Obnoxious Harvard Professor Who Went Nuts Over $4 Apologizes for Being Biggest Asshole on the Planet

Posted by on Dec 10, 2014 at 4:54 pm
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By now many have seen the story of Professor Ben Edelman of Harvard University, who’s now a national disgrace after mercilessly bullying a Chinese restaurant owner over $4.

Ben Edelman is an associate professor at Harvard Business School, where he teaches in the Negotiation, Organizations & Markets unit.

Ran Duan manages The Baldwin Bar, located inside the Woburn location of Sichuan Garden, a Chinese restaurant founded by his parents.

Last week, Edelman ordered what he thought was $53.35 worth of Chinese food from Sichuan Garden’s Brookline Village location.

Edelman soon came to the horrifying realization that he had been overcharged. By a total of $4.

If you’ve ever wondered what happens when a Harvard Business School professor thinks a family-run Chinese restaurant screwed him out of $4, you’re about to find out.

Seriously, take the time to read that story and litany of obnoxious emails and threats made against the bewildered restaurant owner, whose gross offense was having a website with an out-of-date menu.

He lamely tried to defend himself Tuesday, but now apparently has thrown in the towel, likely to spare himself further ridicule.


Many people have seen my emails with Ran Duan of Sichuan Garden restaurant in Brookline.

Having reflected on my interaction with Ran, including what I said and how I said it, it’s clear that I was very much out of line. I aspire to act with great respect and humility in dealing with others, no matter what the situation. Clearly I failed to do so. I am sorry, and I intend to do better in the future.

I have reached out to Ran and will apologize to him personally as well.

Let’s hope he’s learned a lesson, though judging by the tone of his emails he’s got a lot of work to do to become a decent human being.

Update: Interesting note here.

Edelman is originally from Washington, D.C., and was raised by two lawyers. His mother has represented senior citizens, and his father has worked on behalf of labor unions. Edelman’s aunt, Marian Wright Edelman, is president of the nonprofit Children’s Defense Fund.

And there’s some goodies in the comments for this mega-tool:

This guy has even surpassed Larry Lucchino on the Boston Hate Meter today, of all days, which was exceedingly hard to do! Nice looking fellow but the condescending look is very telling. Guys in the kitchen will be adding free “clams” to his order. He better get delivery from Springfield or Hartford or enjoy cooking.

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12 Responses to “Obnoxious Harvard Professor Who Went Nuts Over $4 Apologizes for Being Biggest Asshole on the Planet”

  1. Patricia on 11/11/14 at 10:32 am

    Sounds like he’s a lawyer who’s too chickens**t to practice law and have real trials where other real lawyers argue against you and you could maybe lose!

    So he punches down.

  2. Queen Hotchibobo on 11/11/14 at 12:58 pm

    Seriously? He teaches negotiation at Harvard? No wonder King Putt, our wonderful Harvard Professor Overlord is such a putz in negotiations. He was taught by the “best.”

  3. Andrew X on 11/11/14 at 6:52 pm

    “I am so terribly sorry that that damned Internet exposed my inherent lack of character and my willingness to use the intellectual and educational gifts I have been blessed with in the same manner and for the same reasons that a junior high school thug goes after the library nerd.”

    “I will be personally apologizing to Mr. Duan in manner that I would never have dreamed of doing so had my behavior remained under the cloak of darkness and the academic shield that I once took for granted.”

    “I am so terribly sorry.” (that I am forced to say all this to you lowly ignorant non-ivy league peons.)

    Awwwww, perfessor. That’s so nice…….

  4. Crush AllDems on 12/12/14 at 9:17 am

    My guess is he’s good buddies with that other condescending liberal maggot Jonathan Gruber. Or would love to be, at least…

  5. Steve S. on 12/12/14 at 9:48 am

    I have to say it’s one of the better apologies that get published. He didn’t caveat it with a “but…”, or seek to justify himself; he didn’t limit it to “those who may have been offended”; he didn’t blame anyone else, or go into a rant of Social Justice; he did not belittle the shopkeeper. All in all, he said he screwed up and hopes to do better in the future.

    It is what an apology should be.

  6. Steve S. on 12/12/14 at 9:50 am

    I have to say it’s one of the better apologies that get published. He didn’t caveat it with a “but…”, or seek to justify himself; he didn’t limit it to “those who may have been offended”; he didn’t blame anyone else, or go into a rant of Social Justice; he did not belittle the shopkeeper or damn him with faint praise. All in all, he said he screwed up and hopes to do better in the future.

    It is what an apology should be.

  7. Steve S. on 12/12/14 at 9:52 am

    I have to say it’s one of the better apologies that get published. He didn’t caveat it with a “but…”, or seek to justify himself; he didn’t limit it to “those who may have been offended”; he didn’t blame anyone else, or go into a rant of Social Justice; he did not belittle the shopkeeper or damn him with faint praise. All in all, he said he screwed up and hopes to do better in the future.

    Yes, he was a douchebag, and self-entitlement was his attitude going into this – a pretty good indicator of what his character is. Be that as it may, he apology is what an apology should look like. I’ll give him that.