10.18.12 11:32 AM ET
Dinesh D’Souza Goes On Counterattack Over Alleged Affair
The board of trustees of The King’s College, a small Christian college based in Manhattan, met for hours Wednesday to decide the fate of Dinesh D’Souza, the school’s president, who has come under fire in the evangelical media for his engagement to a much younger woman while still being married to his wife of 20 years. The scandal comes at the peak of the success of D’Souza’s anti-Obama film, 2016: Obama’s America, which has become the second-highest grossing political documentary in history after Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11.
According to a staffer at the college, the board ordered a floor of the college’s headquarters cleared and positioned noise machines outside its meeting space. The student newspaper reported late Wednesday that the meeting went hours past its scheduled conclusion, running through a scheduled dinner event with administrators and student leaders. A verdict is expected to be announced Thursday.
Meanwhile, D’Souza went on the offensive against World, the evangelical magazine that broke the story of his relationship, denying that he had ever confirmed spending the night at a hotel in South Carolina with Denise Odie Joseph II, whom he introduced at a Christian conference as his fiancée. World’s account quoted two conference organizers, Alex McFarland and Tony Beam, who became aware that D’Souza seemed to be sharing a room with a woman who was not his wife, and passed the information to World’s Warren Cole Smith, who was speaking at the conference. According to Smith’s story that broke the news of the alleged affair on Tuesday, D’Souza confirmed to McFarland that he and Joseph had shared a hotel room but that “nothing happened.”
On Wednesday, D’Souza blasted the World story, calling the quote confirming the night in the hotel room a fabrication. “I clearly told McFarland that Denise and I stayed in separate rooms,” D’Souza wrote on the website of Fox News. “I’m not sure whether McFarland is lying or Smith is lying, but one of them made up the quotation attributed to me that we stayed in the same room but ‘nothing happened.’ This is pure libel.” In the Fox News column, D’Souza categorically denied having sex with Joseph, and claimed he only met her three months ago. But when asked directly if he was having an affair by Christianity Today’s Melissa Steffan, he turned evasive. “It's absolutely not the case, um, that, um, that, um, um, you know, it's.... Look, the issue here is that World is attributing to me an admission that I never made—is attributing to me a quotation that I never said.”
D’Souza attributed the World story to “bitterness” on the part of the magazine’s editor, Marvin Olasky, who resigned as provost of The King’s College shortly after D’Souza was hired. "There is no question that there was a bitterness in Marvin's resignation," D'Souza told Christianity Today. Smith, however, reiterated that the tangled personal and professional histories involved had not motivated his reporting. "The way we made the ultimate decision was by asking this question: If it was the president of some other Christian college, would we pursue this story?" World has been known to report aggressively on other evangelical figures and institutions, including critical coverage of evangelicals involved in the Jack Abramoff scandal and an investigation into scandals of the C-Street house, a secretive group of Christian politicians in Washington.
It remained unclear late Wednesday whether D’Souza was telling the truth about the timing of his acquaintance with Joseph, whom former students and staff members told The Daily Beast has been seen around the King’s campus for months. Screen shots of Joseph’s now-deactivated website obtained by The Daily Beast show she was writing glowing posts about D’Souza as far back as April, referring to him as a “famed conservative blogger” and one of “our favorites.” A section of the site offering “recommended reading” featured D’Souza first on the list, along with a gushing paean. “When this man passes, the world and the West will have lost an intellectual giant,” Joseph wrote.