Lawyers Touting ‘Compassion,’ ‘Empathy’ Resign After Emails Reveal ‘Prejudiced Language’ Against Women And Minorities

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Two Los Angeles attorneys resigned from the law firm Barber Ranen Monday after emails revealed that the partners had a history of using misogynist, antisemitic and homophobic slurs, according to the New York Post.

Jeff Ranen and John Barber left the major law firm Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith in May to start the firm, Barber Ranen, in order to reflect their own “values and beliefs,” while touting their commitment to lead with “empathy, collaboration and compassion,” according to the Los Angeles Business Journal. Despite this, the attorneys called female colleagues “sugar tits,” and “cunts,” used the N-word and referenced antisemitic slurs when referring to Jews in dozens of emails exchanged between 2012 and 2022, according to the Post. (RELATED: Biden Admin Unveils New National Strategy To Combat Rising Antisemitism)

Barber Ranen CEO Tim Graves released a statement Monday confirming that the two men had resigned following the discovery of the emails.

“Effective immediately, the firm has requested and accepted the resignations of John Barber and Jeffrey Ranen,” Graves wrote. “The remaining Equity Partners express their disappointment and disdain for the language Mr. Barber and Mr. Ranen used. We will form a new firm. We ask for the support of our friends and colleagues while we heal and plan our path forward.”

In June 2012, Barber told Ranen “Kill her by anal penetration” when discussing an employee’s overtime request, according to the Post. Ranen reportedly described women in several emails as “cunts” and as recently as March of 2022, jokes were made by the men about a female judge, describing her as “sugar tits.”

The men made frequent use of the N-word in the exchanged emails, and on one occasion discussed an upcoming baby shower with the slur as the subject line, according to the Post. Ranen also called a partner a “faggot” three times in an email in 2015.

Antisemitic slurs were also found, according to Reuters, and in 2014, Ranen said that he would purposely send emails to a Jewish lawyer from another firm on Saturday, which is the Jewish Sabbath. Also in 2014, Barber called Ranen a “Jew cunt” and several years earlier, Ranen said “I forgot to write that we will not hire Jews” during a conversation about a contract, according to The Forward.

Barber told the Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement that he wanted to apologize for the “thoughtless, hurtful and inappropriate words” in the emails.

“The last 72 hours have been the most difficult of my life, as I have had to acknowledge and reckon with those emails,” Barber said. “While I do not recognize that man, and he is so dramatically at odds with the man I believe I am, I have to own them . . . apologize for them . . . and spend time and effort atoning for them. Words have power and whether spoken in private or public, they matter.”

A Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith spokesperson told the DCNF that following Barber and Ranen’s move from the firm, a complaint was lodged and an investigation revealed “dozens of emails between John Barber and Jeff Ranen with unacceptable, prejudiced language aimed at our colleagues, clients, attorneys from other firms, and even judges.”

“Though we are continuing to conduct a broader review of Barber and Ranen’s behavior at the firm, including a full review of their correspondence – as well as interviewing other employees who interacted with the pair – because the lawyers in question are no longer with the firm, we are taking no disciplinary action at this time,” the spokesperson said.

Ranen did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

This article has been updated with comment from John Barber.

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