Brooklyn College students are calling for administrators to fire a professor who seemed to dismiss sexual assault by teenage boys in a blog post the teacher now says was an attempt at satire.
Last week, Mitchell Langbert, a business professor for 20 years, wrote: “If someone did not commit sexual assault in high school, then he is not a member of the male sex.
“The Democrats have discovered that 15-year-olds play spin-the-bottle, and they have jumped on a series of supposed spin-the-bottle crimes during (Supreme Court nominee Brett) Kavanaugh’s minority, which they characterize as rape, although no one complained or reported any crime for 40 years.”
The blog post was reposted in a private group for some 5,000 students and alumni.
Some students were outraged. Corrinne Greene said her campus group, Young Progressives of America, wants Langbert fired.
“To have someone in a position of power espousing sexual assault is not a joke. It’s something that needs to be taken seriously,” she said.
Students held a protest on campus Thursday afternoon. Many held up signs. One read: “Sexual assault doesn’t make you a man.”
Student Dailee Morrone, who posted a short video of the event to Instagram, said the blog was “awful.”
Langbert, a 64-year-old associate professor who teaches on weekends, said Wednesday the post was parody, and he apologized to anyone who was offended.
“I was trying to be satirical, but I guess I’m no Jonathan Swift,” he said, referring to the Irish author from the 1700s. “I appreciated that it may have been in bad taste and I have apologized for that and I will again. I’m sorry people got offended. I didn’t mean to hurt anyone’s feelings or cause them to not feel respected. I honestly didn’t expect them to read it.”
He said he has turned over threats of violence toward him to authorities.
Kavanaugh, a US appeals court judge, has been accused by Christine Blasey Ford of sexual assault while the two were high schoolers in the early 1980s. Kavanaugh has vehemently denied the allegations.
Langbert wrote in his blog that the Senate committee hearing last week at which Ford and Kavanaugh testified was a travesty and that the Democratic Party has become “a party of tutu-wearing pansies, totalitarian sissies who lack virility, a sense of decency, or the masculine judgment that has characterized the greatest civilizations.”
Brooklyn College Provost Anne Lopes called the comments in the post abhorrent and counter to the values of the school community.
“However, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution protects even speech that many experience as offensive, such as the faculty member’s post,” she said. Lopes added that officials will plan a forum to discuss the issue.
In his original post Langbert also wrote: “In the future, having committed sexual assault in high school ought to be a prerequisite for all appointments, judicial and political. Those who did not play spin-the-bottle when they were 15 should not be in public life.”
He updated his post Wednesday to add his comments about satire and the treatment of Kavanaugh.
“My piece was in a sense a protest to the constraints on speech and how it’s stacked against conservatives and used to banish conservatives from higher education,” the self-described libertarian said.
Former Brooklyn College student Joan Martinez said she was disturbed by the post and saw Wednesday’s edit.
“As someone who’s studied satire, it was simply inappropriate,” she said. “We live in an age now where public figures can still stay in power despite saying unsavory things.”
Langbert said he has no immediate plans to quit his job.