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LGBTQ+ Harvard Affiliates Receive Homophobic Emails Threatening Violence

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UPDATED: August 16, 2022, at 6:57 p.m.

A group of LGBTQ+ Harvard affiliates received violent threats via email last week in anonymously-sent messages that included a litany of homophobic slurs.

A “small number” of students, faculty, and staff received the emails, according to a note to Harvard affiliates sent Tuesday by University President Lawrence S. Bacow, who condemned the messages as “profoundly disturbing.”

The emails target LGBTQ+ recipients with anti-gay tropes of “brainwashing our children” and spreading the monkeypox virus, according to a copy of one of the messages obtained by The Crimson. It is unclear how many affiliates received the emails or if they all contained the same language.

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The emails threatened physical harm against recipients, telling them to “watch your back.”

The messages, which purported to be from a group called “Harvard Straight Pride,” were sent via an encrypted email service.

“There are dozens of us here at Harvard,” the email obtained by The Crimson said. The email concluded with the statement: “Cambridge is MAGA Country.”

The Harvard University Police Department and Harvard University Information Technology are working with federal law enforcement to investigate the threats, Bacow said.

“Rest assured that if we can identify those responsible, we will pursue their prosecution to the fullest extent of the law,” Bacow wrote.

Bacow disclosed little about the contents of the emails, saying he did not want to “give greater voice” to individuals “who seek to perpetrate hatred and fear.”

“While we believe that only a small number of people actually received this message, it targeted every member of the LGBTQ+ community,” Bacow wrote. “Such a threat cannot go unchallenged, and is wholly inconsistent with the values of this community.”

​​—Staff writer Isabella B. Cho can be reached at isabella.cho@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @izbcho.

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