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Statement for the Chronicle

While I had a more detailed account ready, the decision of the Chronicle’s editorial board to
sensationalize this story constrained my ability to cooperate. The motivation here is clearly not
about the truth, but an agenda. Nevertheless, I must make four points.

1) When these accusations were first brought to me I refuted with logic, fact, and evidence
certain key points in these scurrilous allegations. These were ignored by the “investigator,”
Lonnie Hinton. Not one piece of exculpatory evidence that I brought forth made it into the final
report, not one. Further, I pointed out to officials at Duke that the investigation violated Duke
policy on several critical points. The reasons I did not avail myself of legal recourse at that time
are a) I had several employees whose interests were very important to me b) the work we were
doing was also very important c) I was assured of nondisclosure (a nondisclosure that I have
honored and continue to honor because I am a man of honor), and d) we came to a resolution that
was meant to satisfy all parties of good faith. Those of good faith were satisfied. To be clear, my
silence at the time was not an admission of guilt. It was a reasonable response to a wicked
problem. I did not even read the report until last week. For further evidence of incompetence, or
malice, on behalf of Lonnie Hinton, the so-called investigator of these allegations, some of
which are pure lies, there were things in the final report that were not brought to my attention
during the travesty of an investigation he perpetrated. This violates a fundamental basis of
fairness—enabling the respondent to mount a proper defense—and shows what a travesty this
was. And since they are printed here with my name, what a travesty this continues to be.

2) I categorically deny, in the strongest possible way, any accusations that state or imply that I
have inappropriately touched someone. Anyone who knows me knows I would never violate
someone’s physical space and anyone who knows me well, who knows my personal history,
knows why that’s the case. That there are people who know my history and are party to this
travesty is something they will have to live with, no matter what they have convinced themselves
of. I have a very strict code of personal ethics regarding people’s physical space and any
allegations to the contrary originate from malice and abide in falsehood. Period. Full stop.

3) I have no intention of going point by point on accusations that have already been adjudicated,
however ineptly. No one benefits from this type of back and forth, except for those with
salacious appetites, malicious motives, and political agendas. It is impossible to remember years
after the fact (which is why Duke has a statute of limitations, which was totally ignored),
whether this or that was said, the context in which it was said, who was or was not present, and a
bunch of other important details, that any researcher (let alone a competent investigator or news
outlet) worth their salt would want to know before judging or publishing. That details and
person’s names can be printed without these factors being known or understood speaks to what
we’ve become and where we are as an uncivil society. That they can be used to potentially
destroy someone’s reputation and career casts shame on all who air this type of dirty laundry
publicly and those who publish such filth.
4) In an odd way, though, I’m glad this is public so that a) I can speak to this once for all and b)
so that I can finally heal, let this go, and move on to doing great work with committed students—
the vast majority of whom continue to work with me because they know me, trust me, and know
not just my mind, but my heart (some have testified in the OIE kangaroo court and spoken to the
Chronicle on my behalf). Their voices did not matter then, nor do they matter now, because they
don’t feed the narrative or the agenda. But I need to say this. I have worked with dozens of
students, have provided opportunity, access, training, and have been a mentor and friend to them
all. I have striven to create a flat organization and if in doing so my communication style made a
couple of students uncomfortable that was not my intention. The exact same joke I told two years
ago cannot be told today. This is clear. This is something I will remedy, primarily through
training. I know that much of these accusations are motivated by pure malice, no one makes up
vicious lies like some of the ones leveled against me without malice and forethought, and I know
the coordination that went into these accusations. Still, I need to learn from this and draw from it
whatever I can to be a more effective communicator and educator.

However, I also need to be very clear. I have no intention now or in the future of surrendering
my masculinity. If Hinton or this or that student do not like the way I express my masculinity,
that is too bad. That does not constitute sexual harassment in any reasonable world. That it does
so in this world is just too bad. You don’t like that I wear red shoes, drive a Mustang, you don’t
like the way I move through time and space, you don’t like my swagger, too bad. That is not
sexual harassment no matter what you say. I will not be like you, eyes pointed downward, tail
tucked tightly behind me. I will not be broken. Having said that, anyone who came forward
without dark malice in their hearts, I forgive. The main mover behind these events it will take
time for me to forgive, I pray daily for that grace, but because those lies are vicious and aimed at
the thing that could hurt me the most, it will take time to forgive. Other than that, I close as I
always do, Life is So Beautiful.

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