Richard Ned Lebow, a political theory college professor, was fired from his position after making what many would consider to be a pretty stale joke. Lebow was in a crowded elevator during a professional conference when someone asked what floor he needed. He replied, “Ladies’ lingerie,” acting as if he were at a department store.
Gender studies professor at Merrimack College Simona Sharoni heard Lebow’s response, and she filed a complaint with the conference organizer, the International Studies Association (ISA).
The association determined that Lebow, who worked at King’s College in London, did violate the organization’s code of conduct.
After being made aware of the complaint, Lebow reached out to Sharoni in an email, stating, “I certainly had no desire to insult women or to make you feel uncomfortable.” He also implied that she might have “interpreted my remark out of context.”
“Like you, I am strongly opposed to exploitation, coercion or humiliation of women,” said Lebow in the message, according to a report by Fox News.
“As such evils continue, it seems to me to make sense to direct our attention to real offenses, not those that are imagined or marginal. By making a complaint to the ISA that I consider frivolous – and I expect, will be judged this way by ethics committee – you may be directing time and effort away from the real offenses that trouble us both.”
The ISA committee took issue with Lebow characterizing the complaint as “frivolous,” instructing him to offer an “unequivocal apology.”
Lebow refused is apologize, later telling his colleagues that this is “a horrifying and chilling example of political correctness” that “encourages others to censor their remarks for fear of retribution.”
“For decades, women and other marginalized groups in the academy had to put up with white men who decided what counts as a violation and what is ‘frivolous,’” said Sharoni. “As someone who has dedicated her life to confronting sexism (and other forms of discrimination and oppression) in academic spaces, I cannot and will not remain silent when misogyny is at play.”
If he fails to apologize before May 15, Lebow sanctions from the ISA.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) May 9, 2018