Perfume tycoon Jo Malone’s son helps lead a pro-Palestinian Harvard group behind a letter that blamed Israel for Hamas’ massacre of Jewish people, DailyMail.com can reveal.
Josh Willcox, 22, is listed as one of three students who run the Undergraduate Palestine Solidarity Committee, according to Harvard’s directory of student groups.
His mother, Jo, a British perfume giant founder who sold her eponymous company to Estee Lauder in 1999, refused to address her son, simply saying the war in the Middle East had left her ‘heartbroken’ as she branded the attack by Hamas as ‘abhorrent’.
Earlier this week, 31 Harvard student groups signed up to a letter saying: ‘we, the undersigned student organizations, hold the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence.
The PSC group issued a further statement in which it said it was ‘proud to stand steadfast against Israeli apartheid.’
In a statement to DailyMail.com Jo said: ‘We as a family are heartbroken by the events of recent days and strongly condemn all forms of violence.
‘The abhorrent attack on innocent people on Saturday in Israel is beyond what any family should endure.’
Josh Willcox (left) son of perfume mogul Jo Malone (center) is listed as one of three Harvard students who run the Undergraduate Palestine Solidarity Committee. He is also pictured with his father Gary Willcox at a ritzy London party in 2017
Willcox is listed as one of the three officers in charge of the group on Harvard’s official student organization directory
‘We again strongly condemn all forms of violence and those that incite it. We have always acted with a heart for people wanting always to strive towards a peaceful solution to any conflict.
‘This is an horrendous moment in our history where innocent people are paying the greatest price with their lives. It is utterly heartbreaking and must stop.
‘As a family our hearts goes out to all those suffering terrible losses at this time and we send untold gratitude to all those selflessly risking their lives for others. We call upon all leaders to find a humanitarian resolution for all.’
Willcox is pictured in a Harvard student directory photo. He is one of three members of the committee that’s taken responsibility for an outrageous statement on Hamas’ attacks on Israel
The household name said it was the only comment she would be making and did not address her son’s direct links to the sickening group.
In its latest comments the PSC bemoaned the lack of support they were getting from the university, saying the administration ‘invests in Israeli apartheid’.
‘The ongoing discourse centered on Harvard diverts focus from the relentless carnage in Gaza, a dire situation which our joint statement urgently warned about,’ it said.
Willcox’s fellow Palestine Solidarity Committee member Sanaa Kahloon subsequently spoke to the Harvard Crimson student newspaper confirming the group had no regrets over the controversial letter – while even doubling down on it.
Kahloon said the organization ‘rejects the accusation’ its initial statement was ‘supportive of civilian deaths’.
Speaking for the group, Kahloon, said their mission should be ‘obvious’, adding the ‘PSC staunchly opposes violence against civilians — Palestinian, Israeli, or other.’
‘The statement aims to contextualize the apartheid and colonial system while explicitly lamenting ‘the devastating and rising civilian toll’ in its caption,’ she added in a separate Crimson story.
‘It is unacceptable that Palestinians and groups supporting them are always expected to pre-empt their statements with condemnation of violence.’
The letter caused a massive backlash after 31 student societies backed the statement written by the PSC ‘holding the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence’
Both his parents relocated to Dubai where they run the multi-million-dollar company. Willcox studies Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations with history at the University
Harvard student groups who signed letter
Harvard Muslim Law School Association – RETRACTED
Harvard South Asian Law Students Association
African American Resistance Organization
Harvard Islamic Society – RETRACTED
Harvard Undergraduate Ghungroo – RETRACTED
Harvard Undergraduate Nepali Students Association – RETRACTED
Bengali Assocation of Students at Harvard College
Harvard Kennedy School Bangladesh Caucus
Harvard Kennedy School Muslim Caucus
Harvard Kennedy School Palestine Caucus
Harvard Undergraduate Arab Women’s Collective
Harvard Undergraduate Palestine Solidarity Committee
Society of Arab Students
Harvard Kennedy School Muslim Women’s Caucus
Harvard College Pakistan Student Association – RETRACTED
Harvard Divinity School Muslim Association
Harvard Graduate Students for Palestine
Harvard Law School Justice for Palestine
Harvard Divinity School Students for Justice in Palestine
Harvard Jews for Liberation
Harvard Pakistan Forum – RETRACTED
Harvard Prison Divest Coalition
Harvard South Asian Law Students Association
Harvard South Asians for Forward-Thinking Advocacy and Research
Harvard Undergraduate Muslim Women’s Medical Alliance
Middle East and North African Graduate School of Design Student Society
Neighbor Program Cambridge
Sikhs and Companions of Harvard Undergraduates
Willcox studies Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations with history, with his mother telling media earlier this year he specializes in Arabic.
He is a talented fencer who competes for Harvard and is the only son of the cologne and candle mogul and her husband Gary Willcox.
Malone sold her eponymous company to Estee Lauder in 1999 for undisclosed millions and no longer has any ties to it.
The serial-entrepreneur set up another successful scent company called JoLoves in 2011.
Willcox attended the elite Latymer Upper School in London, whose famed former students include Hugh Grant. Fees for the day school are around $30,000-a-year.
He spent part of his childhood in New York, with his self-made mom also owning a $9.3million apartment in a Knightsbridge square – lauded as one of London’s most desirable.
His upbringing is in stark contrast to that of Malone, who grew up in public housing in a London suburb, suffered from dyslexia and left school aged just 13 to care for her mother after she suffered a stroke.
Willcox’s parents now live in Dubai, where they run their successful JoLoves business.
Willcox has published at least three articles on Palestine for the Harvard Crimson, writing ‘To the Editor: When Will You Stop Silencing Palestine?’, in February along with a third leader of the organization, Shraddha Joshi.
DailyMail.com has contacted Jo Malone, Jo Loves, Willcox and the two other named leaders of the Undergraduate Palestinian Solidarity Committee for comment.
The statement it has continued to support was widely-condemned after blaming Israel for attacks that have killed at least 1,200 Israelis, including 22 Americans.
It focused heavily on the then-anticipated Israeli military onslaught in Gaza, with critics branding the missive tasteless and inflammatory.
Willcox’s fellow committee member Kahloon is a sophomore in Adams House and is a dual-major in Molecular and Cellular Biology with Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies.
Joshi, who penned several articles with Willcox, is an intern with Amnesty International and a social studies major.
She spent time in Palestine in 2022, and in a blog post took aim at Harvard and the media for supporting Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion but ignoring the ongoing situation in Gaza.
‘When the victims of violence aren’t white – and when their existence disrupts American geopolitical interests – the circumstances of their murder suddenly becomes too complex to speak of,’ she wrote.
‘But what can possibly be ‘complex’ about the killing of a five-year-old child? When a Palestinian journalist is assassinated, things somehow become ‘ambiguous’.’
In its latest comments the PSC bemoaned the lack of support they were getting from the university, saying the administration ‘invests in Israeli apartheid’
Students supporting the PSC marched on campus, with a host of blue chip CEO’s declaring those involved as ‘unemployable’, and The Anti-Defamation League denounced the statement as ‘anti-Semitic’
He has published at least three articles on Palestine for the Harvard Crimson, writing ‘To the Editor: When Will You Stop Silencing Palestine?’
Kahloon (right) is a sophomore in Adams House and is a dual-major in Molecular and Cellular Biology with Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Joshi (left) who penned several articles with Willcox, is an intern with Amnesty International and a social studies major.
The letter was signed by a host of Harvard student groups – but without students’ signatures included. The names of the groups themselves have since been scrubbed in a move they claim will boost signatories ‘safety.’
Many members of those groups have since sought to disavow it, claiming it was signed without their knowledge. Others say they regret the strident stance and have retracted their support.
The initial statement from the PSC caused a huge backlash, with a host of blue chip CEO’s declaring those involved as ‘unemployable’, and The Anti-Defamation League denounced the statement as ‘anti-Semitic’
The group promoted their protests openly on social media, parading around the campus with banners that stated, ‘Harvard Supports Israeli Apartheid.’
Two other Palestinian Solidary Committee members, Eva Frazier and Kawsar Yasin, previously spoke of their involvement with the group in September.
Frazier and Yasin, who are both involved in the Institutes of Politics Program at the university, told the Harvard Independent that they were ‘disappointed’ in the political engagement at the university.
The group promoted their protests openly on social media, parading around the campus with banners that stated, ‘Harvard Supports Israeli Apartheid’
The PSC group issued a further statement in which it warned others to not be ‘complacent and called for Harvard to do more
An aerial view shows the bodies of victims of the Hamas attack on the Kfar Aza Kibbutz on Tuesday
The death toll has topped 1,000 in Israel as the country plots a bloody revenge on the people of Gaza
Yasin also reposted an image of Palestine on Saturday, after the attacks had taken place, with a quote from Malcom X which said: ‘If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people being oppressed and loving those doing the oppressing.’
Willcox started studying at the prestigious university in 2019, and is set to graduate in 2024
The university’s Nepali student association said it condemned ‘violence by Hamas’ and said it regretted that the statement ‘has been interpreted as a tacit support for the recent violent attacks in Israel’.
And the Harvard Undergraduate Ghungroo, which promotes South Asian culture, said it would like to ‘formally apologize’.
One student involved in the Muslim Law Students Association told DailyMail.com that they were ‘angry’ they had been dragged into the argument – saying the decision to sign the letter was approved by the presidents only.
‘It’s common that the organizations don’t have a process – I’m sure that they will do now,’ they said.
Wilcox, pictured riding a horse, with his father did not respond to a request for comment from DailyMail.com over his stance on the ongoing warfare
Two other members, Eva Frazier (right) and Kawsar Yasin, (left) previously spoke of their involvement with the group in September.
Members of the Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee protest for the liberation of Palestine. Since putting out the statement, the group has doubled down on the message and claimed they have received death threats
Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee set up posters with the message ‘Free Palestine.’ The student group claimed to have received racist death threats in the wake of their statement
‘There have been a lot of complaints after the blow back, but I don’t know if anyone resigned.
The student added: ‘As soon as I was aware of it I resigned. I said that I cannot be a part of this. It’s really fired up on campus, it’s a powder keg. You can feel it. It’s intense.’
Another member was forced to post on social media to say that they ‘denounced Hamas’ following the backlash – and again claimed that they were not aware of their group’s involvement in it.
The group has since released a statement to retract their signature from the letter, telling DailyMail.com: ‘It was written without our input or knowledge as to it’s content.’
Around 500 faculty members and 17 student organizations signed a statement in response, calling the PSC’s stance ‘completely wrong and deeply offensive.’
In an open letter published on Tuesday afternoon nearly 160 Harvard faculty members blasted the ‘weak response’ from the schools administration.
One student involved in the Muslim Law Students Association told DailyMail.com that they were ‘angry’ they had been dragged into the argument as the group retracted it’s signature
Members of Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee pose for a group picture. The student organization doubled down on their statement blaming Israel for the Hamas terror attack
Another Palestinian Solidary Committee also reposted an image of Palestine on Saturday, after the attacks had taken place, with a quote from Malcom X
Harvard President Claudine Gay (pictured) has finally condemned the ‘terrorist atrocities committed by Hamas in Israel’ – at odds with 31 student groups at the Ivy League institution who have pledged support to the militants
Harvard President Emeritus Lawrence Summers added: ‘The silence from Harvard’s leadership, so far, coupled with a vocal and widely reported student groups’ statement blaming Israel solely, has allowed Harvard to appear at best neutral towards acts of terror against the Jewish state of Israel.’
Gay, his successor, finally issued a statement on Tuesday condemning ‘terrorist atrocities committed by Hamas in Israel’ and insisting the 31 student groups ‘don’t speak for the university or its leadership’.
Israeli airstrikes demolished entire Palestinian neighborhoods on Wednesday as hospitals struggled to treat the injured with dwindling medical supplies.
The retaliation came after Hamas’ surprise invasions of Israel on Saturday morning. At least 100 people were kidnapped, with 2,700 wounded. An estimated 1,000 people have died in the counterstrike on Gaza.
The explosive Harvard statement that ignited international fury
Joint Statement by Harvard Palestine Solidarity Groups on the Situation in Palestine
We, the undersigned student organizations, hold the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence.
Today’s events did not occur in a vacuum. For the last two decades, millions of Palestinians in Gaza have been forced to live in an open-air prison. Israeli officials promise to ‘open the gates of hell,’ and the massacres in Gaza have already commenced.
Palestinians in Gaza have no shelters for refuge and nowhere to escape. In the coming days, Palestinians will be forced to bear the full brunt of Israel’s violence.
The apartheid regime is the only one to blame. Israeli violence has structured every aspect of Palestinian existence for 75 years.
From systematized land seizures to routine airstrikes, arbitrary detentions to military checkpoints, and enforced family separations to targeted killings, Palestinians have been forced to live in a state of death, both slow and sudden.
Today, the Palestinian ordeal enters into uncharted territory. The coming days will require a firm stand against colonial retaliation. We call on the Harvard community to take action to stop the ongoing annihilation of Palestinians.
This statement was co-authored by a coalition of Palestine solidarity groups at Harvard. For student safety, the names of all original signing organizations have been concealed at this time.