Tufts postpones event with Scaramucci after he threatens to sue student newspaper

Tufts University has postponed a scheduled event featuring Anthony Scaramucci on Monday, after the short-lived White House communications director threatened to sue the student newspaper, The Tufts Daily.

Scaramucci, who served as President Donald Trump’s White House spokesperson for 10 days this past summer and previously worked as a Wall Street financier, received his bachelor’s degree from Tufts and has served on the Fletcher School advisory board since June 2016.

Scaramucci has taken issue with two op-eds written about him this November in the Daily.

Camilo Caballero, a student in the university’s Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy graduate program, wrote about Scaramucci in a Nov. 6 op-ed in the Daily titled, “Seeking power of values over power of money.”

The op-ed called for Scaramucci’s removal from the Tufts Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy’s Board of Advisors, standing with the more than 240 Tufts students, faculty and alumni that have also signed a student-led petition requesting Scaramucci be removed from the board.

“There sits on the Board of Advisors of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts a man whose career and ideals are diametrically opposed to those ideas and who sullies the vision of the University,” Caballero wrote. “This is Anthony Scaramucci…. The man who sold his soul in contradiction to his own purported beliefs for a seat in that White House and a man who makes his Twitter accessible to friends interested in giving comfort to Holocaust deniers.”

Caballero wrote another op-ed on Nov. 13 in which he said the school’s administration “fell into Scaramucci’s trap.”

Scaramucci claims that the two pieces are defamatory. On Monday, the Daily reported that the newspaper received a letter on Nov. 21 from New York law firm Sadis & Goldberg LLP, on behalf of Scaramucci.

The letter asked the student newspaper to retract “several false and defamatory allegations of fact” about Scaramucci, and to issue an apology, “or Mr. Scaramucci will be forced to take further legal action.”

Scaramucci tweeted about the issue, saying that, “The student is an adult, let his actions stand without any coddling.”

“You can’t defame people in America because you don’t like their political views,” he added.

Tufts University spokesperson Patrick Collins said that the scheduled Monday event, now postponed, was going to be a private, moderated discussion between the Fletcher School student body and Scaramucci “about his background, experience and the petition calling for his removal from the Fletcher School Board of Advisors.”

“We’re disappointed that Mr. Scaramucci has taken this action,” Collins said in a statement. “In light of recent developments, we are postponing the event until these pending legal matters are resolved.”

Carol Rose, executive director of the ACLU of Massachusetts, said in a statement that the organization is advising Caballero. 

“While we continue to review Anthony Scaramucci’s threats, there is no doubt that sending a graduate student a legal demand letter accusing him of libel just two days before Thanksgiving — and demanding turnaround of five business days — is plainly mean-spirited,” Rose said. “Unfortunately, however, his actions are not entirely surprising, as they are completely consistent with President Trump’s ongoing attacks against the press and free speech rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. This matter seems to be one where the apple doesn’t fall far from the Trump.”

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