Carly McKinney, aka CarlyCrunkBear: DJ Diplo rallies for suspended teacher at #FreeCrunkBear

Overland High math teacher Carly McKinney became a newsmaker this week after flirty photos and dope-themed tweets on her now-deleted Twitter account led to her suspension and an investigation into her actions. Now, however, Twitter Nation is rising up in her defense, with a high-profile personality leading the charge: DJ Diplo, who vows to use all his whiles to get the #FreeCrunkBear hashtag trending before the day is out.

As we've reported, 9News received a tip about McKinney's account, @crunk_bear, which she told the station she shares with a friend. She insisted that someone with access to the account had posted items without her say-so, including photos like this one....

...and this one. Also featured were tweets like "Naked. Wet. Stoned" and "Watching a drug bust go down in the parking lot. It's funny cuz I have weed in my car in the staff parking lot."

Afterward, McKinney, a first-year teacher still in her probationary period, was put on paid administrative leave while the Cherry Creek School District looks into whether she may have violated the drug-free-school-zone policy or tweeted on school time -- pretexts for punishment or even firing that might be used in lieu of taking action against her for the Twitter account itself. This effort brings up a raft of questions about free speech and potential retaliation that recalls the Ward Churchill case at CU-Boulder.

Meanwhile, International Digital Times reports that McKinney sent an NSFW photo to Diplo, an acclaimed DJ and producer who's worked with stars such as M.I.A. in addition to his own solo recordings. He's said to have retweeted it amid a promotional blitz for his latest single, "Express Yourself," featuring Nicky B.

To give the image some context, here's a look at Diplo's Twitter profile photo:

Now here's the McKinney image, which was accompanied by the message, "Listening to @diplo in the shower leads to this... #expressyourself #whitegirlass #twerk #twerkteam." Continue for more about DJ Diplo's Twitter campaign on behalf of Carly McKinney, including photos. There's no telling whether Diplo's retweet had anything to do with McKinney's Twitter account coming to 9News' attention, but he's certainly taken her plight to heart. His Twitter feed currently overflows with messages featuring #FreeCrunkBear. Here's an item posted seven hours ago at this writing:

Shortly thereafter came this:

He also shared this graphic:

One person on Diplo's feed suggests that everyone change their Twitter avatars to the flag above, while others are using the #FreeCrunkBear hashtag without quite knowing why. An example:

In the last few hours, someone's also launched #FreeCrunkBear Twitter and Facebook pages -- although they're unlikely to please the school district. Here's the graphic for the Twitter feed:

In contrast to all this online activity, McKinney is laying low. But Diplo and his followers are making sure her case isn't forgotten.

More from our Follow That Story archive: "Carly McKinney, teacher suspended over hot Twitter posts, backed by #FreeCrunkBear."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts

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