A Columbia University professor accused of sexual harassment whined that U.S. anti-discrimination laws are “totally biased against the ‘privileged white males,’ ” according to an email revealed Friday in court.
Prof. Geert Bekaert is accused by former Columbia finance researcher Enrichetta Ravina of making unwanted sexual advances toward her – and then torpedoing her research and chance for tenure when she rejected him.
Bekaert,53, took the stand for the second day Friday in Ravina’s $30 million Manhattan Federal Court sexual harassment case against him and the Ivy League university.
One of Ravina’s lawyers, Amy Donehower, brought up emails Bekaert allegedly sent to colleagues after she complained about his treatment of her to school administrators around 2014.
“I am dealing with this harassment case. It’s so insane. If this is harassment, the Americans really are p——s,” Bekaert groused in an email shortly after Columbia officials met with him.
At that meeting, Columbia administrators told Bekaert to undergo communications training.
Bekaert did and then discussed the training in an email with a “basketball buddy” — claiming the trainer saw him as a victim, according to correspondence shown in court.
“The lawyer I spoke to, a feisty 50-year-old, immediately told me that it was very clear I had been played and that the legal environment had gotten too far to the left and was getting abused left and right by people like Enrichetta,” according to an email attributed to Bekaert.
In that email, Bekaert also described the lawyer he spoke with as “a woman who immediately saw through the case and was on my side.”
Bekaert, a native of Belgium, additionally complained to his basketball buddy about anti-discrimination laws in the U.S.
“The laws in this country are screwed up and totally biased against the ‘privileged white males,’ ” Bekaert wrote.
Bekaert told his pal that the Columbia-assigned lawyer who gave the communications training told him to be wary of working with women.
“She also suggested that in the current environment people in my position should simply not work with women anymore, too risky,” his email said.
Bekaert’s emails have come up repeatedly during the trial — starting with opening statements.
David Sanford, who’s leading the 42-year-old Ravina’s case, alleged in his opening that Bekaert described her in emails to colleagues as an “evil b—h, a f—–g b—h, an unbelievable b—h, a damn evil b—h, an evil b—h in action, (and) an incredible mean b—h …”
Bekaert’s lawyer, Edward Hernstadt, has conceded his client has been known to use cutting language — and that he was even called the “blunt Belgian.” But he rejected Ravina’s harassment allegations.
Asked during a break in the testimony what she thought after seeing the emails, Ravina told the Daily News “I was shocked.”
“It confirms even more loudly the retaliation and lack of intervention by Columbia,” Ravina said.
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