Beneath a recently uploaded YouTube video of his one-man show Sex & Circumcision: An American Love Story, anti-circumcision activist Eric Clopper revealed that Harvard has sacked him – and that he has launched a crowdfunding campaign for $100,000 dollars he needs to fight the university’s decision.
In May, after Clopper presented his show in the university’s Sanders Theatre, the Harvard Crimson reported that Clopper, then a systems administrator at the language resource centre in Lamont Library, “made anti-Semitic comments and stripped to the nude” during his performance.
During the course of his performance Clopper said:
The Jews – I know, I’m one of them – are an unmasked genital mutilation cult. That is why we are so clannish. It is our shared delusion of superiority that we must uphold to maintain our perverted tribal identity.
Clopper also claimed “the Jews” had “raped” him and that Judaism has a “demonstrably evil influence” on the United States. He also vowed he would “expend every breath in my body” to tear “this covenant to pieces,” referencing the bond Jews believe they hold with God – a bond signified in part by circumcision.
Clopper said his show marked an “official declaration of war on our fucking covenant” and promised he would recruit an “army from our generation to wage it.” He also said he will “force” Jewish individuals to “comply” with his demand they stop circumcising their children.
Clopper said in an interview that his controversial comments and acts occurred during the last half hour of a two-and-a-half hour performance.
My play was about a two-hour lecture on the topic of circumcision, about a 30-minute artistic expression of my Jewish identity and sexuality.
He also defended his criticisms of Judaism.
In terms of the anti-Semitic comments, early on in my play, as a Jewish man, I noted that it is very likely that people will conflate criticism with discrimination, and if I, as a Jewish man, am not allowed to criticize Jewish culture, who is?
Faculty of Arts and Sciences spokesperson Rachael Dane acknowledged the University has received reports that:
This production included anti-Semitic content. We wish to make clear that Harvard does not condone the behavior or any viewpoints expressed by Mr Clopper during his production, as such comments would be in direct conflict with the University’s values and principles of non-discrimination.
On his GoFundMe page, Clopper says:
Immediately following the show, Harvard’s student newspaper, The Crimson, published a series of libelous articles against me while refusing to publish my letter to the editor.
Harvard University then suspended my employment for over two months for an ‘investigation’ (or more appropriately called an inquisition). During this ‘investigation’ Harvard solicited complaints against me, operated behind the scenes to eliminate my position so I would not have a job to return to, and … worst of all, Harvard colluded with Baystate Sound (the company that managed the sound for my event on Harvard’s recommendation) to steal intimate footage of of mine.
Harvard then proceeded to share my sensitive and illegally-obtained sensitive footage with senior administrators, my boss, and other friends and colleagues under the guise of this vague ‘investigation’ to try and shame and fire me.
Harvard’s behavior is not only grossly unethical (and hypocritical – so much for being a bastion of free speech and education), but also illegal. How is the behavior of Harvard’s most senior officials not different from revenge-porn shaming me? (hint: it is not.)
I don’t regret giving my performance. It was the right thing to do. Circumcision is barbaric.
Hat tip: Antony Niall