Hugo Schwyzer

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Hugo Schwyzer
Born (1967-05-22) May 22, 1967 (age 55)
Alma materUniversity of California, Berkeley
OccupationCollege professor, blogger, author, speaker

Hugo Benedict Schwyzer (born May 22, 1967) is an American author, speaker and former instructor of history and gender studies.

Family background[edit]

Hugo Schwyzer was born in Santa Barbara, California, to Hubert (1935–2006) and Alison Schwyzer, both of whom were professors of philosophy: Hubert taught at the University of California, Santa Barbara; Alison at Monterey Peninsula College.[1] His younger brother, Philip, also pursued an academic career, becoming professor of renaissance literature at the University of Exeter, England.

Schwyzer's parents divorced when he was young. He and his brother were then raised by his mother in Carmel, California.[1] Schwyzer maintained a connection to his father, who was taken to England as a child when his parents fled Austria after the Anschluss, and later emigrated to California.[2] Schwyzer's paternal grandfather, Georg, was a Vienna-based Jewish physician while his paternal grandmother, Elsa, was half-Jewish.[3]

Academic career[edit]

Schwyzer studied history at University of California, Berkeley, specializing in medieval history.[4][5] He developed a passion for this subject after seeing Derek Jacobi perform Shakespeare's Richard II.[5] He attended graduate school at UCLA and was awarded his PhD in 1999.

His doctoral dissertation was entitled "Arms and the Bishop: The Anglo-Scottish War and the Northern Episcopate, 1296–1357", and dealt with the military role of the Bishops of Durham and the Archbishops of York during the Wars of Scottish Independence.[6] He published a related book chapter, "Northern bishops and the Anglo-Scottish War in the reign of Edward II", in Thirteenth Century England 7 (1999).[7][8]

His three areas of study at graduate level were:

Schwyzer joined the Pasadena City College faculty first as an adjunct instructor in 1993 then in a tenure-track position in 1994. Over the following two decades he taught various history and gender studies courses at PCC, as well as co-taught an interdisciplinary humanities course alongside English and psychology faculty members. He was forced to resign in October 2013 due to personal issues and public controversies.[9]

In February 2013, Schwyzer invited adult film actor James Deen to return to Deen's alma mater, Pasadena City College,[10] to speak to students about his career. The appearance, initially open to the public, was restricted by college administrators due to "public safety concerns" over "protesters".[11] Deen was restricted to speaking to the students of Pasadena City College's "Navigating Pornography" class.[10]

Other activities[edit]

Schwyzer wrote on public and personal topics for publications including Jezebel[12][13] and The Atlantic,[14][15] was a contributor to The Good Men Project,[16][17] and co-authored supermodel Carré Otis autobiography Beauty, Disrupted: A Memoir, published in 2011 by HarperCollins.[18]

Schwyzer describes himself as a former teen sex worker, recounting in a 2021 Substack post that he had sex with many dozens of older men for money between ages 17 and 19.[19]


Schwyzer became the subject of controversy when he disclosed to school administration and the general public his many affairs with his young female college students.[20] In several blog posts and interviews, Schwyzer further admitted to an ongoing problem with alcohol and drug abuse, a decades-long struggle with borderline personality disorder and bipolar depression, and a violent murder-suicide attempt with his ex-girlfriend while both were under the influence of narcotics in the summer of 1998.[21][22]

On August 9, 2013, Schwyzer tweeted a rapid-fire series of confessions described as a "meltdown"; his tweet storm included confessions of sex with porn stars who had spoken in his classes, as well as his own absence of credentials to teach women's studies.[23] When white feminists expressed concern for Schwyzer's mental health, black activist Mikki Kendall created the hashtag #solidarityisforwhitewomen, which rapidly trended worldwide. In an op-ed for The Guardian, Kendall noted that "Hugo Schwyzer's Twitter confession was the catalyst" for the hashtag's creation and subsequent popularity.[24]

In September 2013, the college announced that it was launching an investigation of Schwyzer that could lead to his termination.[25] In the media, Schwyzer indicated that he would resign and leave quietly if the college allowed him to remain on salary until the end of the year, at which time health benefits and disability retirement would have commenced. The college denied this request. On October 8, 2013, Schwyzer resigned and the college investigation closed.[26][27]

A week earlier, writing under the heading "Picking up a felony DUI",[28] Schwyzer announced that he had been involved in a car crash, causing injury to a 25-year-old woman. The incident occurred on Friday, 27 September 2013, near San Juan Bautista, California. Schwyzer apologized to the injured woman before she was airlifted to hospital, made a full confession to law enforcement, and also stated "I am a danger to myself and others and mitigating that danger is vital."[29] He was then charged with felony DUI and released from San Benito County Jail on bail of $100,000.[28] A court date of 5 November 2013 was given.[29] Schwyzer was reported to be in "an extended treatment program in Malibu, California, focusing on mental illness and chemical dependency."[30] In an April 2015 blog comment, Schwyzer claimed that the DUI matter had been resolved, but that he had been asked not to comment on the matter further.[31]

Current status[edit]

In January 2014, Schwyzer began working as a tax accounting assistant in Los Angeles.[1][32] In March 2015, in the final entry on his blog, Schwyzer noted that he was not "coming back" nor planning any "grand return" to public life.[32]

As of October 2018, Schwyzer was reported to be working at a Trader Joe's.[33]

In October 2020, Schwyzer returned to writing[34] with a subscription-based Substack newsletter.

Personal life[edit]

Schwyzer has been divorced four times.[35] He has two children.[36][37]


  1. ^ a b c Gable, Mona (March 26, 2014). "The Hugo Problem". Los Angeles. Retrieved February 24, 2015.
  2. ^ Schwyzer, Hugo (June 23, 2006). "Hubert R. G. Schwyzer, 1935–2006; the obituary, UPDATED". Archived from the original on May 18, 2015. Retrieved June 22, 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  3. ^ Hugo Schwyzer, Why I Won't Tell Anyone To Calm Down, Nov 10, 2016
  4. ^ McCain, Robert Stacy (August 19, 2013). "Sex and the Psychotic Professor". The American Spectator. Retrieved September 7, 2021.
  5. ^ a b Schwyzer, Hugo (June 8, 2004). "A not-so-short academic autobiography". Archived from the original on December 3, 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  6. ^ Schwyzer, Hugo Benedict (1999). Arms and the bishop: The Anglo-Scottish War and the northern episcopate, 1296–1357 (Thesis). University of California, Los Angeles. Archived from the original on 2 December 2013. Retrieved 24 November 2013.
  7. ^ Schwyzer, Hugo (1999). "Northern bishops and the Anglo-Scottish War in the reign of Edward II". In Prestwich, Michael; Britnell, Richard; Frame, Robin (eds.). Thirteenth Century England VII: Proceedings of the Durham Conference 1997. Boydell & Brewer Ltd. pp. 243–254. ISBN 978-0-85115-719-1.
  8. ^ "Thirteenth Century England: Proceedings of the Durham Conference 1997". RI-Opac: Literature Database for the Middle Ages. Archived from the original on 2013-11-24.
  9. ^ Rivera, Carla (October 9, 2013). "Gender studies Professor resigns from Pasadena City College". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 5, 2015.
  10. ^ a b "Pasadena City College officials: Lecture from adult film star moved, closed to public and press". Pasadena Star-News. Archived from the original on May 4, 2013. Retrieved May 4, 2013.
  11. ^ "James Deen Speaking At Pasadena City College Stirs Controversy". The Huffington Post. February 27, 2013. Retrieved May 4, 2013.
  12. ^ "Hugo Schwyzer". Jezebel. Retrieved 2013-08-10.
  13. ^ "If You Want a More Thoughtful Boyfriend, Try Pegging Him". Jezebel. March 1, 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-10.
  14. ^ "Hugo Schwyzer". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2013-08-10.
  15. ^ Hugo Schwyzer (2013-05-16). "What If Men Stopped Chasing Much-Younger Women?". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2013-08-10.
  16. ^ "About Hugo Schwyzer". Retrieved 2013-08-10.
  17. ^ "Isn't He Lovely: Guy Talk with Hugo Schwyzer of the Good Men Project". Bitch. September 12, 2011. Retrieved 2013-08-10.
  18. ^ "Beauty Disrupted: A Memoir". HarperCollins. Archived from the original on 2013-10-29. Retrieved 2013-08-10.
  19. ^ "Sex, Lies, and Britney Spears: on Illusions of Power". Substack. February 25, 2021. Retrieved 2021-02-26.
  20. ^ Clarisse Thorn (2011-12-15). "On Sex, Drugs, and Feminism: A Q&A With Hugo Schwyzer". Role/Reboot. Retrieved 2013-08-10.
  21. ^ Raphael Magarik (2012-02-13). "Exile in Gal-Ville: How a Male Feminist Alienated His Supporters". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2013-08-10.
  22. ^ Stoeffel, Kat (2013-07-31). "Why Did Hugo Schwyzer, Token Guy of the Lady Blogosphere, Retire Early?". New York. Retrieved 2013-08-10.
  23. ^ "Controversial "Feminist" Hugo Schwyzer has A Very Public Meltdown". 2013-08-09. Retrieved 2020-02-27.
  24. ^ "#SolidarityisforWhiteWomen: women of color's issue with digital feminist". 2013-08-14. Retrieved 2020-02-27.
  25. ^ "District Statement on Hugo Schwyzer". 2013-09-05. Retrieved 2013-09-05.
  26. ^ "Official Statement on Leaving PCC". Archived from the original on October 10, 2013. Retrieved 2013-10-08.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  27. ^ Rivera, Carla (9 October 2013). "Gender studies professor resigns from Pasadena City College". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 23 November 2013. Retrieved 24 November 2013.
  28. ^ a b Schwyzer, Hugo (30 Sep 2013). "Picking up a felony DUI". Archived from the original on 2013-12-03.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  29. ^ a b Gold, Lauren (1 Oct 2013). "PCC's Porn Professor arrested for felony DUI". Archived from the original on 2013-12-03.
  30. ^ Schwyzer, Hugo (5 Nov 2013). "Entering treatment at last". Archived from the original on 2013-12-03.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  31. ^ Schwyzer, Hugo (2 April 2015). "comment on "March 2015 update"". Archived from the original on April 27, 2015. Retrieved 10 January 2016. It has been resolved. I have been asked not to comment further on this matter.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  32. ^ a b Schwyzer, Hugo (31 March 2015). "March 2015 update". Archived from the original on April 27, 2015. Retrieved 10 January 2016. I am not "coming back." I abused the rhetoric of redemption and second chances for too long to get away with publicly constructing still another narrative of restoration and return. Even a single post like this runs the risk of reviving a drama that is best consigned to the past. It's a risk I've not been willing to take in over a year. I'm taking the risk now because I think those who were impacted — for better or worse — by my teaching and my writing deserve to know this much: I am not planning a grand return. I am not trying to win back anyone’s trust. I am not ingratiating myself with a new community in the expectation that I can soon talk my way into leadership. Rather, I stack chairs and sweep floors and serve as a tax accountant's assistant.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  33. ^ "The Wages of Infidelity". 2018-10-02. Retrieved 2020-02-29.
  34. ^ "Hugo Schwyzer". Retrieved 2020-11-12.
  35. ^ Hugo Schwyzer (May 20, 2008). "Three divorces, four successful marriages". Archived from the original on August 1, 2012. Retrieved May 10, 2015. I've been divorced three times. That doesn't mean I've had three failed marriages.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  36. ^ Hugo Schwyzer (May 30, 2012). "Why I'm More Afraid To Raise A Son Than A Daughter". Role Reboot. Retrieved May 10, 2015.
  37. ^ Hugo Schwyzer (February 2009). "A Season for Everything Save Shame". Archived from the original on August 22, 2011. Retrieved May 10, 2015.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)

External links[edit]