Elizabeth Warren Claim of Sexual Harassment as Young Professor

At the height of the #MeToo movement in 2017, Elizabeth Warren claimed[1] to have been sexually harassed as a young professor by an older, more senior professor. This claim was subsequently called into question.[2]

The Boston Herald notes[3] that Warren had previously told the story in a “more light-hearted manner.”

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren reportedly switched up her account of sexual harassment that she relayed this weekend in a televised #MeToo testimonial from an earlier “light-hearted” version.

On Sunday, Warren described an unnamed senior professor’s unwanted approach with alarm on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” saying the man chased her around a desk while she said, “‘You don’t want to do this. You don’t want to do this. I have little children at home. Please don’t do this.’”

Warren added, “And at the same time, what was flickering through my brain is, ‘If he gets hold of me, I’m going to punch him right in the face.’ ”

Warren said she eventually escaped the office and only told her best friend what had happened. She said she wondered what she did to “bring this on” and “wore a lot of brown” after the encounter.

But the Boston Globe reported[4] last night that Warren recounted the same incident in a “more light-hearted manner” at a memorial service after the professor’s death in 1997 — an account the Globe noted was “inconsistent” with her story on Sunday.

“During the service after his death in 1997, Warren spoke fondly of law professor Eugene Smith and told the gathered mourners she was laughing as Smith chased her around his desk, according to a colleague’s memoir,” the Globe reported.

The author of the memoir, John Mixon, told the paper, “I may have been wrong saying she was laughing,” adding that he was writing about the service 15 years after the fact.

The paper also noted that Warren failed to mention on “Meet The Press” that Smith had polio.

The Globe said Warren told the broadsheet yesterday she shared the story at the memorial service as a statement about Smith’s authority.

The memorial service at which Warren reportedly repeated her account of the incident was attended by Smith’s ex-wife and his three children.[5]

However, during her eulogy, Warren reportedly “stunned” funeral attendees when she told what was meant to be a lighthearted story about Smith chasing her around his office.

From WaPo:[6]

“With a smile on her face and humor in her voice, Warren described how Smith had invited her to his office one day just a few months after she had been hired. He shut the door and lunged for her, she said, and as she protested, he chased her around his desk before she was able to escape out the door.”

John Mixon, a former UH law professor, described the crowd as “slack-jawed” at the eulogy, and added that the story didn’t even seem plausible given Smith’s limited mobility due to the polio.

“To have this image of him chasing her around the desk, it was just comical, and she told the story without rancor,” Mixon said.

Smith’s ex-wife and three children were present at the funeral.


  1. ^ Transcript, Meet the Press - October 22, 2017Meet the Press, October 22, 2017
  2. ^ William Jacobson, Did Elizabeth Warren exaggerate her “Me Too” story?Legal Insurrection, October 24, 2017
  3. ^ Jules Crittenden, Liz Warren’s ‘MeToo’ flip-flopped old taleThe Boston Herald, October 24, 2017
  4. ^ Julia Jacobs and Victoria McGrane, This isn’t the first time Warren spoke about that office incidentThe Boston Globe, October 23, 2017
  5. ^ Amber Athey, Liz Warren Once Eulogized A Man By Accusing Him Of Sexual Harassment In Front Of His ChildrenThe Daily Caller, October 15, 2019
  6. ^ Holly Bailey, The transformation of Elizabeth WarrenThe Washington Post, October 15, 2019
Last Updated: October 29th, 2019