Prominent NYU activists publicize sexual assault allegations against one another

NYU sophomores Jamie Margolin and Emma Tang, both well-known activists with large social media followings, each made posts claiming they were sexually assaulted by the other in October 2020.

By Rachel Cohen, Deputy News Editor

Content warning: This article contains descriptions and discussions of sexual assault.

Two NYU student activists with large social media followings have accused one another of sexual assault and have used their platforms to tell their stories. Climate activist Jamie Margolin and social justice advocate Emma Tang, Tisch and Liberal Studies sophomores respectively, each allege that they were sexually assaulted by the other on Oct. 31, 2020.

Both have recently publicized their allegations to their large social media followings — Tang has more than 92,000 followers on Instagram, and Margolin has over 65,000.

After meeting in September 2020, Margolin invited Tang to a Halloween party at an Airbnb apartment in Brooklyn, according to court filings and public statements from both parties. At the party, they consumed alcohol with two of Margolin’s friends. Margolin later wrote that Tang pressured her to keep drinking. Tang denied that she got Margolin drunk. 


Though the alleged assault occurred last year, the incident recently resurfaced on social media. On Sept. 25, Tang posted a tweet saying she was assaulted by a public figure in the climate movement; the following day, Margolin published a Medium post naming Tang. Tang revealed Margolin’s name less than an hour later in her response to Margolin’s post.

 

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Margolin alleged in her Sept. 26 Medium post that Tang followed her to a bedroom in the apartment that night and began making sexual advances. Tang, however, said in her response that she remembered Margolin being on top of her, pinning her down and forcibly pulling her back into the room after she attempted to leave.

 

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Tang had shared an account of the alleged assault on Instagram on Dec. 18, 2020, without mentioning Margolin’s name, and said in a Sept. 25 tweet that after that post, Margolin’s attorney Daniel Kron asked her to sign a nondisclosure agreement. She refused.

Tang recently posted what she said were screenshots of text messages between her and Kron from Dec. 22, 2020. In the messages, Kron confronted Tang about speaking about the incident publicly, telling her, “Ok, we can do it your way.”

Margolin filed a family court petition against Tang on Dec. 30, 2020, and was granted an order of protection, which was extended for two months on Feb. 11, 2021, and continued until July. In January, Margolin alerted NYU of “abuse, online attacks, and sexual coercion” and requested a Title IX investigation. The university refused to open a case, according to Margolin.

Margolin said that Tang submitted a copy of their text messages to the court in an attempt to void Margolin’s restraining order and impose a restraining order of her own. Margolin claims Tang “doctored the court evidence, strategically editing out texts that did not match what she was arguing.”

Margolin also alleges that Tang hired two men to threaten Kron and herself. Tang, however, said that no one threatened Kron and Margolin’s lives or careers, and the two men Margolin described were only her attorneys.

According to Tang, Margolin said that Tang was “jealous” of her fame when filing the restraining order and requested that the court dismiss the order filed against her on Jan. 17. Tang filed a counterclaim petition against Margolin, but it was not approved.

Margolin said she filed a police report on Jan. 31 with the New York City Police Department to “make them aware of the continuous harassment and threats.” WSN obtained a redacted version of the police report from the NYPD after Margolin and her lawyer did not respond to multiple requests for the document.

Margolin said that she heard several knocks on her dorm room door a day after filing the report — around 10:15 p.m. and 11:15 p.m. — without anyone announcing themselves. 

Margolin claims that she then attempted to open another case with the university’s Title IX department, but was denied. She said an appeal of the decision was also denied. Margolin said, however, in an Oct. 2 email to WSN that the incident is under Title IX investigation.

The NYU Title IX office declined to comment, citing legal restrictions against commenting on student matters.

Two months after filing the police report, Margolin wrote in Bust Magazine on March 30 recounting the incident without including Tang’s name. 

Tang submitted a family court petition on April 15 and was granted an order of protection. Both Margolin and Tang agreed to dissolve their respective family court petitions and orders of protection on July 8.

Margolin declined a request for comment, referring WSN to her March 2021 Bust article. Kron said that he does not have a personal statement on the matter, but confirms that he was her private counsel related to the incident. 

Kron told WSN that he would provide the court documents by Sept. 29, but did not send them despite repeated requests. The NYPD did not provide Margolin’s family court document upon request.

One of Tang’s attorneys, Edward D. Altabet, declined to comment, citing the firm’s policy on open client matters. Tang reiterated her denial of Margolin’s narrative.

“Jamie Margolin’s Medium post is false,” Tang wrote in a statement to WSN. “I am grateful and thankful to all of the people who commented on Jamie Margolin’s post who stand with me. Their voices were heard and give me strength.”

Margolin disputed Tang’s allegations in a Sept. 29 Instagram post in which she said she had been hospitalized following a panic attack. She has not posted on Instagram or Twitter since then.

Neither party has been criminally charged.

Rachel Fadem and Suhail Gharaibeh contributed reporting.

Contact Rachel Cohen at [email protected]