Black Harvard Professor, Often Cited to Discredit Black Lives Matter, Accused of Sexual Misconduct

Illustration for article titled Black Harvard Professor, Often Cited to Discredit Black Lives Matter, Accused of Sexual Misconduct
Screenshot: The Shorthorn

The Harvard professor whose false and misleading research is routinely cited by white people now says that a sexual-misconduct investigation by Harvard University and the state of Massachusetts is based on false and misleading evidence.


For the sake of transparency, allow me to explain why I guzzle the nearest bottle of haterade whenever I hear the name Roland Fryer Jr. As a writer on race who relies on empirical data; as someone who once taught a course “Race as an Economic Construct”; as someone whose master’s thesis was “The Lingering Social Effects of Economic Race Policy,” I’ve often had to counter Fryer’s studies in the field of AllLivesMatterology. His life’s work is dedicated to proving that white people aren’t really as bad as black people think they are.

If you’ve ever watched Fox News after a police shooting or talked to someone who wonders why Colin Kaepernick hates America, then you’ve probably heard of Fryer. He’s the black economist whose paper “An Empirical Analysis of Racial Differences in Police Use of Force” burst on the scene soon after “Black Lives Matter” became a household phrase.

Contradicting every single bit of empirical research, Fryer’s 2016 research paper claimed to find no racial bias in police shootings. Even though it was not peer-reviewed, relied on biased police reporting and has been roundly discredited, it is still quoted anytime police shoot a black man in the face.

Fryer’s other attempts to prove white people’s hypotheses include the theory of “acting white,” expounded in another one of his discredited “studies” that employs bunk research in a desperate attempt to prove the narrative that black people ostracize their best and brightest. As Ivory A. Toldson wrote for The Root in 2013:

Many scholars who claim to find evidence of this theory loosely interpret their data and exploit the expert gap to sell their findings. One of the best examples of this is Roland G. Fryer’s research paper (pdf) “Acting White: The Social Price Paid by the Best and Brightest Minority Students.”


Another one of Fryer’s standout works proving that racism is a myth was a paper that showed white people don’t actually discriminate against black-sounding names, which, again, contradicts all the other available research.

But despite his flawed methodology, Fryer is a darling among the smart, white elite who point to him as a bootstrap-puller. At age 30, he became the youngest African-American professor ever tenured at Harvard, and his introduction always includes the fact that he once worked the drive-thru at McDonald’s. He probably wears wraparound sunglasses on the bill of his baseball cap and running shoes with khakis. Roland Fryer is one of the good ones.


Well, at least he used to be.

Fryer currently works as the Henry Lee Professor of Economics at Harvard University and as a faculty director of the Education Innovation Laboratory, or EdLabs. But according to documents obtained by the Harvard Crimson, the university has forbidden Fryer and his chief of staff, Bradley M. Allan, from entering EdLabs, the laboratory he founded to examine racial bias in education.


Lawyers involved in the cases and the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination say that at least two EdLabs employees accused Fryer of “egregious” acts of verbal sexual harassment, sexually inappropriate comments, and objectifying and sexualizing female staffers. MCAD is a state agency that enforces Massachusetts laws forbidding unlawful discrimination based on traits including gender, race, sexual orientation and gender identity.


According to the Crimson, one of the former employees said in a statement:

I can confirm that on DATE: Monday, April 16, 2018 5:50p. I filed a formal complaint against Prof. Roland G. Fryer, Jr. with the Office for Dispute Resolution, alleging violations of both Title IX and workplace sexual and gender harassment policy in place at the time of my employment.


At least some of the EdLab’s employees think the charges are bogus, the Crimson reports. Meghan Howard Noveck, who has worked in the lab since 2012, said that she has “never witnessed Roland engage in anything that I would consider to be sexist, misogynistic, racist.” Another called the idea that Fryer was a sexist “completely absurd.”

Through an attorney, Fryer has denied all of the charges. From the Crimson:

“It’s disgraceful the complainant’s lawyers have chosen to publicize their unproven accusations rather then [sic] to allow the legal process to determine the merits of their client’s claims,” [Fryer’s lawyer, George J.] Leontire wrote. “Professor Fryer looks forward to a full and impartial forum to address these outrageous allegations.”


In response to the Crimson article, Fryer issued this statement:

I fully recognize the seriousness of all forms of discrimination in our society, and I have dedicated my entire academic career to battling for equal opportunity for all, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or any other category that may divide us.

Let me state unequivocally that I have not—and would not—engage in any discrimination or harassment of any form. Any claim to the contrary is patently false.

The environment at EdLabs is very intense, fast moving and demanding reflecting the urgency of its mission to understand, and help reduce, racial and gender inequality in America. That said, I have worked diligently to foster a deeply inclusive environment at EdLabs where all people and all perspectives from all walks of life are welcome and respected.

I am very proud of the work done at EdLabs, and the scores of students and colleagues who have put their heart and soul into our work.


Harvard says it is still investigating the allegations, as is MCAD. If he is found guilty, he could be reprimanded, suspended or fired or could even have his tenure revoked. The MCAD response could range from dismissal of the complaint to monetary damage. The complainants could also choose to sue in federal court.

In a separate statement, a representative for white people said, “Does anyone have Candace Owens’ phone number?”

World-renowned wypipologist. Getter and doer of "it." Never reneged, never will. Last real negus alive.



I am not aware of how academia works. When you write about his reports that show results that are not peer reviewed and that are clearly poor analysis/interpretation of data, why is that allowed by his employer? And why is allowed to represent that university on TV/Fox and say things that are not true or agreed upon by all others in his field?

What other job allows someone to be factually incorrect to that degree without repercussions? (ok, president, smokey-eyed sanders, politicians in general, I get).