NYU Sued Over Handling Of Prof. Avital Ronell’s Sexual Abuse (Update)

The New York University “response” from spokesman John Beckman was issued last Tuesday, which is fascinating since he had nothing to respond to until early evening yesterday when the complaint was filed in New York Supreme Court.* Not that NYU needs to actually see something, know what it says, before issuing a statement about why it’s wrong.

In a written statement on Tuesday, John Beckman, an NYU spokesman, defended the university’s handling of the matter.

“We have tried to work with Mr. Reitman to help him put this unfortunate chapter behind him, and we are sympathetic to what he has been through. However, given the promptness, seriousness, and thoroughness with which we responded to his charges, we do not believe that his filing a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the university would be warranted or just.”

Despite this deeply moving expression of advance empathy, Reitman sued NYU, although the ad damnum is left to the court and includes no “multi-million dollars” demand. Good try, though, NYU, even if it might have been wiser to wait until you knew what you were talking about before issuing a statement next time. Consciousness of guilt is a terrible thing.

But the facts underlying the claim reveal that NYU not only failed, but failed miserably, to deal with sexual abuse by their “star” professor. While the Title IX claim filed after Nimrod Reitman was taken seriously, it was only because gender theorist Judith Butler’s favorite humanities prof’s hundreds of repulsive emails made it impossible to ignore. This time.

4. The Title IX Report further explicitly found that by virtue of inappropriate language and improper and unwanted physical contact, Ronell’s behavior constituted a clear violation of NYU policy, “as these acts over a three-year period were unwanted and sufficiently pervasive to alter the terms and conditions of Mr. Reitman’s learning environment.”

5. Although NYU has now determined that Ronell sexually harassed Reitman for his entire time at NYU, NYU has failed to acknowledge that during that period Reitman informed a NYU Vice Provost, among others, about Ronell’s misconduct, and that NYU failed to take any action and thus prevent further harm to Reitman.

Long before Reitman graduated, and found out that Ronell’s constant threats that she had the clout to destroy his career if he didn’t acquiesce to being her boy toy, he complained about what she was doing to him. He complained to a vice provost. He complained to numerous other administrators. He complained plenty.

Reitman was told to keep his head down, avoid her and just get through his degree. He was told there was nothing they could do about his being sexual abused. He was told that was just the way Ronell was, and she was a star. Their star. Suck it up if he ever wanted a career in academia, because she could make him a star. Or destroy him if he didn’t play along.

But even after the “the promptness, seriousness, and thoroughness with which we responded to his charges,” NYU burned Reitman to do the least amount of damage possible to their marquee philosopher.

Reitman testified in excruciating detail about the sexual assaults perpetrated on him, over and over, by Ronell. And this was no single instance, no “he said/she said,” who knows what really happened scenario. Reitman corroborated his allegations not only with Ronell’s own emails, but contemporaneous witnesses to whom Reitman told what Ronell was doing to him. And what did the deeply empathetic NYU do about it?

After a thorough investigation, careful review of the testimonial and documentary evidence, and consideration of the totality of circumstances, the Investigators have determined that there is insufficient information, by a preponderance of the evidence, to support a finding of responsibility that Professor Ronell violated the University’s Sexual Misconduct Policies as it relates to non-consensual sexual contact.

Similar to the allegations of inappropriate physical contact discussed above, Mr. Reitman largely claims that the inappropriate sexual contact occurred during private interactions with Professor Ronell. with the exception of (finned interactions between the two that Mr. Reitman indicated were observed on separate occasions by others; Of the four corroborating witnesses discussed above, only the two witnesses with a close familial relationship with Mr. Reitman (i.e., Ms. Pincus, Mr. Reitman’s mother; and, Professor Andrews, Mr. Reitman’s husband) corroborated observing some of Mr. Reitman’s allegations regarding inappropriate physical contact; however, neither of these individuals purport to have observed any contact that would rise to the level of sexual contact under the policy. Further, of the two other witnesses who indicate that Mr. Reitman disclosed to them that Professor Ronell touched. him inappropriately. neither stated that Mr. Reitman ever reported to them that Professor Ronell touched his breasts, buttocks, groin, or genitals; rather, as indicated in their statements, they indicated hand-holding, kissing, hugging and touching of the torso. In sum, none of the witnesses identiifed by Mr. Reitman, including those with whom. he has a close familial relationship. corroborated his allegations of sexual contact. As such, the Investigators have determined that there is currently insufficient evidence to find, by a preponderance of the evidence, that Professor Ronell engaged in prohibited non-consensual sexual contact.

It was impossible, given the Ronell emails, to pretend that nothing happened, much as that would have made NYU’s circumstances easier, and pleased the cabal of scholars more concerned with saving their pal from disgrace, but that didn’t mean they couldn’t trivialize the sexual assaults and reach the preposterous conclusion that it wasn’t proven, by a preponderance of the evidence, based on testimony, emails and witnesses. Oh, the emails.**

Bizarrely, the three-investigator panel used by NYU to address Reitman’s complaint completely discounts the contemporaneous witnesses, as they are related or associated to Reitman. That’s invariably the case, as who else does an abused person tell but people who are close to him (and the occasional vice provost, of course)?

Rumors have since swirled that Avital Ronell was well-known to enjoy the company of her students in ways that would make anyone not blinded by “the dignity rightly deserved by someone of her international standing and reputation” cringe. Maybe NYU was too well aware of the abuser it had on its hands? Maybe the vice provost had some personal knowledge of the person grabbing Reitman’s crotch?

Regardless, NYU had to protect its brand, and Avital Ronell was one of its brithtest lights, and it wasn’t about to let that light go out. So they found for Reitman on the more trivial accusations, as they had no choice given the voluminous and outrageous emails, but trivialized and diminished the sexual assaults that would have compelled discharge and public humiliation had it been any male prof.

As an aside, NYU says they suspended Ronell for a year. Is that true? Who knows, as they refused to tell Reitman what sanction was imposed. Is it suspension with pay, like a sweet paid holiday? Does she keep her free NYU apartment, a big deal in New York City? NYU refuses to tell Reitman and there is no evidence whatsoever that what they told the New York Times is accurate.

Whether the failure of NYU to protect Reitman from a sexual predator is worthy of a multi-million dollar lawsuit will be up a jury. Whether they failed miserably, and whether the cost-benefit analysis favored saving Ronell at the expense of Reitman, however, is why they’re being sued. Not only will this be exceptionally ugly for NYU, but this could bring down more “stars” than just Ronell. As it should.

Update: NYU critical theory post doc Dr. Mangalika de Silva has issued a press release defending Ronell’s honor. I leave it to others to decide the merit of her denials, but suggest that she would do better with a lawyer than someone who “engages the ontology of democracy, sovereignty, xenophobia and postwar reconciliation, anastasis and minoritarian becomings.”

Edit: One noteworthy addition is Ronell’s claim, for the first time, that she was denied the opportunity to “confront, question or cross-examine” Reitman, suggesting that the new feminist Title IX narrative is that cross-examination is necessary. This is absolutely true, although Ronell never sought an adversarial hearing until now, well after she lost. On the bright side, the trial in this matter will provide an opportunity to cross Reitman, but then, be careful what you ask for.

*Immediately after filing, my dear friend and Reitman’s lawyer, Donald Kravet, was kind enough to send me the filed complaint.

**These are not all, but only the quotes set forth in the NYU Title IX findings (this was OCR’d from the original, so typos abound):

• “My most darling” (see Attachment C, dated July221 2012i’at 4:52 a.m.);
• “Baby love angel” (see Attachment, dated February 7. 2015, at 9:05 p.m.);
• “My sacred” (see Attachment C,dated June 10, 2012, at 10;40 a.m.);
• “Awesome warrior angel” (see Attachment C. dated June 11, 2012, at 7:43 p.m.);
• “My astounding and beautiful and “my darling” (see Attachment C, dated June
12,2012, at 11 :40 p.m.);
• “Honig” (German for “honey” (see Attachment C. dated June 8, 2012, at 3:09
,. “Honey” (see Attachment C, dated May 25, 2014, at 5:04 a.m.);
• “My angel glory” (see Attachment C, dated June 30,2014, at 12:05 a.m.);
• “Baby” (see Attachment C, dated June 30, 2014, at 12:15 a.m.);
,. “My love” and “sweet baby” (see Attachment C, dated August 1,2014, at 4:07
• “Milk & Honey”(see Attachment C, dated June 17r 2012, at 10:52 p.m.); • -sweet cuddly Baby'” and “my cherished” (see Attachment C, dated September 29, 2014. at 1:21 a.m,);
• “My extreme beloved” (see Attachment C, dated October 1,2014, at 7;0,1 p,m.);
• “My sweetest, most transcendent” (see Attachment C, dated July 20, 2012, at 3:58’a.m~j;
• “My joy” (see Attachment C, dated July 12, 2012, at 3;07 p.m.);
• “Mon adore” (French for “my love”) (see Attachment C, dated July 12, 2012, at 5:02 p.m.);
• “My treasured” (see Attachment C, dated June 21, 2012, at 4:04 am.);
• “My most adored one” (see Altachment C. dated October 4, 2012, at 3:07 p~m.);
• “Most Honey-bunny” (see Attachment C, dated June 22, 2013, at 10:26 p.m.);
• “My most divine miracle” (see Attachment C, dated July 18,2013, at 4:32 p.m.);
• “Sweet-companion prince” (see Attachment C, dated August 26, 2012,at 1 :51 p.m.);
• “Most cherished” (see Attachment C, dated August 21. 2012, at1 ;09 p.m.);
• “Love of 1Tv9s” (see Attachment E); and
• “Cock~erspaniel” (see Attachment G).
• “I am overoomlng my extreme form of intimacy,. cocooning with you, sealing
myself into you … ” (see Attachment C, dated June 101 2012, at 10:40 a.m.);
• “EndlesstraJ1 of kisses” (same);
• “Sweetest honey-kisses” (see Attachment C,dated June 11,2012, at 7:43 p.m.);
• “Sweet kisses and champagne” (see Attachment C. dated June 12, 2012, at 11 :40 p.m.);
• “I <am so connected to u” and “oving u tremendously” (see Attachment C. dated June~O 2014, at 12;05 a.m.);
• “Your throne in my heart” (see Attachment C. dated June 30,20~ 4, at 12:16
• “I bestow a kiss upon you, as we used to,mid~day and aftemoons.”(see
Attachment C, dated AugusU,2014i at 4:01 p.m.);
• “Loving you downtown and all around the town”( see Attachment C, dated
October 1 i 2014, at 7:01 p.m.);
• “TIme for your midday ldss. My image during. meditation: we’re on the sofa, your
head on my lap, stroking you {sic} forehead, playing softly with yr [sic] hair,
soothing you, headaChe gone. Yes?” (See Attachment C, dated July 3, 2012, at
7:27 p.m.);
• “PIs hold me a little. tighter.” (seeAttachmentC, dated July 20, .2012, at 3:58
a.m.);. .
• “Please do not threaten me Or,yourself With ‘shattering us. ‘” and “I do not like to
be 1n the position ofsuppJicating for more of your attention or time.” (see
Attachment C, dated December 25,2012, at 12:30 a.m.);
• “I wish I could kidnap you; .;.” and “Baby, let me massage your feet,” (see
Attachment C,dated.luly1 8;2013; at 5;19 p.m.);
• “I miss you greatly and announce that , now am on a need to hear from you
basis.” (seeAtb;lchmentC, dated July 29,2013, at 4:53 a.m.);
• “have~·I told you enough how much I truly am in awe of you ..• you have
engravedJn me an image of you that fs jneffaceable.” (see Attachment C. dated
August 21, 2012i at 1:09 p.rn;);
• “Now let’s cuddle like cubs.” (see Attachment C; dated May 10,2014. at4:16
• “You lookM gorgeous; Couldn’t keep my eyes offyoull!” (see AttachmentC,
datM September 30, 2014, at 5:04am.);
• “lam having a.harcl time lettlng )’Ou go and want, if possible, to retrieve the idea
of a.”date’ that we agreed upon months ago.” (see Attachment C, dated
December 17,2012, at3:58 p.m.);
• “Loving you all around the universe and universityl'” (see Attachment C, dated
October 1, 2014, at 1:58 p.m.); and,
• “I am aglow, devoted to you, to us – and our daughter! Adoring you,” (see
Attachment E).


47 thoughts on “NYU Sued Over Handling Of Prof. Avital Ronell’s Sexual Abuse (Update)

  1. rita lehrer

    Perhaps Carol Jacobs, Yale Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature and German, should be called as a witness. She belongs to the circle of scholars working closely with Avital Ronell but did not sign the support letter initiated by Butler & co. She was a member of NYU’s German department in 2001 (having hired there from SUNY Buffalo) but left this department abruptly within one year and went on to Yale. This is unusual as Yale did not fit her scholastic background as closely as did NYU. DId she witness something that made her uncomfortable? The Leiter report also said that someone is about to release a damning letter in a German magazine about Ronell this September. Could this be Bernd Hüppauf, former chair at NYU’s German department who hired Ronell? It might help Mr. Reitman’s case if a pattern of ongoing abuse on the part of Ronell could be established via other witnesses.

    1. SHG Post author

      That’s not how law, or evidence, works, unfortuntely. Relevance and materiality preclude collateral tales, no matter how juicy they might be.

      1. Quixote

        I wonder whether the now frequently alleged pattern of Ronell’s interactions with other male students may not yet take on relevance at an eventual trial. Note that Mangalika de Silva defends Ronell’s emails as “gay-coded, with literary allusions, poetic runs and obviously exaggerated expressions of tenderness.”

        Similarly, the press has repeatedly stated that Ronell is a lesbian. A strategy is thus emerging, to present her emails as a mere performance exercise in postmodernist irony.

        On the other hand, de Silva suggests that Dr. Reitman’s emails are to be taken literally, and hence as documenting his “beautiful memories” of time spent with his thesis adviser. (The issue of the propriety of entertaining such a relationship to begin with on Ronell’s part is of course ignored.)

        [Ed. Note: Lengthy irrelevant discussion deleted.]

        In Ronell’s case, the fundamental underlying claim being used to justify irony as a defense, is that Ronell is a lesbian. And in that regard, I wonder whether a demonstrable pattern, if it exists, of sexual relationships with other male students over the years would be considered more prejudicial than relevant to a key issue at trial.

        1. SHG Post author

          This is a law blog. You’re clearly not a lawyer. I’ve posted your comment, for what it’s worth, even though it’s largely nonsensical, but deleted the completely irrelevant Golb discussion.

          1. Quixote

            I’m so sorry for posting uninformed commentary on your blog about this important affair. My aim was not so much to assert a technical point of law (which I would lack the competency to do) as to draw a contrast reflecting what seems to be a current problem in the humanities and especially at NYU, where “postmodernist” faculty members find themselves confronting inconvenient tangible standards and in response seek out shaky grounds based on intangible phenomena like reputation and irony. Will this be remembered as the trial of postmodernism?

          2. Quixote

            P.s. this latest article, rather thoroughly outlining Ronell’s defense as it does, should help clarify my nonsensical comments:

            [Ed. Note: Link deleted per rules.]

            1. SHG Post author

              I appreciate your good intentions. Ronell is trying to spin whatever she can, but the case will not proceed as a postmodern exercise in the humanities, but as the law provides. As for it’s relationship to various theoretical disciplines and culture, that’s for her peers to decide, whether they want to buy into bullshit or deal with facts and evidence.

              The CHE article is friendly crap, but that’s why she went to CHE to pitch her spin. To lawyers, it won’t fly and isn’t worthy of serious discussion. We concern ourselves with facts and law, not excuses and rationalizations.

        2. Mangalika de Silva

          The accuracy of the author’s reporting and analysis and of the commentators’ readings of the objective record is open to question if they cannot even discern that I, Mangalika de Siilva am only listed as a “CONTACT” for press inquiries and not as the author of the press release. If the author of the post and commentators do not know the difference, that raises serious questions about their other readings of the material under debate here. I am not responsible for any of the statements in the press release so it is pointless to attack me, I am merely a human mailbox. Even the link attached to my name explicitly contradicts the misidentification that I am currently an ” NYU postdoc” which I am not. Please correct these factual inaccuracies in the body of the post asap.

          1. SHG Post author

            Sorry, kiddo, but the world doesn’t work the way that shit that floats through your head tells you it does. This is a press release. You list yourself at the bottom. In the real world, as opposed to whatever fantasy world you occupy, that makes it yours. Don’t like it? Tough nuggies. If you don’t want to be responsible, don’t put your name to it. But don’t whine about it afterward. Notably, you didn’t say who wrote or how your name got on it.

            And as for your not being a NYU postdoc, that’s what it says. You want it to say something different? That’s fine, since nobody really cares. But you neglected to offer your preferred description, so that’s that.

            Welcome to the real world, where nobody gives a flying shit about you beyond your extremely limited utility as a minor factoid.

          2. Ron

            Dear Mangy (may I call you Mangy?),

            As someone who does public relations for a living, allow me to help you. The way the press release is formatted says that you are its author. If you didn’t mean for that to be the case, it should have been attributed to someone else. It wasn’t. Your name is on it. To complain that someone else is inaccurate isn’t merely wrong, but false.

            Now, assuming you don’t wish to be associated with this press release, the way to do so is to state who the author was and that you were ignorant of the significance of having your name attached to it. Being disingenuous isn’t the solution. Try giving facts to correct your error, rather than blaming others and playing the smug fool.

            You’re welcome.

    2. adrian

      A bit more context: Jacobs did her graduate work at Yale with de Man, so going back to Yale was in that regard not an unusual move. She got a dream job, and with it the chance to shape the department at Yale. She took her scholastic background with her (along with a graduate student who became faculty) to a German faculty sympathetic to deconstruction. 9/11 probably also played a role in her departure from NYU. I’m not claiming that there were no tensions among the faculty at NYU in 2001, but the context of Jacobs’s departure is broader than your account allows. I think she was at NYU for two years.

    1. SHG Post author

      Nah. I had to OCR the NYU findings, and didn’t have the patience to correct all the pdf errors. She’s got some, but can’t blame her for the OCR.

  2. greg gerber

    The Chronicle of Higher Education (8/15; Katherine Mangan) claims: “The case exploded into the news this week when word broke that Ronell, 66, had been suspended for a year without pay after being found responsible for sexually harassing her former advisee.” Do we know if this information “suspension without pay” is correct?

    1. SHG Post author

      Mangan found out found because of the NYT article, which only provided that they were told by NYU of the 1 year suspension, no word on without pay. There’s no source for without pay as far as I’m aware, and the only source for the suspension is NYU said so.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    It’s going to be interesting to see how the NYT covers this. Will it be with actual impartiality, with advocacy journalism, or with a pillow until it stops breathing.
    As an added aside we get to see how intersectionality scores play out. I want the popcorn franchise for this case.

    1. ShootingHipster

      I am aglow, most transcendent, and announce that I am now on a need to have moar popcorn basis.

  4. MonitorsMost

    1. That might be the best complaint I’ve ever read which was geared toward generating a public relations nightmare while still being a competent legal pleading.

    2. Paragraph 113 in particular was pretty shocking in light of you drawing much of the sting in your previous post:

    In late 2014, after yet another “work session” tab Ronell’s apartment that was spent doing little to no work and, instead, was comprised of Ronell kissing and groping Reitman, Reitman telephoned the administrative director of the NYU German Department, with whom Reitman has become friendly, and asked her if he could come to her office, to which she agreed. Once in her office, Reitman told the administrative director about Ronell’s conduct, to which she responded by indicating she already knew much of what he had told her. Soon after leaving the administrative director’s office, Reitman received a telephone call from Ronell, in which she said that she knew he had been talking to the administrative director.

    3. I suspect there are statute of limitations issues on what would otherwise be the best claims, quid pro quo and hostile education environment. I’m willing to bet Dr. de Silva that NYU moves for summary judgment on SOL instead of trying to argue that the conduct wasnt unwelcome or wasn’t severe and pervasive.

    4. “engages the ontology of democracy, sovereignty, xenophobia and postwar reconciliation, anastasis and minoritarian becomings.” Speaking of Dr. de Silva, someone has a serious case of Fredo Corleone inferiority complex.

    1. SHG Post author

      Given that it was an ongoing course of conduct, I suspect a motion on SOL isn’t going to save them. That, of course, could just be my minoritarian becomings, whatever the hell that might be.

      1. MonitorsMost

        I did consider course of conduct in making that comment. Reitman graduated spring of 2015. There needs to be some sort of conduct which continues until August 2015. I did a quick look to see if New York City had tolling for the Title IX investigation but my first impression was no. Admittedly, it’s only an inference, but I would have expected based on the detail in the complaint that if Reitman had a specific incident to point to after August 16, 2015, it would have been alleged.

        And to be clear, the whole case wouldn’t go. Retaliation would clearly extend beyond August 2015 as alleged. Disparate treatment in the Title IX process based on sex stays too.

  5. DaveL

    “engages the ontology of democracy, sovereignty, xenophobia and postwar reconciliation, anastasis and minoritarian becomings.”

    I feel like “Freeman of the Land” should be in there somewhere.

  6. Dudeman

    “…however, neither of these individuals purport to have observed any contact that would rise to the level of sexual contact under the policy.”

    This is why it is critical to rape in a private place, then there can be no Title IX substantiation (however, the criminal system may see things differently).

    1. SHG Post author

      There’s no corroboration requirement. The question is whether it’s sufficient to meet the burden of proof, in this case preponderance of the evidence. It goes well beyond that here.

      1. Dudeman

        Similar to adding intent to 18 U.S.C. 793(f) in the Clinton investigation, the investigators had to graft a corroboration requirement to reach the “correct” result in the Ronell matter.

  7. Herman Franks

    NYU also shows a real sloppy attitude about redressing the case. While Ronell was suspended from teaching, her graduate seminar on law and literature was simply handed over to her colleague Prof. Emily Apter who also signed Butler’s outrageous letter. Moreover, famous philosopher and cultural critic Slavoj Zizek who joined the chorus in calling Mr. Reitman a “malicious individual” will be back at NYU as usual as a guest professor in Prof. Apter’s seminar (see below). This means that NYU officially condones the retaliatory remarks of the above individuals without any consequences.

    Fall Graduate Courses 2018 (http://as.nyu.edu/german/courses/fall-2018-graduate-courses.html)

    Same as COLIT-GA 2912, ENGL-GA 2912
    Conducted in English
    Taught by Emily Apter

    This course will serve as an introductory theory proseminar for graduate students in Comparative Literature, English and German as well as the occasion of a series of interventions titled Sex, Absolute Knowing, and the Limit of Ontology by Slavoj Žižek, Global Distinguished Professor of German, NYU.
    Presented by Slavoj Žižek

  8. herbert gieseking

    I just read Mangalika de Silva’s defense of Ronell (looks like she’s a post-doc at NYU fishing for a job by coming to the rescue of the NYU). If the title IX investigation has reopened, looking at potential charges of retaliation, wouldn’t her statement of support have to be examined as well. Was it commissioned? How did she get all this information? Is it a part of a secondary effort of retaliation to discredit Mr. Reitman? I also believe that it would be helpful to produce an expert for what constitutes “stalking” during the trial. The general public mostly operates on a cinematic understanding of this term, involving direct violent assault and may be less aware of pathological behavior to control a victim via psychological forms of domination or mixed forms of affection and control (erotomania).

    1. SHG Post author

      It wasn’t a “statement of support.” She claims to be Ronell’s publicist, and Ronell has not disavowed her. As this is a law blog (lawyers and judges) and you’re obviously not a lawyer, you may want to lay off trial tactics as being the absolute least knowledgeable person in the room.

    2. Mangalika de Silva

      I have already posted to this site that I am only listed as a contact person for press inquiries related to the press release and am not the author of its contents and have been misidentified as a current NYU postdoc. Therefore I resent as baseless calumny the ulterior brown-nosing motives attributed to me in this post, though they are typical of the indiscriminate feeding frenzy of the blogosphere looking to stigmatize any and all connected to the name Ronell and the scholarship directly or indirectly associated with it.

      1. SHG Post author

        Damn, you are a particularly sensitive little brown-noser with a remarkably poor grasp of her relative insignificance. Resent all you like. Who cares?

      2. Sgt. Schultz

        So you’re not a brown-noser, but offer no explanation as to why you allowed your name to appear on the press release issued under your name by some unknown author you’ve twice now filed to name? So you’re a bullshitter as well as a brown-noser.

        You really suck at this.

  9. Rev. Cherrycoke

    Dear Scott
    I quote you on the issue of suspension with or without salary: “Mangan found out found because of the NYT article, which only provided that they were told by NYU of the 1 year suspension, no word on without pay.” Did you talk to Mangan and ask her about her sources? In that article there is a lot of information not found in the NYT article. Is it possible that she, like any good journalist, did her homework and found out more than the NYT printed?

    1. SHG Post author

      It doesn’t work ass backwards. The reporter who asserts a fact sources the fact, not asserts it and then someone down the line is somehow obliged to go back and ask if they pulled it out of their ass. But in Mangan’s second post, she does source it: To her own prior post via link. And her own prior post is sourced to the NYT article, which says nothing of the sort. And that’s how it works.

      As for “is it possible,” anything is possible, like space aliens, which is why that’s a question only a moron would ask.

    2. David

      It would be pretty interesting to find out that NYU informed Mangan when they refused to tell the victim, what sanctions were imposed on Ronell. Notably, Mangan has never responded to this fundamental gaffe in her reporting, her stating a fact that’s completely unsourced, as in “gee whiz, sorry, I left out this source that told me this fact.”

      But there are always apologists to help cover failure, no matter how obvious they are.

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