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Updated: December 14, 2023, at 11:36 a.m.
Eve A. Gerber, the wife of Harvard Economics professor Jason Furman ’92, faced fierce criticism after a video clip circulated widely online of her harassing a Harvard graduate student wearing a keffiyeh.
The 26-second video clip shows Gerber briefly following the student through a residential neighborhood and, in an anti-Palestinian tirade, accusing the student of making local families feel unsafe by wearing their keffiyeh — a traditional Palestinian scarf that has become synonymous with support for Palestine.
Gerber issued a public apology on Wednesday, after a video of the incident — which occurred on Oct. 14 — had already gone viral.
In the video, Gerber acknowledges that she is being filmed as she follows the graduate student wearing a keffiyeh.
“Hi, camera,” Gerber said, as the recording began. “Thank you for walking through neighborhoods and making families feel unsafe with your terrorist scarf.”
“Palestinians felt pretty unsafe when Israelis occupied their country, you know,” the student replied.
Gerber wrote in a post on X that it was wrong for her “to confront someone based on their dress and to use divisive, accusatory language.”
“In the two months since this video, I’ve tried to learn more and take reparative action. I will continue to do so,” Gerber wrote. “I deeply regret what I said and did.”
The clip of Gerber went viral after it was posted on X Tuesday by the Sparrow Project, which describes itself as a “grassroots public interest newswire.” As of early Thursday morning, the clip had been viewed more than 16 million times, according to X.
In her Wednesday statement, Gerber said the incident occurred after she heard “chants I found disturbing at a rally near my home,” leading Gerber to confront the student because she believed they had come from the rally.
Gerber is facing national backlash over the October incident, with members of Congress weighing in online to condemn her.
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) reposted the video on X Tuesday night, calling Gerber’s actions “shameful and disgusting.”
“People in our country have a right to wear whatever scarfs they want to wear and people following them and making them uncomfortable is just wrong and discriminatory,” she wrote.
Rep. Greg J. Landsman (D-Ohio) also reposted the video on X, writing that it has been a “traumatic time for so many, especially Muslims and Jews.”
“We absolutely have to lean into our common humanity, not this,” he wrote.
While Gerber only issued a public apology after the incident went viral, Furman privately apologized to the graduate student in an Oct. 20 text exchange obtained by The Crimson between Furman and a person who claimed to represent the person in the video.
In a text message sent six days after the incident, Furman wrote that there is “absolutely no excuse” for Gerber’s actions.
“I’m sorry,” he wrote. “No one should have to go through what your friend has gone through.”
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