Opinions and Legal Insights

CNN Analyst and Yale Lecturer Asha Rangappa Under Fire For Doxxing A Journalism Intern

200px-yale_university_shield_1svgRecently, we discussed a bizarre attack by CNN Legal Analyst and Yale lecturer Asha Rangappa on former Ambassador Nikki Haley for using her middle name.  Rangappa declared that the use of “Nikki” rather than her real first name was proof that America is racist and Haley was yielding to it.  Nikki however is Haley’s legal middle name and the Hill’s Saagar Enjeti noted it is “a Punjabi name.” Moreover, Rangappa also uses her middle name as have leaders from Mitch Romney to Boris Johnson. Now Rangappa is under fire for doxxing a young intern who wrote Yale about the incident. Twitter took down Rangappa’s tweet and the CNN Analyst then suggested that the doxxing incident was fun.To recap the controversy, Nikki Haley gave a speech at the RNC and lashed out that it is

“now fashionable to say that America is racist. That is a lie. America is not a racist country. This is personal for me. I am the proud daughter of Indian immigrants. They came to America and settled in a small Southern town. My father wore a turban. My mother wore a sari. I was a Brown girl in a Black and White world. We faced discrimination and hardship. But my parents never gave in to grievance and hate. My mom built a successful business. My dad taught 30 years at a historically black college. And the people of South Carolina chose me as their first minority and first female governor. America is a story that’s a work in progress. Now is the time to build on that progress, and make America even freer, fairer, and better for everyone.”

That speech led to an immediate personal attack from Rangappa that Haley bowed to racism by dropping her real name: “Right. Is that why you went from going by Nimrata to ‘Nikki’?” Rangappa asked.

In addition, South Asians for Biden attacked Haley and  tweeted, “If America isn’t racist, why did Nimarata Haley feel compelled to change her name to ‘Nikki’? Maybe just the Republican Party is?” The group added “#PhonyNikki.” (The tweet was later withdrawn with an apology over its “tone”).

A young intern Washington Free Beacon intern asked Yale for comment about the controversy since Rangappa is also director of admissions in theJackson Institute.  She referred to an article in a conservative publication detailing how Rangappa also uses her middle name while labeling Haley as a type of racist shill.

That inquiry apparently set off Rangappa who tweeted a screenshot of the Yale comment that contained Alex Nester’s mobile phone number and email.  That might have been done innocently without realizing the inclusion of the information, but Rangappa eliminated any doubt by encouraging  her more than 600,000 followers  to “Feel free to respond to Alex.”  This was presented as a tit for tat because “@FreeBeacon has now contacted my employer.” Her followers did precisely as Rangappa suggested until Twitter took down Rangappa doxxing tweet.


Rather than apologize, Rangappa mocked the effort of Twitter to protect the intern and accused Nester of trying to “Karen me at my job,” a term viewed by many as a slur for a white woman. Rangappa declared “Getting a Twitter warning felt like the first time I got detention as a senior in high school!” and compared it to “going to Taco Bell with my best friend during study hall.”

We have previously discussed controversies surrounding Rangappa, who is a former associate dean of Yale Law School.  Much of this prior coverage concerns analysis that was criticized as deeply flawed and overtly biased (here and here and here). While Rangappa has claimed that her analysis has been misinterpreted, she has been quick to offer legal analysis to support narratives against the Administration or for its critics. For example, the former FBI employee was proven wrong in claiming that the memoranda removed by Comey were merely “personal recollections” after the FBI and other offices declared them not just FBI official material but potentially classified.

download-1The incident highlights the troubling double standard applied to such attacks using the race or ethnicity of another person.  After falsely and hypocritically attack Haley as a racist shill, Rangappa not only doxxed a young intern but used a racial term to attack the intern.   Notably, the Jackson Institute declares that it teaches students to “tackle challenges with wisdom, facts, insight, and courage.” Those appear purely aspirational concepts in this incident.


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