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Circumcision-hating Jewish guy sues Harvard, student paper for the way his anti-circumcision play was cut short

A now former Harvard employee who rented the university's Sanders Theatre for a play about what he considers the evils of Jewish circumcision is suing the school and the Harvard Crimson for everything from civil-rights violations to libel because of the way a Harvard official stopped the performance.

In his suit, filed yesterday in US District Court in Boston, then Harvard IT worker Eric Clopper says Harvard knew what his play was about and that it would include some nudity when it rented the theater to him for $4,020 in 2018.

Also, he states in the complaint, he is himself a Jew - and he denies that excoriating the Jewish religious practice of male circumcision is antisemitic, even as he allows that one of his arguments is that "through the consistent efforts of a dedicated minority, the practice had expanded to all of America."

Clopper is a Jewish man. He is anti-circumcision; not anti-Semitic. Clopper has many Jewish friends and Jewish allies on the anti-circumcision front. Whether Clopper was Jewish or not, he would still have the right to freely express his critical opinions of the Jewish religious ritual of circumcision. As evidenced by the standing ovation from hundreds of progressive Harvard audience members, and a 97% "like" rating online from many thousands of YouTube viewers, the "anti-Semitic" label the Crimson has doggedly tried to brand Clopper with cannot be true, unless the great majority of Harvard's population and YouTube's viewer base (as evidenced by the significant sample size in the feedback from both these groups) is also "anti-Semitic."

His complaint alleges various allegations against Harvard for essentially breaking its contract with him to rent the theater and says the school ruined his life, because he was on track to joint a Harvard graduate program - at 10% the normal tuition - but that he lost his job and so his chance at the graduate program over the play.

Clopper invested his life's savings, went into debt, and solicited charitable contributions from opponents of circumcision to create, advertise, stage, and perform the Play. The Play cost Clopper and his donors approximately $40,000. Clopper relied on the promises of Harvard officials and Harvard's Free Speech Policy that his free speech rights were comprehensive and that they would be respected when he delivered his anti-circumcision Play as a private individual to a willing adult audience. Clopper's manager Hammond even urged Clopper to take full advantage of his protected speech by including a nude dance and an educational slideshow relating to masturbation.

His allegation against the Crimson is that it maliciously posted statements it knew were wrong about him and his play - all under the orders of Harvard officials. One example he cites: A Crimson article headlined Harvard ‘Reviewing’ Employee’s Nude, Anti-Semitic Rant in Sanders Theatre - which included one of Clopper's posters, showing him nude and pointing to his genitals, covered by some text.

In fact, Copper alleges, only a few minutes of the performance involved him being nude - the final five minutes, during which he danced nude with an unclothed sex doll named "Britney" - and, as he stated earlier in the complaint, he's Jewish and therefore can't be anti-Semitic.

Copper is seeking all the profits he says Harvard may have made by stealing a video copy of the play off a laptop, damages, attorney's fees in general and in particular if Harvard and the Crimson "mount a defense that is wholly insubstantial, frivolous, and not advanced in good faith" and any other punishments a judge may feel are appropriate.

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Comments

And

Copper is seeking all the profits he says Harvard may have made by stealing a video copy of the play off a laptop

So $0?

Also, WTF.

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Voting closed 35

Surely it wasn't a total loss

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This was almost certainly his Harvard-issued laptop, and they would definitely have a provision in the contract saying that they're for work-related stuff only. If he was that worried about other people profiting from it, he should have kept it separate from his work computer.

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being anti-circumcision as a Jew isn't necessarily anti-Semitic. All people have the right (and the obligation, I would argue) to speak out against practices in our communities that we feel are harmful. I don't know enough of the details here in terms of how he communicated his ideas, but just being a Jew and stating that we should reconsider the practice of circumcision is not being anti-Semitic.

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The Crimson article Adam linked to in the text of the story has some actual quotes from the performance, from the videos of the performance on the laptop that he is seeking damages for.

There's some remarkable ones in there, raising an army up against Judaism and using force to end the religious practice he stands so strongly against. That's probably the most overtly concerning language in there.

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This guy sounds like a real d**k...

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top 5 Uhub headlines of all time. LOL'd for sure. Kudos Adam!

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About foreskin...

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Our Forefathers and Foremothers engaged in Foreplay, and well, the rest is History.

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is point-less.

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ouch

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Reportedly that was not a bris-k day.

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Was there a tip jar in the lobby?

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They prevented Clopper from raising mo' Hell.

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How did this guy get into Harvard? Is there a Clopper Hall somewhere on the campus?

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They don't have the same requirements for admission to take graduate programs etc if you're working there.

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Is this guy representing himself? There was another former Harvard person, Andre Bisasor, who sued Harvard and just about everyone he could think of including deans and former elected student body reps who he alleges were part of a gigantic civil rights conspiracy. It got thrown out of various federal and state courts, but he kept refiling and appealing. AFAIK it's still pending somewhere. It's been going on for years.

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Download the complaint and scroll to the bottom and you'll see he has a lawyer,

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Magoo knew a guy that got circumed as an adult. Magoo couldn’t understand why. Maybe it was for a girl. Magoo is and will remain unmutilated if you will. But Magoo is pro choice in this matter

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unmutilated

None of us really needed to know this. Like, any of it.

Magoo knew a guy that got circumed as an adult. Magoo couldn’t understand why.

Why would you think that your opinion about what other people do with their bodies is relevant or interesting?

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I think of it as body modification if a consenting adult arranges for the procedure for themselves.

Otherwise ... well ...

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I think of it as body modification if a consenting adult arranges for the procedure for themselves.

Which is specifically what we were talking about here.

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He didn't end the story with: Magoo. I think he may need help.

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He was too excited ...

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... this one is not offensive and actually makes sense.

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Sounds like he didn’t do anything dishonest.

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It's a long tale basically involving a conspiracy of Harvard officials and the Crimson against both him and his boss at the time (who died in his Harvard-owned apartment, which is part of the allegations).

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OK, back that up just a second--this guy's boss DIED in his apartment? WTF was up with that? So he's claiming that he was fired not only due to his performance art piece, but because said boss died? I'd say that, depending on the circumstances of the death in question, that might constitute an excellent reason for terminating someone's employment, never mind his extracurricular artistic activities; considering that, in addition, nudity was involved in the latter venture, and I'd have been more surprised if they kept him on.

And yes, Jews can indeed be anti-Semitic--Exhibit A: Stephen Miller, whose picture ought to be in Webster's Unabridged next to "self-hating Jew". (Most of his family has either disowned him or is pretending he's not their relative. Talk about a shonda for the goyim...)

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But you asked, if you enjoyed the play, to leave a tip.

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No, no, no, he wants you to keep your tips.

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Still, I intend to check out the video, but waiting for the Director's Cut.

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Your subject line was so close to perfect. It should have been “making a mountain out of a mohel”. In Hebrew it’s pronounced mo-hell.

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You're right, the pun works better in Hebrew, but everything is more fun in Yiddish :-)

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Hahaha!

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I don't know anything about the guy, but from the bits Adam quoted, it sounds like a reasonable complaint -- Harvard reneged on a deal, and maybe committed libel against him.

If he's actually anti-semitic, though... I don't think he has anything to go on. But I don't have enough information on that. A quick web search just tells me that he has a personal vendetta against circumcision and the way it has been promoted within and beyond Jewish culture. (Also some anti-semites like *him*, but presumably they'd like anyone who criticizes anything about Judaism, so whatever.)

It kind of has the look of Harvard being overly cautious and reactive.

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From the Crimson article:

" 'It is plausible that The Crimson’s defamatory coverage of Clopper’s Play caused Jewish donors and other stakeholders to exert pressure on Harvard via harsh letters, communications, and other quid pro quo arrangements to retaliate against Clopper, which resulted in the loss of Clopper’s profession and other damages,' the lawsuit reads."

Nope, no antisemitism there.

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(or maybe not any more)

It's a barbaric practice and should be stopped. No children should have their genitalia mutilated. If someone wants to as an adult go for it.

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