Therese Duke at Jan. 6 insurrection
Therese Duke at Jan. 6 insurrection  (Source:@deep_dab / Twitter)

Therese Duke, a far-right Trump supporter who took part in the January 6 insurrection, left her position at Worcester's UMass Hospital after feeling "forced" to resign, reports the British tabloid The Sun. She had been an employee at the facility for 15 years.

Two days after Duke's participation, UMass issued a statement on Twitter, "over the past 24 hours we have received numerous expressions of concern through social media regarding a UMass Memorial caregiver who may have been involved in this week's violent events at the nation's capitol. The employee in question is no longer a part of our organization."

Duke was quickly identified on social media after she was caught on video with a group of MAGA seditionists — including some of her own family members — harassing Ashanti Smith, an unarmed security guard at Black Lives Matter Plaza. In the video, Smith is surrounded by white MAGA supporters and filming with her phone. Duke attempts to grab the phone, and Smith punches her in the face. As onlooking MAGA supports attempt to swarm Smith, she walks directly back to police who shield her from potential retribution.

One person who named Duke was her daughter Helena, an 18-year-old lesbian and self-identified liberal, recognized her mother, as well as her aunt and uncle — who she names as Richard and Annie Lorenz — in the video and tweeted "hi mom remember the time you told me I shouldn't go to BLM protests bc they could get violent...this you?" Helena then followed it up with another tweet, "Hi this is the liberal lesbian of the family who has been kicked out multiple times for her views and for going to BLM protests to care what happens to me."

In a recent interview, Helena explains that her mother, as a healthcare worker, posed a risk to those in her care because she participated in the insurrection maskless. She also explains that her mother had been a lifelong Democrat until Trump emerged as the Republican contender in 2016. "It was unsettling seeing how quickly she had changed to a radically right ideology," Helena said. "The things that she was saying really didn't make sense. A lot of them were conspiracy theories, almost a delusional kind of mindset. And I think it was just her belief system entirely was focused around what President Trump was saying."

Smith said she too had been fired and is facing criminal charges for defending herself in a situation where she had been ganged-up on.

Kevin Schattenkirk is an ethnomusicologist and pop music aficionado.

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