In a now-deleted social media post, a leftist professor claimed that clinical psychologist Dr. Jordan Peterson is an "incel misogynist" — "incel" is the term used for "involuntarily celibate" humans — and a "committed white nationalist."
Now, Peterson, who, in fact, is not celibate and has a wife and two children, is hitting back — and may even pursue legal action against the professor.
Wendy Lynne Lee, a philosophy professor at Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania, wrote on Twitter last Sunday: "Jordan Peterson: incel misogynist. Committed white nationalist."
In her tweet, Lee linked to a running list she maintains to track who she believes are "white nationalists," climate change deniers and overall purveyors of conservatism. The list includes Ann Coulter, Peterson, Steven Crowder, Ben Shapiro, Dennis Prager, David Horowitz, Dave Rubin, among others.
After the Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to Lee, she reportedly deleted her tweet, the news outlet reported.
Despite choosing not to keep her tweet public, Lee told Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement:
Jordan Peterson is, as Grant Maxwell puts it beautifully, an "intellectual misogynist." Maxwell shows that Peterson’s reading of Carl Jung is a gross misinterpretation for the sake of pandering to an essentialist and patriarchal worldview: "He evidently wants to return to unquestioned patriarchy by paradoxically claiming that 'the idea that women were oppressed throughout history is an appalling theory.’" This is an insidious sleight-of-hand in which, by denying that patriarchal oppression ever existed, men can continue to ignore what many women have been saying for centuries.
According to the Daily Caller News Foundation, Lee is accustomed to making a name for herself with outlandish statements. She reportedly hung an American flag upside down in her office window — a universal sign of distress — and has made blanket statements about the Republican Party similar to the one she made about Peterson.
How did Peterson respond?
The famed psychologist, who himself is a professor at the University of Toronto, fired back with a statement of his own.
"It’s clear that [Lee] has decided that it’s entirely acceptable to be careless with her words in relationship to me and my putative beliefs," he told the Daily Caller News Foundation, adding:
Academics, whose trade-in-stock is words, should know better. She clearly believes (1) that her ill-advised statements are warranted, which they are not, and (2) that such actions, however ill-advised, are acceptable, ethically and factually.
It appears that she is taking her lead from articles like the recent New York Times piece that mischaracterized my views on monogamy. It is not obvious at all where she has acquired the evidence for my existence as a "white nationalist source," since no such evidence whatsoever exists anywhere. I would counsel those who wish to bring forward such groundless accusations to be duly cautious. Such shots in the dark have a nasty habit of backfiring.
Is Peterson planning legal action?
On Wednesday, his lawyer, Howard Levitt, sent Lee an email threatening legal action if she didn't immediately retract her statement and apologize to Peterson in the same forum she made her baseless accusations.
Lee shared the email with Mic, a left-leaning news outlet.
"Please immediately retract all of your defamatory statements, have them immediately removed from the internet, and issue an apology in the same forum to Mr. Peterson," the email said, later going on to threaten legal action in Canadian courts, where the standard of proof for libel is much less than in American courts.
Did Lee comply?
AS PER THREAT TO SUE FOR LIBEL, I HEREBY APOLOGIZE TO JORDAN PETERSON FOR REFERRING TO HIM AS AN INVOLUNTARY CELIBA… https://t.co/MKJs4F75Ok— Wendy Lynne Lee (@Wendy Lynne Lee) 1528933226.0
However, she told Mic: "I find it absurd."