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Is Someone Trying To Blackmail Paul Berman?

An article by writer Paul Berman about threats he says he’s received from an unnamed professor is setting off a guessing game about the alleged blackmailer’s identity.

In his essay posted Monday morning at Tablet, where he is a columnist, Berman claimed that he is the target of blackmail threats from a “well-known professor at one of the New York colleges, who is also a columnist at a liberal magazine.”

Berman is a widely-publisher journalist and public intellectual who himself has taught at a number of universities.

According to Berman, an unnamed professor has been threatening to publish erotic correspondence sent between Berman and an unidentified person. The professor has demanded that Berman publish a “self-denunciation” in Tablet. Berman does not say exactly what the professor wants him to denounce himself for; it appears to be connected to Berman’s support for the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Berman did not respond immediately respond to an emailed query about the person’s identity.

Berman does not say in the essay whether he has reported the alleged blackmail to police. The essay’s headline suggests that “nothing can be done,” but blackmail is a crime in New York.

Contact Josh Nathan-Kazis at [email protected] or on Twitter, @joshnathankazis.


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