After that report of bedbugs infesting the New York Times HQ, George Washington University professor Dave Karpf tweeted this mild joke about NYT columnist Bret Stephens:

That joke, however, earned an email complaint from Stephens that also copied Dr. Karpf’s boss at GWU:

Dr. Karfpf then posted the email to show everyone what a complete doorknob Stephens was about all this:


Someone just pointed out a tweet you wrote about me, calling me a ‘bedbug.’ I’m often amazed about the things supposedly decent people are prepared to say about other people—people they’ve never met—on Twitter. I think you’ve set a new standard.

I would welcome the opportunity for you to come to my home, meet my wife and kids, talk to us for a few minutes, and then call me a ‘bedbug’ to my face. That would take some genuine courage and intellectual integrity on your part. I promise to be courteous no matter what you have to say.

Maybe it will make you feel better about yourself.

Please consider this a standing invitation. You are more than welcome to bring your significant other.

The Washington Post confirmed the authenticity of the exchange:

“He not only thinks I should be ashamed of what I wrote, he thinks that I should also get in trouble for it,” Karpf told The Washington Post. “That’s an abuse of his power.”

In an email, Stephens told The Post that his email to Karpf “speaks for itself.” A spokesperson for the Times didn’t immediately respond to a message about the exchange.

Stephens has since deactivated his Twitter account this morning after getting called out for trying to get this guy fired over being called a bedbug:

In the past, Stephens has said “the right to offend is the most precious right.” Except if it’s him:

Good riddance.