Dick Wolf, creator of 'Law & Order', wrote a letter begging Liz Magill to step down from her position as president of University of Pennsylvania.
Wolf, named after the Wolf Humanities Center at UPenn, is one of a growing list of powerful donors who have pledged to stop financial support for the Ivy League institution over concerns regarding a Palestinian Literature Festival held on campus in the last month.
Wolf wrote, 'President Magill and [chairman of the board] Scott Bok, I implore both of you to step down before UPenn suffers any further unnecessary damage,' in a letter obtained by CNN Friday. There is no hope of unification within our community until you leave.
The Emmy-winning producer stated that a change in leadership is the 'only way forward'. He will 'end donations to UPenn until both leaders resign'.
The Palestine Writes Literature Festival that was held last month at UPenn, just before the Hamas terror attack on Israel, is what sparked the donors' backlash. UPenn leaders knew that the multi-day event would feature speakers who had a history of antisemitic remarks.
The letter was not previously reported. Wolf stated that it is an "abomination" to think the Wolf Humanities Center had contributed to the hate fest known as the Palestine Writes Festival.
Wolf's letter is more than just a statement that he made to The Daily Pennsylvanian last week, in which he said Magill and Bok'should take responsibility' for their leadership because they have 'inadequately reflected' the ideals and values of the university.
UPenn has not responded to a comment request on Wolf's Letter.
The Daily Pennsylvanian, a student newspaper at UPenn, reported that organizers of the Palestine Writes Festival denied it was antisemitic.
Criticism of the event grew in intensity after Hamas' attack on Israel. Billionaire Marc Rowan, former US Ambassador Jon Huntsman (now a venture capitalist), hedge fund billionaire Cliff Asness, and venture capitalist David Magerman have all pledged to close their bank accounts. Ronald Lauder, billionaire heir of the Estee Lauder Cosmetics empire, has threatened to do the exact same thing.
Wolf, for his part, said he had written to Magill ahead of the Palestine Writes Festival in September, but that his'request' was ignored, and things at our beloved UPenn have gotten worse.
The 'Law & Order,' creator said he was raised as a Jewish boy by a Jewish mother and Irish Catholic father. He has always supported 'free speech and many faith traditions'.
Wolf wrote: 'I oppose all forms of hatred and hate speech, and I view this conference inappropriate and an embarrassment for the University.
Magill, the president of UPenn since last year, issued a statement Wednesday saying that 'hateful speeches have no place at Penn'
Magill stated that he categorically condemned hateful speech which denigrated others, as it was contrary to his values. In this tragic moment we must recognize the pain of classmates and co-workers and respect their suffering. We also need to acknowledge that our words and actions can both heal and harm our community. We must choose healing and resist those who want to divide us. Instead, we should respect and care about one another.
Bok, the chair of UPenn’s board of trustees, and CEO of Greenhill & Co. investment bank, stated earlier this week, that Magill had 'unanimous support' from former and current UPenn trustees, who gathered recently.
Magill faced pressure in the days leading up to the Palestine Writes Festival, not only from Lauder, Wolf, and other people who wanted the event cancelled. Even some Jewish members of the community were vocal supporters of the event.
Several Jewish members of UPenn's community wrote to Magill prior to the event in order to express their enthusiasm for it. Even Magill's condemnation against antisemitism was criticized. They wrote that by using this celebration of Palestinian literature traditions to condemn antisemitism your statement marginalizes Palestinian experience on campus while supporting attempts to confuse Palestinian liberation and antisemitism.
The Daily Pennsylvanian also received letters from three dozen faculty members at UPenn, expressing their support for the Palestine Writes Festival.