In the linked July 18 2019 article, UNILAD reported:
A 66-year-old who enjoyed hosting ‘Tupac Fridays’ at work handed in his resignation after emailing the rapper’s lyrics to over 4,000 employees.
Most people accept everyone has their own music taste but Jerry Foxhoven, the former director of Iowa’s Department of Human Services, was clearly adamant on trying to get everyone to love Tupac like he did.
I mean, most people enjoy talking about their favourite artists but there’s quite a big jump between recommending the occasional song to someone with a similar taste and bombarding 4,300 people with Tupac lyrics. Though I suppose you can’t blame him for trying.
Like many versions of the story, it included an embedded tweet about an email sent by Foxhoven shortly before he was fired:
Those articles linked back to that July 16 2019 AP piece (“Emails show Iowa official’s Tupac fixation before his ouster.”) That report did not state in its headline that Foxhoven was fired over his “Tupac obsession” — it simply said his emails had demonstrated that he was a Tupac fan and noted the timing of his abrupt departure:
The director of Iowa’s social services agency was a huge fan of the late rapper Tupac Shakur, and he frequently let his subordinates know it.
Emails obtained by The Associated Press show that Iowa Department of Human Services Director Jerry Foxhoven routinely sent messages to employees lauding Shakur’s music and lyrics even after at least one complained to lawmakers. Then last month, he sent another such email to all 4,300 agency employees. He was abruptly ousted from his job the next work day.
Foxhoven, 66, told employees that he had been a huge fan of the hip-hop artist for years. He hosted weekly “Tupac Fridays” to play his music in the office. He traded lyrics with employees and he marked his own 65th birthday with Shakur-themed cookies, including ones decorated with the words “Thug life.”
The agency released 350 pages of emails with the words “Tupac” or “2Pac” sent to and from Foxhoven during his two-year tenure in response to an AP request.
In that initial article, the Associated Press reported that Foxhoven sent an email to 4,300 subordinates on the day before his firing. It seems that many reporters reasonably concluded, because of the timing, that the email was the cause of his termination.
On July 17 2019, Foxhoven spoke to the New York Times about the viral story and his departure from his job for a paywalled piece titled “Iowa Official, 66, Says His Love of Tupac Wasn’t What Got Him Fired.”
In that interview, Foxhoven clarified some of the rumors:
The timing certainly seemed suspicious.
One day [in June 2019], Jerry Foxhoven, 66, then the director of Iowa’s Department of Human Services, sent an email celebrating the rapper Tupac Shakur to all 4,300 agency employees.
A few days later, he was ordered to resign. Some of his former employees thought the email was to blame.
But, in a phone interview, Mr. Foxhoven said his frequent quoting of Tupac at work — detailed in 350 pages of internal emails first obtained by The Associated Press — was simply intended to raise morale at the troubled agency. He did not believe it led to his removal.
“I think it’s a coincidence,” Mr. Foxhoven said.
[Foxhoven] explained that the office of Gov. Kim Reynolds had requested a meeting with him days before he sent the office-wide email June 14 .
Since Foxhoven’s affection for Tupac Shakur was well known in the office prior to his termination, it remains possible that he was fired wholly or in part due to his “Tupac emails.” However, Foxhoven not only believed its timing was a “coincidence,” he also clarified that the meeting during which he was presumably terminated was scheduled prior to his sending of the widely-circulated Tupac email. Because of this, we are rating the claim that he was fired over his love for Tupac Shakur, at least so far, as Unknown.