Ackman sends scathing warning to Business Insider over wife's plagiarism row - Hindustan Times
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Bill Ackman sends scathing letter to Business Insider over wife's plagiarism row: ‘Retract story or face lawsuit’

ByShweta Kukreti
Feb 23, 2024 10:52 PM IST

Ackman alleged that his wife, a scientist-turned-entrepreneur, was targeted solely because he was a vocal opponent of Harvard University and Claudine Gay.

Hedge fund billionaire Bill Ackman on Friday delivered a scathing letter to Business Insider, demanding the publication to remove an article accusing his wife Neri Oxman of plagiarism.

Bill Ackman, the chief executive officer of Pershing Square Capital Management LP(Bloomberg)
Bill Ackman, the chief executive officer of Pershing Square Capital Management LP(Bloomberg)

Ackman alleged that his wife, a scientist-turned-entrepreneur, was targeted solely because he was a vocal opponent of Harvard University and its then president Claudine Gay over the rise of antisemitism on the campus following Hamas' October 7 attack on Israel.

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In a Friday post on X, formerly Twitter, Ackman said Business Insider's article was “defamatory, materially false and misleading, and designed to cause her harm, principally because the reporters do not like me, my support for Israel, or my advocacy.”

He sent a 77-page legal letter to Business Insider and its parent company Axel Springer, warning that if the item was not withdrawn, his wife maintained the right to sue.

Also Read: Billionaire Bill Ackman donates $1 million to this leader for challenging Biden

Both Business Insider and Axel Springer have frequently dismissed Ackman's claims, stating that they stand by their articles concerning Oxman and deny any ethical violations in their coverage and publication.

The letter was also addressed to Axel Springer CEO Mathias Döpfner and outlined how he opted not to suit since he was convinced the publishing company was "an important advocate against antisemitism."

“The articles are full of untrue and reckless claims, but worst of all, they falsely accuse Dr. Oxman of intentionally plagiarizing—and admitting to that academic misconduct—in her doctoral dissertation and other published works,” the letter reads.

“We are providing you this demand to explain why immediate retractions and corrections are necessary, supported by undisputed facts and a timeline over the last two months, in a final attempt to avoid litigation,” a lawyer for Ackman’s wife said.

Accusing the German outlet of “journalistic misconduct”, the complaint alleges that“[Business Insider] repeatedly violated basic tenets of ethical journalism, including by lying to Ackman and Dr. Oxman, failing to give them any realistic time to review and respond to allegations against them, misrepresenting material facts, and purposely harming the subjects of their reporting to serve their political biases."

How did Oxman's plagiarism saga start?

Last month, Business Insider reported Oxman plagiarised passages of her 2010 doctoral dissertation at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

This came after Ackman called for the resignation of then Harvard President Claudine Gay, citing allegations of plagiarism.

According to the analysis by the publication, similar patterns of plagiarism were found in Oxman's 330-page PhD dissertation: “Material-based Design Computation".

Also Read: After Harvard shakeup, Bill Ackman guns for MIT President for plagiarism check

As per the report, she used direct quotes from sources without quotation marks in her dissertation. Oxman, who has been a tenured MIT professor since 2017, is accused of plagiarising texts from two separate articles by NYU historian Peder Anker published in 1995 and 2006. she also lifted text from 1998 book by Claus Mattheck, a German physicist.

Responding to the allegations, Oxman expressed regret and apologized for the errors made by her. She even said that she should have provided a citation to Mattheck.

Claiming that allegations against Oxman were “targetted attacks”, Ackman said: "You know that you struck a chord when they go after your wife, in this case, my love and partner in life," he wrote on X, attaching Oxman's apology and explanation post on the issue.

Ackman, who has taken a a hardline stance on plagiarism, praised his wife for her exceptional work that has been featured in 116 exhibitions around the world.

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