Rap-loving US official who sent hundreds of emails about Tupac forced to resign

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A senior US official has been forced to resign after he repeatedly shared his love of Tupac Shakur with thousands of his employees.

Jerry Foxhoven, former director of the Iowa Department of Human Services, routinely sent emails with quotes from Shakur and hosted “Tupac Fridays” each week where he played the rapper’s music.

The 66-year-old also marked his 65th birthday with Shakur-themed cookies, some decorated with the words “Thug life”.

The agency shared with AP 350 pages of messages sent to and from Mr Foxhoven with the words “Tupac” or “2Pac” during his two-year tenure in the post, with some emails being sent to all 4,300 employees at the company.

The emails showed Mr Foxhoven marked the anniversary of the rapper’s death, a shooting in Las Vegas in 1996, and shared some of his lyrics about love on Valentine’s Day.

He also used Shakur’s image to try to improve the agency’s culture and told colleagues he was inspired by lyrics such as: “It’s time for us as a people to start makin’ some changes.”

Jerry Foxhoven
(Zach Boyden-Holmes/AP)

Pat Garrett, a spokesman for Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, said “a lot of factors” had contributed to Mr Foxhoven’s dismissal and did not confirm or deny that Mr Foxhoven’s Shakur-themed emails were figured in the decision.

Mr Foxhoven, who was asked to resign on June 17, said he was not given a reason for the request but that he doubted Shakur was a factor.

Messages sent by several employees to Mr Foxhoven indicated they liked his love for Shakur but noted that the view wasn’t universally shared.

“I love your 2pac messages … and the fact that you still send them (despite the haters) makes me appreciate them even more,” employee Lisa Bender wrote.

Mr Foxhoven told NPR that he uses his love of rap to “reach out” to staff and that he likes breaking stereotypes.

“I’m a 66-year-old white guy from the Midwest who likes rap music, who likes Tupac!” he said.

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