NYT Columnist has Epic Meltdown, Quits Twitter After Being Called ‘Bedbug’

NYT Columnist has Epic Meltdown, Quits Twitter After Being Called ‘Bedbug’

A New York Times columnist was so incensed at being branded a metaphorical “bedbug” on Twitter that he deactivated his account and emailed the culprit’s employer. A special kind of snowflake, indeed.

Responding with a seemingly innocuous joke to the news that the NYT offices were being treated for bedbugs, David Karpf, an associate professor at George Washington University, quipped: “The bedbugs are a metaphor. The bedbugs are Bret Stephens.”

One might imagine that being labelled a “bedbug” would rank fairly low on the list of Twitter insults, but Bret Stephens evidently feels differently.

Despite the fact that Karpf’s tweet initially got zero retweets (and Stephens was not even tagged), it somehow still managed to catch the attention of the sensitive columnist. 

Raging over the egregious insult, Stephens fired off an email to Karpf, CC’ing the provost of his university, presumably in an effort to provoke some kind of professional slap on the wrist.

Stephens told Karpf that he had “set a new standard” for abuse on Twitter and extended an invitation for the professor to come to his home, meet his wife and kids, and then “call me a ‘bedbug’ to my face.” 

But wait, there’s more.

Stephens, who has regularly decried PC-culture and the hampering of free speech on college campuses in his columns, was clearly in need of his very own safe space to recover from the brutal and unprovoked attack, and only the deletion of his entire Twitter account would suffice.

Sufficiently humiliated, Stephens deactivated his Twitter account, lamenting that the platform “brings out the worst in humanity.”

Addressing the controversy on MSNBC, Stephens said Karpf’s bedbug comment was akin to language used bytotalitarian regimes but claimed he had “no intention whatsoever” of getting him in professional trouble when he emailed his boss.

Although, even if his goal had been to get Karpf fired, it doesn’t look like it would have worked.

Responding to Stephens’ email, GW provost Forrest Maltzman said Karpf "speaks for himself" and does "not take direction" from the college, citing a "commitment to academic freedom and free speech." Maltzman ended the email by offering an invitation to Stephens to speak on campus about "civil discourse in the digital age."

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