NYT columnist Bret Stephens allegedly targets Twitter user for calling him a 'bedbug'

Bad headlines continue to plague The New York Times. This time it's about one of its columnists allegedly targeting a Twitter user for calling him a "bedbug."

After it was reported Monday that the Times offices are infested with bedbugs, George Washington University associate professor David Karpf had some fun at the expense of the paper's op-ed columnist Bret Stephens, tweeting, "The bedbugs are a metaphor. The bedbugs are Bret Stephens."

Despite getting little attention among other Twitter users, Stephens apparently took issue with it and reached out to Karpf, as well as his employer, according to the email Karpf shared.

"It got 9 likes and 0 retweets. I did not @ him. He does not follow me," Karpf said about the email. "He is deeply offended that I called him a metaphorical bedbug."

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"Someone just pointed out a tweet you wrote about me, calling me a 'bedbug,'" Stephens began the email. "I'm often amazed about the things supposedly decent people are prepared to say about other people – people they've never met – on Twitter. I think you've set a new standard."

The Times columnist went on to invite Karpf to his home, meet his wife and children, and then "call me 'bedbug' to my face."

"That would take some genuine courage and intellectual integrity on your part," Stephens told the college professor. "I promise to be courteous no matter what you have to say. Maybe it will make you feel better about yourself."

Stephens clarified that his offer was a "standing invitation" and that Karpf was welcome to bring his significant other.

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The columnist, who is also an MSNBC contributor, was brutally mocked on social media, some even calling him a "bedbug" for writing such an email. Others called out the "hypocrisy" for his previous defense of free speech.

The Times did not immediately respond to Fox News' request for comment.

Stephens reaching out to one of his critics by email bears resemblance to actions taken by Jonathan Weisman, the former Times Washington Bureau editor who was demoted by the paper earlier this month after writer Roxane Gay shared emails he sent to her demanding an apology over a tweet that was critical of him.

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The Gray Lady has been hit with several controversies this month. The newspaper faced heavy backlash for a headline that summarized President Trump's remarks following the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton. Separately, a Times editor was forced to apologize after old tweets critics called racist and anti-Semitic resurfaced.