“CNN NewsNight” anchor Abby Phillip received a strong denial after recently asking her conservative guest whether he believed the push to hold former Harvard President Claudine Gay accountable for plagiarism was actually a racially motivated campaign.
Manhattan Institute podcast host Coleman Hughes rejected the idea, claiming that “any White scholar” would have received the same scrutiny or criticism for engaging in the plagiarism Gay has been accused of committing.
Gay announced her resignation to Harvard community members on Tuesday after weeks of criticism following allegations of her committing plagiarism on multiple occasions throughout her academic career, though she claimed she would retain a faculty role at the university.
The plagiarism scandal followed negative attention the former president garnered for refusing to overtly say that calling for genocide against Jews would violate Harvard policies during a recent U.S. congressional hearing.
In recent weeks, prominent liberal figures have argued that Gay’s critics have been using her plagiarism and antisemitism scandals as cover for their real agenda, which was to oust her from her role because she is a person of color.
On Tuesday’s episode of “CNN NewsNight,” Phillip asked Hughes about this narrative.
“So, you don’t think there was anything about this that had to do with the fact that she was a Black woman from the people who were claiming this as a victory against DEI, diversity, equity and inclusion?” she said.
Her guest denied that there were racial motivations behind holding the administrator accountable, and noted that, even if there were, it doesn’t deny the fact she should be punished for her actions.
“I don’t think it did,” Hughes said. “And you know what, even if it did, that doesn’t justify it. If you or I did this, or even any White scholar, it would be career-ending to have 50 examples of plagiarism.”
He further justified Gay’s grilling by reminding everyone of the fact that she was president of an institution where scholarly accuracy should be most vital.
“And it has to be because how can you be the one upholding Harvard’s integrity when you yourself have failed?” he asked.
He added an example to bolster his point, saying, “It’s as if the commissioner of the Major League Baseball or the NBA had a lifelong history of steroid use and was now the person in charge of kicking other people out for steroid use. It’s completely untenable.”