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February 26, 2024

The Atlantic cuts ties with SAIS political scientist accused of rape

By ROWAN LIU | February 6, 2024

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Yascha Mounk denied the rape allegations against him.

The Atlantic announced on Sunday, Feb. 4 that it had suspended its relationship with Hopkins political scientist Yascha Mounk after a journalist accused him of rape on social media platform X, the site formerly known as Twitter.

Mounk is a Stavros Niarchos Foundation Agora Institute Senior Fellow and an associate professor of the Practice of International Affairs at the School of Advanced International Studies. He has written five books and is known for his research into the rise of populism and the crisis of liberal democracies. 

Anna Bross, a spokeswoman for The Atlantic, posted a statement declaring the end of the magazine’s relationship with Mounk.

”We have not published any new work by the freelance contributor since being made aware of the allegation and we suspended our relationship with the freelance contributor last month when we first learned of the accusation,” the statement read. 

Earlier that day, Celeste Marcus, managing editor of Liberties Journal of Culture and Politics, posted a screenshot of a Jan. 7 email exchange with The Atlantic editor-in-chief, Jeffrey Goldberg. She accused Mounk of raping her in her apartment in June 2021 and provided a link to a memoir of her rape experience published in Liberties.

“Believe me, this is not a wild or mischievous allegation,” she wrote.

The screenshot accompanied a statement from Marcus calling for The Atlantic to respond. 

“Mr. Goldberg replied that the allegation was taken extremely seriously. I have not gotten a single update since,” she wrote. “I will not be raped with impunity.”

Hours after the post, The Atlantic magazine’s response clarified, without mentioning Mounk by name, that the accused is a freelance contributor and not an employee of the magazine. The statement further stated that The Atlantic takes such allegations seriously.

“We will, of course, be following any potential new developments in this matter,” the statement read.

The University learned of the allegations against Mounk from public news sources on Feb. 4. Megan Christin, a spokeswoman for the University responded to the allegations in a statement released to the press.

“Johns Hopkins University learned of this allegation on Sunday, Feb. 4th via external media reports. Pursuant to our obligations under Title IX, the university has an established and rigorous process for addressing allegations of misconduct and has referred the information to our Office of Institutional Equity for careful review,” the statement read.

The Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) at JHU is responsible for fostering an inclusive and respectful campus environment through ensuring compliance with internal policies, codes, statements and principles as well as federal, state and local laws. In addition, OIE also serves as a hub of resources for students in need. 

The rape allegation against Mounk falls under the scope of Title IX, a federal law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in education settings, which includes sexual harassment and sexual violence. In compliance with Title IX, the University must adopt and publish grievance procedures to provide a prompt and equitable resolution of complaints.

According to The Washington Post, Mounk denied the allegations. 

“I am aware of the horrendous allegation against me,“ he said. “It is categorically untrue.”

Editor’s Note, 2024: As of publication on Tuesday, Feb. 6, the University had yet to make a statement regarding the rape accusation against Mounk. This article has been updated to include the statement by the University delivered post-publication.


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