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Jerry Foxhoven, the former director of Iowa’s Department of Human Services, is speaking out following reports that he was told to resign after sending an email to 4,300 employees about his love for Tupac Shakur.

Foxhoven said he thought it was a “coincidence” that he was forced out after he sent the office-wide email celebrating the rapper. He does not believe, however, that this lead to his removal from the company.


In a phone interview with The New York Times, Foxhoven, who described himself as “a 66-year-old white guy,” said he frequently quoted Tupac at work — as detailed in 350 pages of internal emails first obtained by The Associated Press — which he says was meant to “add a little levity and humanness” to the office. He noted that he has been a TuPac fan since the ’90s.

“I would say Tupac is by far my favorite, second would be Snoop Dogg,” he said, adding that he appreciates the “socially conscious messages in Tupac’s work,” the NY Times writes.

The emails obtained by The A.P. show Foxhoven referred to Pac in 350 pages of emails, and even held “Tupac Fridays” in the office. A birthday party featured cookies decorated with the phrase “Thug Life.”

In one message, Foxhoven reminded employees that Father’s Day coincided with Tupac’s birthday (June 16), and included what he said was “an inspirational quote”: “Pay no mind to those who talk behind your back; it simply means that you are two steps ahead.”

“I love your 2Pac messages,” one manager wrote June 14. “And the fact that you still send them (despite the haters) makes me appreciate them even more.”

After sending this email, Foxhoven met with Ms. Reynolds’s chief of staff and was told that the governor wanted to take the agency in a different direction — so he agreed to resign.

Reynolds later told reporters that “a lot of factors” had gone into the decision to remove Foxhoven, but would not offer specifics.