The alleged rapist of a fellow Columbia University student, Paul Nungesser, gave an in-depth interview to German newspaper Die Zeit claiming he endured a “bullying campaign” while finishing his studies at Columbia.
Nungesser, an international student from Germany, told the paper that following accusations in 2012 that he raped classmate Emma Sulkowicz, he was the victim of public bullying — even after the university found him “not responsible” for the alleged rape.
Since last September, Sulkowicz has pledged to carry a mattress, the alleged site of the rape, around campus until Nungesser leaves Columbia. Her move has been lauded by women’s rights activists around the world and has garnered the high-profile support of President Obama and Hillary Clinton.
After the rape allegations started getting more attention, Nungesser says reporters began lurking in front of his dorm, and Columbia students blogging about the incident. A year later, graffiti and fliers around campus called Nungesser a “serial rapist,” according to Die Zeit.
Activists took his photograph while he was in class and someone wrote on Sulkowicz’s Facebook page that they wanted to cut Nungesser’s throat, he told Die Zeit.
He has since filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against Columbia University, President Lee Bollinger, and a professor, stating that he was the victim of a bullying campaign that the university allowed.
In December he told The New York Times that the events have “demolished” his reputation. While Sulkowicz has been the most visible, two other women have accused Nungesser of rape. He asserts that the three allegations against him were the result of collusion, according to The Times.
And he claims that the university encouraged the bullying by allowing Sulkowicz to carry a mattress around campus. The mattress was part of Sulkowicz’ senior thesis, a performance art piece titled “Mattress Performance: Carry That Weight.”
Sulkowicz has also had to endure her own public harassment. Posters went up on campus in May after Columbia’s graduation ceremony with a picture of Sulkowicz and the words “pretty little liar” and the hashtag #RapeHoax, New York Magazine reported. A now-suspended Twitter account, @fakerape, tweeted out images of those posters.
A spokesperson for Columbia University said that they do not comment about any student cases or pending litigation. We also reached out to Sulkowicz and will update this post with any comment we receive.
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