The mother of the 19-year-old former University of Alabama student and Alpha Phi sorority sister who was expelled from both organizations after Instagram videos of her repeatedly, intentionally and resolutely using the word “nigger” surfaced online says that her daughter deserved what she got.
Jill Barbera (unlike her daughter, her last name has an extra ‘a’ on the end) told NJ.com that she didn’t raise Harley Barber to be a racist. The Marlton, N.J., resident said Thursday that she agrees with the university’s decision to expel her daughter.
“I agree with the punishment,” Barbera said. “I fully support their decision.
“This is not a reflection of how she was raised,” Barbera added. “She’s just degrading herself and it breaks my heart. I hope someone can look at this and learn. I don’t want anyone to feel what I feel.”
Barbera told NJ.com that she kicked her daughter out of her home in December 2016 after months of arguing, and Barber has lived with her father’s mother ever since.
Videos from a “Finsta” or fake Instagram that Barber had created went viral Tuesday after Twitter user @TabisBack published them on his timeline.
In one video, Barber records herself turning off the water in the bathroom sink of a bar, saying that water shouldn’t be wasted because of people in Syria. She then goes on to say that she acts like she loves black people even though she really hates them.
“I fucking hate niggers,” she said.
In the second video, she appears to be in a car full of other drunken white sorority girls who seemingly egg her on as she complains that someone tried to rat her out to her sorority about the first video. She says that she’s wanted to be in Alpha Phi ever since she was in high school, and she is upset that someone would call the first video offensive because she said the word “nigger.”
She then goes on to repeat the word multiple times, saying that she doesn’t care if it is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, she’s in the South now, so she can say the word as much as she wants.
The University of Alabama immediately disavowed the video when it was tagged in a tweet about it, as did Alpha Phi International.
On Wednesday, both the university and the sorority announced publicly that Barber was no longer associated with either of them.
Barbera told NJ.com that she hopes her daughter can understand the severity of her actions and make changes to her life moving forward.
“I love my kid. I wish this never happened for everyone involved,” Barbera said. “I can’t apologize for her actions, and I won’t. But I’ll apologize for the pain it caused people.”
Barbera said that she is worried about Barber’s safety and the safety of her younger daughter, who still attends school in Marlton. Barbera said that the town is not likely to forget the incident, adding that she has received threats on social media from people who blame her for Barber’s actions and say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
“How do you tell a 10-year-old this?” Barbera said. “I really want people to know that I am not sitting hugging Harley on the couch saying, ‘It’s OK.’”
Barbera also said that she had never heard Barber make racially disparaging remarks and that she didn’t raise her daughter to hold such views.
Barbera said that she and Barber spoke briefly on Wednesday for the first time in a year and that her hope is that Barber is able to overcome the incident.
Read more at NJ.com.