Lewin complainant tells of harassment

Woman in online class said Lewin pressured her into sexual exchanges

CORRECTION TO THIS ARTICLE: A previous version of this article incorrectly attributed a quote about the danger of leaving the videos online to Provost Martin Schmidt. Peter Fisher was the one who made that statement.

A 32-year-old woman living in France has provided Inside Higher Ed with records of sexually explicit messages from former professor Walter Lewin — the same materials that she had sent to MIT and which had served as the basis for a sexual harassment investigation that led to the revocation of Lewin’s emeritus title and the removal of his popular online physics lecture videos.

The woman, identified as Faiza Harbi, “was pushed to participate in online sexual role-playing and send naked pictures and videos of herself” by Lewin, who contacted her through a Facebook group she had created while enrolled in an online edX course based on his lectures. Lewin was an instructor of the class at the time.

Inside Higher Ed reported last Friday that Harbi, who takes medication for depression and anxiety, had a “breakdown” in September and relapsed into self-harm. She then used Facebook to find other women, ten in all, who had also been contacted by Lewin. She compiled logs of chats between Lewin and the other women and sent them along with her complaint to MIT in October.

She described being contacted in November 2013 by a Facebook account appearing to belong to Lewin.

Harbi said that though she was initially skeptical that the account was Lewin’s, he convinced her of his identity by showing her screenshots of her edX performance records, available only to the class’s instructors. She said harassment was part of even her early interactions with Lewin.

Still struggling with feelings of abandonment and a past sexual assault, Harbi felt “trapped,” she said, and compelled to continue to respond to Lewin, who contacted her through multiple channels even as she tried to avoid him. She added that many of the other women who provided records of their communication with Lewin came from countries that traditionally silence those who speak out against sexual misconduct.

Inside Higher Ed, which did not publish the materials Harbi provided, said the messages and media contained “nudity and sexually explicit language,” as well as Lewin’s confessions of love to several women.

Provost Martin A. Schmidt PhD ’88 told Inside Higher Ed that MIT’s response to the investigation’s finding depended on “MIT policies with respect to teacher-learner interactions” rather than “legal conclusions.” Inside Higher Ed, citing a spokeswoman, said MIT “handled the case as though Harbi were enrolled at the institution.”

Schmidt declined to tell Inside Higher Ed how many women Lewin was determined to have harassed or whether there were on-campus complaints against Lewin, citing privacy concerns. MIT had not identified Harbi in any of its statements before the Inside Higher Ed report.

Professor Peter Fisher, who coordinated MIT’s investigation, previously told The Tech that MIT had removed the videos because “they presented a [real] danger to people who would see them and contact [former] Professor Lewin, expecting a student-teacher relationship and getting something that was inappropriate.”

The Tech reported last week that a Twitter account apparently belonging to Lewin publicly posted sexually suggestive and explicit messages to fans, many of them young women.

“If I as a victim stay anonymous, I will send a negative message to the other victims,” Harbi told Inside Higher Ed, explaining why she spoke out. “If I hide, how can I ask other victims to come forward?”

Anonymous about 8 years ago

"the same materials that she had sent to MIT",

Completely edited records that MIT has chosen to believe because they don't want to lose government funding.MIT never bothered to fully investigate her claims. They just took her word for it.There are no 10 women; she is using that to hide behind.This show trial is good for publicity, to show the world how "serious" MIT takes harassment.

They, as well as the Tech, have wasted enough time on this, now they should reveal some real harassment cases and assaults by MIT professors and administrators.

And speaking of publicity, this sick woman Harbi will think of something else tomorrow to keep her name in lights. She is

sucking up the attention political rags like Inside Higher

Ed and won't let go. Who knows what other lies the Tech

and Inside Higher Ed will print next week: it's good for MIT and it's good for business.

The Tech once again proves to be a tool of the administration.

Anonymous about 8 years ago

1. She has had a past sexual assault (misdirection)

2. She has abandonment issues (misdirection)

3. She cuts herself (misdirection)

4. She had a mental breakdown (misdirection)

5. 10 other women were harassed? (misdirection)

6. She was close and chatty with him for nearly a year (well after class ended)

7. They exchanged nude photos

8. She's fighting a "war" on behalf of women sexually harassed (she has found a cause)

9. She's married (is that why she regrets talking with Lewin?)

10. She "tried to avoid him" (hearsay)

11. She "felt trapped" (subjective; sounds like an excuse to me)

Je Suis Haven Monahan

I hope she joins a church and finds a strong community with support and morals.

Anonymous about 8 years ago

#1: Where is your proof that Harbi's records are "completely edited"? Where is your evidence that MIT never fully investigated her claims? Where is your proof that Harbi made up the existence of the 10 other women?

It's obvious that you are way too invested in protecting the "legacy" of an old, abusive man and are making up facts to suit your purpose.

Anonymous about 8 years ago

And it's obvious you are overpaid by MIT

Anonymous about 8 years ago

#4: No proof, then? Surprise, surprise - all you've got is empty accusations. I'm not employed by MIT in any capacity, by the way.

Anonymous about 8 years ago

What happened to Lewin is analogous to what happened in the "How can she slap" video (you can search for it online).

The video shows an Indian man getting slapped by a fertile Indian woman. The Indian man slaps her back immediately and gets mobbed by the spectators, saying "You f--ing b-----d, you dead" and so on. The Indian woman who slapped the man stands to the side, sitting pretty.

What happened to Lewin? He starts a year-long sexual relationship with a woman. The exchange involves both of them exchanging vulgar pictures and words. After the relationship ends, the woman decides she felt "trapped," and cries harassment. Lewin gets mobbed by the bureaucracy and the press, and the woman stands to the side, sitting pretty. (Well, she does more than that-- she later decides to give herself to the media to get empty sympathy from the Internet.)

This is the world we live in. There is the stench of identity politics being used to tear down a man's life and an important element of MIT's culture. Objectifying women as "perfect" people who neither sin nor lie is degrading and shameful. It shows the decline of the West, as learned religion, which produced divine beauty we no longer see today, fades and is replaced by decadent, superficial feminism, which produces modern art consisting of vaginas plastered on the wall of a "museum."

If MIT wanted to fix the problem (which they do not, so these words fall on deaf ears), they could require that every bureaucrat with an ounce of power do either one of the following:

(1) two years of hard labor in the wild, in a traditional monastery or in a labor camp, or

(2) two years of hard study, showing a deep understanding of the works of a great philosopher, such as Aristotle or Confucius.

This would quickly eliminate feminism.

They could also tell male professors to never apologize to women, reducing the chance that women will make up sexual harassment claims (when you apologize, this causes women to think it was harassment).

This would let MIT be an island of high culture in a sea of barbarity.

Anonymous about 8 years ago

Hmm, apologies, labor camps are inhumane, so that should not be encouraged. But the (intellectual) point stands.


Anonymous about 8 years ago

Remembering Auschwitz: 70 Years After Liberation

Anonymous about 8 years ago

8 Good article. -6

Anonymous about 8 years ago


Also note this quote: "When I visited Auschwitz, our guide said: 'Extremism does not explain what happened here. Only conformity does.'"

History shows us the rabble are more cruel to their country than any aristocracy. Which is why I want the rabble out of MIT bureaucracy.


Anonymous about 8 years ago

Ridiculous, she's just a conniving manipulative middle-aged women who's attempt to live out a sexual fantasy with a near senile man brought her misery.

She's not a child. Voluntarily sending sexually explicit images and video to a near 80-year old should be a crime.

Imagine if men could claim mental frailty as an EXCUSE every time they behaved in such a shitty way.

She's a sexual pervert.

Measures should have been put in place to protect Lewin from interactions with such dangerous women.

Does MIT have a programme to assist elderly staff with modern social media interaction and its dangers from women like Faiza?

Anonymous about 8 years ago

Ridiculous, she's just a conniving manipulative middle-aged woman whose attempt to live out a sexual fantasy with a near senile man brought her misery.

She's not a child. Voluntarily sending sexually explicit images and video to a near 80-year old should be a crime.

Imagine if men could claim mental frailty as an EXCUSE every time they behaved in such a shitty way.

Measures should have been put in place to protect Lewin from interactions with such dangerous women.

Does MIT have a programme to assist elderly staff with modern social media interaction and its dangers from women like Faiza?

Anonymous about 8 years ago

11 Setting you straight:

1. You sound like Lewin.

2. You sound too emotional ("ridiculous," you put EXCUSE in upper case letters).

3. You seem old and bad with computers (you double posted, also the casing of EXCUSE is poor form).

4. Lewin was not senile. (factual inaccuracy)

5. She's not middle aged. She was 31 when it happened. (factual inaccuracy)

6. "Conniving manipulative woman" is not a great way to describe it. First, the first two words are redundant. Second, she's not particularly conniving-- it doesn't take a lot of skill to make a false harassment accusation. Third, "damaged" or "mentally ill" would be more apt.

7. Women don't care about old men. And this isn't Japan, most men don't either. The rhetoric won't affect anyone emotionally.

Come on, Lewin, I empathize with your situ but you can do better than this. This satire is a "D."


Anonymous about 8 years ago

What possible sexual function can a near 80 year old offer to someone in their 30s?

How is this less of a concern to society than paedophilia? We allow women in their 30s to freely engage in sexual exchanges with octogenarians WTF?

How is the old person not the victim?

Anonymous about 8 years ago

14 Setting you straight.

1. You are using overly mechanistic thinking. You seem to be arguing that a sexual behavior without a "sexual function" is immoral. This is a fallacy, Lewin:

(a) A sexual behavior that does not offer sexual function can still be moral. For example, frequent (rather than infrequent) sex in a happy marriage does not serve a function but seems virtuous.

(b) Historically immoral sexual behaviors often do not serve sexual functions, but that is not the reason they are immoral. Take homosexuality, prostitution or pornography, for instance. All these were considered immoral for deeper reasons rooted in tradition.

2. Pedophilia isn't good, but most people hate it because of the moral panic that surrounds it, and, besides, there are some solid reasons for the moral panic (children can't consent, early sexual activity could affect development, etc.). There is no similar moral panic about women in their 30s flirting with old men, so readers aren't going to buy it.

3. The first rule of human social groups is "ladies first." So if you have an old man with a younger women, the narrative is "man is taking advantage of the woman." Challenging that narrative by saying the women is taking advantage of the man violates the fundamental rule of human social groups.

4. Aristotle and Confucius would both easily conclude that a women in her 30s would not be taking advantage of a man in his 70s if they engage in a sexual conversation, and there are theoretical reasons I will not state at this time.

The "she's taking advantage of me" argument won't fool anyone for a second. It's better to go with the "we were in a normal relationship, and she's making stuff up about harassment after the break-up."

Indeed (and I assume you're Lewin here), I think if you had a more solid understanding of the nature of men and women, you would have been able to behave in a more socially acceptable way and avoid the harassment charge. Your crime is incompetence, not harassment, and the incompetence continues.


Anonymous about 8 years ago

11 is not Lewin but you are probably Harbi.

You have the same, sick, twisted mind as she does.

On second thought maybe you are her psychiatrist that helped to screw her up; Harbi would have no clue who Aristotle was.

You are far from setting anyone straight with your "understanding of the nature of men and women." You are a lonely pathetic soul who doesn't have the understanding

of a human or a cockroach. Your crime is ignorance and you continue to show it.

Anonymous about 8 years ago

I'm not Lewin you silly person

1. A sexually available 30-40 year old woman tormenting a near to death octogenarian is pretty immoral

2. Peadophilia is more than bad, it is disgusting - jail-time rather than treatment is entirely appropriate for offenders. Wasting time and resources to understand these sick minds is not a good use of tax-payers' money - same as women perverts bothering elderly men, lock them up as well.

3. That's just stupid - times have changed, we don't live in the 1950s. "Ladys" have to make an effort nowadays to get some credit, not as much effort as men, but getting closer to what men have to do.

4. How do the ideas of historical figures a few millenia ago support a woman in her 30s sending a near octogenarian sexually explicit photos and videos in 2015?

Anonymous about 8 years ago

You are very creative with the insults.

Problem is, simplistic ad hominem makes your argument weaker, as it reveals you do not have a strong argument readily available.

You call me twisted, but does this not show you are close-minded? Wouldn't a blind person think chatter about colors is "sick" and "twisted"?

You call me lonely because I'm writing a lot of online comments, but what are you doing?

You say I don't have the understanding of a human or a cockroach, but if that's true, wouldn't it be easy to point out a flaw in what I said?

You say I screwed Harbi up, but I only know her through The Tech, and though I don't quite know what Harbi went through, I likely don't approve of her actions.

But, yes, I suppose I am a fool whose ignorance is so severe it is criminal and damaging to others.


Anonymous about 8 years ago

Ah, hadn't seen comment 17.

I'm glad you took the time to type some responses.

1. It is remarkable to assume she was tormenting him when they were friendly for many months.

2. Pedophilia is both wrong and disgusting, but I have a strong stomach. The law says pedophilia should result in jail time, and I support the law in this case.

3. Times have changed less than you think. A guide for Chinese tourists in the US tells tourists to remember that it's "ladies first" in the US. Americans still have a sense of chivalry. American divorce law, sexual assault criminal procedure, etc. are all typically biased in favor of women, as they arguably should be.

4. Wise philosophers understood virtuous men have the capability and responsibility to determine whether a sexual relationship is in their best interest. Lewin does not seem senile at all, and should be able to fulfill his responsibility.

Hope this helped!


Anonymous about 8 years ago

17, here's how I might re-frame the argument:

Faiza is a victim of the radical feminism that has invaded campus bureaucracies. I will justify this truth in a level-headed manner.

Here are some principles of radical feminism:

1. It's OK to be a slut or prostitute (i.e. flirt with whomever you want). Feminist propaganda mechanism: "don't slut shame"

2. A woman who claims emotional pain should never feel shame for actions that get her in trouble. Feminist propaganda mechanism: "don't victim blame!"

3. It's not OK for husbands to exercise masculine leadership and make her fall in love. Propaganda mechanism A: strong men are "abusive" if they ever make a woman uncomfortable. Propaganda mechanism B: the elimination of traditional marriage via no-fault divorce laws.

These principles are utter stupidities. For instance, (1) results in women marrying late, degraded by age and the emotional pain of a string of broken promises. They find their husband a bore, and do not live the kind of happy marriage you would see in the 50s (check out "I Love Lucy.")

But Faiza, new to France, did not realize how stupid these principles are.

So what happened? Faiza, aging and sorrounded by men made weak by feminism, lacks love at home, and searches for it online. She shows the porous boundaries feminists normalize, exchanging naked shots with Lewin. No friend, not even shame, keeps her in check, and she continues the relationship for many months. When the regret comes, rather than fixing her life, she descends into victimhood, and, later, political activism.

The end result: she spends her time promoting a broken political ideology online, she ruins a man's life and her love life is somewhat tarnished.

I feel sorry for Faiza. She was born in Algeria, an Islamic state with more traditional ways, and could not adjust to the unhealthy social mores promoted by modern, radical feminism. Find a church Faiza.


Jerry Vandesic about 8 years ago

MIT simply wants to disassociate itself from a scumbag. They should be free to do so. It's not rocket science. There are others that are fine with associating themselves with a scumbag. They can continue to do so if they want.

Anonymous about 8 years ago


But Faiza, new to France, did not realize how stupid these principles are.

So what happened? Faiza, aging and sorrounded by men made weak by feminism, lacks love at home, and searches for it online. She shows the porous boundaries feminists normalize, exchanging naked shots with Lewin. No friend, not even shame, keeps her in check, and she continues the relationship for many months. When the regret comes, rather than fixing her life, she descends into victimhood, and, later, political activism.

The end result: she spends her time promoting a broken political ideology online, she ruins a man's life and her love life is somewhat tarnished.

I feel sorry for Faiza. She was born in Algeria, an Islamic state with more traditional ways, and could not adjust to the unhealthy social mores promoted by modern, radical feminism. Find a church Faiza.


She is new to France? Or maybe she was born in Algeria and spent most of her life in France, even before walking. At least don't assume facts out of absilutely nowhere. And I dare tou to find reliable informations on the web about Algeria. like a lot of other coutries btw.

To all of you who think that tick anonymous, Remember: your emails adresses AND IP adresses are being backed up. Just like mine.

And yes, the I use a proxy, and I am in a private place....etc. Know your computer science.

Yeah, apart from being douchebags, (the majority) what you are doing is called cyber bullying, since you all made it clear about who your horrors and insane statements conclusions insults etc... are aimed at.

Now allow me to laugh. Actually I as laughing before tying this comment. Because all of you, who went all ... there is no words for what you do, are screwed.

Hey, the joys of the net!!

later suckers!

Anonymous about 8 years ago

All the world now knows that #21 is a scumbag also.

MIT should disassociate itself from you too.

Anonymous about 8 years ago

20 ,

As you suggest in you" well respected man' from the kinks song, in a extremely hypocrite way, for Faiza to find a church, why don't you start by looking in a mirror, and passed the hours of terrors after seing your true self, try to find something to put into that empty shell your body is.

Not empty, filled with hatred and hypocrits words. Basically worse.

You want to play the good'ol christian empathy card?

Then go fetch your soul from the flames of Hell.

And yes, Lewin, your writing in the comments you make is so obvious anyone who read this thread and the other about your tweets can recognize it. It's more accurate than any portrait of yourself.

You signed your anonylous comments.

To the one who think that Aristotle is too high profile to be known by common mortals.... I think he would disagree with the elitist part of that comment. And I don't even study Aristotle.

Anonymous about 8 years ago

#24: Grow up. You are using this space to vent your own sexual frustrations. You are clearly an abusive person who has harassed or assaulted women (or men?) in the past (or present). You haven't made one comment that even resembles making sense.

You are showing an abnormal amount of hostility towards Prof. Lewin. Did your girlfriend prefer him over you? Did you flunk 8.01?

Walter Lewin about 8 years ago

The only comment I made was #8 about Auschwitz


Anonymous about 8 years ago

Professor Lewin #26

The person(s) claiming you are posting is a deluded idiot - you should ignore them.

Anonymous about 8 years ago

Happy Birthday Professor Walter Lewin!

79 is an impressive age reach and still be intellectually active. I hope your 80th year on this planet will be a happy one - don't let the bastards grind you down.

Anonymous about 8 years ago

To #26:

Really? That's your only comment? If this whole thread goes public with emails and IP adresses, locations, the make and model of the computer and other things, would it be like your twitter account? "hacked"?

Oh, maybe you got sooked by whever in the comment reminded that it's all backed up, as it's the Tech policy in case of subpoenas or act like these?

To all those scarily stupid, narrow-minded, twisted minded, sick minded people who made comments of such caliber, cyber-bullying, I hope you realize that if you now your way around computers networking, you all are not anonymous, myself included.

Oh, and someone who can do that, usually with some friends, once they've decided that it has to stop, nothing can stop them.

Have you heard of the hacker group Anonymous?

Goggle them a bit, and you'll see how this, this is a piece of cake compared to other actions they usually take.

Bottom line, you didn't know it, but you already are all screwed, unless you feel like you havenothing to fear.

And i see very few people here that talk in a healthy way.

Lewin can really think he can play all the people around here? I hope for you they don't put their hands on the evidences Harbi gathered on you. On the other hand I would find that quite interesting to see what made it so compelling that this time, he couldn't dodge the bullet...

Just like a kid in front of a candy store: Lekker!

Todd Giroux about 8 years ago

I think those who post anonymous are chicken. Show your name if you have the guts!!!

Anonymous about 8 years ago

Wow - a Godwin's number of 8 is pretty impressive! Its interesting that it descended to this as soon as the real/alleged exchanges - which MIT wasn't talking about - started coming out. Has any of the super-passionate anons here seen the evidence? Because if not - anything they say adds zero value at this point.

Anonymous about 8 years ago

22, 29:

You accuse us of cyber-bullying, threaten us with computer hacking, and openly laugh at a fellow human being "screwed."

On the other hand, the worst I did in #20 was call some political principles "utter stupidities" (are they not?), say Faiza's love life may be "somewhat tarnished," and sympathetically argue Faiza may not be used to French ways of living: immigrants usually don't have as good a family support network as non-immigrants.

I think it's clear to me who's doing the bullying (though you are free to continue; I don't mind).

Faiza is a political activist and a public figure, who has contacted media to try to get her story out, and I, perhaps naively, thought it fair to criticize her actions, as a public figure. I suppose radical feminist fundamentalists such as yourselves see this as a challenge to their religious feminist beliefs, and worthy of almost unlimited punishment.

It is disappointing when religious beliefs conflict with free speech and fundamentalists lash out. You are free to have whatever radical beliefs you have, and I'm sorry for any pain I caused by challenging them. Remember, I'm all heart. Though I do not have much hope for you, best of luck in your life's journey.

Prof. Lewin--

Happy birthday, and I'm sorry for mistakenly assuming you were commenting.


Ha! That may be true. :)


Anonymous about 8 years ago

Guys, after the story first broke, a lot of us checked out Lewin's personal twitter and saw a _lot_ of sexual harassment that he took like 2 weeks to delete afterwards (it seemed like he didn't even realize his tweets were publicly viewable, but he kept trying to harass girls even after they had blocked his account [given by the fact that he directly complained to them that he couldn't view their profiles anymore]. It was pretty horrifying). It's pretty obvious that Lewin was a total scumbag, and there are several dozen people that can independently confirm this. Come to MIT zephyr, -c white-magic if you want to hear example tweets.

Anonymous about 8 years ago

#33: the twitter accounts were constantly

hacked and perhaps you were the scumbag

that did it.

Anonymous about 8 years ago

The messages were varying from 6 months to 2 years before Lewin was fired, and he had a multitude of evidence that it was his real twitter account. If I was trying to get Lewin fired, I don't think I'd wait two years after impersonating him harassing girls on twitter to do it.

Socialist Worker about 8 years ago

The relationship between a professor and a student must be strictly platonic. To be otherwise is to invites conflict of interests. As a long time tenured professor he should know that. The age of both parties is immaterial.

Once she revealed that she was depressed and had anxiety he should have immediately ended a relationship that he should have never started. Any help should have consisted of steering his student to mental health professionals.

If he wanted to establish kinky relationships he should have created his own Facebook or webpage page not connected to MIT with all his goods on display if that is what he wanted.

He has chosen not to answer any requests for an explanation. Which leaves him looking guilty.

Anonymous about 8 years ago

That's the MIT way: Guilty until proven innocent.

And to be called guilty all the administration has

to do is believe the lies of one mentally disturbed woman.

Perhaps MIT has asked/ordered Prof. Lewin not to

comment on the case.

Socialist Worker about 8 years ago

The MIT administration would have never done this without evidence. To do so would invite a very expensive defamation of character lawsuit. Lewin is exercising his right to remain silent.

He has not been charged with a crime just violating the Professor Student relationship. As far as we know his MIT pension has not been in jeopardy. His only loss has been his relationship with MIT.

Just because a women is having emotional difficulties is no reason not to believe her. After she came forward there were others who confirmed her allegations.

In the real world people are dismissed from their jobs for less. Something all course 15 students will be doing.

Anonymous about 8 years ago

People still not getting that a near octogenarian is vulnerable.

Lewin is more likely the victim here.

Modern tech has given a lot of young female perverts access to him - wouldn't happen in the past.

Students aren't stupid, if someone starts harrassing you (WHOEVER THEY ARE), especially in recorded format - YOU REPORT ASAP - not a year later after the thrill has gone.

You don't get your few weeks/months of sexual thrills and then belatedly appeal to female mental frailty of whatever shit the feminists are selling that year when you realise it's not so thrilling to sexually engage with a near octogenarian.

Evy about 8 years ago


It's incredible to actually defend such a shame to the whole scientific world, and humans in general.

No matter how his lecture were(need I remind you that they were taped almost 2 decades ago?), anyone here who works at MIT knows that his lectures haven't been used to teach MIT student for almost 10 years. I am not related to MIT, don't work there and I know that. Just ask teachers there, or students. Just be careful as for what you asked, you may end up with more than just that.

#32 I do not threaten people of being hacked, I just did what I ususally do: Read the comments policy. But obviously I made my point, since you haters based on void, nothingness."she's a public figure" ?? Since when? He is a public figure, she is one among way to many victim who probably knew what was waiting for her if she used her real name and yet did it: I call that courage, not feminism crap. Since when saying what so far has been proven to be true , unlike any assumptions-yes, assumptions based on emptiness, based on hatred and zero facts-makes her a public figure? Using her name? Since when a victim of a sex crimes is ,I quote: I slut a prostitute, and attention-whore, sick twisted mind, eager for money, as dangerous as a pedophile, should do jail time, should be put in labor camp, should go back to her land to be beaten up by a husband that would put her head back where ti's supposed to be , an ignorant, a muslim, a feminist, an abuser, an "jezebel" who accused Lewin after being cought red-handed, amentally sick person, a nutcase,...etc ?

And all that based on what? Nothing. You are a shame to humanity for writting all that anonymously with no evidences to back you up.

As for Lewin, you can ask anyone who followed him on facebook: I think he hacked at least 3 to 4 times a year. Conveniently when what is written while he is "hacked" is shameful. Are you capable to do the math or should I do it for you? Lamest excuse ever. So, no, she's not a public figure, she's publicly pushed over the edge. Meanwhile, Lewin who is "hacked" all the time, and accused of very serious matter did not lift a finger to sue the ones accusing him. Nor did his family. I think I don't need to do the math here. You did it.

So, if reading the comments policy and talking about it to try to stop this insane insults and insulting behaviors, well...I assume you should turn off your computers: You don't know how the net works.

Evy about 8 years ago

EDIT: Convinently when what is written while he was "hacked", not while he "hacked".

As for the list of insults to Harbi, I m not even close enough to what shameless and some maybe dangerous people-regarding what they are capable of thinking and writing...anonymously- hammered her with.

Anonymous about 8 years ago

So, the trolls never tire of their attacks. Except, now they can no longer make the ridiculous claims they made to a previous Tech articles that it was all made up and so on. They will no doubt continue to make ignorant attacks (#40 did a good job of cataloging all the latest insults) on any other people who come forward and dismiss any other evidence that is made public. The bottom line is that Lewin massively violated the principles governing how faculty are supposed to interact with students and so MIT choses to no longer give him a title or to promote him on the web site that MIT pays for.

Anonymous about 8 years ago

It's nice to see that Lewin is spending all his spare time trolling internet comments pages. To be sure, he is not senile, and using his age as some kind of defense is silly. He is obviously very smart in many respects and is well-versed in using social media.

But since it's quite clear you're reading this, Lewin: you're an embarrassment to anyone who's ever taughtwhether here at MIT or elsewherewith sincerity and the well-being of his or her students at heart. Please stop before you make yourself look even more ridiculous.

To those attacking Harbi with sexism: people typically resort to that sort of thing when they don't really have anything else to go on. (To preempt those who call me otherwise: I'm a male student here, and not some kind of rabid feminist.)

And to those complaining of MIT's response by removing his lectures: it's not the Institute's obligation to host any of his teaching material. It does so as a public service. It does, however, have the obligation to remove channels for unacceptable communications between a faculty member and a student/learner when such communications demonstrably and persistently exist.

Peter Goldblum about 8 years ago

From my view there are no victims. I noticed the use of the word 'Victim' is on the rise. But guess what? It degrades real victims.

I can tell, from the ongoing relationship over such an immense length of time, that something smells fishy. Now some might joke: See, so it must've been the female. But I won't do that.

Instead I will use my androcentrist sanity to understand, that 31yo (back then) Faiza Harbi can't declare victimization after playing an active role in this tutor-novice affair. Especially since the majority of accusations are related to digital conversations/transactions. She had more than enough opportunities to seek help as well as the age and intellect to make use of certain tools, like reporting the matter immediately.

About the defense of Dr. Walter Lewin having his accounts hacked. Well, this has happened before, esp. on MIT campus. And it sounds more than plausible in this context. But his actions as a mentor were too questionable, to portray him as the victim. We will have to wait and see if the media or certain groups with an agenda take advantage of the situation.

Anonymous about 8 years ago

To 44:

Dear Peter,

Like way to many boys and girls, I was raped as a kid, and I still cannot understand what made the perpetretor, someone I knew someone I trusted, and someone I noded to when he asked me to not talk about it, could see in a kid something sexually appealing. Then, the last time I saw him, I was 19, I realized he was asking to call him using honorifics (I call people by their first names, the ones I know, not the person next door I never met), he told me that the he knew me better than myself, my parents, anyone, that he knew that I was going to fail my sophmore year in college(I hurt by back, and spent the semester between doctors and bed) , something he couldn't now since, nobody sees the future. I saw then what I was facing was not a rapist, but someone who was craving for power. To crush me with power especially now that I was no kid anymore.As much as I hate being called a victim, because it makes me feel like I couldn't have done a single thing to stop him, I hate to lie, including to myself, and so yes, I was his victim, still am, still have nightmares every night, my life is impacted by him in ways I never imagine it would. Now, as a logical person, and someone who know s abit about how blogs, newspapers and the like work: It's obvious when you read the IHE article that it has been truncated. Why truncate an article that can have such an impact? There is only one reason. To take off anything that can be seen as misleading, anything that can potentially raise doubts, anything that is not as clear as 11. To avoid any possible law suit. Some blogs like say.Gawker, are less prone to do that, and may have an account just for law suits and paying for whatever they didn"'t say clearly, could be misinterpreted etc...

As for the hacking part, I still disagree. And if he was hacked, he can then provide information as for how he protected or asked someone or a company to "repair" the issue, and he would be able to come forward with either bills, or the person who knows his or her way around a computer. But he did none of it, starting with tweeter. It can happen, sure, but that much? That often, that conveniently? Please, don't tell me you do not have doubts yourself.

Anonymous about 8 years ago

#45 So awful and sorry you were raped as a child but being "accused"of sexual harassment by a 32 year old woman is a far cry from rape. And this so-called harassment by Prof. Lewin took place 4000 miles from the alleged victim. Let's see what's next on her agenda.

Anonymous about 8 years ago


I ve been sexually assaultedn and thanks goodness a friend saw what was happening up to a certain point and ran into the guy as a football player would tackle another one in a game.

My point being: I am not bad at martial arts, not the self defense for poor women thing, I just like martial arts and I can react fast's reflex. But the moment the guy, in the crowndy noisy and porrly lighted place grabbed me by the waist and my very personal part, I ..couldn't do anything. I couldn't scream, could move couldn't bite couldn't crush his toes, anything. It was as if I were sucked back in the past, I was litterally not there, I was back to when my rape occured.

It turns out, it's sadly by far the very very common reaction. Paralysed, you are simply..I don't get why. I mean I got very clear explanations, explanations I myself knew were true. Distance, whether it's in time or space..It changes nothing. Once you're reminded of that trauma, whatever the trauma is, could be a fire, could be anything esle other than rape, you're done. It's called trauma.

And there are very good neurological explanations that we can pretty much all read and understand that explain how comes that in that specific case, traumas, you can't..react.

Even writing it is hard as I can not forget myself for having been paralyzed that day, being saved by a friend who was at the right place and looked in my direction by chance and at the moment where the moon came out from behind the clouds.

You can be sure that Harbi is probably never gonna forgive herself, and that her life is over for sure if by any chance she read what is written in this thread by some people and in the other "tweets" threads.

Anonymous about 8 years ago

Could not MIT have left his lectures on its OCW site, prefacing each with the warning that the lecturer is a nearly 80 year old man who is believed to have asked a middle aged woman in France for nude photos of herself, and that users of the material should not communicate with anyone calling himself "Walter Lewin" lest psychological harm result? Such a measure to provide notice, combined with termination of Lewin's MIT email address, would go far in protecting the psychologically vulnerable individual while also acknowledging that his contributions to OCW have been and continue to be of substantial benefit to men and women who simply want to use them to learn some physics.

Anonymous almost 8 years ago


The 30 year old woman sent explicit sexual content to an old man from the safety of her own home.

It is good that she lives with the shame.

Anonymous almost 8 years ago


You implying that she is living with the shame of all that happened is yay another inference based on...nothing.

What about the old man sending explicit sexual content to at least about 10 female individuals (I m not using the word woman, I don't know the age of the other harassed female individuals) from the safety of his own home, knowing that his teacher reputation will make people like you do all the defense for him?

I wonder who is really being manipulated.

And who is the real manipulator.

What if you wrote exactly what he wanted people to write?

If you think his way to think things through are not as sharp as that, then you definitely know nothing.

Herms '87 almost 8 years ago

"In two online studies ... strong positive associations emerged among online commenting frequency, trolling enjoyment, and troll identity.... Trolling correlated positively with sadism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism...."

Erin E. Buckelsa, Paul D. Trapnellb, and Delroy L. Paulhusc, "Trolls Just Want to Have Fun," in "The Dark Triad of Personality," ed. Livia Veselka and Philip A. Vernon, special issue, Personality and Individual Differences 67 (Sept. 2014).

Anonymous almost 8 years ago

51 Yep. I decided to start blurting the ugly truth for a while (this is "trolling") and then I saw people got hurt and that it's viewed as borderline criminal, and I just couldn't keep going-- I don't get enjoyment out of hurting people and being called a troll. Still, it kind of worked-- I covered a lot of ground and some people seemed to get the point of what I was saying. For this reason I think the world would be a better place with more trolls.

There are a lot of anti-trolls (people telling you happy truths like "marriage equality," "multiculturalism," "race/gender/religion are social constructs," "democracy," "free love," and so on) and then very few trolls to balance them out. And it makes sense-- who would want to put themselves in danger of being outed as a troll? There's no reward.

What I don't understand is the guy saying Lewin is a victim of reverse pedophilia. He's breaking the rule of trolling "tell the truth." And more importantly, he's also being repetitive and boring. But I guess these kinds of trolls are harmless; you can smile and nod and scroll down.

Anonymous almost 8 years ago

Sorry-- that should be "happy myths" not "happy truths"


Anonymous almost 8 years ago

I am addressing this comment primarily to Professor Walter Lewin. Sir, I just wish to thank you for a lifetime of contributions to humanity, both via your outstanding research contributions, and also with your lectures, which seem to have inspired many students.

As for the story at hand, the fact that she was sending you naked pictures of herself proves that this was all between consenting adults. That she was married speaks for itself. And of course all the sob stories about her emotional state shows that she is trying to transfer undue guilt on to you and that also speaks for itself.

The bottom line is really simple. If the "online sex talk" began after she finished the MOOC course, then you have done nothing wrong. If it began while she was working on the course, then it was a mistake, but contigent on whether you had power over her. For example, if the entire MOOC course is graded automatically, and you are just there to talk and answer questions, then that is a strong mitigating factor. For MIT to go so far as to take your lectures down is unforgivable.

All I can say sir, is you have lived well, accomplished a lot, and I hope that this incident has not hurted your health and that you are well. Keep your spirits and your head high. Live well, and be happy that you are a better person and in better state of mind than Harbi. And that you have made a positive impact in this world. MIT can say that you are no longer Professor, but it is a title you have earned with hard work and sacrifices, and they cannot stop me from addressing you as Professor Walter Lewin.

I wish you all the best.

Anonymous almost 8 years ago


Please, just your writing gives you out.

For having seen it multiple times on the facebook group For The Love Of Physics (should I remember, presented by Lewin as a "website created in honor of me", the ego of the man has no bounderies indeed).

So you could just as well not post it anonymously as any edX person can recognize you.

It would be hilarious if it weren't showing how much Lewin can manipulate people's minds to turn them into human shield to protect himself instead of doing it by his own.

You're a good little soldier, brainwashed like thousands of Lewin fans, and I feel sorry for you. Sorry because you won't be able to ignore the truths you do not want to see, hear, or accept.

I do really feel sorry for you.

Anonymous almost 8 years ago

And you have shown who you are #55!

Why don't you just sign your name? You gave it away already and you don't even realize how.

It burns you up that #54 is not Prof. Lewin and it burns you up he has chosen all along to ignore you and your ugly comments. He wouldn't dare lower himself to your sickening level .The world feels sorry for you #55, as you are a jealous, sick, sorry soul who should crawl back into your hole in the mud and stay there.

Herms '87 almost 8 years ago

(Clarification. Comment 47 is not directed at any specific high-frequency commenter.)

Herms '87 almost 8 years ago

(Clarification. Comment 51 is not directed at any specific high-frequency commenter.)