Bill Ackman Readies His Fight Against Business Insider After They Target His Wife

Billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman, who lent his considerable power to push for the ouster of Harvard president Claudine Gay, is fighting back against Business Insider, which published stories accusing Ackman’s wife, Neri Oxman, of plagiarism.

Ackman posted a tweet Tuesday morning in which he accused Nicholas Carlson, the Global Editor-in Chief of Business Insider, of either lying or being misled by others when Carlson reportedly emailed his staff that Ackman had not disputed the claims in the outlet’s report.

“The facts of the stories have not been disputed by Oxman or her husband Bill Ackman,” Carlson emailed, according to Ackman. “Ackman and others have raised concerns about our reporting process, as well as the motivation for publishing the stories.”

“Mr. Carlson is lying or he has been misled by others,” Ackman responded. “I personally disputed the facts (as well as the reporting process) of Business Insider’s stories initially in an approximately one-hour conversation with a director of Business Insider on Sunday morning beginning at 10:01 a.m.  I did so again in an about 35-minute or so conversation with Martin Varsavsky, a director of Axel Springer who called me unsolicited at 12:34 p.m. later that day.”

The German publishing house Axel Springer acquired Business insider in 2015.

“In the a.m. call with the Business Insider director, he told me that Business Insider had already launched an investigation of the stories and the reporting processes around them,” Ackman continued. “In light of the investigation, I asked him to have Business Insider publicly release a statement to that effect as I thought it would help mitigate the reputational damage of the stories while they were being investigated. He said he would discuss this request and the other issues I raised with his colleagues and get back to me within ‘an hour or so.’”

Ackman wrote he made “multiple efforts to reach the director by phone and by text when he did not call back within an hour or so,” adding that one text read, “You need to withdraw the story now as you have an investigation pending regarding factual and other review. You need to put this out now. I just got off the phone with Martin [the director of Axel Springer who called me unsolicited] and he agrees.”

Ackman noted that the story about his wife had become the number one story on X.

“He finally called at 3:45 p.m., more than four hours after he said he would call,” Ackman wrote. “On the call, he told me that Axel Springer would be putting out a statement about the investigation.  I was initially encouraged by what he had said, and asked if BI would be withdrawing the stories. He said that they would not be doing so at this time as they stand behind the stories.”

“Shortly, thereafter Axel Springer’s statement was released which said in part: ‘While the facts of the reports have not been disputed, over the past few days questions have been raised about the motivation and the process leading up to the reporting — questions that we take very seriously,’” Ackman continued. “The fact that both the Editor in Chief of Business Insider and its owner Axel Springer have both falsely stated that the stories were not disputed have greatly contributed to the enormous reputational and emotional damage that have occurred to my wife @NeriOxman. By making these statements, Business Insider and Axel Springer have effectively confirmed that their reporting is entirely factually accurate. This could not be further from the truth.”

Ackman mentioned that his wife had acknowledged “she had inadvertently omitted quotation marks in four paragraphs in her 330-page dissertation, all of which, however, were properly cited. In addition, Neri acknowledged that she had inadvertently omitted to cite one paraphrased sentence in her 330-page dissertation.  Neri did, however, cite the same author whose citation she missed in each of the other eight times she referred to his work in her dissertation, which makes it clear that this one missed citation was unintentional.”

“Shortly after Neri issued her statement, Business Insider published the following headline and the materially false and misleading article which followed. ‘Neri Oxman admits to plagiarizing in her doctoral dissertation after BI report.’”

“Neri admitted to making four clerical errors of punctuation and one missed footnote in her 330-page dissertation, and she apologized for doing so. To this day, she has never admitted to plagiarism.  She has never committed fraud of any kind,” Ackman declared.

Ackman brought up a subsequent email sent by Business Insider alleging other purported plagiarism and an article about that which followed. “The article makes novel and speculative assumptions about what is plagiarism including asserting that definitions of basic terms and words from Wikipedia and quotations from software and hardware manuals that describe products used in Neri’s research are plagiarism,” Ackman charged.

“Neri hired counsel yesterday and it is going to take weeks to properly respond to all of the assertions and factual misstatements and errors in all of the stories. … The Oxman plagiarism story was the number one trending story on X with 10 times the number of postings of the next most posted story. It remains one of the top read stories in the world. As a result of the above, Neri has suffered catastrophic reputational damage, and enormous emotional harm.”

“I can’t believe this is happening,” Ackman concluded.

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