New York University’s Center on Law and Security allowed one of its fellows, Nir Rosen, to resign after he tweeted vile things about veteran CBS war correspondent Lara Logan, who sustained a brutal sexual assault and beating in Cairo during pro-democracy celebrations.
Why did the center’s executive director, Karen J. Greenberg, allow him to resign rather than to use the opportunity to take a tougher stand? Here’s what she told me today:
“Nir has always been a really good supporter of the center and I think he realized he had overstepped his bounds.”
She said that the issue was decided by the two of them, and then said: “That’s how these things are done.”
For those who don’t know, Logan was with a CBS crew in Tahrir Square last Friday when they were surrounded by, a network statement said, “a mob of more than 200 people whipped into a frenzy. In the crush of the mob, [Logan] was separated from her crew. She was surrounded and suffered a brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating before being saved by a group of women and an estimated 20 Egyptian soldiers.”
The New York Post reported today that a network source reported that her attackers screamed, “Jew! Jew!” during the assault. A day earlier, Logan told Esquire.com that Egyptian soldiers who had hassled her and her crew accused them of being Israeli spies. Logan is not Jewish.
Rosen inexplicably decided to make something of a joke of the whole thing and put out a series of tweets, including:
*“Lara Logan had to outdo Anderson. Where was her buddy McCrystal.” (That is a reference to CNN journalist Anderson Cooper, and to retired Gen. Stanley Allen McChrystal, who was forced to resign as commander of troops in Afghanistan by President Obama for unflattering comments about administration officials attributed to McChrystal in a Rolling Stone article.)
*“Yes yes its wrong what happened to her. Of course. I don’t support that. But, it would have been funny if it happened to Anderson too.”
*“Jesus Christ, at a moment when she is going to become a martyr and glorified we should at least remember her role as a major war monger”
*“Look, she was probably groped like thousands of other women, which is still wrong, but if it was worse than [sic] I’m sorry.”
To review: He made a joke of a brutal beating and sexual assault; he suggested that perhaps she concocted the sexual attack; he called her a warmonger; he said it would have been funny if Anderson Cooper had been attacked, too.
He wound up deleting some of the tweets (though they were captured by others beforehand) and said he would get off Twitter: “but there is no point following me, i am done tweeting. too ashamed of how i have hurt others and the false impression i gave of who i am.”
Greenberg, executive director of the center, issued this statement today (the bold-faced type is in the original):
“Nir Rosen is always provocative, but he crossed the line yesterday with his comments about Lara Logan. I am deeply distressed by what he wrote about Ms. Logan and strongly denounce his comments. They were cruel and insensitive and completely unacceptable. Mr. Rosen tells me that he misunderstood the severity of the attack on her in Cairo. He has apologized, withdrawn his remarks, and submitted his resignation as a fellow, which I have accepted. However, this in no way compensates for the harm his comments have inflicted. We are all horrified by what happened to Ms. Logan, and our thoughts are with her during this difficult time.”
(Greenberg’s reference to how provocative Rosen has been referred to his pro-Palestinian and pro-Arab political views. He has, for example, argued that “the weak” have a right to attack “the strong,” that Israel is “not a viable long-term project,” etc. )
Rosen’s tweets on Logan more than crossed a line. They were more than cruel and insensitive. They revealed a perverted view of the world that has no place at any university, much less a prestigious one. Differences of opinion — even extreme ones — are one thing, welcome at an educational institution. Misogyny and distortions of reality are quite another.
New York University’s Center on Law and Security should have been far stronger in its actions regarding Rosen. For heaven’s sake, the reality show “Top Chef” is tougher on its losing chefs. NYU should have told him to pack his bags and go.
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Continue reading here: Why didn’t NYU fire Nir Rosen over Lara Logan? – Washington Post (blog)
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