A member of a Georgetown University advisory board stepped down this week after a controversial Twitter exchange with a conservative female commentator that followed her social media post on the #MeToo movement.
Bernstein, a Georgetown graduate, wrote that he wished Stuckey would have a “#metoo moment” after she tweeted about the national movement focused on sexual assault and misconduct. The #MeToo hashtag has been used by victims to share stories of sexual assault and harassment.
“Hi @Georgetown — someone on your MSFS board just told me he hopes I get sexually harassed or assaulted,” Stuckey wrote on Twitter. “Is this the kind of standard your university holds for your advisors?”
Joel Hellman, dean of Georgetown’s Walsh School of Foreign Service, on Monday released a statement saying Bernstein was stepping down from the board.
“We appreciate Mr. Bernstein’s efforts to apologize for recent comments deeply inconsistent with our values and mission and have accepted his resignation from the MSFS Board of Advisors,” Hellman said in his statement, using the acronym for the foreign service master’s program. “MSFS will continue its dedication to preparing women and men for leadership roles in global affairs.”
The advisory board was formed in 2011, according to its page on Georgetown’s website, and weighs in on curriculum issues, as well as alumni and fundraising matters. It meets twice a year, a university spokeswoman said in an email.
The Georgetown program is “deeply committed to fostering the role of women in international affairs and promoting respectful dialogue and debate on the critical issues facing our world,” Hellman said in his statement.
“Encouraging, threatening or condoning violence and harassment against another person, in any form and on any format, is deeply inconsistent with the values of the program, our school and our university,” he said.
Bernstein also lost his job at Solebury Capital, an equity capital markets advisory firm, after the social media exchange.
“We learned about Mr. Bernstein’s conduct Sunday evening and immediately investigated the matter,” Solebury spokeswoman Lisa Wolford told The Washington Post in a statement. “Based on that review, we promptly terminated his employment with Solebury.”
Bernstein could not be reached for comment, and his former employer said it was unable to pass along a reporter’s contact information.
In an email to The Post, Stuckey said she was initially confused by Bernstein’s tweet. It had come in response to a Twitter post she had sent about the #MeToo movement, a post she thought was “pretty non-controversial,” she told The Post.
“While I have critiqued certain aspects of the Me Too movement in the past, I firmly believe sexual assault and harassment is to be taken seriously, and I thought my tweet conveyed that,” she wrote. “I didn’t understand Mr. Bernstein’s harsh pushback & apparent call for harm against me.”
Bernstein’s Twitter account appeared to no longer be active Wednesday.
Bernstein deleted his tweet a few hours after it was published. In a subsequent series of tweets, Bernstein repeatedly apologized to Stuckey and denied that his comments were intended to condone harassment. He said that he “would never wish harm on anyone” and only meant to say Stuckey — whom he accused of making disparaging statements about women, immigrants, people of color and others — “needed a moment of truth.”
In a conversation via Twitter’s message function, Bernstein told the Hoya that he “apologized profusely” to Stuckey.
Stuckey acknowledged that Bernstein apologized and that she does “hope/believe it’s sincere.”
“I find no joy in part of someone’s life being ruined,” Stuckey wrote in her email. “My family and friends can tell you I’ve struggled with a lot of guilt over how everything has unfolded. But I think it’s an important lesson for all of us in the dangers of tribalism. We can all do a better job communicating respectfully in the hopes of productive dialogue.”