The 25-year-old Stanford graduate, who sparked outrage in the top tiers of UK government by removing a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II from the students' room at the Oxford college because she "represents colonialism," is the son of a wealthy commercial lawyer and a fan of Captain America, according to new reports. Matthew Katzman Stanford graduate who attended the prestigious DC school Sidwell Friends and is now studying for his PhD at the Magdalen college.
Katzman sparked outrage earlier this week after he tabled the motion to remove the image from Magdalen's Middle Common Room, saying it was not welcoming because the monarch "represents recent colonial history." Members of the Middle Common Room then voted in favor of the motion by a "substantial" majority thus resulting in the removal of the portrait.
Government Goes Furious
Katzman is a lecturer in computer science and the son of a top lawyer from Maryland. He completed his high school in the United States and is now also the President of the Middle Common Room (MCR) at Magdalen, an organization of around 200 graduate students. The post-grad student said that the common room is "meant to be a space for all to feel welcome".
Earlier this week, Katzman tabled the motion to remove the portrait after majority of the graduates decided that it was "unwelcoming" and represents "recent colonial history". They're now going to replace it with "art by or of other influential and inspirational people."
However, that didn't go down well with the top tier of the UK government as they felt it was an insult to the monarchy. The Queen "is the head of state and a symbol of what is best about the UK," UK Education Secretary Gavin Williamson tweeted. "During her long reign, she has worked tirelessly to promote British values of tolerance, inclusivity & respect around the world."
A spokesman for Boris Johnson then told the Daily Mail that the prime minister "supports" his minister's statement. That said, what is hurting the Brits more is that Katzman isn't British but from Washington DC and he single handedly influenced so many people from the UK to get the portrait removed.
Katzman claimed the move was not a "statement on the Queen" but aimed at creating a "welcoming, neutral place for all members regardless of background, demographic, or views".
"The Royal Family is on display in many areas of the college, and it was ultimately agreed that it was an unnecessary addition to the common room. The views of the MCR do not reflect the views of Magdalen College, and the aesthetic decisions made by the voting members of its committee do not equate to a statement on the Queen," Katzman said.
However, that has failed to impress the several Brits including the government.
Katzman is the son of commercial lawyer Scott Katzman, 65, who lives in a DC mansion worth more than $5.5 million, according to the DailyMail. He grew up in privilege in Bethesda, Maryland, a rich suburb of DC where he attended Sidwell Friends, a $48,000-a-year school where the Obama daughters, the Biden grandchildren and countless other politicians' kids have studied.
After graduating from Sidwell in 2014, he studied math and theoretical computer science at Stanford, where a four-year undergraduate degree costs $295,000. He graduated in 2018.
Katzman is highly educated and throughout his career has attended some of the most prestigious and expensive schools. According to the DailyMail, his total education has cost at least $640,000.
Besides, he is and Captain America fan. He can be seen in photos on social media with a Captain America shield, alongside the Stars and Stripes.
That said, Magdalen has indicated it will not make an attempt to reverse the decision, despite its long association with royalty. This includes visits from the Queen in 1948 to receive an Honorary Degree and again in 2008 to mark the college's 550th anniversary.