HRW suspends employee over Auschwitz joke on dating app

The comments are 'antithetical to our values,' says Human Rights Watch.

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February 20, 2018 16:12
1 minute read.
Auschwitz-Birkenau

The Nazi slogan "Arbeit macht frei" (Work sets you free) is pictured at the gates of the former Nazi German concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in Oswiecim, Poland January 27, 2017.. (photo credit: AGENCY GAZETA/KUBA OCIEPA/VIA REUTERS)

 
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Human Rights Watch has suspended its associate director of finance over a joke he made in his Tinder profile about the Holocaust.

StandWithUs, the US-based Israeli advocacy organization, posted a screenshot on Monday of the dating profile Matthew Myers created on the Tinder app. Myers listed his workplace, his interests, and that “if you can’t laugh about the hair room at Auschwitz, get out.”

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Myers did not elaborate on what was so amusing about the piles of hair cut from the dead bodies of those murdered in the extermination camp’s gas chambers.



Andrew Stroehlein, HRW’s European media director, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that Myers was ordered to delete the offensive comment and has been suspended.

“These comments are antithetical to the values of Human Rights Watch,” Stroehlein said. “We have instructed Mr Myers to delete them, and have suspended him from his duties pending further deliberation.” He added that “as soon as we were informed about this, we took immediate action.”

In its initial post, StandWithUs encouraged people to write to HRW “because antisemitism from their employees is anything but funny.”

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In response to a request for comment, StandWithUs would not say if it hoped Myers would be fired.

Michael Dickson, the executive director of the organization’s Israel office, said it was heartening to see a quick response from HRW. “In the past, Human Rights Watch has demonstrated a deeply troubling approach to Israel,” said Dickson. “They have an obsessive focus on the Jewish state, demonizing Israel consistently and often voicing support for discriminatory boycotts... That they are investigating this issue is encouraging but this only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the reform that needs to take place.”

While many online commenters were pleased to hear of Myers’s suspension, others urged a more restrained response.

“Important reminder: Make fun of the guy, don’t try to get him canned,” tweeted Seth Mandel, op-ed editor at the New York Post and a writer for Commentary magazine. “Joke for joke, then move on.”

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