497. Criminal Cutting: Break the Circumcision Taboo & End Male Genital Mutilation w/ Eric Clopper

Eric Clopper

DISCLAIMER: This podcast is presented for educational and exploratory purposes only. Published content is not intended to be used for diagnosing or treating any illness. Those responsible for this show disclaim responsibility for any possible adverse effects from the use of information presented by Luke or his guests. Please consult with your healthcare provider before using any products referenced. This podcast may contain paid endorsements for products or services.

Eric Clopper, an attorney and human rights advocate, joins me to talk about a taboo topic: the traumatic, barbaric practice of male genital mutilation. We explore the history of circumcision, its current methods, and how it warps men’s psyches, sexual experience, and pleasure. 

Eric Clopper is a fierce advocate for human rights and freedom of speech in the academy and beyond. As a graduate of Georgetown Law, Clopper joined the ranks of Brad Kane at The Kane Law Firm in Los Angeles, California. Prior to his law career, Clopper received his physics and economics degree from Colgate University. He then became a management consultant at Epic Systems in Wisconsin.

After Epic, while working part-time at Harvard's Language Center, Clopper helped a medical startup raise its first million dollars and publish in the peer-reviewed literature. In 2017, Harvard appointed Clopper to be one of its two managers at the Language Center. Clopper is best known for his 2018 play, "Sex & Circumcision: An American Love Story," that advocates for a child’s right to be free from genital mutilation. Harvard terminated Clopper following the play, in breach of its many promises it would not do so. Clopper sued Harvard for breach of contract, among other claims. His case currently rests with the US Supreme Court.

DISCLAIMER: This podcast is presented for educational and exploratory purposes only. Published content is not intended to be used for diagnosing or treating any illness. Those responsible for this show disclaim responsibility for any possible adverse effects from the use of information presented by Luke or his guests. Please consult with your healthcare provider before using any products referenced. This podcast may contain paid endorsements for products or services.

I’m so excited to talk to Eric Clopper, an attorney and fierce advocate for human rights and freedom of speech. In America, we genitally mutilate more than 3,000 boys every day for no medical reason. Eric has been fighting against this barbaric, life-altering practice, which I believe is the root of so many of our societal problems. Eric has taken up this taboo issue with courage, tenacity, and integrity. 

In 2018, Eric was a Harvard professor who became known for his play, "Sex & Circumcision: An American Love Story,” which advocates for a child’s right to be free from genital mutilation. Eric was labeled a “nudist anti-Semitic ranter,” and was terminated from his position. 

He sued Harvard for breach of contract, and his case currently rests with the US Supreme Court. In fact, his Harvard case is coming up for review at SCOTUS – today! Eric recently published a YouTube video (Is Male Child Mutilation Still Legal in the US?) which explains the crux of the case and links to the briefs.

In today’s episode, we talk about Eric’s groundbreaking play and the status of his lawsuit. We also explore the history of circumcision, its current methods, and how it warps men’s psyches, sexual experience, and pleasure. Eric debunks the myths around why circumcision is medically necessary and delves into the biased science. Then, we discuss the very real trauma of circumcision, both short-term for infants and lifelong for grown men. 

This is a conversation that many – especially mutilated men – aren’t comfortable having. Eric and I are here to shatter that taboo and hopefully save tens of thousands of future men from this torturous practice. You can visit clopper.com to support litigation to end male genital mutilation.

DISCLAIMER: This podcast is presented for educational and exploratory purposes only. Published content is not intended to be used for diagnosing or treating any illness. Those responsible for this show disclaim responsibility for any possible adverse effects from the use of information presented by Luke or his guests. Please consult with your healthcare provider before using any products referenced. This podcast may contain paid endorsements for products or services.

(01:21) The Trauma of Circumcision 

(17:01) How Eric Lost His Job & His Best friend 

  • Eric’s experience being fired from Harvard amidst public outrage over his play 
  • How he was labeled a “nudist anti-Semetic ranter”
  • The trauma of losing his best friend and mentor to suicide 
  • Finding his career and calling as a lawyer out of the chaos 

(30:53) How Circumcision Warps Our Sexuality 

  • Why circumcision is so taboo
  • The connection between male genital mutilation and sexual violence 
  • How gentital mutilation impacts men’s experience of sex
  • How it affects clitoral stimulation and women’s pleasure
  • The intersection of circumcision and porn 

(51:07) The Barbaric Methods of Circumcision 

  • The original Jewish circumcision and how it has evolved
  • How circumcision is performed today 
  • Medical complications of circumcision 
  • Which countries still mutilate baby boys 

(01:08:01) Is Circumcision Healthier? Debunking the Myths 

  • Circumcision’s manufactured connection to UTIs, syphilis, and gonorrhea 
  • The misleading studies on HIV and circumcision 
  • How circumcision is a bug in the system that needs to be eradicated 

(01:24:55) 5 Censored Facts & Foreskin Restoration 

  • The relationship between religion and genital mutilation to sexually damage boys
  • Propaganda from major medical institutions 
  • Why male and female circumcision are identical 
  • Eric’s own journey of healing 
  • What foreskin restoration is and if it works 

(01:45:34) Eric’s Case Against Harvard 

  • Update on Eric’s litigation
  • Filing a petition with the Supreme Court
  • Learn more about the case at clopper.com

[00:00:00] Luke: So last night I watched your 2018 performance on stage at Harvard called Sex and Circumcision: An American Love Story, and, uh, I was shocked and also highly encouraged by what you had to say. And I think the title threw me off. An American Love Story. I thought it was going to be a little bit softer, and it was hardcore.

[00:00:22] But I love your passion for this particular topic, and I'm so excited to talk to you and share this information and hopefully save tens of thousands of future men from this torturous, barbaric life-altering practice. So for those listening, I'm going to put your film in the show notes at lukestorey.com/clopper. C-L-O-P-P-E-R. You are of course, Eric Clopper. So welcome to the show.

[00:00:52] Eric: Uh, thank you, Luke. I'm very happy to be here. I appreciate that you, uh, watched the two-hour-and-12-minute performance at Harvard, and yes, it was very hardcore. Um, obviously, there were elements of humor. Uh, it's been some time, five years, so I've changed somewhat, the culture has changed somewhat, but at the time, and I still do feel very strongly, that we need to be protecting children from genital mutilation. 

[00:01:17] And at least right now in America, we mutilate over 3,000 American boys every day in hospitals for no medical reason. It causes immediate short-term trauma and then lifelong loss of important structures, um, on their sex organs. And even in my own experience, certainly in my Jewish family, with my American friends, uh, there's this misconception that, uh, there's some health benefit to strapping an infant down and cutting off parts of his penis, which continues to be repeated. 

[00:01:54] It's like a meme in this culture. But when I started to study abroad, I played rugby in Scotland, studied in Australia, talked with my peers, and they could not believe that we remove this highly functional and erogenous part of children. They call it mutilation. That's exactly what it is. 

[00:02:13] And I never thought that I would put on a play, or a performance, or a lecture in opposition to male genital mutilation. But, uh, I had a very strong and visceral disagreement with my Jewish father over this, which you probably believe, um, and this seemed to be the way, when I was 25 years old, the young employee and officer of Harvard for me to get attention on this overlooked human rights issue, human rights problem. 

[00:02:42] So I really appreciate you giving me a platform to discuss this important issue of children's rights because it's really timely. I think everybody wants to protect children. They're just not aware that this is an issue and a problem that affects a lot of kids, uh, in America, and a lot of men as well. And also, as men, we don't want to think, oh, hey, something happened to me that was not beneficial, that may have had a detrimental effect on my sex life, or on my psychosexual composition. You know what I mean? But, uh, these are real traumas, holding an infant down and cutting off the most sensitive part of his body. 

[00:03:19] Luke: Yeah, but there's so many great points in there, and I can't wait to unpack all of this. Um, as a man who had this procedure formed, I never gave it a thought my entire life until I heard my friend Daniel Vitalis talking about it on a podcast he had years ago. And the way he framed it piqued my curiosity. 

[00:03:45] And so I started looking into it just as a societal issue and potentially something that could be an issue for me and the many problems I've had in my life, many of them of a sexual nature. Uh, and then I stumbled upon this film called American Circumcision, which I'm sure you're aware of, uh, by Brendon Marotta.

[00:04:03] And way back on the podcast, and we'll put this in the show notes, a link to his film and that episode, I watched his film, and it changed my life because it was so disturbing, especially the part of the film, and parental warning on this one, where they show a standard, um, circumcision process.

[00:04:28] After watching that, I thought a couple of things. I thought, I need as many-- I don't need, but I wish that everyone in the world who supports circumcision had to just watch that one scene because it's so obviously cruel, and traumatizing, and violent, and what you learn in that film and what we're going to talk about today is also totally unnecessary and has no basis scientifically in terms of hygiene or anything.

[00:05:01] Um, but a couple of things happened when I watched that. A, I thought, man, I want to be as much of an advocate for awareness as I can. So finding you, thank you, Jared, over here for turning me on to your work, uh, but another thing that happened was it started a process, to your point, of me starting to examine my own trauma as a result of that having happened, and, uh, there's been a lot of grieving, and a lot of realizations, and many, uh, rabbit holes of understanding myself through self-inquiry, how that particular procedure shaped me as a man, and warped my sexuality, and robbed me of sexual experience. 

[00:05:45] So I'm personally invested in it because I've done a lot of really deep work around that trauma. And to your point, I think, as men, it's very difficult for us to reconcile that many of our parents unknowingly betrayed our trust and violated us in such a profound way. And to that end, I find that when I bring up this topic publicly, the majority of pushback I get is from males who have been circumcised.

[00:06:19] Women seem to get it right away. Uncircumcised men definitely get it. You spoke to Europe, the countries in Europe, and other places in the world where this is not ubiquitous. Everyone else seems to get it except the men for whom this has happened, uh, which speaks to that cognitive dissonance and denial.

[00:06:38] We don't want to face it. And we also, certainly, I'm not a parent yet, but I'm sure parents that have just gone with the status quo and done that to their infant boys, they don't want to face the potential guilt that they would feel having followed in their father's footsteps and so on. So it's something that I'm really passionate about sharing, and, um, that's just my introduction to our talk. 

[00:07:03] It's very personal for me because it's very real, and it's very serious, and the implications in our culture are widespread beyond just what happens to each individual man. So thank you for your commitment to the work, and thank you for committing yourself, at least for this period in your life, to something that is probably not really comfortable to deal with on many, many levels. So that brings us to where we are now. 

[00:07:30] Eric: I'm a big believer in, uh, whatever makes you uncomfortable is a signal that you should probably lean in there. And I was very uncomfortable addressing, oh wow, this horrible thing had happened to me. Someone stole a body part that I would've wanted that contributes to sexual function, and orgasms, and, uh, pleasure, and just protection, and it's an important part of the body. But when you're talking about the resistance that men have to this, well, the two most psychologically important parts of the bodies are the face and the genitals.

[00:08:02] If you have disfigurements in those areas, it's really difficult to cope with as opposed to an arm, or a leg, or whatnot. And to understand that a lot of men, probably not wisely, but per our culture, they place a lot of importance on, um, their genitals. As a young man in America, you joke often about penis size, and function, and all that, but to understand that if you're circumcised, you almost certainly have a scar on your penis where the most sensitive part of your penis should be.

[00:08:33] And that is a difficult thing to, uh, understand. Like you said, there's a lot of grieving when you watch Brendon Marotta's film. I came to that realization when I was playing rugby abroad. And when you're a young man in your late teens, uh, and you've got a lot of hormones, and that's a really important part of your life, it's very difficult to come to or grasp that realization, look, this terrible thing happened to me, and it deprives me of really understanding what the sexual experience is supposed to be, how God, or nature, or the universe made us, whatever your spirituality.

[00:09:12] And to lose that, that's a real loss. It's not like a property loss. It's a soul loss. And, uh, when I was a young man trying to find my way after graduating college, I was trying to figure out, what do I want to do? And when I was asking myself that, I came to the realization and the conviction that if I could have anything in the world, anything, anything, uh, you name it, it would have been to have had my human rights respected as a child and to have my entire body to myself.

[00:09:45] And to make decisions, important decisions about my body, uh, because, obviously, that's not something that we can get back. As someone who has a relative position of privilege in society, it's something that I could advocate for and be proud of moving forward. That said, protecting children from genital mutilation is not something I want to do forever because I don't want this problem to continue forever.

[00:10:12] I would like to complete the goal as fast as possible, and if you look at other human rights issues, gay marriage, uh, comes to the forefront, these issues flipped very quickly, in a matter of years, once there was enough people who really understood, look, these are people who love other people just like everyone else, and the world's not going to come to an end if we allow people to marry who they love. Nor will the world come to an end if we protect children from genital mutilation. 

[00:10:39] It's something that everyone, no matter where you stand on the political spectrum, can really get behind because these are innocent kids, and they don't deserve to be traumatized and mutilated as infants. And so that's how I got into this. And then I looked at life as an adventurer. I don't know where this is going to take me, but we're going to lean in and do my very best to put an end to this cruel and barbaric practice. And somehow, it ended up with me getting a career at Harvard, a great career.

[00:11:13] I think people saw that I was genuine in what I was trying to do, and although it was outside of what was normally expected from a young man, they were like, I can see that he's sincere in his motives, and he's good at what he does, so we're going to welcome him at Harvard. And that is, unfortunately, how I, let's say, um, got into a big conflict with them, because I didn't pick a fight with Harvard, but Harvard picked a fight with me because my conviction and my expression on my ideas really made some people uncomfortable. 

[00:11:46] And I can understand why. I come from a Jewish family, and as a Jew, it's often reiterated when you're young of what we've had to survive to get here because there's been a lot of persecution. And obviously, terrible Holocaust comes to mind, at the same time. And so you're born into this world where, yes, you're taught to do well and to be ethical, but also, you never know. The Holocaust could occur.

[00:12:15] And so when people say things that trigger that trauma, that generational trauma, there becomes a very visceral reaction to that. And so, um, maybe we'll get into this at some point, but the play was very well received, uh, two and a half hours, and we can discuss what happened after the play as well, but even though it got a prolonged standing ovation, the student newspaper called it a nude antisemitic rant, and as soon as that happened, the administration's like, well, you're a nude antisemitic ranter. We don't have to take you seriously, and so you're fired, and that's the end of it.

[00:12:49] And I actually discovered that with the federal judiciary as well, um, at least so far. We'll see if the Supreme Court has a different opinion on whether or not people have due process rights and can litigate their claims, or if you're falsely accused of antisemitism, it's game over, and we don't have to listen to you.

[00:13:05] And that's a very dangerous road to walk down because you can be labeled anything. It doesn't have to be antisemitic. It could be antisemitic. It could be racist, I'm not sure. And obviously, all those things are terrible, but we need to separate the merit of ideas with whatever negative values you impute on people.

[00:13:25] And I think having a functioning democracy, we need to have the presumption that everyone you deal with is in good faith until proved otherwise. Now, I'm not saying that you need to expose your secrets and yourself to harm, but there needs to be some mutual trust that's established at the outset. Otherwise, we have this dysfunctional democracy where it's just purely tribal left, right, whatever it is, the great back and forth. And I'm trying to avoid that with this issue.

[00:13:56] Luke: When I was doing some research on you in preparation for our talk today, uh, one of the many search results that populate is that you were a nudist and antisemitic. And having just watched your presentation, like so many things in the media when they seek to smear someone, it's just factually inaccurate. 

[00:14:23] The points that you raised about the Jewish faith and their traditions, at no point did I hear you say Jewish people as a whole are wrong, or bad, or shouldn't exist. You said there is a practice that is embedded into certain sects of Judaism that has been going on for a very long time, is still going on, and it is evil and wrong and, uh, equivalent to a sex crime. You didn't say that Jewish people are bad. You said there's one part of the practice, this, uh, artifact that has remained that is harmful. And you weren't nude either. You took your shirt off at some point.

[00:15:14] Eric: I didn't include the nudity on YouTube because they have certain filters

[00:15:17] Luke: Oh, so you didn't. 

[00:15:18] Eric: There was a nude dance in that. Yeah. 

[00:15:20] Luke: Okay. 

[00:15:20] Eric: Yeah. Uh, after the standing ovation, I went back on stage, uh, with an inflatable love doll and did a three-and-a-half-minute choreographed dance to Britney Spears Toxic because, uh, we thought it was funny. Not only that, but the play was largely advertised as a new play.

[00:15:39] This was my boss's idea because he figured we'd be able to sell more seats if I, uh, put out. And he was right. There was a very good turnout. And in Massachusetts, at least, uh, for the last 30 years, the Massachusetts Supreme Court has held that nude expressive dance is actually protected expression under the free speech amendment in Massachusetts Constitution.

[00:16:03] And Harvard's promises in their free expression policy, say, you know what, we're going to honor, uh, free expression, anything protected by the first amendment, uh, or analogously the Massachusetts free speech amendment. And so my boss said, look, this is protected speech. We're going to advertise this as a nude play, and that's what we're going to do to increase the profile to get people looking at this. 

[00:16:26] And it wasn't just the nude dance too. It was advertised with eight-foot inflatable penises, uh, there was the love doll, the sex scene, all that. I was 25, but I was trying to get attention on this human rights crime. It's just an atrocity to mutilate infants. And all of these antics pale in comparison to actually what we do to our baby boys in this country. And that was my attempt to try to shine a light on that.

[00:16:56] Luke: Yeah. That's funny. So you were rightfully accused of that at one point at 

[00:17:01] Eric: I was accused of being a nudist. Yeah.

[00:17:03] Luke: Like there's anything wrong with that to begin with. God, our world is so freaking backwards. It's interesting that the public outrage was about you being nude and critical of certain religious rituals. The outrage wasn't about the content of your talk and what you're actually pointing to, which is where the outrage should be directed, and that is the mutilation and torture of young boys in America. It's just like, ah, God.

[00:17:37] Eric: Perhaps that was an error in my strategy. And moving forward, it's really focused on, how do we protect baby boys from genital mutilation? At the same time, I was 25, I didn't have the same platform as I did, and I wanted to gather attention, and be bombastic, and provocative, and so that was the plan at the time.

[00:17:55] But I didn't really understand how a cartoon caricature attack on me would occur. And worse, that Harvard would fall for it, at least the administrators, hook, line, and sinker, and be like, oh, we can't employ a nude antisemitic ranter. I'm not, but, oh, well, it says that on the headline from two student reporters who didn't see the play. 

[00:18:19] Luke: Yeah, of course, they didn't. 

[00:18:23] Eric: Yeah. 

[00:18:23] Luke: And I want to get into a lot of the history and the medical implications. There's so many things. I have a long, long list, probably way too much than we have time for today, but give us the truncated version of the repercussions from Harvard and, uh, the subsequent lawsuit that you initiated. And get us up to date on where the legal proceedings are around that particular event.

[00:18:49] Eric: Mm-hmm. Sure. So Harvard's primary purpose, as far as I understand and was told, is to promote vigorous speech and debate and promote people freely expressing themselves, even ideas that may not be fully developed or correct, because it's supposed to be the crucible of debate in the search for truth.

[00:19:08] And in that vein, I designed a provocative and bombastic play to shine a light on male genital mutilation, how people know me from, or at least some people. And it was very well-received. And the next day, the Harvard Crimson said, Harvard employee Eric Clopper goes on nude antisemitic rant in Sanders theater.

[00:19:28] That was the headline. And so that causes a 10-alarm fire. Um, and I understand Harvard's alumni are probably understandably repulsed by antisemitism, and also, they probably give a lot of money and say, how could you be employing a nude antisemitic ranter? I saw it in the Crimson. Must be true. 

[00:19:44] And so I was immediately put on suspension, paid administrative leave, and Harvard began to lean on my boss, who's a very close friend of mine, Tom Hammond, to say, look, you need to find something wrong that Clopper did so we can fire him. Because if we fire Clopper for what he said and how he expressed himself, then that would show that we're an obviously hypocritical institution that talks out of both sides of our mouths.

[00:20:08] Say, oh, we protect free expression unless you say something that offends somebody, in which case, we don't. So Harvard leaned on my boss, Tom Hammond, to say, hey, find something to fire him for. And Tom and I were very close. He was my mentor for many years. I feel very fortunate for that. I had stepped in when he needed help a couple of years ago, when he was morbidly obese, and not doing well, and was about to pass away.

[00:20:33] He used to joke that I was one of his pallbearers for him to tell me, look, I'm not going to be around for too long. And so over the last two years, I had helped him lose about 160 pounds, uh, taking him to the gym every day, but he had terminal cancer. So his life was in his final chapter.

[00:20:50] And so when Harvard leaned on my boss right after the play to terminate me, Tom's like, no, I'm not going to do that. There's nothing you can do for me to turn on Clopper. He's my brother, and I'm proud to actually stand by the message of his play to protect general mutilation. I've devoted my life to Harvard, and from my experience at Harvard, you do defend free expression and all that. 

[00:21:13] This was a 10-alarm fire, so Harvard instead tried to get my colleagues, student workers to share information that would be grounds to terminate me. And most people, including faculty I worked with, said, no, actually Clopper is a really good employee, and we like him. And so this investigation to try to find something to terminate me lasted two, three months.

[00:21:37] And eventually, when all the students had left for summer in the outrage of what had occurred, because it was a very well-received play, but it was very critical in the Harvard Crimson, there was a lot of rumors, what actually happened. Um, when everyone went away after two or three months, Harvard called me in, my dean, fed me my termination letter with tears in his eyes, and that was that. It was over. 

[00:22:05] And during this time, my attorney had been sending Harvard demand letters saying, look, if you terminate Clopper, we're going to push that you had promised him, that his boss has promised him, his dean had promised him, your faculty who supported the play promised Eric Clopper that we were not going to terminate or retaliate against him for expressing himself during his play. 

[00:22:27] I was 25 years old. I was like, okay. Literally, all these sources of authority were saying, Eric, you'll be okay. Just say what you mean. I was like, okay, I'm going to do that. But nevertheless, it was politically expedient to terminate me. It was probably, uh, economical to do so in a strict monetary analysis. 

[00:22:45] So Harvard fired me. And then after Harvard fired me, they weren't done, and this is what really upset me is, well, they moved to terminate my boss too, because he was not playing around with the narrative, oh, Eric is a bad guy, and we were right to terminate him, because nobody could mention me because that would put their own career at risk.

[00:23:06] It was a real harsh and punitive excommunication. And my boss Tom was not willing to play along with that narrative so Harvard started to move to terminate him. And after they hired Tom's replacement, forced Tom to train her, stopped inviting him to meetings, and was just about to terminate Tom, who was very sick and had devoted his life to Harvard, um, Tom committed suicide.

[00:23:30] He was my best friend. He had been my mentor for many years, um, and I had found his corpse. I had tried to revive him. Um, the medics came. They tried to revive him, and it was a huge disaster. It was very traumatic for me. And then, uh, Harvard Police come who are Harvard employees, but also police, and they're like, what did you do here? Did you assist killing him? 

[00:23:53] And I was like, no. If anything, Harvard is the one who pushed him over the edge. And so after they had taken my career, uh, they assassinated my character, they killed my best friend, I was totally wiped off the map. But I had told Harvard in those two or three months, look, if you continue with this course of action, I'm going to litigate this, because this is an important issue of free expression in the academy. 

[00:24:17] Universities play an exceptionally important role in this democracy in teaching the future leaders of our democracy, and Harvard is obviously a very notable institution in the academy, and we need to know, as a people, as a public, when a university promises its members that it's going to honor its free expression policy, do universities have any legal obligation to honor that promise?

[00:24:43] Because people are very afraid to speak their minds or to share unorthodox ideas, and that stifles what are important advances, like moving away from infant male genital mutilation. And so I wasn't sure how to do that. I had a very good mentor who I was very lucky to find, and he suggested that I go to law school.

[00:25:09] And I was looking at graduate schools at the time, and if you look at the play and the purpose, which is protecting all children from genital mutilation, that's really a legal development, uh, it made a lot of sense. And also, I needed to sue Harvard. I said I was going to do it. So I was going to do it, and I'll push it as far as necessary or as far as I can. 

[00:25:31] And so I was very lucky that Georgetown Law School accepted me, because I got waitlisted from almost every school. And I think it's because if you look me up, it's like, okay, he's got good grades, but, uh, this nude antisemitic rant, I don't know what that's about, but it probably doesn't add to a student body. And so that followed me. It actually prevented me from working at big law firms too, because if you Google me, it's too much of a risk. Um, but yeah, so I got into law school. I learned the basics of law, and I sued Harvard in federal district court. 

[00:26:08] Luke: So that's why you went to law school?

[00:26:11] Eric: Yes. At the same time, I have a good friend who's a lawyer. I saw what he did. I figured, you know what, being a lawyer just gives you more range of things to do. You know what I mean? You're more effective. So now, independent of where the Harvard, uh, free expression lawsuit lands, um, which is before the Supreme Court now, and I'd like to speak about that at some point, it empowers or enables me to pursue litigation on behalf of these kids. And that's where we're going regardless. So I'm very fortunate that I found this career out of the chaos because it really was a tragedy. My whole life was snuffed out. 

[00:26:51] Luke: Wow, dude. Hardcore. You're a warrior, man. I appreciate it. When I was watching your, uh, your performance, I thought, I wonder if I could sue St. Anthony's Hospital in Denver. I seriously had that thought. I was like, man, never thought about it before, but there is, uh, definitely an injured party involved in that.

[00:27:13] So, uh, we'll come back later on to the current state of your sue and stuff for the interest of the parents-to-be listening and men who have been victims of this procedure. I want to definitely get into some of the details of the historic relevance of this practice, where it came from, why it exists, um, how prevalent it is now. Is it declining, all of that kind of stuff? So there's a lot to unpack there.

[00:27:46] Um, but maybe we can start just by having you describe your experience of this taboo. Why is this particular topic so hard for people to talk about, and why is it not more prevalent in terms of human rights?

[00:28:07] Eric: I discovered in university how taboo it was because I was a member of a fraternity. And it could be crass at times, understated, but when I would bring this topic up, circumcision, I wouldn't call it genital mutilation at the time, with my friends and fraternity brothers, not always the same thing, almost all of them would have this visceral reaction like, oh, I can't discuss or engage with this topic.

[00:28:35] And these were guys who could discuss and engage with a lot of topics. But this particular one was just anathema. They couldn't grasp the fact that we were talking about it, and I thought that was so bizarre. I was like, wait, so we all have been anatomically changed and nobody can discuss it? And I took that as an invitation to lean in. 

[00:28:58] I think a lot of people take it as a signal to back off, but that's just how I'm made up, is you lean in on the pressure point because there's probably something there. So people who are opposed to male genital mutilation are called intactivist, activists for intact bodies. A lot of intactivists call that the obsessive epiphany when you realize that this part of your culture that is so normalized or was normalized is actually so sinister and really heinous too. 

[00:29:30] And you start reading more and more, and I started to devour books on circumcision and realize, oh wow, this is a practice that was intentionally designed to sexually damage you. And when I began to understand that, I flipped a switch, and I was like, that's not acceptable in the country that I live in. America is better than that. And we are better than that. 

[00:29:53] And nobody I know wants to damage these kids, but there's this, uh, pervasive taboo where it's like we cannot discuss this. And that's why, um, I made the play. It's like, we are going to have this discussion. And that was what I was able to contribute at the time, and obviously it wasn't perfect, um, but in my current capacity, I can contribute in other ways. But the question was, how do we deal with the taboo, or why does it exist?

[00:30:27] Luke: Yeah. I guess you answered it really. Why is this something that people have such a hard time facing? Why is the dialogue around this so difficult to approach? I think when you look at other cultures for whom female genital mutilation is still a common practice, everyone unequivocally agrees that that should not be the case.

[00:30:55] Eric: Well, except the people in those cultures.

[00:30:57] Luke: Yeah. I mean, people in the West, Americans. I don't know what countries do that. Maybe, um, some, uh, countries in Africa or wherever they are.

[00:31:06] Eric: They exist, though. Yeah, they do. 

[00:31:08] Luke: You hear about that, and pretty much everyone here in our society would agree that that's wrong, and we would never adopt that as a new practice. If somebody brought that to the medical establishment at large and said, hey, you know what, women, uh, are going to be less prone to UTIs if we burn their clitoris with acid, uh, at birth, let's go ahead and start implementing that, there'd be a lot of pushback, and I feel like it wouldn't be taboo.

[00:31:35] There would be conversations, there would be pushback, but for some reason, because this practice is so embedded in our culture and in our medical system, and it's so normalized, it's this taboo of, well, if it ain't broke, don't fix it thing. It's like, ah, this is just what we do. Why question? And if you question it, you're weird. Why are you so worried about male genitalia? Whatever.

[00:32:01] It's a difficult topic for people to talk about. And maybe I answered my own question earlier, that it has to do with, um, as a man who's had it done, we don't want to face that trauma. Talk about shadow work, man. The first few days of your life, the ultimate shadow was cast. And if you're a parent who's done it, you don't want to face the fact that you've unknowingly done something so detrimental to your kids. So maybe that's where the taboo comes from, just shame, and embarrassment, and guilt, and let's just not talk about it. But let's not talk about it keeps it going.

[00:32:41] Eric: Let's not talk about it because we have to talk about it if we're going to fix this and protect children. But as you said, people don't talk about it because it may reflect negatively on their own image or their own sexuality and may reflect negatively on their relationship with their parents. Um, as you probably can believe, I've had some disagreements with my father over this. 

[00:33:02] Luke: Where are you and your dad in this conversation now?

[00:33:06] Eric: We've both grown significantly, and we're much closer. I wouldn't say we're best friends or anything, but we can, uh, understand and see each other. And my family does not circumcise anymore. 

[00:33:19] Luke: Really?

[00:33:19] Eric: Yeah. Which is great. You can be a good Jew and not circumcise. I want to implore the audience to know this. A large part of being a Jew is trying to help other people and make the world a better place. And I know that a lot of my Jewish brothers and sisters are attached to this, but we also used to be attached to slavery and sacrifice of fatted calves and putting to death gay people or adulterers.

[00:33:46] It's in that realm, genital mutilation. And we need to look at it at that lens, but it has so many negative implications. It's like a negative mirror to see, oh, wow, we really are, let's say, ignorant is the best adjective. Because I don't think it's malevolence. I just think it's inertial ignorance that we keep doing this.

[00:34:12] People like you, like me, we need to discuss this and really confront it because it's not okay to mutilate infants. It's hard to imagine something so sinister, but it's true. It's no different than cutting off parts of a baby girl's genitalia and selling them for profit. But that's what we do to our baby boys. And over 30 years ago, in the 90s, we decided, as a nation, to outlaw female genital mutilation in 1996.

[00:34:43] Luke: Which is also crazy that it was that recent that was outlawed. When I heard that stat years ago, I remember, oh, that's great. And I thought, wait a minute. That was a few years ago. What?

[00:34:56] Eric: Yeah. So the federal government outlawed it, and about 30 states outlawed it. And that's great and we commend it, but there's a very clear gap in the floor of children's rights and protections, and we just want to fix that gap and protect all children. So that's where we're going with this now.

[00:35:13] And my law firm, the Kane Law Firm in Los Angeles, we believe that if we bring challenges on constitutional equal protection grounds of these anti-FGM statutes, that will force the judiciary and the legislature to reckon with this obvious violation of equal protection. And we're going to encourage the legislatures in those states to say, look, it's great and admirable you protect women, and you have been doing this for over 30 years, but it's time we protect all children. This is a timely message. It's something that can, should, and will catch on, and, um, that is the plan.

[00:35:50] Luke: What do you think, uh, and this is going to be intuitive conjecture at best, because I do want to get into-- you lay out so many facts in your presentation that are irrefutable. It's just true. And there's just no wiggling around it. But I look at this issue sometimes from a philosophical standpoint, because, of course, I'm just always unpacking my own personality and issues that I'm working on or issues that I've worked through.

[00:36:19] Broadly speaking, I'm going to share my thoughts with you and see if you can corroborate them or if you have anything to add or counter. I think that this practice has so much to do with sexual violence perpetuated by men in our culture. I think that it has helped the proliferation of pornography. 

[00:36:51] Uh, I think that the rage of the trauma that circumcised men unknowingly hold in their subconscious spills out into our culture in harmful ways, violence, uh, sexual violence, etc. I think that this is at the root of many of our problems because men that have been injured are going to injure other people, whether they are consciously aware of the fact they've been injured or not.

[00:37:23] Furthermore, looking at my own experience and studying some of the anatomical, um, workings of the male body, and you described a lot of this in your talk, the way that a circumcised penis experiences sexual pleasure is radically altered and diminished. And so the sexual expression of men and the way that men like me that grew up in the '70s and learned about sex from watching pornography, the violent pounding nature of sex, and the incapacity to make love in a feeling sensitive way, it's just not present. I think it's so broadly affected the way men experience sex, and pursue sex, and conduct themselves sexually that it's way bigger than we could ever realize in its implications. But those implications are difficult to put your finger on and prove because it's anecdotal.

[00:38:28] But when I hear an intact man talk about the way they experience multiple orgasms, the way they can, um, be in control of when they orgasm, all of these things, not needing lubrication when they masturbate because an intact penis is its own built-in lubrication, I think this has completely warped our entire population of men. And as a result, the sexual partners with whom they interact, just the way an uncircumcised man is going to have sex with a woman, is anatomically different because those parts aren't working together the way that nature intended them to.

[00:39:11] Eric: Exactly. And if you look at the justifications, whether they be religious, or medical, or secular, it was designed to damage male sexuality. Because when you remove the foreskin, that's where most of the nerve endings are. Uh, I would call it the lips of the penis. It's where the skin and the inner mucosa transition, like the lips of the face. It's also where most of the nerve endings are, just like in your face, they're mostly on the lips. And so when you remove the majority of the tissue that actually feels your partner and yourself, it requires much larger strokes to get a small fraction of that feeling.

[00:39:53] And not only that, the foreskin, not only sexual, has protective functions, like your eyelids to your eyes. So if you were to remove your eyelids, not only would you be disfigured, but your eyes would not function well. It would be dried out. You wouldn't be able to see well. Same with the head of the penis. It's an internal structure, and so the foreskin keeps it internal. It keeps it warm, moist, like your tongue.

[00:40:15] And so you feel far more with the head or the glands of the penis, you have far more sensory tissue to feel yourself and your partner. And because it's a double-layered tissue, not only do you have more sensory nerve endings, but they rub against each other, so you can move very little, and an intact man, instead of being like a jackhammer, you're more like dancing with your partner, and you can be very close with them, which also, uh, enables more clitoral stimulation because you're rubbing against the bodies instead of going like this.

[00:40:46] Luke: Right. This is what I'm saying. I'm picturing an oil rig, or jackhammer, and I'm like-- not there's anything wrong with having that kind of sex. Sex can be expressed infinitely, obviously. When it comes to intercourse, there's an infinite number of ways in which two people can do that. But I'm just looking at the core of the anatomy, and I just know because I'm in my body. I know how I operate, and something is definitely missing, which I never would have known had it not been for guys like you and Brandon Marotta. Is it Morotta or Marotta?

[00:41:21] Eric: Marotta. I believe it's Marotta.

[00:41:24] Luke: I would have just lived my best life and just thought, great, at least I have an adequately-sized and working phallus. But then I realized, wait, it could have been different, and I think that that's part of the cognitive dissonance of men, especially circumcised men, not wanting to face this, is like, who wants to live the remainder of your days for the next 60 or however many years, knowing that you got really robbed out of a vital part of human experience, not just for your own pleasure, but as you indicated, the clitoral stimulation that would be present in two intact heterosexual partners fornicating, and why women seem to get left out of the orgasm equation so much during sexual interactions, and the need for lubrication, and all of this?

[00:42:18] It's so wrong on so many levels, not only the cruelty and the trauma, but just the functionality of it. And I think that this lack of full experience on behalf of males warps our sexuality, as I said, and leads us into needing the overstimulation of pornography. Let's say that your penis is fully intact. When you were a little boy, you didn't need pornography or any stimuli to get really excited and climax or get an erection.

[00:42:54] But because you have this callus now on your penis, it requires all of this really radical, ultra-stimulating, um, whether it's pornography or the way that you have sex. It's like everything is just overamped because of the deficit of sensation and the deficit of feeling and sensitivity, or so I mean. There's this cascade of side effects and consequences downstream from this, apart from just the barbaric nature of the trauma.

[00:43:27] Eric: Yeah. So not just the immediate trauma, which is significant. There have been studies, I haven't looked at them in a while, but they would actually measure the pitch and the [Inaudible] of infant screams during various stages of the circumcision, and they found, oh, when the genitals are being torn apart, they're screaming the loudest. And it's obviously in their cortisol. Their stress hormone spikes. They have trouble bonding with their mothers afterwards.

[00:43:52] Uh, so there's the obvious immediate trauma to an infant, which none of us want. And then there's, like you said, the lifelong effects of having your sexuality forever, not only changed, but diminished. And it borders more on violence than love. And that's because your first sexual experience is having your genitalia-- how they usually circumcise or mutilate an infant is that they play with the infant's penis to get it hard, and then they cut off 40% of the skin during the circumcision. So the first sexual experience of most American men is marred by horrific violence. 

[00:44:33] Like what you were saying before, I look at it like, let's say you have two puppies from the same mother, and one puppy is horribly abused, and kicked, and mutilated. The other puppy is brought up with love. Those puppies aren't going to be the same. The one who was abused is going to be more violent. It's going to be more reactive. The dog is not going to be able to articulate it. Now, obviously, humans aren't dogs, but we're both mammals, and we have similar psychological makeup. And when you mutilate an entire nation, you're going to have macroscopic effects.

[00:45:04] And this question, is there an effect, which both of us strongly believe there is-- I believe there's a great reason for that. But whether or not there's an effect, these are questions that we should be asking in our universities. And when a university as notable as Harvard or other universities of that tier begin to squash conversation about this, that's a sign, oh, wow, this is probably important. 

[00:45:30] And that's why people like you are so important. People who aren't beholden to anybody. You know what I mean? Because if you operate in this big bureaucracy, there's going to be somebody above you who's not going to like you discussing circumcision and general mutilation for one of the reasons we talked about.

[00:45:48] Maybe it reflects poorly on them, or on their parents, or on their tribe, or their religious beliefs, or whatever. But that is not a reason to not discuss it. If anything, it's probably a signal that we should lean into it. I know it's going to be uncomfortable, as a culture, to reckon with what we've done to most American men, but it is absolutely necessary because the alternative is we continue to mutilate infants, and I'm not okay with that. And I'll do what is necessary to put an end to it. Hopefully soon, and the more people who support us, the sooner we can do it.

[00:46:20] Luke: Tell us about the different methods of this procedure in terms of the severity of pain and trauma. I know there's different medical apparatus that's used, uh, in the more hardcore, um, ritualistic, um, do you call it? Rabbinical? Rabbinical practice. I know there's a range of how it's done, from super traumatic, and I would use the word satanic personally, to maybe more humane. Aside from the repercussions, but the actual act and the initial trauma itself, is there a gradient in terms of the severity? 

[00:47:03] Eric: I'm going to say something. You may be surprised by this, but Judaism, when they adopted circumcision, it was actually a progressive step because they were moving away from child sacrifice. So instead of killing the whole child, you just kill an essential part of him. And the original circumcision, uh, it was called the mila. It was just a cut, and you would just cut off the overhanging tip of the foreskin. 

[00:47:26] See, people, Americans, excuse me, largely don't know what a foreskin is. It's actually a massive structure. It's about the size of my palm or your palm. And it really extends over the head of the penis, and you can cut off just the top and still keep most of the foreskin. And so the original Jewish circumcision used to be just the overhanging tip. And, um, over time, rabbis radicalized it by not only cutting the overhanging tip, but they would use their fingernails to shred the genital mucosa because the foreskin and the head of the penis are fused until almost puberty for most boys.

[00:48:03] So the rabbis or mohels used to just cut off the very tip of the foreskin, and what had happened historically is that some Jewish men didn't want to be circumcised, and so they were able to stretch the remaining foreskin over the head of the penis and appear intact or as a gentile, which was important in the ancient Greek Olympics because, uh, as nature designed us, the head of the penis usually isn't exposed unless you are sexually aroused.

[00:48:29] And so if the head of the penis was exposed, at least in ancient Greece, it was seen as a crude depiction of an erection. So Jews were able to, uh, better fit in with society. And this really upset rabbis. So around 200 AD, rabbis radicalized the circumcision. And so instead of just cutting the overhanging tip of the foreskin off, it was an ablation of the entire tissue.

[00:48:55] And so, uh, mohels, which were often rabbis, but mohels would sharpen their fingernails, and after they would cut off the tip of the foreskin, using some, uh, ceremonial scissors, they would use their sharpened fingernails to, uh, tear the genital structures of the infant apart because what a lot of people aren't aware of is the foreskin and the head of the penis are fused until puberty for most boys.

[00:49:20] So you'd actually have to tear the genitals apart with your fingernails to complete the circumcision. And this was an extreme form of genital mutilation. We're talking 40, 50% of the skin of the penis and most of the sensory tissue, all the mobility, a lot of the protective functions. And because this was such an extreme violence, kids were dying, whether by infection or blood loss.

[00:49:42] So what Judaism started implementing was called metzitzah b'peh, which is, uh, mohels or sometime rabbis would actually suck on the bleeding penis of the infant. And these were the three stages of the religious circumcision which continued to almost the 1840s. And after Judaism got a lot of flack and had some introspection, they said, you know what, we're not going to do the sucking of the penis anymore, uh, at least almost all of Judaism, with the exception of super-orthodox sects who still perform that in hardcore orthodox sections like in Brooklyn, New York.

[00:50:17] Luke: And this is lawful, the practice as it continues to this day in obscure enclaves of that culture? How does child protective services not get called wherever they're doing this, the synagogue down the street or someone's home where a rabbi is giving bloody fellatio to an infant? How is that not being reported, or how is that not a crime? I'm shocked that circumcision in any capacity is still happening. but this part is really, really warped.

[00:51:02] Eric: It's probably largely political because these orthodox sects, they're a huge voting bloc. And so who's ever in charge of these neighborhoods, typically, you need the support of the religious leaders. And I know that New York health, um, service, I'm not exactly sure the official title, they put out a notice to, uh, mohels and the orthodox community saying, we advise you to no longer perform metzitzah b'peh. It didn't really have any effect at all because this is the religion, and this is what we must do.

[00:51:37] But most Jews are reformed humanists. They want to do what's best for people, and they evolve and grow with time. So, um, this is an extreme minority, but it does happen. And if something's lawful or not, it's not prosecuted. So it's de facto lawful. Um, and because it's religious, it escapes the, you could argue, overt sexual nature of the practice of sucking on the genitalia of an infant.

[00:52:05] Luke: Whose job is that? How do you convince someone like, hey, your role in this ritual is doing this?

[00:52:13] Eric: It gives me the willies.

[00:52:16] Luke: I'm shooketh. I've heard that and didn't research to validate that historically or-- 

[00:52:23] Eric: There were articles in Washington Post or something of that caliber saying, here's a baby who got herpes because of mouth-to-genitalia contact from a mohel. And his brain has been totally destroyed for life because infants don't have the same immuno--

[00:52:39] Luke: What's a mohel?

[00:52:41] Eric: So a mohel is a ritual circumciser. That's the term.

[00:52:44] Luke: Oh, that's their role specifically.

[00:52:47] Eric: Yeah. And rabbis can be mohels, mohels can be rabbis, but they're not necessarily the same.

[00:52:52] Luke: Okay.

[00:52:53] Eric: I believe shochet is the religious practitioner who slices the animal's throat from ear to ear. There's different terms for people who do different things--

[00:53:05] Luke: Got it.

[00:53:05] Eric: The rituals. 

[00:53:06] Luke: Okay. So at the most extreme end of the spectrum, that was happening. And then in relatively insignificant ways, that's still happening. What are the other methods that are used, um, religiously or medically? I'm so curious. There's no way of knowing, but I wonder how they did it to me. My parents don't know, and no one really know.

[00:53:34] Eric: I'm actually not as well versed as what type of scar does this circumcision device leave, but I can explain the differences. So the Gomco clamp, which is probably the one of the most popular. I don't have one with me, but it's this little bell, and so what you do is-- an infant's penis is very small, and you take a probe, a blunt probe, and you jam it between the foreskin and the head of the penis because you have to tear that structure apart because you're going to remove it and it's fused, and then you put the little bell over the infant's penis, and then you put the foreskin over it.

[00:54:09] And then there's this little contraption that you twist, and it crushes the infant's foreskin, the most virogenous part of his body, with thousands and thousands of pounds of force. And so what that does is it not only removes the lips of the genitalia, but it's supposed to promote, uh, blood coagulation so the infant doesn't bleed to death. It's extremely traumatic. Babies have burst their lungs just screaming so hard as their genitals were being torn apart. And this is what happens to most American men, so talk about trauma. 

[00:54:42] So that's probably the most popular, is the Gomco clamp. There's also something called the Mogen clamp, which is like scissors, like this. You also do the blunt force. You tear the structures apart, and then you pull the foreskin over and cut it off. Now, the problem with that is, again, an infant's penis is exceptionally small, so a lot of people lose part of the head of their penis when you do this as well. 

[00:55:07] And then the last-- well, actually, there are more versions as I talk. There's the plaster belt, which is, you know when you're a kid and you, uh, tie a string around your finger and you can see it turn purple or whatever, what they do is they tie a string around the foreskin essentially for a week, and then no blood gets to it, all the tissue dies, and it falls off. Apparently, that leaves a really big scar. 

[00:55:34] And then there's the electrocautery gun or whatever. It's a high voltage gun, and you literally go around the penis with this extremely hot high voltage gun to remove the foreskin. And that has the highest rate of complications. And these are high rates of complications. There's no law that you have to report them, but there's good evidence that suggests about 10% have terrible complications, including loss of entire penis and death. But there was a very high-profile, little boy who lost his entire penis, David Reimer, with the electrocautery gun.

[00:56:08] And so the doctor was like, oh, I guess we're going to raise him as a girl. Well, obviously, you have hormones that tell your body you're a man with the Y chromosome and all that, so he is getting conflicting, uh, inputs from his body and society telling him he's a girl. Oh, well, his was actually boring. His penis was removed from a botched circumcision, and, uh, it was a very high-profile event because he eventually committed suicide because it was very traumatic what went on with him.

[00:56:36] So I think those are the four different types I know off the top of my head. All of them are brutal. All of them leave a scar. All of them, uh, result in lifelong, uh, sexual loss and dysfunction to a certain degree, but those are the ways, and I'm sure there are more, because if you can make money off this, there are people who will make various devices to, uh, move this part of the body.

[00:57:01] Luke: And during, uh, a traditional Western medical birth, this would be something that is just automatically on the schedule and built line item in the procedure unless a parent is knowledgeable and says, oh, hey, we don't want to do this other thing that you want to do. Is that how it goes, or do you think that's even-- nowadays, is it in the conversation at all with your medical team at birth? Like, oh, hey, do you guys even want to do this? Is it in the conversation, or is it just something they just automatically schedule, and they're just going to do it if you don't say otherwise?

[00:57:42] Eric: It's a great question. It's not intentionally aging you, but when you were born, this was before informed consent. I think in the '80s or '70s--

[00:57:50] Luke: I was born in the '70s.

[00:57:51] Eric: Okay. So right before, there was a series of cases where informed consent, we all know about that now, but it wasn't a thing. It was, oh, you're born, you're circumcised, your parents would probably have to go out of their way to make sure that you're not, and the hospital can, um, collect money for it. So it's a great practice if you're a doctor in your hospital and you're trying to make money. Um, but after the '70s and '80s, you would need to at least sign a consent form.

[00:58:19] And the consent form needs to disclose all the material risks and the benefits of the procedure. Now, these consent forms are woefully deficient, but usually, parents will have to at least sign something to give the hospital consent to perform this. Now, there's a huge array of legal problems with consenting to a medically unnecessary surgery because, um, as a parent, you approximately consent for medically necessary surgeries, but culturally and socially, it's something that a parent has to at least consent to. 

[00:58:50] But often, doctors and nurses will harangue new parents multiple times until they consent to this. Um, so nowadays, it's usually something that you're asked many, many times, uh, but there are also some hospitals and doctors who no longer circumcise, which is great. And if you were born in almost any other country, they don't mutilate their infants, so it's not something you have to worry about.

[00:59:14] Luke: What countries are still presently in widespread practice? The US, anyone else?

[00:59:21] Eric: Well, the religious ones, um, so a lot of Middle East with Islam, Judaism, those are circumcising countries. Sometimes they're ritual, sometimes they're medical. Uh, the Philippines do it, uh, sometimes around 12 or 14 years old. I have a Filipino friend who very clearly remembers being circumcised at 14.

[00:59:40] But because you're 14, you're given anesthesia, and he said it was very traumatic for him to see this huge part of his penis cut off, but he didn't have the agency necessary to hold that back, that cultural force. You know what I mean? You still do what you're more or less told when you're 14.

[00:59:57] Um, so, there's the religious in the Middle East, there's some tribal in Africa, which is often same tribes that circumcise females as well. And America is a leader in culture, but we're not so much a leader that we can convince the other first-world countries to mutilate their infants. They're like, okay, dude, we're not following you down that path. Um, but Canada does it to a lesser extent than America, but America is the leader in non-religious genital mutilation.

[01:00:31] Luke: Okay. And is there any decline in the prevalence of this practice over the past few decades, or has it maintained, uh, its status quo?

[01:00:43] Eric: Oh, absolutely. We had a circumcision rate about 90% in the '60s, I believe, and it's probably com, down to about 55-ish percent. It's hard to get reliable data, but that's approximate that I've seen across various sources. So we're about half, and in California, it's much less than half. In the Midwest, it's much higher. So it's an aggregate. In America, there's many different cultures, so we still mutilate, just barely the majority of boys, but it depends where you are.

[01:01:14] Luke: Got it. Okay. 

[01:01:16] Now, many people listening or watching this conversation will, up until this point, probably be thinking, wow, this sounds really bad. But I heard that there are medical reasons that are valid as to why we've been doing this. UTIs, resistance to HIV, it's more sanitary, and so on. I'm sure you're very familiar with the defenses. I've noticed, when this topic is brought up publicly on social media and so on, as I described earlier, it's usually men that have been mutilated that are defending it. 

[01:01:52] And their defense usually has something to do with, yeah, but what about, yeah, but what about, and they'll cite what I think you're about to tell us are erroneous, uh, statistics, and validating reasons why this is necessary or beneficial. So let's go ahead and move into debunking the necessity of this practice. 

[01:02:16] Eric: Sure, I'd love to. I always like to start with the historical lens, just very briefly. So circumcision or genital mutilation has always been the cure for whatever the great fear was of the day. So it used to be circumcision cures masturbation. And there's some logic to that because you're removing the mobile skin, it makes it harder to masturbate, and masturbation used to be the big evil, uh, in the Victorian era turn of the 19th century, 20th century. Um, and the justification for circumcision has changed throughout the decades. It used to be epilepsy, wet dreams, curved spine, you name it.

[01:02:55] Luke: Really? 

[01:02:55] Eric: Yeah, yeah.

[01:02:56] Luke: Oh, God.

[01:02:57] Eric: Yeah. If you look at all of the things circumcision cured, it's obvious that they just continue to grasp at straws. But if we look at the contemporary justifications, it's important also to note that the American Academy of Pediatrics, which I devoted 40 minutes to in my performance--

[01:03:15] Luke: You annihilated them. It was beautiful. 

[01:03:17] Eric: Thank you. Yeah. Do you know what they said in response?

[01:03:21] Luke: What? 

[01:03:21] Eric: Nothing. They've just been totally silent for 10 years because they are the primary medical organization who used to promote circumcision, probably for financial reimbursement. But their policy expired five years after it was issued in 2012, so it's been expired in 2017, and they have in no way, shape, or form been saying circumcision is beneficial because they had many opportunities to, uh, double down on their previous justification, and they haven't, wisely so, because there are legal liability issues to promoting medically unnecessary surgeries that result in men losing their penises and dead babies.

[01:04:02] So anyway, uh, if you look at the American Academy of Pediatrics, who probably was on the vanguard of promoting this and no longer is, so we've come a long way, they'll say, okay, circumcision may prevent UTIs, urinary tract infections. And if you look at what they say, anywhere from 300 to 300,000 circumcisions prevent one UTI.

[01:04:26] But when someone gives you a range like that, hundreds of thousands, it means they really have no idea what exactly is going on. And when you look at any particular study, you can find a study that proves both sides. And that's because people want to isolate genital cutting, genital mutilation, but it usually correlates with a whole host of other cultural behaviors.

[01:04:53] So the reason that circumcision first was thought that it prevents venereal disease is when they did population studies at the turn of the 20th century, they saw, oh, wow, look, circumcised men have lower rates of syphilis and gonorrhea and the venereal diseases of the time. But when you look at actually what those studies show, it was actually the Jewish population versus the gentile population. And because Judaism, especially back then, was more, um, conservative, it did not promote philandering and premarital sex, it was those practices that resulted in a lower, um, venereal disease rate, not the presence or absence of a foreskin. 

[01:05:31] Luke: Wow. False slight of hand, that. I don't think it was intentional. It was just like, look at this.

[01:05:35] Eric: Yeah. And it validates your belief. Oh, wow, this really is healthy and good if you're raised in that religion. Um, now it used to be circumcision prevents HIV, but if you look at the per capita rate of HIV, HIV per person in America versus Europe, European men, somewhat similar cultures, European men have much lower rates of HIV than American men. And American men are circumcised or generally mutilated far more than European men. They don't do that in Europe. 

[01:06:10] So if you were to look at a pure comparison population-wise, circumcision probably promotes the incidence of HIV. And that makes sense if you were to analyze the mechanics of intercourse, because when you remove the mobile skin, there's a lot more friction, there's a lot less lubrication, and that creates bleeding and places for pathogens to infect both partners.

[01:06:32] But the reason that HIV has become a meme, that circumcision prevents HIV, is because there were a series of studies that all found, curiously, the exact same percentage, which is mathematically practically impossible, uh, that circumcision reduces your rate of contracting HIV by 1.6% or something. And across American media, they said, oh, look, circumcision reduces your chance of contracting HIV by 60%, 60. 

[01:07:01] So what's the difference? Well, what these media companies were doing is they were taking a relative risk reduction saying, oh, instead of 2.6% of intact men getting HIV and 1% of mutilated men, you compare those two numbers, and 1% is 60% less than 2.6%. Does that make sense? So when you compare two very small numbers, the percentages of those could be big. 

[01:07:27] And when you look at actually the methodology of those studies, what you find is, if you were circumcised, if you were mutilated, you have two full months where you cannot have sex. So that reduces your time frame of contracting HIV, which could account for the difference. Also, if you were circumcised, you were part of the control group who was taught how to use condoms, and that alone could account for the difference.

[01:07:50] But that didn't matter because the narrative that was desired to be pushed was that circumcision or genital mutilation was healthy. And we need to push that because there were probably people who were selling, uh, devices to circumcise, uh, boys and men, and they wanted to sell those devices, or whatever it may be, or they wanted to feel good about, uh, what their culture did. And if it's healthy, then how could it be harmful?

[01:08:16] But when you take a critical look at all of these justifications, they don't withstand scrutiny. And if you look at the academic literature, both, uh, the contemporary ethical analysis and a lot of the medical literature, it says the exact opposite. Look, we need to respect people's rights to make important decisions about their own bodies. This causes immediate pain and trauma. 

[01:08:36] And if you look at a population analysis between American and European men, European men have much lower rates of STDs, which doesn't necessarily mean that genital mutilation, lowers your chance of contracting an STD or increases. That doesn't necessarily mean that circumcision lowers your chance of contracting an STD, but the very fact that European men have lower rates of STDs suggests that circumcision increases your rate of contracting an STD. 

[01:09:07] And that makes sense, harkening back to the mechanics discussion we're talking about. Um, but people are very susceptible to promoting ideas and views that confirm their previous beliefs, confirmation bias. And so in America, I'm sure a huge percentage of the publications who are pushing this narrative were circumcised themselves and said, oh, well, this is good. This justifies my body. It justifies what I did to my kids or my beliefs from my culture, whether it be religious, or secular, you name it. 

[01:09:43] But, um, I'm happy to dive more into that if you want. But if you were to look at this issue from a wider landscape, let's say that circumcision, removing the labia of female infants, reduces their chance of contracting HPV by 50%. Wouldn't even be a conversation. They would say, no, we're going to respect these women's rights to decide what happens to their body. They're fully competent to decide how much of their body they want to keep, and it's irrelevant. 

[01:10:11] And so to hear it's morally irrelevant, uh, whether or not circumcision had some prophylactic effect, and even if it did, infants aren't sexually active, and men can make those decisions when they get older. And when we look at intact men in Europe and across the world, they don't cut off their foreskin. This is incredibly erogenous. They can get orgasms from this tissue. It makes them better lovers. It promotes comfort, and that's what we have evolved to be. These are important structures.

[01:10:42] One of the most persuasive things to humans though is if you continue to repeat something over and over and over and over again, it just becomes part of your being. That's how we're trained. So we're overcoming this inertial ignorance, but we live in the age of information today, which is why I'm so grateful to be here, one, so thank you, and two, optimistic that the younger generation is going to see through this BS because there is no medical organization who's promoting it anymore. It's just this inertial ignorance, I would say.

[01:11:16] Luke: It's a habit. It's a cultural habit. Yeah. There's so much medical propaganda because there's so much profit to be made around things like vaccines and so much of the nonsense we've seen in the past three years. When there's a profit to be made, the medical establishment goes on a full propaganda assault to brainwash the populace to take their medications and have their procedures.

[01:11:44] Now that you mention that, it's funny. I've never seen any medical establishment promotion of circumcision. It's like they don't need to because there's this generational cascade. Well, my grandfather had it done, so they did it to my dad, and then my dad authorized having it done to me, or, I guess in my case, before informed consent, it just was an automated part of the process, unfortunately. 

[01:12:09] But it seems that that's the way it carries on. And then if someone intuits that, well, let's question this, maybe it's not right, then there's outdated, insignificant, and fictitious medical data, like you just described with UTIs, and HIV, and hygiene, and so on, that people will just hang on to that even though that hasn't been substantiated or proven, in fact, by people like you and many others. It's been vehemently disproven. 

[01:12:40] So it's like we're hanging on to this artifact of culture that's so harmful, and there's really no medical basis for it. No one's really promoting it. It's just stuck in the system. It's like a bug in the system that just needs to be eradicated by, hopefully, people like us doing our small part to build awareness.

[01:12:59] Eric: I like that phrase, bug in the system. It really is. And that's what my law firm is looking to do, strategic litigation. We're just going to hit the nail on the head and say, look, it's admirable, and absolutely correct, and righteous that you protect baby girls, but if you're going to continue to do this, you need to protect all children.

[01:13:16] We're going to fix the floor. And so, um, I'm hoping that a lot of people support us in doing that, but that's the plan, because it blows my mind that we need to be having this conversation in 2023. It's like, no, you shouldn't mutilate your infant. I'm telling you, don't cut off his genitals when he's born.

[01:13:36] Luke: It's insane. I mean, that's the thing. This is such a massive red pill because once you, I don't know, hear a conversation like this or just do any bit of research, it's so obvious that it's not only egregious and harmful, but also totally unnecessary. Cookie likes you, clearly. Oh, good girl. Cookie. I love it when she comes and says hi to our guests. At least the ones that like dogs. 

[01:14:06] Eric: Exactly. Cookie's opposed to genital mutilation.

[01:14:09] Luke: Yeah. It happened to her. She was neutered right before I got her. Yeah. Poor thing. Um, so yes. Uh, where do I want to go with this next? Oh, there was something in your film that was a quote from a rabbi in 1350. If there's no legitimate medical reason to do this and we're just doing it because it's this cultural artifact, this bug in the system, how did it start?

[01:14:39] And what was the motivation to get this thing going originally? And I ask that because it seems like it was unequivocally nefarious. There's no way that when humans started to do this to baby boys, they had any positive intentions. And it's something having to do with diminishing your sexual expression, um, stopping masturbating.

[01:15:08] It's to turn young boys into abused slaves or something of that nature. To me, the origins of it are just demonic. There's no other way I can say it. And there was a quote that I screenshotted and sent to Jared from my notes here from this rabbi. And maybe you can unpack it, but it's speaking about women.

[01:15:31] "She too will court the man who is uncircumcised in the flesh and lie against his breast with great passion, for he thrusts inside her a long time because of his foreskin, which is a barrier against ejaculation in intercourse. Thus she feels pleasure and reaches an orgasm first. But when a circumcised man desires the beauty of a woman, he will find himself performing his task quickly, emitting his seed as soon as he inserts his crown. As soon as he begins intercourse, he immediately comes to a climax. She has no pleasure from him when she lies down."

[01:16:06] So to the nefarious origins of this, it seems like part of this is also to rob females of their sexual pleasure too because it makes the circumcised man finish quickly and be, uh, a premature ejaculator, and just makes the whole experience for both parties much less enthralling and ecstatic.

[01:16:27] And I don't know why that one just jumped out at me because I always think of it as like, oh man, are really getting screwed on this one, but also, the female partners of circumcised men are as well, and it seems to be that, uh, at least in some part, uh, this was intentional, to diminish both of our sexual pleasure and experience.

[01:16:46] Eric: Well, there's no culture that I'm aware of that circumcises females that also doesn't circumcise males. They're typically, um, together. Uh, Judaism, in America, only circumcises men. But in terms of the quote, you believe it also jumped out at me, that's why I included it in the play. I believe Isaac benYedaiah--

[01:17:07] Luke: It's insane.

[01:17:08] Eric: Yeah. 

[01:17:08] Luke: It's like, what? This is so evil.

[01:17:11] Eric: Judaism speaks in many voices, and some rabbis are sex positive, and some are not, like him, and so at the time, and this is totally believable because around 1900, America was all Victorian, anti-masturbation, anti-sexual pleasure, um, but at the time, at least among some Jewish sex is seen as an either-or. You can either be sexually attuned, uh, as a human, or you can be spiritually attuned, but you can't be both.

[01:17:43] And sexual pleasure and pursuit detracts from your relationship with God. And so it's seen as a good thing to damage men's sexuality, and if that damages female sexuality as well, that's great because we want our women to be, uh, more connected with the creator as well. So that was really the rationale of some voices in Judaism in promoting this.

[01:18:08] Luke: Do you think we should cover the five censored facts, or do you think we've already essentially, uh, wrapped them up throughout this conversation? 

[01:18:16] Eric: I think we've more or less covered them, and we can get, uh, people who want to watch the play and see the step-by-step process. We could do it very quickly, go through each one.

[01:18:27] Luke: Let's do it real fast. And I highly encourage people that have the stomach for it and want to face reality that they do watch your film. And again, we'll put that at lukestorey.com/clopper C-L-O-P-P-E-R. And I'll put that link in the show description as well with the link to your talk. But this was really the underpinning and the crux of that presentation. 

[01:18:50] And I know it's many years ago, and you're moving on to other levels of understanding, and litigation, and all this stuff, but that was a really good bedrock to follow. So maybe we could quickly. Number one, rabbis designed circumcision deliberately to damage Jewish children's sexuality, which goes to our last bit of this conversation.

[01:19:11] Eric: The last quote I shared, certainly, yeah. And like I mentioned before, Judaism has many different voices, but there was definitely a contingent, no doubt, where it's like, we're going to circumcise our kids to ensure that they feel less sexual pleasure. That is the purpose, um, so that they're more committed to their biblical studies.

[01:19:30] And so for people to understand that is unsettling because we're always taught, don't rock the boat. You don't want to say anything insensitive about anybody's religion or whatnot. And that's not my objective, by any means. At the same time, the reality is there was definitely a strong, uh, contingent of religious voices, and it could be Judaism and Islam as well, who wanted to sexually damage their boys. 

[01:20:03] And there's a whole host of quotes. I think I include Moses Momona Days, approximately, who said, there is no question about it. This weakens the male sexual organ, and that is the purpose of doing so. And so, uh, that's not something as a Jewish man I wanted to hear, but when there's a consistent narrative over thousands of years of what the purpose of this practice was, it's hard to ignore and throw out entirely because it's the same practice. So yeah, um, maybe unsurprisingly, the Judeo-Christian religions were not very sex-positive.

[01:20:43] Luke: Number two is American doctors adopted the practice to stop people from masturbating.

[01:20:47] Eric: Yes. And so they probably read some of the rabbinic justifications, and in the turn of the 20th century, they understood, oh wow, Jewish doctors are advocating for this, at least some, because it makes it more difficult to masturbate. And then the Victorian era, Christian doctors also wanted to ensure that, uh, little boys and, um, adolescent boys weren't masturbating. And if you remove that tissue, the mobile tissue, it makes it harder to masturbate. That's why American men need lotion, and European men just masturbate normally with the penis that they were given. 

[01:21:25] Luke: Totally. I remember that part of your presentation. There's screenshots from all these different films where there's jokes about a guy having lotion next to the bed and things like that. Yeah.

[01:21:34] Eric: It's like all this adolescent humor, like Family Guy, and South Park and, um, probably Rick and Morty, or Brickleberry, or things like that. And it's like, yo, you guys don't see this? This is a total sexual disability that we're imposing because you're not supposed to need to go to CVS to buy a lubricant to masturbate.

[01:21:55] We evolved in the wild, and we're primates. At the end of the day, obviously, we have culture and all of that great stuff, but we shouldn't need to have these external additives to have sex and masturbate, and that is what removing this sexual tissue does. And to understand that medical doctors were motivated to prevent kids from masturbating all the way through the '70s is really hard to stomach, but it's true. And if you were circumcised, even in the '90s or 2000s, your doctor is probably 40 to 60 years old, and he learned at medical school, look, we need to circumcise kids to make sure that they aren't masturbating. It's come a very long way, but, uh, that's the nature of how it started.

[01:22:44] Luke: And what about the scarring of the skin? Because you show photos of, uh, a natural penis and a circumcised one. And I like that you nullify the differential of being uncircumcised. It's actually a non-reality. You're just normal. The circumcised one is the one that's been altered and requires its own specific name.

[01:23:13] Is just called a penis or a circumcised penis? But there were photos of the two of them, and I don't think I've ever seen an uncircumcised one in action, and so the foreskin had been pulled back, and I looked at it, and it was all, um, very smooth-looking, much like vaginal tissue, just mucous membrane, smooth, shiny, much more red. And I was like, mine definitely doesn't look like that. And then the picture of the one that had been mutilated is all calloused, really comparatively. And I was like, mine looks like that one. 

[01:23:50] Eric: Yeah, yeah. 

[01:23:50] Luke: And then you explained there's a carotenoid, or what was the type of scar? I don't know if you remember. 

[01:23:55] Eric: No, I do remember. Keratin. 

[01:23:56] Luke: Keratin.

[01:23:57] Eric: Yeah. It's type of protein. It's what your nails are made of, um, and rhinoceros horns. And what happens is these aren't mucus membranes. The inside of your lip is the easiest thing to grasp, and the head of the penis is supposed to be kept warm and moist by the, uh, mucous membrane of the foreskin, the inner part, which is like the inside of your lip.

[01:24:20] Um, and when you remove that over the decades, your body reacts to this external irritation by putting a layer of protein, that keratin, over it. So not only are you missing most of the sensory tissue, but the remaining sensory tissue is actually buried under a layer of callous protein. And, um, so it's a really extreme diminishment of the sexual organ.

[01:24:45] Luke: So you not only have the ring scar around the shaft from where the foreskin was attached, but the whole thing is essentially calloused.

[01:24:52] Eric: It's an extreme act of violence.

[01:24:54] Luke: Oh my God, dude. All right. Number three, circumcision significantly damages you for life. I think we've spoken to this, right? 

[01:25:04] Eric: Exactly. 

[01:25:05] Luke: So we've covered that. Um, number four, the US media continues to push the American Academy of Physicians propaganda recommending circumcision. So this probably speaks to some of the pushback and criticism you and outspoken, um, intactivists have had, where the media labels you as some crazy conspiracy theory because you just want babies to be the way they were born.

[01:25:28] Eric: Yeah. And fair enough, maybe I was a little caustic, but I was 25, and I wanted to make a point, and the American Academy of Pediatrics no longer advocates for genital mutilation, so it was effective in a way. Um, but if you look at the slide, and it has all of these major media institutions, I'm hoping that they've changed with time, uh, but I don't want to misname them. 

[01:25:57] But I looked up each one to make sure that they were advocating this old narrative that is beginning to phase out. It's like Boston Globe, um, ABC, Fox, things like that. I'm not 100% sure what those were at the time. They were all quoting the American Academy of Pediatrics, yet, uh, the American Academy of Pediatrics decision is demonstrably false if you were to peel it back layer by layer, uh, in terms of saying, uh, the benefits of the procedure outweigh the risks. 

[01:26:26] But if you look at what the risks are, they admit multiple times they have no idea what the risks are. And if you look at the benefits, you see, oh, wow, they actually don't know how this benefits you in terms of reducing STDs or STIs because when you look at the studies, it's very unclear, uh, that they actually promote what the AAP says it promotes, and they don't include any contrary literature because they just say, oh, those were poor study designs.

[01:26:52] And then they don't even mention how important the foreskin is. So there's this totally fallacious recommendation that is parroted by all of these major mainstream, um, news organizations. And when you look at that, you're like, oh, wow, he just showed me the whole thing and how it works. It takes 40 minutes, but it's correct. And I'm optimistic that I'm pretty sure the narrative is changing, but it needs to change quicker.

[01:27:19] Luke: Awesome. And then number five, male and female circumcision are not similar. They are identical.

[01:27:25] Eric: Yeah, you're cutting off homologous structures of infants. Uh, the genitals come from the same structures, uh, in utero, so during gestation, it's either a vulva or a penis, and you can mount the different parts of the genitals, the male and female. The clitoris is homologous to the glands, the head of the penis. The foreskin is homologous to the clitoral hood. 

[01:27:51] The testes is homologous to, um, I believe the ovaries, but the point is, we would never permit a physician or religious practitioner to remove the clitoral hood, or the labia, or the clitoris. Yet with baby boys, we allow them to remove identically, innervated or homologous structures.

[01:28:14] But if that child were born the other gender because of the double X chromosome, then it would be unlawful. But in terms of these psychological mechanisms that perpetuate genital mutilation, uh, removing the structures, adopting language that makes intact men feel lesser, uncircumcised-- there's no unmastectomized woman. It requires this huge cultural and societal apparatus to continue genital mutilation, and all those things we readily recognize in African tribes that mutilate girls, uh, are present in our culture as well.

[01:28:50] Luke: What about overcoming the emotional trauma as a man, uh, yourself or people that you've interacted with, when you are red-pilled and have the realization that you were abused and assaulted in this way? What's been helpful to you in your own journey being an advocate?

[01:29:11] Eric: Honestly, it was very traumatic for me to understand that such a violent act occurred to me, not only immediately, but throughout time, but I think, um, the passage of time really heals a lot of wounds, and it's easier not to confront this, which is a large reason why it continues, but once you realize, oh, wow, this occurred to me, this happened to me, it was a violence, um, I think there's a whole range of emotions to be expected. It could be rage. It could be grief. The whole spectrum was put on my play, which was very real and made people react viscerally, which was the point.

[01:29:59] And I think talking with other people who understand your feelings, so you don't feel like, oh, I'm alone. I'm the only person who feels like I was robbed of something, uh, and everyone else is, uh, disqualifying me, in my opinion, uh, that can be very difficult. But when you talk with people who understand and relate and say, you know what, I actually agree with you that we should not be treating our children this way, that you shouldn't have been treated that way, and we need to protect other kids doing so, I think that can be very cathartic.

[01:30:30] I think finding both intimate and non-intimate relationships to discuss this with and see how, uh, it affects you and understanding from friends and family can really help you cope with that trauma, I would say. Um, yeah, and I think I'll probably stop there for that one.

[01:30:53] Luke: Okay. That's good. Yeah, I think that there's a lot to be said for just open dialogue and sharing your inner experience with trusted people. Oftentimes, there's just a lot of healing in that that can take place. And I guess that's been my path, is just acknowledging that the thing happened. We are going to talk about something you can do to change it because that's my last thread of questions, but it is what it is. 

[01:31:20] I don't blame my parents. I never blamed my parents. They were just doing what was standardized and apropos for the time. Um, when I've asked them about it, that's a non-issue for them. They don't even remember it being discussed. It was not a thing. And I also just want to say for parents out there that have elected, um, to have their boys circumcised, this conversation is not meant to shame them or, um, discount them in any way.

[01:31:48] I think most of this is happening because of a lack of awareness. People just don't know. It's just like the bug in the machine, man. It's just what you do. Or the thing that you talked about, I think, also in your presentation, was dads want their boy to look like them. They don't want the boy to look weird and different in the locker room and all that kind of stuff. So I think parents have the best intentions, but hopefully some parents-to-be that already have kids and are going to have more, people that haven't had kids yet, we'll hear this conversation and be, um, more thoughtful in consideration of this practice.

[01:32:26] But, uh, what I wanted to get to, uh, before we wrap up is this subculture of intactivists. There's people in this movement, there are some protests and websites, and people out there doing this kind of work, and there's, uh, a certain segment of the mutilated male population that are doing something called foreskin restoration.

[01:32:49] And I understand there's a number of techniques that people are using where you're stretching the skin out over time. I have one friend that tried it for a few months, and he's just like, it's too much work. I just gave up. It's just like, I don't have that many hours a day to sit there and tug on my member. 

[01:33:04] Eric: Not a lesson, but--

[01:33:08] Luke: What's the, uh, success rate of people that are-- because, obviously, skin can regrow, and it's malleable. And when you cut your arm, skin appears out of thin air, and all of a sudden, the cuts close, so it makes sense that you could stretch skin, just like when people get their ears pierced and put those big plugs in makes a big hole. What are the various methods by which people can, um, regrow their foreskin and restore it? Does it work? How are people doing it? Give me the whole lowdown on that.

[01:33:42] Eric: Okay. I'm not totally sure on the success rate. And with mutilating infants, there's not great data. There's no database of men who've done foreskin restoration or whatnot. But like with any part of your body, you can stretch the neck to be longer by putting in those rings, you can stretch the ear lobes, you can stretch the remnant foreskin over the head of the penis. 

[01:34:05] And it takes, I would say, probably years to do so because when you circumcise or mutilate an infant, there's an extreme reaction where there's an incredible amount of scar tissue in the penis after that that needs to be worked through, but I've heard it takes years to do this. But if you're committed to restoring the foreskin, whether through hands, or devices, or whatever, and there are a whole, I'm sure, subreddits and websites devoted to this, and you can go on that whole rabbit hole, um, if a man restores his foreskin, you don't have the same specialized structures that you were born at birth, but like we discussed in depth, the head of the penis is an internal structure.

[01:34:48] And so if the restored foreskin, which is stretched skin, covers the head of the penis, that head of the penis will actually, uh, be restored more or less to its original sensitivity after weeks. That keratin that we discussed that covers the head of the penis will fall off. Uh, probably won't talk about my personal sex life, maybe in a future episode of this, but, uh, I've heard that orgasms become far more intense when the head of the penis is, uh, sensitive because it's covered in internal structure.

[01:35:26] You recover a lot of the mechanics because the penile skin is supposed to fold in and out of itself during intercourse, and so if you restore, you become closer to what a biological male is supposed to look like and function. So men who are committed to this are able to, um, let's say, recover some of the functions of the foreskin, which can increase sexual pleasure, sexual function, psychological state in terms of, hey, this happened to me when I was an infant, or a kid. I didn't consent to it, but now I appear to be an intact male as opposed to a circumcised or mutilated male.

[01:36:04] So foreskin restoration is something that you can do that may mitigate the damage. And there's a company out there who's trying to use stem cells to regrow the foreskin, Foregen. And they've been slowly making progress over 15 years or so. Um, and I used to try to help them move along.

[01:36:28] And I helped them raise a few hundred thousand dollars and publish some research and whatnot, but eventually, I was like, I'm more passionate about stopping this. I think we need to stop the bleeding before we address, how can we help men regain a lot of the functions that they lost? Because that trauma will always be psychologically imprinted on mutilated men, but we can still help them regain a lot of the sexual function that was taken from them.

[01:36:56] Luke: Excellent. All right. In closing, give us the update on your legal proceedings, your litigation. Where does this stand with your Harvard case and all that now that you've become an attorney. 

[01:37:10] Eric: Attorney at law. Yeah.

[01:37:12] Luke: I love that. You're like, cool, I'm in a legal situation. I'm just going to go to law school, pass the bar, and go after this thing myself. Hey, man, it's pretty cool.

[01:37:21] Eric: The obstacle is the way. When I was terminating, I was like, okay, this is a new career path. We have to make it work. That's what you do. And so when I filed my lawsuit against Harvard in federal court in July 2020, the federal judge overseeing the case, he received what's called my complaint, which started the lawsuit, then he received Harvard's motion to dismiss, which argues why he should end the lawsuit and kick me out the courthouse doors.

[01:37:47] And in a very surprising move, the first judge, called the district court, he granted Harvard's motion to dismiss before I was even able to file a response, before I was even able to argue why Harvard's gross mischaracterization of me was a cartoon caricature, which totally dismisses all of the valid points as to why we should protect children from genital mutilation.

[01:38:08] Um, and it was so quick, so draconian that although every single plaintiff in federal court gets 21 days to, what's called amend your complaint, fix, or correct your complaint where it's gone awry, I was given 15 days, not 21, and this was during COVID, so people routinely got multi-month extensions. I didn't even get the minimum amount of time, which is extremely draconian, clear violation of my due process right to litigate my claims, according to the Supreme Court.

[01:38:40] The appellate court has a normal briefing process and a frivolous briefing process. The normal briefing process, both sides submit a brief, takes about 19 months in the First Circuit Court of Appeals, which is the appellate court in Massachusetts Northeast. And then the frivolous is they just take these ridiculous appeals and throw them in the trash because it's just wasting everyone's time.

[01:39:01] When I appealed to the appellate court from 2020 to 2023 March, I asked the federal appellate panel, independent of the merits of my lawsuit, which it is meritorious, at the end of the day, it was a bright line violation of what's called Rule 15a, and everyone gets 21 days to amend their complaint.

[01:39:20] I got 15. You cannot say I got a fair hearing if the rules were not applied equally to me as they should be to everyone who comes before the courts. And so what the appellate panel did is they danced around the issue on appeal for over two years and then dismissed it as frivolous without addressing the question of law I raised, which was-- 

[01:39:39] Luke: Damn.

[01:39:40] Eric: Yeah, it was pretty--

[01:39:41] Luke: Shady.

[01:39:42] Eric: Yeah. It was pretty brazen, actually. And the only recourse you have, if this occurs, which I'm really surprised it did occur, is that you file a petition to the Supreme Court. And so I laid everything out in my petition. Look, these are the claims. Um, at the end of the day, independent of the claims, my lawsuit was prematurely terminated. Everyone gets 21 days, at least. I got 15 days. Uh, it was extremely draconian if you look at all of the steps. The judge didn't even read the reasons why.

[01:40:17] My, um, counselor missed a one-day delay because he had COVID. Um, if you look at how the appellate panel and the en banc panel, all the first circuit ruled, it was legally and factually inconsistent, saying, well, it was essentially a harmless error that we didn't give you your right to amend because you haven't shown how you could amend your complaint.

[01:40:36] But four federal judges had explained to me how I could amend my complaint. Uh, so it doesn't make sense on its face. So when I put all this together in my petition to the Supreme Court, the case analyst at the Supreme Court looked at it and said, look, this young man, uh, probably has a very good point. So we're going to assign him case number one for the new term.

[01:40:56] And so of the thousands of petitions the Supreme Court received this term, mine is sitting at the top. And all it asks, it doesn't ask to address genital mutilation, or, uh, whether or not universities have any obligation to honor their free expression policies, although that's an exceptionally important issue in our democracy.

[01:41:14] It just asked if the federal judiciary is committed to applying the same rules to everybody. And in this decisive time for our democracy, and our courts, and the great back and forth of politics, we've really relied on our judiciary to fairly implement the rules to all parties. And if you look at the proceedings in my case, it is evident on its face that I was not given the minimum amount of time to make my arguments against Harvard.

[01:41:42] And that's clear, reversible error. It's probably one of the easiest petitions to the Supreme Court to rule on a matter of law. Uh, and my counsel and I are really hoping that the Supreme Court looks at this and says, this is our opportunity to really underscore the fact that we really are for due process for everybody, and the rules apply equally to everybody, no matter if you're falsely accused of antisemitism or anything.

[01:42:10] This is America, and we try to treat everybody equally. And that was clearly not the case here. And just building off on that a little, not only was my petition ranked number one, but three amicis, three, um, it's called an amicus curiae, friend of the court, three organizations are actually supporting me now, which I'm very grateful for. 

[01:42:29] Uh, Doctors Opposing Circumcision, which has hundreds of medical professionals, both Jewish and non-Jewish who believe it's their ethical and medical duty to protect children from male genital mutilation. We have GALDEF, Genital Autonomy Legal Defense and Education Fund, who my law firm is working with to start launching these equal protection challenges. 

[01:42:48] And then we have Jews Against Circumcision, which are my fellow Jewish brothers and sisters who really believe, look, it's time that as a people, we evolve and protect our children from genital mutilation, and maybe we sacrifice a pomegranate instead of the flesh of an infant's genitalia.

[01:43:05] Luke: Yeah. Peel a banana.

[01:43:06] Eric: Right. Whatever. And this is an opportunity for the Supreme Court to opine on these important issues. Probably not genital mutilation, but free expression in the academy, due process for all. So I'm grateful that you had me on the show, discuss these important issues, and hopefully, this will dovetail into more important initiatives because I know your viewers really trust you and rely on you for important information, and this is utmost if you're having a boy. You want what's best for your children, and keeping him intact, and protecting him from this is of paramount importance. So thank you.

[01:43:47] Luke: Word. 100%. And the next phase of this, uh, court proceeding is on September 27th? Is that what you're saying?

[01:43:55] Eric: September 26th. The Justices' Conference on-- this is my first time in the Supreme Court. I'm not totally 100% on how it works, but, uh, I believe the justices will discuss, is this a petition that we want to hear? Because it's a discretionary grant. Um, and they only hear 2% of cases, but if you were to look at case number ones throughout, uh, past terms, it's much higher. 

[01:44:18] Um, and the amicus brief, which also increases the chance, it's a timely issue, uh, in terms of enforcing due process for everybody. So, uh, we'll see if they hear it, but I think it would set a really strong precedent to equally apply the rules of civil procedure to everybody. And it would set a very sad precedent to ignore the case, and deny the petition, and allow different rules to be applied to Harvard as opposed to everybody else, or whatever the case may be.

[01:44:46] Luke: Word, word. Okay, great. This episode is going to come up for that. So hopefully we get a lot of ears and eyes on your fight against the machine. What do you see for yourself in the future once you extricate yourself from the Harvard drama and all of that? Um, is this the work you're going to be doing as an attorney?

[01:45:09] Are you going to focus on advocacy for this issue or just be a litigator in general cases of whatever ilk? Do you see yourself yoked to this particular topic for the foreseeable future, or do you want to diversify and do other things with your life? Is this coming to a close, or is this a mission that's going to go on for you?

[01:45:31] Eric: It's a great question, and the Harvard case is going to end no matter what. Um, the general mutilation stuff, I would like it to end because we stopped doing it, but I will continue to litigate issues for children's rights well after the Harvard case, however that may be. Will I be fighting genital mutilation forever? Well, I hope that we agree as a society, in the not-too-distant future, that, hey, this was something that we did that we inherited culturally, socially, but we understand now that it is in the child's best interest to protect them and keep them intact.

[01:46:11] I'm hoping that we can come to that realization in five years, maybe. Maybe more. Maybe less, but there are some causes, like I mentioned before, gay marriage that flipped very quickly. Legalization of marijuana. I think that this is an issue that's very timely, that can unite people on the left and the right, and even apolitical because it is just a human thing to want to protect kids and protect the innocent. 

[01:46:35] And this really is such a tragedy to perform on a person. So I'm hoping that we can resolve this in a matter of years. I'm a full-time litigator as well, uh, right now. I've got a big trial coming up. I got a bunch of clients. I work probably more than I would like to, but we'll see where things play out.

[01:46:55] I didn't anticipate I'd end up here. Life is a journey, so it's like, where do you anticipate you'll be in five years? We're a little over the five-year mark with my play, and I had no conception that I'd go to law school, that the case might go to the Supreme Court, that I would find a law firm who is just as committed to protecting children as I am. So we will see. I would like to continue to help people in whatever capacity that is, as an advocate, as maybe a politician, as an entrepreneur. I'm not sure, but there's a lot of opportunity out there, and I think that we both can make a positive impact. So we'll do what we can.

[01:47:35] Luke: Awesome, man. Well, I'm so grateful that you flew out here to Austin, Texas, to have this conversation. I love that. I'm always very honored when someone deals with the stress of travel just to come see me and the people who listen to this show. So I appreciate it, and, um, appreciate your fire, man, and your courage, and integrity, and tenacity.

[01:47:56] The stuff that you've been up against is no joke. And I know it takes a certain fortitude of character to carry on like you have, and also just to maintain your spirits. You're still a happy, go-lucky guy, even though you've been up against the beast system in a really major way, going at one of its core practices. I really think this is all that's wrong with society.

[01:48:20] This is, as I said earlier, really, um, at the root of a lot of our problems. So I appreciate your work and that you're taking one for the team. It's probably not something that I could handle trying to take on myself. I've got broad strokes in the way I approach different problems in our society and try to help people live their best life. And this one is like, man, if you're willing to take one for the team, be known as the foreskin guy, ostensibly, that's a big sacrifice. So we, and, uh, all of the future male babies, um, appreciate you and thank you for your work.

[01:48:56] Eric: Thank you, Luke. It's been an honor to be here. I really appreciate the invitation. I'm hoping and I'm certain that this will protect many thousands of boys and hopefully dovetail into tens, or hundreds, or more of thousands of children because the time is coming where we're going to protect all our kids, and this is one step closer. So thank you, Luke.


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