Misogynist pig today show bbc J

“A Misogynist Pig” – How the BBC Smeared Sir Tim Hunt

Making A Complaint – links in this paragraph

If you’ve been wondering “What can do about Tim Hunt’s treatment?’ wonder no more. You can make a complaint to the BBC. There is a time-limit on these complaints, which is why I publish this final blog today. If, after reading this evidence, you agree that the BBC has been biased and/or misreported, please use the link here to write your own complaint. The misreporting is still live on the BBC websites and social media. The ability to complain is not limited to UK residents, but to any who read or see this media.

I asked Professor Mary Collins, wife of Sir Tim Hunt, for comment about some of the evidence cited in this article. Professor Collins expressed disappointment that the BBC had attributed as quotes words Sir Tim did not in fact say, and had wrongly used the word “sexist” without quotes. She also objected to  mischaracterisation of a particular ironic reference to Sir Tim’s own life as remarks about women scientists in general; and to the BBC’s presentation of accusations made by some journalists as facts.

I hope you will join me in doing so as well by adding your objection to a complaint.

THE BBC’s BIAS ON SIR TIM HUNT

The coda to my reporting on Sir Tim Hunt is to examine the final piece of the puzzle, which is how the BBC falsely reported him. This matters because Sir Tim’s detractors and persecutors are still relying on the BBC’s distortion as a last line of defence.

Irrelevant colquhoun J

In the UK, the BBC also matter because they are the nation’s public service broadcaster. They are required to be impartial and fair. The charges against the BBC are as follows:

1. They prepared their Today show report in a biased manner; they chose two critics of Hunt as guests instead of balancing the show with an opposing viewpoint. This breaches the BBC’s duty of impartiality.

2. The BBC misquoted Sir Tim Hunt repeatedly, attributing words to him as quotes which he did not say; either in Seoul or in their audio. This is a further and a very serious breach of impartiality, made worse by a refusal to correct the record when the error was pointed out to them.

3. The BBC mischaracterized Sir Tim Hunt’s remarks repeatedly, falsely stating he had made observations about women scientists in general in his joke instead of talking about his his own life and marriage to Professor Mary Collins, whom he had met in the lab.

4. The BBC stated as fact things that Connie St. Louis alleged; and, as we know now, these things did not happen.

5. The BBC repeatedly breached its charter obligations by stating without quotation marks that Sir Tim made sexist remarks when in fact, his joke was against sexism; and by falsely imputing to him, as fact, views about women in science that he does not hold. To do this they used the misquotes I will cite under section 2

6. The BBC breached impartiality guidelines by allowing its producers on social media to express bias in the case, not once, but repeatedly; and allowing them to still do so today.

7. The BBC must know that factual data and witness accounts now completely contradict the account given by Connie St. Louis and Deborah Blum but they have not sought comment from, or broadcast, any correction on the facts. This breaches BBC rules on bias. It is compounded by the original offence of letting the false reporting stand as fact on the BBC website.

 

THE TODAY SHOW SMEARS SIR TIM HUNT

1. BBC was Biased in Preparation of the Broadcast and Guest Selection

The ‘Today’ show on BBC Radio 4 is the single most popular radio programme in the UK and has an audience of millions. Its prime slot is the 8:20 am slot, reserved for the biggest news of the day. On June 9th, the Today show producer Tom Feilden read some character assassinations of Sir Tim Hunt posted on a blog by Sylvia McClain, from Professor David Colquhoun, of UCL and the Royal Society, and Professor Dorothy Bishop of Oxford University.

Bishop:

the criteria for FRS are excellence in science; there is no requirement that you be a decent human being… I would like to see them state publicly that they will bar him from serving on their committees…. someone with these views should not be involved in…Royal Society policy or…awards.

and Colquhoun:

I’m on the Royal Society Diversity committee, and Tim Hunt has caused consternation. I hope a fuller renunciation will appear tomorrow. Also, I hope, from UCL where Hunt has an honorary appointment

I have to say that I have never heard any man say anything of that sort, even when drunk. Neither do I recall any single sex labs (beyond what might be expected from stochastic variability). So I really hope that there are no longer many people with views like that.

Bishop and Hunt Colquhoun human J

 

After reading these extraordinary character assassinations and false characterizations of what Sir Tim Hunt said, the Today Show’s Tom Feilden sought comment from these persecutors of Sir Tim.

Acting fool J

Colquhoun and Bishop were, of course, basing this solely on Connie St. Louis’ now debunked tweet and two articles on Buzzfeed and the Daily Beast, both factually false and both since sheepishly corrected.

Feilden apparently did not seek comment from any defender of Sir Tim Hunt. If so, the preparation was biased. Certainly the BBC invited on to its show only two critics of Hunt; Connie St. Louis, who would repeat falsehoods throughout the broadcast, and Jennifer Rohn. This was biased.

The false smears of Sir Tim’s character received from David Colquhoun, who on June 9th called Hunt ‘the misogynistic Nobel prize winner’, would have coloured the Today show staff’s report.  Professor Colquhoun, of both UCL and the Royal Society, was evidently obsessed with Sir Tim. He started the hashtag #Huntgate. He was campaigning for disassociation by both UCL and the Royal Society based on a mere tweet. He appears to have informed the BBC of Sir Tim’s honorary Professorship at UCL.

bloggers all hours DC R4 hunt J

 

The BBC featuring this fact on their broadcast led directly to Professor Geraint Rees’s call to Sir Tim’s scientist wife threatening her that if Sir Tim did not resign he would be sacked. Thus, in collusion with Professor David Colquhoun, the biased preparation and false reporting on the Today show were major factors in UCL’s disastrous and sexist actions towards their employee Professor Collins, and through her to Sir Tim.

Aside from the vicious comments Colquhoun and Bishop, Feilden appears not to have searched Twitter for the words ‘Hunt’ or the hashtag #WCSJ2015 he would have found a witness contradicting Connie St. Louis from the very start:  Natalia Demina:

Demna he was joking june 9

 

These are the “sources” Feilden sought out. And that is bias. We know he prepared his broadcast having spoken to the anti-Hunt obsessive, David Colquhoun, who that day had called Hunt a “misogynist” for participating in the ice bucket challenge with his wife, because he says to Colquhoun ‘Sorry about the late call,’ and Colquhoun replies: ‘No problem! unpaid bloggers work all hours!’

2. BBC Misquotes Sir Tim Hunt  – Repeatedly, Across Media

During and subsequent to the Today Show, and across BBC stations and media, the BBC would repeatedly, and willfully, misquote Sir Tim Hunt. The effect of this misquoting was always the same; it was to make his specific joke and later remarks, about his own wife and marriage, into general remarks about women in science. This is the transcript of the Today Show’s 7:15 preview and 8:20 am main broadcast. Sir Tim Hunt’s remarks are quoted in two sections. Here they are. 7:15 preview:

Sir Tim Hunt: I did mean the part about having – having trouble with girls. I mean, it is true that peopleI have fallen in love with people in the lab, and that people in the lab have fallen in love with me, and it’s very disruptive to the science. Um, because it’s terribly important that in the lab, people are, sort of, on a level playing field. And I found that, um, you know, these emotional entanglements made life very difficult. I mean, I’m really, really sorry that I caused any offence – that’s awful. I certainly didn’t mean – I just meant to be honest, actually. 

OK? Now here are Sir Tim’s words as broadcast on the 8:20 section:

Sir Tim Hunt: This was a lunch for women journalists and particularly women scientists and engineers, actually. And I was asked, at short notice, to say a few words afterwards. And I thought it was ironic that I came after three women, who very nicely thanked the organisers for the lunch. And I said it was odd that they – they’d asked a man to make any comments. And I’m really sorry that I said what I said – it was a very stupid thing to do, in the presence of all those journalists. And what was intended as a sort of light-hearted, ironic comment apparently was interpreted deadly seriously by my audience. But what I said was quite accurately reported.

It’s terribly important that you, um, can criticise people’s ideas without criticising them. And if they burst into tears, it means that you tend to hold back from, you know, getting at the absolute truth – I mean, what – science is about nothing except getting at the truth. And anything that gets in the way of that diminishes, in my experience, the science. I mean, I’m really, really sorry that I caused any offence – that’s awful. I certainly didn’t mean – I just meant to be honest, actually.

So we see that the Today Show edited the words ‘I’m really really sorry I caused any offence…. just meant to be honest’ and uses them in two places. We can further see Dr. Hunt asserts two things: 1. He was joking and 2. He was joking ironicallyThe importance of the latter cannot be overstated. He was sending up himself and not women; he was being ironic. Here, in the audio clip of the end of his speech, we can hear Sir Tim use irony again after congratulating women scientists present:

Congratulations, everybody – and I hope, I hope, I hope, I really hope there is nothing holding you back – especially monsters like me

As you can hear, in his phrase ‘monsters like me,’ Sir Tim is being ironic. He is not saying he is a ‘monster’. He is not calling himself a ‘monster’ or ‘like a monster.’ His tone is quite clear; he is mocking the idea that he is a monster; he is negating it, not asserting it.

To ‘Today’ then, Sir Tim asserts that not only was he joking, he was mocking sexism not being sexist. That’s what ‘ironic’ means. His quotes also are very very careful not to refer to the female sex at all and to specify again and again that he is ‘being honest’ about his own life. He met his wife, the distinguished immunologist, Professor Mary Collins, when she was his lab student. Still married; still scientists.

BBC misquotes on the Today Show:

7:15 There are three problems with having women in the laboratory – according to the Nobel laureate Sir Tim Hunt

Sir Tim NEVER SAYS THIS. That would be a comment about women in science in general. He made NO remarks about women in science in general, even in jest, either in Seoul, or to the BBC. He spoke about HIS OWN TROUBLE when he fell in love with a junior colleague. Properly reported on, Sir Tim made a feminist point to the BBC. He said to them that he worried that his love affair in the lab might create a power imbalance. ‘Important that in the lab…there’s a level playing field.‘ With a less poisonous preparation by David Colquhoun, the BBC might have noticed that.

BBC misquotes again on the main show, 8:20

8:21 There are three problems with having women in the laboratory – according to the Nobel laureate Sir Tim Hunt

Sir Tim Hunt never said, and not even Connie St. Louis alleged he said, that there were problems with “having women in the laboratory.” This is a misquotation. This is biased, and a breach of the BBC’s impartiality rules.

he was, as I understand it, making the argument for single-sex laboratories

Sir Tim never told the BBC he argued for single-sex laboratories at any point. Nor did he say so in Seoul even in jest.

He said men would be the worse off for it (if the labs were segregated) – Tan Shiow Chin, Malaysian Science Editor

This was another misquotation. But the BBC did not stop with misquoting Sir Tim on the air. They misquoted him across media.

Scientist Tim Hunt responds to criticism of ‘girls in labs’ comments

A Nobel laureate has apologised for any offence after he made comments about the “trouble with girls” in science – but said he had “meant to be honest”.

Sir Tim made no remarks, joking or otherwise, about ‘girls in labs’ (a generalization). Nor did he make ‘comments about THE trouble with girls’, a general remark. He referred to himself alone. This is a misquotation and breaches BBC impartiality and accuracy rules.

In a truly extraordinary, truly libelous, misquotation, which appears to have been lifted from the Buzzfeed piece that had to retract its substance, the Radio 4 today programme lists its running order online as follows:

The Nobel Laureate Sir Tim Hunt has been criticised after telling an audience at a conference in South Korea that he was ‘a misogynist pig’.

I almost don’t have enough capital letters, boldface type, and neon glowing colours to pull out this evidence of the Today show’s bias and malicious intent. This is put as a quotation. AS A QUOTATION. It is reported AS FACT with NO QUALIFIER. Hunt “told” an audience that he was “a misogynist pig.”

Misogynist pig today show bbc J

There ought to be resignations at the BBC over that one. It is still live on the BBC Today Show website even today.

Here BBC Africa makes sure to misquote Sir Tim around the world and assert he said words that he did not say, and they do so to the President of Mauritius, herself a scientist

Sir Tim Hunt resigned after he said that women scientists should work in separate laboratories because they fall in love too easily with their male colleagues and often cry when criticised.

BBC Radio Newsday adds its bias directly to the President of Mauritius:

Can you comment on the comments made by British Nobel laureate Sir Tim Hunt – you’re laughing, so I guess you’ve already heard his words – said about women scientists – ‘you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you….’

Of course Sir Tim had made no remarks about ‘women scientists’ in general whatsoever.

BBC News further misquoted Sir Tim:

he made comments about the “trouble with girls” in science.

Sir Tim Hunt told a conference that women in labs “cry” when criticised and “fall in love” with male counterparts. He told the BBC he “did mean” the remarks but was “really sorry”.

This is a misquotation and inaccurate and fails both BBC impartiality and accuracy rules. Sir Tim never said any of that. Not even Connie St. Louis said any of that! In the above quote, the BBC here develops the theme of the Today show. They apply Sir Tim’s remarks about his own life to all women in science everywhere, all men in science everywhere.

Again on BBC News, where the BBC’s agenda of making Sir Tim’s very particular comment to Today about his own life and marriage a general one about women in science couldn’t be clearer: Headline – What’s It Like For Women in Science?

he made controversial comments about the trouble with girls in science

But the Today Show doesn’t want to give up its direct misquotes! Not to be outdone, it goes back to the scene of the crime two days later on June 12th and posts this as a direct quote:

the Nobel Science laureate who has resigned from his university post after making contentious comments about “girls in labs”.

And the BBC Science Hour on BBC World Service also wants to misquote Sir Tim! The BBC is going for a world record of bias and inaccuracy, and putting words in someone’s mouth!

Tim Hunt
A Nobel laureate has resigned from his position as honorary professor at a UK university after he made comments about the “trouble with girls” in science. University College London said Sir Tim Hunt – a Royal Society fellow – had resigned from his position within its faculty of life sciences. He told a conference that women in labs “cry” when criticised and “fall in love” with male counterparts.

But wait! Don’t think it’s just BBC radio that was misquoting, lying and smearing Sir Tim Hunt! Here’s Victoria Derbyshire’s bit on BBC 2 TV!  Again, there are direct quotation marks about something Sir Tim did not say 

Sir Tim Hunt, 72, told a conference in South Korea that “three things happen when [women] are in the lab: you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticise them they cry.”

At 5:51 on this clip Derbyshire, the presenter, says “He admits – he’s a chauvinist pig – his words.” WOW. Sir Tim never admitted to using the word ‘pig’ – even in jest. Not to the BBC; not in Seoul; not in Connie St. Louis’ quoted 37 words.

And let’s allow BBC Politics to get in on the misquote action! This is glorious! Sir Tim’s nonexistent words are getting the widest possible airing round our entire state-funded “impartial” broadcaster! I expect to see him pop up on C-Beebies (Children’s BBC) any minute!

London Mayor Boris Johnson has called for a Nobel laureate who had to resign after remarks he made about women in science to be reinstated.

Sir Tim Hunt, a Royal Society fellow, saidthe “trouble with girls” in labs is that they “cry” when criticised and “fall in love” with male counterparts.

BBC Politics develops the theme, again flatly lying by saying Sir Tim made remarks about women in science in general. None of these, you will note, include an “allegedly” or a “reportedly”

Sir Tim Hunt, a Royal Society fellow, said the “trouble with girls” in labs is that they “cry” when criticised and “fall in love” with male counterparts.

By now you have probably forgotten what Sir Tim actually did say. You might want to scroll up. The only time the poor bastard said “girls” was “having trouble with girls”. He went on to talk about his own marriage. In reference to his life he never said ‘women in the lab’. He said ‘people in the lab.’ In reference to emotions he again used the gender free ‘people’.

There is a load more of such misquotation and distortion – across BBC Radio and Television and Online – but in the interests of my readers retaining the will to live,  I will move on.

3. BBC BIAS, LIBEL AND INACCURACY IN CALLING SIR TIM HUNT SEXIST

The BBC breaches its Charter requirements of accuracy, impartiality and fairness again and again by, without ‘alleged’ or ‘reportedly’ or scare quotes, both calling Sir Tim Hunt a sexist and calling his anti-sexism joke against himself sexist:

Sexist scientist ‘a housewife’

The case of Nobel Prize-winning scientist Sir Tim Hunt – forced to resign from University College London after saying the problem with women in the lab was that the “fall in love with you, and when you criticise them, they cry” – remains in the news.

BBC Science:

The Nobel laureate Sir Tim Hunt was heavily criticised for his disparaging remarks about women in science last week,

Sir Tim made no “disparaging remarks” about “women in science”; he made no general remark about women in science at all.

The BBC World Service:

on Sir Tim Hunt’s sexist comments at a conference in South Korea. The British Nobel laureate said ‘ three things happen when women are in the lab: you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticise them they cry’. 

For extra bonus Charter Breach, this show calls Sir Tim’s anti-sexism joke “sexist” as an assertion and misquotes him in quotation marks! (Clip title: “Is Science Sexist”?)

“Is The BBC A Biased And Inaccurate Pile Of Manure?’ would be a better title at this stage.

3. BBC BIAS IN REPORTING AS FACT THE ACCUSATIONS OF CONNIE ST. LOUIS

The BBC breached its charter repeatedly over and over by, in a biased way, asserting the accusations of Connie St. Louis – accusations we now know are total lies – as facts, without an ‘allegedly’ or a ‘reportedly.’

On the Today Show, it is not a problem that as their guest Ms. St. Louis lied through her teeth:

Sarah Montague: Connie St. Louis, when he said this – I mean, you heard him, you were there – what was the reaction in the room?

Connie St. Louis: Well, there was a deathly silence…nobody was laughing. …And so this – after he’d finished, there was this deathly, deathly silence.

Here’s the end of Sir Tim’s speech again; after the audio snippet finishes multiple witnesses report sustained applause following the laughter.

The BBC cannot help it if one of their guests lies and makes a false report as Ms. St. Louis did. What they MUST NOT do is take her account on trust, or report it as fact.

Sarah Montague: (7:15) ….That’s what he told a conference of senior women scientists and journalists in South Korea. And it didn’t go down terribly well.

Sarah Montague: (8:20) When it didn’t go down terribly well, he admitted that he was a “chauvinist pig”.

Taken as fact. Misquote. False reporting. Even CSL’s original tweet does not say that Sir Tim began with a joke and after a bad reaction said he was a chauvinist pig. There was NO evidence the joke about himself – not women ‘didn’t go down terribly well.’

The BBC repeated these lies on BBC TV again, the show giving Connie St. Louis’ false report the status of a fact:

A Nobel prize-winning scientist has sparked outrage by making chauvinist remarks at a conference of senior women scientists and journalists in South Korea.

Sir Tim Hunt told the conference that there are three problems with having women in the laboratory: “You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticise them they cry.”

Connie St Louis, a Lecturer in Science Journalism at City University who was at the conference, describes the reaction in the room.

Here BBC TV 1. shows bias by stating Sir Tim made chauvinist remarks without scare quotes, as a fact; misquotes him completely; and states that Connie St Louis “describes the reaction in the room.” Ms. St Louis is openly lying on this TV clip. She really emphasizes the lack of laughter and smiling.

very clearly, nobody was laughing – everybody was stony faced.

Tim Hunt Natala demina

But the BBC calls it “the reaction in the room.”

Here, Connie St. Louis gives us her account of the reaction in the room. How about that? Basic research, like a search of social media, would have given the BBC a live opposing view – but they did none.

Demna he was joking june 9

4. BBC BIAS EXPRESSED ON SOCIAL MEDIA

The BBC has a duty to fairness and impartiality. However, online its producers who identify themselves as with the bbc are acting with extraordinary bias; misquoting Sir Tim Hunt, RTing the ‘Distractingly Sexy’ hashtag, accusing journalists who research the bias of character flaws, etc etc etc.

The Today show producer, Tom Feilden, who appears to have researched the Sir Tim broadcast item in such a biased way on June 9th, gives us some insight into why the BBC won’t stop misquoting the Nobel Laureate even when its errors are pointed out in good faith. Feilden defames me in some of his tweets so I will not link to those ones. However, he does say

Except for the awkward fact he does use the exact phrase “women in the lab”

The phrase Sir Tim used on Today is “people in the lab.” He never, ever says “women in the lab”. Nor did he use that phrase in Seoul.

Feilden also insists Sir Tim used the word “the” before “trouble with girls” – i.e. – “the trouble with girls” which would make his joke about himself a general one about women in science. Sir Tim doesn’t do that at any point to the Today show, nor did he, at any point, say “the trouble with girls” in Seoul – he said “MY trouble with girls” (a joke about his wife whom he met in the lab).

It’s really important as this is the entire thrust of the BBC’s biased misreporting across all its platforms – that Sir Tim Hunt made generalized remarks about women scientists rather than about his own marriage to his lab student.

Feilden: He clearly says the exact words “women in the lab” on the very extract you already re-tweeted!

Only Sarah Montague, the Today Show presenter, ever says those words.

Feilden: Except for the awkward fact that he did say the exact words “women in the lab”

No. No, he really, really didn’t say them.

Pulling Mr. Feilden up on the Today Show’s misquoting, I pointed him to an article flagged up earlier in this piece, where the BBC records that Sir Tim said THE trouble with girls (i.e. in general) rather than what he actually said about himself (married Professor Collins his lab student): “HAVING…” and goes on to describe his own romance, only.

Mr Feilden then absolutely insists, again, putting it in quotation marks, that Sir Tim said “the trouble with girls”. He did not; neither to the BBC on the Today show nor to the conference in Seoul.

Feilden to Mensch the J

That section begins “I did mean the part about having trouble with girls” – emphasis mine – and immediately goes on to describe his love affair and his fears about power imbalances.

Feilden also says “He says he said it” in response to my challenge that Sir Tim had never said “the trouble with girls in science.”

This refers to Sir Tim’s comment ‘But my words were quite accurately reported.’ This has been taken by detractors of Sir Tim Hunt to mean that Sir Tim validated everything in the tweet by Connie St. Louis, and this is not the case at all. Sources say Feilden emailed Sir Tim the front page of the Times to comment on. He looked over only the 37 words, specifically:

“Let me tell you about my trouble with girls. Three things happen when they are in the lab: you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticise them they cry.”

That and only that was what Sir Tim Hunt meant when he said ‘my words were accurately reported.’ He glanced at the newspaper and referred to this comment only. So when Feilden says Hunt “says he said it” – “it” being “THE trouble with girls…” that is factually false. Hunt validated, only, MY trouble with girls. (Having joked about his marriage). And of course he goes on to congratulate and praise women scientists and is clearly being ironic.

As Sir Tim said on the very same day, June 10th, to the Guardian –

I certainly did not mean to demean women, but rather to be honest about my own shortcomings.

He could not be clearer that he was not, even in jest, talking about “women in science” or “girls in the lab” but making an ironic joke – one that sends up the sentiment – about his own marriage. The BBC had access to that information on June 10th. They ignored it completely and never reported it. That too is bias, and a breach of their charter.

Feilden also RTd the Distractingly Sexy hashtag; said “What Tim Hunt said about women in the lab was pretty appalling”; cc’ed in the arch Hunt-basher David Colquhoun into a tweet about the 12th June Today Hunt piece without Colquhoun asking: etc etc.

Then there is @ScienceNelson on Twitter, Sue Nelson. She describes herself in her Twitter bio as a ‘Radio 4 producer and presenter.’ She displays extraordinary and explicit bias against Sir Tim. She backs Connie St. Louis proven false account, calling Sir Tim’s remarks sexist without evidence. When a tape is produced demonstrating that St. Louis lied on the BBC (on her channel, Radio 4) “after he’d finished, there was this deathly, deathly silence. Nobody was laughing”

“Science Nelson” “Radio 4 Producer and Presenter” says it means nothing. When confronted with the specific claim of silence she simply doesn’t reply.

Sue Nelson silence J

4. BBC SHOWS BIAS BY NOT CORRECTING  FALSE REPORTS – AND NOT UPDATING STORY

The BBC covered the Tim Hunt allegations wrongfully and in a biased manner to exhaustion. They did not report, hardly at all, on the updated story. As witnesses emerged to debunk the accounts of St. Louis, the BBC did not report on them. As a tape emerged proving Connie St. Louis lied on the Today Show and BBC TV, the BBC did not report. The BBC covered things like Brian Cox and Richard Dawkins defending Hunt but omitted serious coverage of the women in science who testified to Hunt’s egalitarianism. David Kroll in Forbes ran a huge, graceful and massive retraction:

A personal note to the reader, July 23: In this story, I referred to an account by Connie St. Louis of comments by Sir Tim Hunt on June 8 at a World Conference of Science Journalism luncheon sponsored by the Korean Federation of Women in Science and Technology. 

Subsequent and more fully reported accounts have led me to re-evaluate my personal stance on Sir Tim Hunt as expressed in this article. While I personally might have chosen to offer different comments than he if asked to briefly address this group at a luncheon, I’m now reasonably certain that his words on women in science were self-deprecating, as based on the circumstances of his courtship and marriage to immunologist and University College London’s Gender Equity Champion, Professor Mary Collins; and that his overall message was to congratulate the Korean women scientists in attendance for their ability to perform at a level that becomes all the more impressive in the face of outdated attitudes about women in science as exemplified by his self-parody.

Certainly under the magnifying glass the last six weeks, no accounts of misogyny or sexist behavior have been uncovered against the Nobel laureate; to the contrary, he has been widely heralded by collaborators, former trainees, and students worldwide as most supportive in the career development of women scientists. His own 2001 Nobel lecture acknowledges the work of his women collaborators and students as emphatically as that of the men, going as far as identifying their specific experiments as turning points in understanding the dynamics of proteins that control the cell division cycle. The main section of this lecture closes as follows:

“One final comment. The decade starting in about 1986 was a fantastic experience for anyone working on the cell cycle. Discoveries emerged from all sides and unexpected quarters at a headily bewildering rate. The culture was generous and open, and the field attracted extremely talented scientists who were very much fun to work with and talk to. I would like to thank them. This Nobel prize honours them all.”

I count dear friends and colleagues among those who have expressed opinions on and accounts of this episode. Speaking for me and me alone, I wish to offer my sincere apologies to Sir Tim Hunt and Professor Mary Collins for unfairly characterizing him in this article as sexist and denouncing what now appears to be a selectively-edited account of his luncheon comments. The groundbreaking work of you and your colleagues has led to a recently-approved drug which my own mother will receive to treat her metastatic breast cancer. For this, I am grateful. In addition, I apologize to Dr. Debra Laefer for cluttering my representation of her award-winning research with my own counter-productive overshadowing of her own work and will publish an excerpt of this article to fully feature her project. I have also edited the title of this piece to reflect Sir Tim’s role at the conference in leading the session promoting the ERC-funded Advanced Project Grants to Dr. Laefer and Dr. Jennifer Gabrys.

That is the kind of thing we need from the BBC. They issued one disingenuous statement saying that ‘we did not misquote Sir Tim Hunt’s original comments’ when in terms they did misquote them. It said ‘we did not edit his words to change their meaning’. But they used ‘honest’ again and again to frame his words as referring to women in science – “women in the lab” . They misattributed, they misquoted, they made biased judgements, and they did not correct the record.

Note: originally I put “The BBC did not correct the record with anything like the prominence they gave the original story”. But having searched I find the BBC has not corrected the record AT ALL. The BBC has not even COVERED the appearance of the audio tape proving Connie St. Louis lied about laughter. NOT EVEN ONCE.

‘Stony-faced audience’

Connie St Louis, a lecturer in science journalism at City University, was in the 100-strong audience in South Korea.

“Nobody was laughing, everybody was stony-faced,” she told the BBC News Channel.

“The Korean female scientists who hosted us looked aghast and he just ploughed on for about five to seven minutes.

In this piece “Stony Faced Audience” is a section header. It has the normal lies and misattributions and it puts up Connie St. Louis’ infamous piece on BBC News Television where we can all hear her lie about no laughter.

Professor Mary Collins, the wife of Sir Tim Hunt expressed disappointment that the BBC had attributed as quotes words Sir Tim did not in fact say, and had wrongly used the word “sexist” without quotes. She also objected to  mischaracterisation of a particular ironic reference to Sir Tim’s own life as remarks about women scientists in general; and to the BBC’s presentation of accusations made by some journalists as facts.
You can join Professor Collins in those objections, in a concrete way, by using the complaint form at the top of this blog.

 

zz z Oransky Blum j

The Silence of the Shams: #WCSJ2015 Falsely Reported Sir Tim Hunt

Professor Nicholas Nassim Taleb’s bestseller, Antifragile, contains at its start a note on ethics:

If you see fraud, and do not say fraud, you are a fraud.

 

When I read this quote, it jumped out at me; I remember gasping with surprise. This was exactly the concept I had been looking for to sum up the “reporting” of the leaders of the ‘World Conference of Science Journalists” on Sir Tim Hunt’s brief toast in Seoul.

After he’d finished, there was this deathly, deathly silence.

Very clearly, nobody was laughing – everybody was stony-faced. – Connie St. Louis, lecturer in journalism, City University, London

 

Professor Taleb, who became famous for his development of Black Swan theory and the resulting global bestseller, had been one of the earliest, strongest defenders of Sir Tim Hunt, announcing his contempt for the actions of UCL without due process, and boycotting the university under its present leadership. When Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society, vindicated Sir Tim on the BBC, saying

It became a complete Twitter, media storm, completely out of proportion.. He should never have been sacked by University College, London [recording of those words below]

The long, slow vindication of the Nobel winner, whose record on women in science was one of the strongest among senior scientists, seemed complete.

But it was not quite complete. The Russian journalist and witness, Natalia Demina, had discovered a fragmentary audio she made of the end of Sir Tim’s toast. (I release it in this blog by consent, outside a paywall; the recording remains the copyright of Ms. Demina and should not be copied without her express permission.)

It remains to examine how precisely Sir Tim’s character was traduced and how his words were willfully distorted by his hosts, the WCSJ 2015 (note: NOT “kofwst” of whom more later). Some journalists and organizers present at that toast did the following:

  • Misreported Hunt’s words by omission
  • Misreported Hunt’s intent
  • Failed to correct the record
  • Sought to give false impressions of the event
  • Colluded, instead of independently reporting
  • Failed to declare their conflicts of interest
  • Failed to declare their positions as conference organizers
  • Re-tweeted attacks on Sir Tim that their own accounts contradicted
  • Attacked in gross terms the personal character of Sir Tim Hunt, including tweeting out cartoons portraying him as a racist and a misogynist
  • Tim Hunt racist comic
  • Despite saying that they opposed ‘twitter mobs’, in fact campaigned to remove him from his positions
  • In the case of Scientific American blogs, published accounts that they should have known to be false and
  • Apparently deceived fellow journalists, whom they charged money to attend their conference, about ‘keynote speaker’ Connie St. Louis, who is  described in their programme as an ‘award winning …scientist’

And of course there is the lesser species of bad journalism: shifting your grounds of reporting and defence when the evidence changes, from “He wasn’t joking” to “so what if he was joking.”

I also want to be clear that this criticism does not apply to most attendees of the conference, who were just going about their business. Also, not all of the journalists and editors who did one of these bad things, did all of these bad things. For example, Curtis Brainard, @CBrainard on Twitter, the editor of Scientific American blogs and the new President of the WCSJ for this coming year), did not actually misreport the words of Sir Tim Hunt. But, he did not correct the record, given Ms. St. Louis had misrepresented important facts, such as a ‘deathly silence’ in the room, and ‘stony faces’ in the audience, and that Deborah Blum had insisted Sir Tim was not joking. Nor did Rosie Mestel, the editor of the scientific journal, ‘Nature’. She was present. Sir Tim had praised women in science in his toast. Where was the reporting on that? ‘Congratulations, everybody…’ he says in this snippet. What immediately preceded these ‘congratulations’? Why weren’t those congratulations reported?

Ms. Mestel and Mr. Brainard  should have known that Ms. St. Louis had not told the truth and did not correct the record on the facts.

In my view it was the absolute duty of both editors to do so.

1. The original misreporting and collusion

Connie St. Louis tweeted out her now notorious “report” three hours after the luncheon. It included the alleged joke and added that Hunt said ‘keep girls single labs.’ It included nothing at all about his praise of women scientists, or a serious part of his speech praising women in science.

This tweet was boosted by others from the Pulitzer winner Deborah Blum, a year previously appointed to a journalism professorship at MIT, and Ivan Oransky of Retraction Watch. These are two important journalists and many readers simply took their tweets on trust, as ‘that’s right’ witnesses to the truth of St. Louis’s account.

This was simply false reporting. In context, Sir Tim had not said “keep girls single lab”. As the editor Ms. Tan Shiow Chin of Malaysia would later report

He said men would be the worse off for it [if labs were segregated]

Furthermore, a false impression was given by these tweets. They were not spontaneous. This was not independent reporting. As Mr. Oransky would later tell his former intern from Retraction Watch, now at Buzzfeed, and as Ms. St. Louis would tell Scientific American, they had ‘gathered quotes’ to make a ‘post-hoc transcript’ and agreed that St. Louis would ‘tweet it out’ and the other two would ‘verify’ it. In that way then, Blum and Oransky are responsible for St. Louis’ tweet including the false characterization ‘keep girls’ single lab’.

UPDATE: I noticed that Blum’s own Storify admits  Sir Tim praised women in science. Going from first principles, why was this omitted from the tweet CSL broadcast and which Blum colluded in, tweeting “she’s got it right“? Blum literally chose to omit Hunt’s praise of women in science she describes herself on June 14th – 4 days later and after Hunt’s forced resignations. Ivan Oransky also tweeted ‘the three of us….gathered quotes’. Why were none of these quotes the praise of women in science described in Blum’s Storify – or the ‘congratulations, everyone’ to women scientists we can all hear in the audio clip? Please also note; Oransky and Blum both tag Curtis Brainard, editor of Scientific American blogs, in. All three were not just guests at WCSJ 2015, they were Sir Tim Hunt’s hosts as conference organizers (see below). I would advise no senior scientist to do anything for Scientific American blogs without recording the entire thing her- 0r himself.

On June 10th the BBC hosted Ms. St. Louis on the Today show. The distortion on the BBC requires a wholly separate blog. For now, here is the transcript. Readers should note how ‘I was just trying to be honest’ has been spliced out and appears in two separate places. This is a good, short blog from the transcriber on the spliced and edited audioApparent but not actual admissions were “made” by Hunt on this show, but it is as distorted as the rest of the story. Nobody should say ‘Hunt confirmed his views [of women in science] on the Today programme. He bloody did not. The BBC distorted and misreported on Hunt for more than a month, knowingly. They are still doing so today.

Because of the distorted words of Sir Tim Hunt on the BBC’s Today’, the interview was cited over and over by Blum and others. But St. Louis had been the main guest on that same show, and her interview had concentrated on the horrified reaction in the room, and the total silence with which Sir Tim’s toast was received:

Sarah Montague: Connie St. Louis, when he said this – I mean, you heard him, you were there – what was the reaction in the room?

Connie St. Louis: Well, there was a deathly silence, it was – who stands up and says “I hope the women have prepared the lunch”? “…you’d think he would get some social cues to say “Stop”, because nobody was laughing. His guests had already told him not to go down this ha-ha route, and these guys had been incredibly generous and thoughtful and inclusive by asking him to make comments at their lunch… he just carried on, digging this enormous hole…And I kept thinking: he’s going to stop – please, he’s going to stop, and he’s British, and this is just too awful and these guys are incredibly upset.

And so this – after he’d finished, there was this deathly, deathly silence.

Connie St. Louis: So he says he was being humorous and that’s fine, I – you can try and be funny but actually you should take your cues from the audience and realise that nobody thinks you’re being funny.

Connie St. Louis: And also this idea that you have single-sex laboratories, in this day and age.

Connie St. Louis: I didn’t think they were intended as a joke, at all. I’d just like to say that they – you know, he went on for at least five to seven minutes –

Jennifer Rohn: Fair point.

Connie St. Louis: – you don’t go on like that.

On BBC TV, St Louis amplified her point and the BBC again reported her false story as fact:

Connie St. Louis: – Not in the slightest bit humorous. Very clearly, nobody was laughing – there was a room full of about a hundred people – nobody was laughing, everybody was stony faced.

That is the audio snippet of the end of Sir Tim Hunt’s speech. There is clear, audible laughter. It cuts out before the applause begins. Named witnesses have said the applause was sustained and they laughed and clapped throughout.

Now, there can be dispute about the meaning of words. A joke can be misunderstood. But there cannot be any dispute about something as specific as ‘After he finished, there was this deathly, deathly silence.’ ‘Nobody was laughing.’

It was not silent and they were laughing. The WCSJ 2015 honchos in the room including the editor of Scientific American, Deborah Blum of MIT, Charles Seife of NYU, Ivan Oransky of Retraction Watch, Rose Mestel of Nature, DID NOT BLOW THE WHISTLE ON CONNIE ST. LOUIS’S FALSE REPORT. Why not?

On the same day the Today show broadcast Sir Tim made it clear yet again in a statement to the Guardian newspaper that he was NOT trying to mock women but only himself.

I certainly did not mean to demean women, but rather be honest about my own shortcomings.

This of course contrasts with the impression given by the false reporting of Connie St. Louis and the Today show. But, I suggest deliberately, the coterie of St. Louis- boosters left it out.

Most people would think from the “reporting” that Sir Tim had in some way made a generalized joke about women in the lab. But he did not. He made an ironic joke about his own life. The joke was not even ironic about women in general. It was ironic about Sir Tim Hunt specifically. His specialized audience in the room would have known what the general public might not, that Sir Tim had fallen in love decades ago with his lab student, who had left her then husband to marry Hunt. The couple remain married and remain scientists. His wife’s name is Professor Mary Collins; she is a distinguished immunologist; she is a Professor at UCL and on the basis of an unverified tweet they contacted her, in a sexist way, to fire him.

So in fact Sir Tim had not made remarks about women in general at all. He had made an ironic joke about his own marriage and followed it with praise of women in science, and the toast was received with applause and laughter.

ETHICAL JOURNALISM: OUT TO LUNCH. AMIRIGHT? AMIRITE???

Buzzfeed, the Daily Beast, the Associated Press, [THAT’S RIGHT – THE ASSOCIATED PRESS]

(Hunt thanked the women journalists for “making lunch” before beginning his remarks.)

and Connie St. Louis, all reported before the Today show that not only had Sir Tim seriously advocated segregation and attacked all women in science, he had even thanked the women scientists for making lunch.

Lunch amIrite J

On June 9th Ivan Oransky contacted Cat Ferguson at Buzzfeed, who was his former intern at Retraction Watch(Oh, the irony). Within the  horrible piece of “reporting” by Ferguson she quotes his email to her:

Though his comments were not recorded, several science journalists created a “post-hoc transcript,” Ivan Oransky, co-founder of the Retraction Watch blog and editorial director of MedPage Today, told BuzzFeed News by email. Another journalist who was there, Connie St Louis, who directs the science journalism program at City University, London, then tweeted the unofficial transcript:

 

Brandy Zadrozny of the Daily Beast also published a load of poorly-sourced bullshit:

Lady scientists: they’re always falling in love and crying about it. Amiright?

These reports said, as fact, that Tim Hunt ‘berated’ women, ‘called himself a misogynist’ (no report ever said he did that) and ‘thanked the women for making the lunch.’

Amiright Brandy J

This was based on Dr. Scott Watkins’ tweet, made shortly after St. Louis original one. This tweet appears in Connie St. Louis’ list of Favourites on Twitter for May 7 immediately after her own on Hunt:

Thanking the women journalists for making lunch wasn’t too great either. Bad form all around.

But none of the “journalists”, and I use the word in its loosest possible sense, had done so much as check with the tweeter to verify this single tweet. Fact checking? Who needs it, amirite?

Korean pol buzzfeed jKorean pol daily beast J

Now Brandy Zadrozny holds the august title of “News Librarian” at the Daily Beast. But she couldn’t bear to admit that she’d attacked Tim Hunt based on a single tweet she didn’t bother to check:

Update: An earlier version of this article quoted Hunt as thanking the women journalists “for making lunch.” Those remarks have been removed due to a possible error in translation

No no Madam “News Librarian”. It wasn’t a “possible error in translation” that caused you to remove the remarks. Tim Hunt spoke in English. It was the fact you “quoted Hunt” as doing this. Based on a single tweet. That you couldn’t be bothered to check. And then you didn’t have the basic journalistic ethics to admit to your dreadful, appalling sloppiness.

you are right that one of them didn’t appropriately correct the record

Dr. Watkins later wrote to me. You can say that again.

Deborah Blum, instead of noting that Tim Hunt didn’t ‘thank the women for making the lunch,’ tweeted

And nails the story here: Nobel Prize Winning Biologist Calls Women Love-Hungry Cry Babies

Oh sure Debs. She ‘nailed the story.’

Buzzfeed’s correction does link to the two tweets by Watkins, but even here Cat Ferguson, ex “Retraction Watch,” inappropriately excuses her own sloppy zero fact-checking:

Lunch correction buzzfeed J

Well, no. It wasn’t “reported on Twitter” nor “corrected”. In what I think is a clear journalistic ethics violation, Buzzfeed and Ferguson ascribe the false reporting and the correction to Dr. Watkins, not to Cat Ferguson. He never reported that Tim Hunt thanked the women for making his lunch. His tweet was third person. The attribution to Hunt was all the work of Ferguson, Zadrozny, and St. Louis. Watkins corrected their wrong attribution.

And as for the Associated Press…. words fail me. But the Associated Press misreporting on tweet had good company. On June 11th the New York Times would report with a string of errors, calling Tim Hunt “Mr. Hunt” instead of Sir Tim or Dr. Hunt, reporting as fact ‘the comments were received in stony silence’ and a host more. My open letter asking the New York Times for a correction is here.

THE SILENCE OF THE SHAMS

But despite Sir Tim’s clear as day statements on June 10th that he meant only to mock himself to the Guardian, nobody was listening. It seemed that Connie St. Louis, Blum et al were riding high. UCL had called Professor Collins (a real female scientist) and demanded she tell her husband to resign his honorary professorship or be sacked. Later, St. Louis would say

I do have sympathy for Hunt. Like everyone else I find the “internet tidal wave effect” horrifying.

Deborah Blum would say:

I do have sympathy for anyone caught in the leading edge of a media storm.

In point of fact, both of these had campaigned to have Hunt stripped of his honors. St. Louis tweeted at the Royal Society demanding they force him to step down, then boasted about it. Blum asked for contact with the ERC that sent Hunt to Seoul. She re-tweeted (RTed from now on) a comment suggesting that Tim Hunt be, er, stripped of his Nobel. 

On June 15th in an article published by Scientific American St. Louis must have broken her wrist slapping herself on the back:

During the flight I have a very disturbing dream.

…I turn into the arrivals lounge…It’s happy space and the ambiance is good. [sic] Suddenly, out of the blue, a pack of journalists comes rushing up to me. They’re like the ones in those old, black-an-white movie ones [sic]: men in trench coats holding large microphones, cameras and flashbulbs all poised. They are all shouting the same question: “How did you think you would get a way with publically [sic] calling to account a prominent white male scientist?

I don’t know Connie. Maybe we should all give you a medal, huh?

Importantly this story was praised by Deborah Blum as ‘And another smart take by @Connie_stlouis.’ But that is a big problem. Because in the story praised by Blum, Connie gets very very specific about how the three co-authors could ‘independently verify” their quotes. ‘Verify’ is a word Blum would use later. Journalistic ethics people!

 discussed them with a couple of colleagues, Deborah Blum and Ivan Oransky, who I’d been sitting next to. Unbeknown to each other we had written down what we had heard Hunt say at the lunch. Our quotes were identical, which meant we could independently verify the story

But alas! Oransky was later to flatly contradict her on this important point. By now the backlash had begun. People simply did not believe that Hunt hadn’t just told a bad joke. So St. Louis is getting very specific about how she can ‘independently verify the story’ because ‘unbeknownst to each other we had written down’ what Hunt said. Compare:

 

Oransky in a podcast he recorded three days later. It wasn’t immediately broadcast and Mr. “Retraction Watch” didn’t correct the record in the meantime:

Ivan Oransky: But right afterward, we said, you know, “Look, we have to do something about this. Let’s compare notes on what we heard”, as we hadn’t taken notes, and – wasn’t that kind of a luncheon, where, you know, we were reporting on it. Er, we compared notes very quickly

The podcast has Oransky eager to say St. Louis and Blum have ‘taken the lead':

Um, I was sitting next to Connie St. Louis, who of course is – has really taken the lead on all of this, along with Deborah

And Oransky admits now that contrary to St. Louis “reporting”

Some of them actually did laugh politely and, and applaud

So. Why didn’t you blow the whistle? Your “beat” is (excuse me while I choke on my tea) retractions and ‘ethics in science.’ You knew St. Louis had falsely written down that you took contemporaneous written notes. You knew that there was no ‘deathly silence.’ You knew ‘very clearly, nobody was laughing’ was utterly untrue. But YOU DID NOT REPORT.

Notes Oransky st louis

Blum and Oransky surely had a duty to say that this report of Connie St. Louis was, apparently, false. They did not do so. Blum even praised it as ‘another smart take’.

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST, TRANSPARENCY ISSUES:

Deborah Blum, Ivan Oransky, Connie St. Louis, have failed to report the full truth and not merely in their failure to report what Sir Tim really said, or to correct reports they knew were false. They did not disclose that they were not just attendees of this conference. They were organizers and keynote speakers.

Blum in the Daily Beast:

I flew to South Korea to participate in the 9th World Conference of Science Journalists. The conference had paired my lecture (Pulitzer Prize winner, 1992, beat reporting) with one by Sir Tim Hunt

It is wrong of Blum to use the passive voice here. She was on the Programme Committee of the WCSJ 2015.  I did stuff the old-fashioned way, I looked it up. Not ‘The Conference’. “We.”

zz z Oransky Blum j

Oransky failed to disclose his massive organizer status. He is on the conference Programme Committee with Blum and he is the fourth big head on the overall conference welcome brochure.

Z z Oransky pdf image J

At no point in the story did these journalists disclose this. Why not?

Further, they were friendly with each other before and working on ‘sexism in science’ reports before the lunch. Christine Russell of MIT was there sponsored by MIT along with Blum sponsored by MIT. (How have the mighty fallen).

As a participant at the World Conference of Science Journalists last week in Seoul, I had a ringside seat for the running story of Nobel Prize-winner Sir Tim Hunt’s dismissive and offensive offhand remarks about female scientists.

This really implies she was in the room. Debbie Kennett thought so, then corrected. Was she? Russell didn’t answer me. Did she disclose she was there as Blum’s MIT partner? She did not. Where was this blog published? Why, Scientific American, that also published Connie St. Louis’s execrably written, misspelled, back-slapping blog above. The Russell blog is entitled ‘Why Tim Hunt’s comments were no joke.’ Curtis Brainard, editor of Scientific American blogs, was in the room when Sir Tim spoke. You hear the audio. It is quite clear that he was joking (listen to his tone on ‘monsters like me’. He is not calling himself a ‘monster’.

But Brainard did not blow the whistle and Scientific American published both the St. Louis and Russell blogs.

Curtis Brainard also did not declare that at that conference he was elected the President of the WCSJ 2016. In my view a massive, massive conflict of interest in publishing on the “story”. His favorites list includes this gem, published after Guy Adams forensic dismantling of the falsehoods on Connie St. Louis’s CV:

Wait, hasn’t updated her CV, therefore , , , , etc. are all mistaken? Odd logic.

Oransky and Blum ought to have declared any involvement, as should Curtis Brainard, in their selection of Connie St. Louis as a ‘keynote speaker’. She was one of three and is described in the WCSJ 2015 programme as

programme WCSJ

Connie St. Louis, award-winning freelancing [sic] broadcaster, journalist, writer and scientist

But there is no evidence Ms. St. Louis is an award-winning scientist; there is no evidence that she is a scientist. Her sole publication in the BMJ (cited as scholarly) is not made as a scientist. When you look it up, it is credited to her as a science journalist only.

Who in the WCSJ was fact-checking the bio they advertised on the expertise of their ‘keynote speaker’? Ms. St. Louis appears to have supplied this bio and nobody checked it; the same line appears on Scientific American and the Guardian. Where is the science – and where is the journalism? Fees were charged to other journalists to attend this conference.

The personal friendships and associations go way back.

Hi Deborah its your uk doppel-ganger I’m interested to see what you think about my guardian piece [St. Louis to Blum, Oct ’13]

When one journalist, instead of independently reporting, is ‘backing up’ another – itself in my view unethical  – they need to declare their interests. Nobody did this.

RTing INSULTS TO TIM HUNT THEY KNEW WERE FALSE

Ah yes: we haven’t got to Charles Seife, Professor of Journalism at NYU (yes really) who came up with this absolute classic of serious “reporting”

lying seife

“Tim Hunt is lying.” Well, somebody is lying “Professor”, but I don’t think it’s Tim Hunt. Seife in the tweet-slander-and-retract mode shows us the importance of independent journalistic reporting. He’s so emphatic: “Tim Hunt is lying.” “I was in the room.” And what has exercised Seife? Well, that Sir Tim claims the ironic joke was about his marriage “my trouble with girls” rather than the BBC’s distortion “the trouble with girls” “the trouble with women in the lab.” As Seife inadvertently points out with the vehemence of his rage, “my” trouble is different from “the” trouble. Very different. Changes the entire sense. Hence Sir Tim on June 10 “I never meant to demean women but only to be honest about my own shortcomings”.

Later Seife says he is being consistent as he thinks Hunt said ‘the’ trouble with girls. But might have got ‘my’ trouble from St. Louis’ account. It is, however, also Blum’s and Oransky’s agreed account, and Blum returns to it in her Storify of 14th June.

Seife then says he backs ‘Blum and St. Louis.’ But he cannot back both; they differ wildly. Sir Tim Hunt remained consistent; he was joking ironically not about women but himself. This is because it is easy to be consistent when you are telling the truth. When you are not telling the truth you find it hard to keep your stories straight. Seife commits ethical violations by accusing Tim Hunt of lying without evidence; and by not checking as he destroys the reputation of a wonderful and kind man who has supported women in science all his working life. He should know that the accounts of the three principals are apart. One cannot back them all. St. Louis:

They were deeply offended and didn’t get Hunt’s “jokes”. Nobody was laughing. Hunt now claims he added the words “now seriously” before going on to praise the role of women in science and in Korean society. “The words ‘now seriously’ make it very clear that I was making a joke, albeit a very bad one, but they were not mentioned in the first reports and I was deluged with hate mail,” Hunt said. He did not say this, nor did he praise the role of women in science and in Korean society. I wish he had; things would have been so much better.

zzzz science journalists hunt J

The only contemporary tweet, above, during the lunch in Seoul, contradicting St. Louis flatly

But wait! Here’s Blum much earlier on the 14th in her Storify. Note how she admits Tim Hunt praised women in science, and goes on to say he used the phraseology “MY” trouble with girls…

I talked about the importance and value of women in science. And Sir Tim also said something like that but then went onto say “But maybe I should tell you about my trouble with girls.”

Seife, meanwhile (I hesitate to spend a lot of time on a “Professor of Journalism” who will tweet out “Tim Hunt is lying” then have to immediately retract, is unethically asserting things as facts without research, that smear a Nobel-wining scientist, 72 years old with an unblemished record of support for women in science. Blum and St. Louis contradict; he says he supports their accounts but he cannot support both.

And here is where I have no hesitation in pointing out ethics violations in Deborah Blum’s “reporting”.  Her Storify account is, I believe, flat wrong. However, that is not itself an ethics violation. Charitably we can assume a very faulty memory. What IS an ethics violation is Blum, a Pulitzer Prize winner, a conference organizer who doesn’t declare it, RTing insults and accusations against Sir Tim Hunt that she knows to be false because her own account contradicts them:

Repeat. Repeat J

Yes. Repeat. Repeat,” Blum says with emphasis, pulling out a tweet that says ‘….neither him praising women and Korean women in science.’

But her own storify says that Sir Tim Hunt praised women in science! It’s right there!

Spinner Hunt seife blum J

Once more, from Blum’s own damned Storify:

my trouble with girls

Sir Tim Hunt, Blum says, for still insisting it was a light-hearted joke, is a “spinner of self-protective tales.” What guff from Deborah  – Arachne herself could not compete with her on this matter. But what is she quoting? Why, she’s quoting the already-retractedTim Hunt is lying” – Blum calls it an “important tweet” which states “There was no “my” trouble with girls…. I was in the room.” But her account says “my” trouble.

Deborah Blum, Pulitzer Prize winner, is also tweeting out and praising Connie St. Louis Guardian account which, again, she knows to be false as it contradicts her own account:

As says & says well: Stop defending Tim Hunt. Women in science need your support more.

But Connie’s account she is here praising “says well” contains a severe insult to Sir Tim that she, Deborah Blum, knows to be factually false:

He did not praise the role of women in science and in Korean society. I wish he had; things would have been so much better.

Blum knows Sir Tim Hunt did this. Even by her own account, she knows Hunt praised women in science. But here she is boosting a false account of the facts.

So it is now more than “World Conference of Science Journalists” keeping quiet about wrongful reports, false reports, reports they knew were untrue. Now you have a principal, Deborah Blum, RTing with praise slams of Sir Tim Hunt that her own account says is untrue. I do not see how this can be spun as ‘honest mistake’ or ‘false memory’. The repellent Janice Stemwedel wrote a sanctimonious piece for Forbes without declaring that she had brutally slammed Sir Tim in a fact-free way for weeks: ‘What if Sir Tim Hunt had done it differently?’

Z Doc freeride on Twitter

“Fact-checking!” she says of Guy Adams meticulously researched piece on Connie St. Louis. ‘Maybe you could try it someday!’

(stop Janet stop, my sides are hurting. No, please. stop.)

“Also, besides Connie, Oransky and Blum, others who were THERE confirm…” – and she cites Seife’s retracted tweet calling Tim Hunt a liar.

WHAT IF Forbes prevented a partisan who cites debunked and retracted accusations as “evidence” from writing guff in their publication?

THE JOKE’S ON THE “WORLD CONFERENCE OF SCIENCE JOURNALISTS”

In my reporting I have tried to stick to named sources and original posts and tweets. But I am now going to report one anonymous comment from one of my (many) sources. Those not in the organization and upper echelon of the WCSJ – the ordinary journalists, women journalists, journalists of colour, who were present, did blow the whistle at the time. It’s just that nobody paid any attention to them. However as the controversy raged many of them became fearfully silent. One of them told me that WCSJ journalists were scared to answer questions as the WCSJ governance: (New President, Curtis Brainard) controlled who did and who did not get travel grants to WCSJ16 in San Francisco. I understand this. My testimonies that it was a clear joke with NO serious advocation of sex-segregated labs are in my previous blog. Of them all, the specific most important is, I think, Tan Shiow Chin of Malaysia so I will simply quote her witness alone on this blog:

What has not been reported, which I feel is important and adds balance to his earlier comments, is that he also added that men would be the worse off for it (if the genders were segregated).
I did laugh at his comments, because it was very obvious to me that he was saying it in a very light-hearted and joking manner. I was not offended at all, because I did not think he meant it seriously, in particular, his comments on segregating the sexes. And yes, I did applaud as well.
I did not notice my neighbours’ reactions at the table – to be honest, I had come in late from the previous session and was busy with my lunch – but I don’t remember hearing any particular comments from anyone after Tim Hunt’s little speech.
I think that the whole incident has been blown way out of proportion, and that Tim Hunt has been made a scapegoat for sexism in science. This is really sad because I don’t think he thinks that female scientists are inferior to male scientists, which seems to me to be the point of the whole situation. In addition, if you look at the programme, the parallel session that was sponsored by the European Research Council during the conference and moderated by Tim Hunt had female scientists as its both speakers – hardly the action of a real male chauvinist pig, yes?
Although the anti-Hunt coterie later shifted to “So what if it was joke,” it is so important to correct the record: at first they all pretended it was no joke and was serious.
Buzzfeed: “His support for sex-segregated labs… admitted he has a reputation as a misogynist.”
Daily Beast, Brandy Zadrozny: “Maybe lady scientists just can’t take a joke? Not sotweeted prominent science writer Deborah Blum, who wrote that Hunt doubled down when she asked him about his comments. “I was hoping he’d say it had been a joke. But he just elaborated. Sigh.” Blum’s Daily Beast piece: “NO JOKE.”  (in bold red caps) . Connie St. Louis “It wasn’t a joke … not in the slightest bit humorous.” Cristine Russell in Scientific American “Why Tim Hunt’s Sexist Comments Were No Joke”

Hunt claimed that he’d only meant to make “a self-deprecating joke,” … His wife Mary Collins, herself a prominent scientist, backed him up, but there are numerous reasons to reject this as a misunderstood-martyr’s tale.

In fact, from the very start, Hunt had several opportunities to clarify his comments .. At a hotel breakfast the day after his remarks, American journalist Deborah Blum followed up by asking him if his call for segregated labs had been a joke.

In fact Blum misreported. Sir Tim had indeed said it was a joke to her by her own account. He said he meant to be ironic. That means, a joke. Apparently seriously she tweeted ‘He did say to me he thought I’d be ok as I didn’t look the crying type.’  Christ on a bike woman, that is a joke, a joke on the same lines, a sarcastic and obvious joke. English people often say ‘Americans don’t get irony.’ Is it really conceivable Blum interpreted ‘I’d be ok as I didn’t look the crying type’ as serious?? Maybe it is; to the English nothing could be clearer, this was a joke, and if it wasn’t clear, Sir Tim bloody told her it was a joke and that he was being light-hearted and ironic. 

BEING HONEST

But Sir Tim said ‘ I meant to be honest’ about HIS OWN ’emotional entanglements’ in the lab in the joke, and maybe to Blum (we don’t know if she made a recording as she ought to have done as a journalist). His joke was rooted in honesty about his own life, his own wife – that was all he was saying. In order NOT to apply it to women in general

I certainly did not mean to demean women, but rather to be honest about my own shortcomings – Tim Hunt to the Guardian, 10th June

Sir Tim ACTUALLY made sure that he told the BBC it was about his personal life and when it came to emotion in the lab he was VERY CAREFUL not say ‘women in the lab’ but to use the gender-free “people”. When discussing emotions he also never says ‘women’ or ‘girls’. He says ‘people‘. Sir Tim and Professor Collins remain both married and both scientists. Sir Tim’s trying to explain that the joke was only about his own life and shortcomings was twisted into “further confirmation” that he disrespects women.

POSITIVE REACTION OF THE CONFERENCE HOSTS*****

[Update: sources tell blogger Thomas Baseboell that KOFWST  never claimed to be Sir Tim’s “hosts”, despite Connie St. Louis and Deborah Blum calling them that. (see base of post). They merely sponsored the lunch and it is not known if Dr. Paik was even present. Certainly KOFWST apology request refers to themselves only as sponsors. Therefore, KOFWST should no longer be referred to as Sir Tim’s “hosts”. This characterization is merely that of Deborah Blum and Connie St. Louis.  The hosts were the WCSJ 2015 and the Korea Science Journalists association]

A senior woman Korean scientist present told the EU observer “without being asked” i.e., unprompted, that ‘she was impressed Sir Tim could improvise such a warm and funny toast. Later she told [him] that the Korean women scientists present had not noticed anything amiss.’  Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, President of the ERC, told me that he had both spoken to this scientist on the day itself and afterwards face to face in Brussels and she had “confirmed” to him how the event went.

However a week after the event, KOFWST, a sponsor of the event, sent Sir Tim a request for an apology. The English text differs from the Korean; the phrase ‘a private story told as a joke,’ in Ms. Blum’s Daily Beast piece, doesn’t appear in the Korean.

I think it would be invidious to attach any blame at all to KOFWST and their President Dr. Paik. It is not known if she was present herself at the event. They were reacting to the facts as portrayed around the globe.  The conference hosts present, Korean women scientists, clearly reacted well. Some KOFWST may not have – after all they heard the toast through translator headphones and we cannot know how it came across. Korean women scientists and other women scientists spoke out in droves in favour of Sir Tim. KOFWST understandably felt upset at the global media attention turned their way and they quoted the BBC interview which we now know – they could not have known – spliced out Sir Tim’s ‘honest’ phrase and attached it somewhere else, about emotion in the lab.

Dr. Paik therefore is not to be criticized for her apology request, nor is KOFWST. In fact Sir Tim was glad to receive it as it gave him a chance to apologize for making a joke that could have been misunderstood and more importantly to clarify his total support for women in science and Korean science. Is this, as Blum said, a “spinner of self-protective tales”? Or is it a generous apology  that focuses on women in science and the barriers they face?

I am extremely grateful to you for giving me the opportunity of apologising for my stupid and ill-judged remarks.

I am extremely sorry for the remarks made during the recent “Women in science” lunch at the WCSJ in Seoul, Korea.  I accept that my attempts at a self-deprecating joke were ill-judged and not in the least bit funny. I am mortified to have  upset my hosts, which was the very last thing I intended.  I also fully accept that the sentiments as interpreted have no place in modern science and deeply apologize to all those good friends who fear I have undermined their efforts  to put these stereotypes behind us. In my own career I have always tried to treat my colleagues with respect and kindness whoever they are and am proud to have developed and mentored the careers of many excellent young scientists who will be tackling tomorrow’s biological problems long after I have left the scene. I would like to ask that people accept my apology as heartfelt and judge me on my record.

I have tremendous respect for Korean science and scientists, and would point out that my very happy association with Korea came about through a female scientist. 

Best wishes,

Tim

What a sweetie. Is this not the model of a gracious, generous apology for saying something that could have been taken the wrong way? But still Sir Tim notes that it was meant to be a “SELF-deprecating joke” – i.e., not joking against women – and that the sentiments as interpreted would have no place in science – i.e. of course he doesn’t want sex-segregated labs!

But as to ‘not at all funny’ those who laughed and clapped would disagree with him. Ultimately, it was a brief toast in which he praised Korean women in science, congratulated them, and joked against himself in a way that was taken by some present to be a joke against women. It was willfully misreported as serious. The praise of women in his speech was denied, was left out. Reports by the principals that “nobody was laughing” and there was “a deathly silence” after he’d finished were not discredited by other journalists and editors present. Nobody declared their interests. Nobody declared they were conference organizers but presented themselves only as ‘invitees’. The brave witnesses who DID blow the whistle were utterly ignored.

KOFWST did what they thought was the right thing and Dr. Paik, head of KOFWST, very generously acknowledged Sir Tim’s immediate response. In this way, Dr. Paik really did a wonderful service to science and the truth – she published Sir Tim’s definitive statement of support for women in science and Korean scientists. Female Korean scientists present who were  conference hosts  of the lunch confirmed to the ERC they enjoyed the toast. Witnesses clapped. They laughed. They report that rather than seriously advocating sex-segrated labs he actually said labs SHOULD NOT be segregated.

He said men would be the worse off for it – Ms. Tan of Maylasia

No blame at all should attach to  KOFWST –  who had read and heard the same reports as the rest of the world – but to those WCSJ 2015 journalists present who knew Sir Tim was joking, knew there was applause and laughter, and yet reported otherwise.

Tim Hunt smilingTim Hunt jokes

If you see fraud, and do not say fraud, you are a fraud. – Nassim Taleb, AntiFragile

 

After he’d finished, there was this deathly, deathly silence. Very clearly, nobody was laughing – everybody was stony-faced. – Connie St. Louis, lecturer in journalism, City University, London

Tim Hunt Natala demina

Will the New York Times Correct Its Misreporting on Tim Hunt?

Dear New York Times,

please correct this Sir Tim Hunt article of 11th June.

It contains a number of serious errors. The reporter has stated as fact things that were merely alleged and now are proven to be false. There has also been a lack of basic fact-checking unworthy of the New York Times.

1. ‘Within minutes…’

In fact, Ms. St. Louis, by her own account later given, took 3 hours to compose and send her tweet. Prior to that there were no mentions on social media of Sir Tim’s speech that were negative, according to a search on Topsy. It is factually false that there was an immediate negative reaction. There was no negative reaction til Ms. St. Louis tweeted.

2. ‘Within minutes, the comments, which were greeted with stony silence and no little anger at the conference, spurred a global backlash.’

stony silence NYT J

The comments were not greeted with stony silence. The testimony of multiple eyewitnesses has long been out on this matter, but the New York Times has failed to correct the record. The Times newspaper this past weekend has published new audio of Sir Tim’s toast being greeted by warm laughter from his audience of female scientists and science journalists. Although the snippet of recording does not include the applause that followed the laughter, multiple eyewitnesses have gone on the record to state it was sustained applause.

The reporter took Ms. St. Louis’s words at face value and reported them as fact without an ‘alleged’. He is London based, according to his Twitter profile, and seems to have lifted the phrase ‘stony silence’ from Ms. St Louis’ accounts on BBC radio and television where she used the words ‘deathly silence’ and ‘stony faced’ respectively, as well as saying ‘Very clearly, nobody was laughing.’ 

3. ‘He elaborated on his comments that women are prone to cry when confronted with criticism.’ and ‘saying that female scientists should be segregated from male colleagues.’ 

This is unsupported by the quote that follows, where Sir Tim refers to people and not to women. Contemporary eyewitness accounts of his brief joke (an apparent reference to the distinguished immunologist Professor Mary Collins, his own wife, whom he met when she was his lab student) say that in his toast Sir Tim applied his comments about emotion equally to men and women. A Malaysian editor present was quoted in the Times as saying that Sir Tim had said ‘men would be the worse off for it’ if laboratories were segregated. This also means, of course, that the reporter’s opening statement ‘saying that female scientists should be segregated from male colleagues’ is false. Whilst the accounts of Ms. Chin and Ms. St Louis are duelling in this regard, your reporter should not have simply stated as fact what Ms. St Louis merely asserted was true.*

Although your reporter had no access to these contrary accounts, the New York Times reported as a fact what Ms. St. Louis had said was true, without any qualifying ‘alleged’ or ‘reported’. Ms. St. Louis account is now proven false in the important respect of ‘deathly silence’ greeting the toast; your wrong phrase is ‘stony silence’.

4. Lastly, and as a matter of style, your report throughout refers to Sir Tim Hunt as ‘Mr. Hunt.’ Whilst sources say that Sir Tim and Professor Collins are liberal in their politics and unlikely to be snobby, Sir Tim was awarded his knighthood precisely because he won a Nobel prize in 2001. His title is not ‘Mr. Hunt.’ It is ‘Sir Tim Hunt’. This matters in respect of your report, in that it illustrates how very little, if any, fact-checking your reporter did before producing it.

I request a correction.

Yours sincerely,

Louise Mensch 

*[readers wishing to join me in requesting a correction should email nytnews@nytimes.com. The blog text in italics was not in my email; I have just realised this error; I will write again suggesting this too be corrected,]

Tim Hunt Natala demina

The Tim Hunt Reporting Was False. Royal Society, Please Give Him Due Process

Trisha Greenhalgh J

If you are a scientist or academic, please email, with your name and university,

Paul.Nurse@royalsociety.org, Michael.arthur@ucl.ac.uk

and ask them to, at the very least, state publicly that there is no evidence Sir #TimHunt ever made a sexist joke, or is a sexist.

Maria Leptin J

 

Tim Hunt Natala demina

Sir Tim Hunt Was Misreported. Here’s How

My first blog on the shameful treatment of the Sir Tim Hunt, FRS, Nobel Laureate, 72, demonstrated how a couple of his peers pre-judged him as a sexist over a Twitter storm, before he could speak a word in his own defence.

This blog will, I hope, demonstrate how the initial portrayal of Sir Tim was based on partial, false reporting. It contains an on the record statement from Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, President of the ERC that he had eyewitnesses plural report to him on the day of the lunch that Sir Tim had praised women in science and been warmly received: that he personally spoke both on the phone, and later face to face, with a Korean woman organizer of the conference, and she had given him “explicit confirmation” of the speech’s praise of women and warm reception.

It also contains, below, testimonies from named journalist eyewitnesses who all flatly contradict Connie St. Louis’ account.

Sir Tim Hunt was a guest of honour on June 8 at a luncheon held in honour of women scientists and engineers at a conference in Seoul.

zzzz science journalists hunt J

the only contemporary tweet during the lunch in Seoul 

Connie St. Louis Reports a Serious Attack on Women; Says Sir Tim Hunt Argued In Earnest That Labs Should Be Segregated

After this luncheon, Ms. St. Louis sent her now-notorious tweet accusing Sir Tim of having seriously insulted women in science, and seriously argued for sex-segregated laboratories.

CSL tweet

Ms. St. Louis went on the UK’s most listened-to programme, the Today Show on Radio 4. She was very insistent that Sir Tim had not been joking in any way, and that he was definitely advocating segregated laboratories.

Sarah Montague: Connie St. Louis, when he said this – I mean, you heard him, you were there – what was the reaction in the room?

Connie St. Louis: Well, there was a deathly silence, it was – who stands up and says “I hope the women have prepared the lunch”? “I’m a male chauvinist pig”. And at that point, you’d think he would get some social cues to say “Stop”, because nobody was laughing…these guys had been incredibly generous and thoughtful and inclusive by asking him to make comments at their lunch. …And I kept thinking… this is just too awful and these guys are incredibly upset.

And so this – after he’d finished, there was this deathly, deathly silence.

When Sir Tim later told the Guardian that his joke was meant to be sending up sexism, not women, and that it was misreported:

Crucially, Hunt said, he then added the words, “now seriously” before going on to praise the role of women in science and in Korean society. “The words ‘now seriously’ make it very clear that I was making a joke

Connie St. Louis was not having any of it. STOP DEFENDING SIR TIM HUNT, she wrote, also in the Guardian. He was NOT joking and he had absolutely not praised women in science or in Korea. If only that were true!

During Hunt’s outburst, the female Korean scientists and engineers were stunned and confused…Nobody was laughing. Hunt now claims he added the words “now seriously” …He did not say this, nor did he praise the role of women in science and in Korean society. I wish he had; things would have been so much better.

The EU Observer’s Report is Leaked

An internal report by an EU Observer (it is standard practice to write these up at such events, President Bourguinon told me) then leaked to the Times. It contained this ‘rough transcript, as best as I can remember.’ and a reaction in the room totally different from Connie St. Louis description:

‘It’s strange that such a chauvinist monster like me has been asked to speak to women scientists. Let me tell you about my trouble with girls. Three things happen when they are in the lab: you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticise them they cry. Perhaps we should make separate labs for boys and girls?’ Now seriously, I’m impressed by the economic development of Korea. And women scientists played, without doubt an important role in it. Science needs women and you should do science despite all the obstacles, and despite monsters like me.”

The official added: “Sir Tim didn’t ‘thank women for making lunch. I didn’t notice any uncomfortable silence or any awkwardness in the room as reported on social and then mainstream media.”

The official added that his neighbour, a woman from the Korean National Research Council of Science and Technology and an organiser of the conference, responded positively. “Without being asked, she said she was impressed that Sir Tim could improvise such a warm and funny speech (her words). Later she told me that all other Korean lunch participants she talked to didn’t notice or hear anything peculiar in Sir Tim’s speech.”

This, of course, backed up what Sir Tim had said from day 1. At first, Blum and Oransky did not deny the extra words and context when it put to them by the Times. I suggest that Blum’s reactions on twitter show that she was afraid there was a tape.

‘Can you confirm or refute this claim? The added context is important,’ she’s asked on Twitter the day before the times published.

It’s got some of the right elements but it’s not precisely what he said. It’s more polished.’

A fellow journalist at the lunch, Nataliya Demina of Russia, had challenged St. Louis’ and Blum’s account all along and did so again:

verified J

‘Verified by many?’ Deborah Blum was sitting right next to him.

But as it becomes clear that there’s no tape recording, Connie St. Louis and Deborah Blum, and their allies, go back on the attack. ‘Not a transcript! Not an official report! Complied late! Proves nothing!’

Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, President of the ERC, And Journalist Eyewitnesses Contradict St. Louis’ And Blum’s Account

I then do some fact-checking. There was one official document, the first, on the 10th June: a statement from the ERC President that was on the record.

President of the European Research Council on June 10th

Sir Tim Hunt has already apologised and explained that his impromptu comments were meant to be “light-hearted” and “ironic”, and that it was not his intention to demean women. In his main speech he was very supportive towards women in science and he said that he hoped there was nothing that barred women from science.

I can also add that during the time I have worked with him on the ERC Scientific Council he has only ever been a supporter of gender balance.

The ERC’s clear view is that women and men are equally able to perform frontier research at the highest level. This is the core of the ERC Gender Equality Plan, first endorsed in 2010 and revised in 2014. The plan is fully supported by the entire Scientific Council, including Sir Tim. The plan is available on the ERC website.

So…. being an ex-politician, as well as a journalist, I know that it is very difficult for political bodies to release documents, like the observer’s report, they have tried to suppress. I ignore the EU observer report because it is off the record, and I ask questions about the document which is on the record. For one thing, its date is closer to the speech – 10th June, when Connie St. Louis was talking to Today about the ‘deathly silence’ in the room.

I asked M. Bourguignon why he made the assertion that he did on June 10th that Sir Tim was in fact “very supportive to women in science.” He replied:

I based the relevant part of my June 10 statement on the testimonies of eye witnesses. These were confirmed by other testimonies that surfaced later.

7. As I recalled in the statement, gender balance has been an issue the Scientific Council has been concerned about for a long time and remains to be highly concerned with. A number of measures have been put in place, e.g. the plan quoted in the statement. All those required votes of the ERC Scientific Council, and Sir Tim always supported these pro-active actions.

Your question 7 has also another dimension, namely Sir Tim’s availability to interact with other researchers, in particular young ones, female and male of course. It is well known to very many people that, among people of his distinction, Sir Tim is exceptionally keen of talking both to audiences or to individuals about his experience and answering all kinds of question. This is precisely why I chose him to accompany two women ERC grantees to attend the very special conference in Seoul.

M. Bourguignon is clear – he heard at the time from eyewitnesses plural and confirmed it later that Sir Tim’s main speech was ‘very supportive to women in science.’

Could he shed any light on the claim that a Korean woman host had agreed with Nataliya Demina’s testimony that Tim Hunt was warmly received in the room? This was important as the head of the organization had belatedly, after the media storm, demanded an apology ‘on behalf of all women scientists in Korea and around the world’. She was contradicted by a female former pupil of Sir Tim’s, Professor Hyunsook Lee of Seoul University, who said ‘This does not sound like Tim at all’ and ‘he never treated me like a female scientist.’ If a Korean woman host present HAD INDEED praised the speech at the time, and testified to its warm reception, then the ‘apology demand’ would be so much guff from somebody who wasn’t there –  speaking on behalf of others.

Amazingly,  President Bourguignon stood up to be counted on this matter, too, and he delivered a genuine bombshell: not only had he received a verbal report on the day itself that corresponded with the contents of the written report, he had personally spoken to the Korean host himself in Brussels, face-to-face, and she confirmed the leaked account. A staffer had conveyed the reaction in the room of one of the Korean women hosts

who was present
and to whom I could speak later face-to-face (she
came later to Brussels) and get explicit confirmation of
how the event went”

Wow.

Just to recap: the leaked report said:

“Without being asked, [the Korean female host] said she was impressed that Sir Tim could improvise such a warm and funny speech (her words). Later she told me thatall other Korean lunch participants she talked to didn’t notice or hear anything peculiar in Sir Tim’s speech.”

So now we aren’t in the territory of unconfirmed, off the record reports any more. Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, President of the European Research Council, confirmed that day and face to face in Brussels later that this was the truth of poor Sir Tim’s lunch.

Before I got this bombshell email on Monday morning I had spent some time gathering evidence from other eyewitnesses. The Filipino journalist Timothy Dincali had taken this picture on his Facebook page on the day of the speech, at first captioning it just “Tim Hunt” on 8th June. Only as the controversy developed did he feel the need to change the caption to note he snapped the photo “at the very moment” Tim made the joke

UPDATE: New photo by journalist eyewitness Natalia Demina. remind yourselves: Connie St. Louis said ‘he wasn’t joking at all’ ‘everybody was stony faced'; Deborah Blum wrote ‘Before his attempts to pass it of as humour he told his co-panelist something else entirely’ ‘I asked him if he was joking and he just elaborated. Sigh’

Tim Hunt Natala demina

Tim Hunt was like a rabbit who came to a dark forest with wolfes. Next time let him take a dictophone and a videocamera – Nataliya Demina, Russian science journalist

 

In Timothy Dimacali’s photo, Sir Tim can be seen smiling, as can a Korean woman. Connie St. Louis can be seen with her translation earpiece still in her ear. She’s not looking at Sir Tim. A TV interview she gave to France 24 states that at first she didn’t even know who was talking. ‘

joking tim

I’m so embarrassed -all the way in Korea and here I am, listening to these ridiculous comments being made by a British man.” And then I suddenly realised he was Tim Hunt

But other journalists present were paying a lot more attention than Connie – even ones who thought the joke was inappropriate (such as Dincali), as well as those who were not at all offended:

Timothy Dincali:

As I keep telling people, he said it in a very lighthearted manner with no outward hint of malice, condescension, or derision…. I’m not surprised nobody had their recorders out. The luncheon was a very laid-back affair, and Hunt’s remark was just one of those usual bits of light banter made at the start to usher in the event while waiting for food. In Hunt’s case, it seems he was too laid back for his own good

Was it followed by praising women in science? Deborah Blum insisted that Hunt had praised women in science (sorry Connie) but afterwards gone on to be insulting and argue for sex-segregated labs:

Timothy Dincali

No – the joke came ahead of everything else. That much I’m certain of

Nataliya Demina, Russia: (female)

So for me his speech during the Lucheon was a real joke. I can’t help
people who felt offended. I didn’t even pay much notice at what he
said, I laughed and applauded as my neighbors at the table, and I was
surprised to know what a scandal arraised afterwards.

I was suprised that his critics didn’t publish his whole speech.
Connie St Loius published only the beggining as if Tim didn’t speak
anything else and she said that everybody in the Lucheon Hall was
offended. It wasn’t true. Many people laughed, because Tim also
laughed. Debora Blum rearranged the beginning and the end. I remember
that Tim joked in the beginning and then he said serious things about
the conference and about his lecture.

Pere Estupinya, Spain (male)

I don’t remember Tim Hunt’s exact works, but he said something positive about women scientists after his awful joke …. I mean: he definitely made the famous comments. He made them in an humoristic tone. …Then he said some positive words towards women.

Tan Siow Chin, Maylasia (female)

What has not been reported, which I feel is important and adds balance to his earlier comments, is that he also added that men would be the worse off for it (if the genders were segregated).
I did laugh at his comments, because it was very obvious to me that he was saying it in a very light-hearted and joking manner. I was not offended at all, because I did not think he meant it seriously, in particular, his comments on segregating the sexes. And yes, I did applaud as well.
I did not notice my neighbours’ reactions at the table – to be honest, I had come in late from the previous session and was busy with my lunch – but I don’t remember hearing any particular comments from anyone after Tim Hunt’s little speech.
I think that the whole incident has been blown way out of proportion, and that Tim Hunt has been made a scapegoat for sexism in science. This is really sad because I don’t think he thinks that female scientists are inferior to male scientists, which seems to me to be the point of the whole situation. In addition, if you look at the programme, the parallel session that was sponsored by the European Research Council during the conference and moderated by Tim Hunt had female scientists as its both speakers – hardly the action of a real male chauvinist pig, yes?

And did Sir Tim sit down to “stony silence” as Connie St. Louis insisted, having shocked all his Korean hosts? Well President Bourginon has confirmed that last bit was utterly false face-to-face with the Korean woman host thought Sir Tim’s speech was warm and funny. So do journalists Nataliya and Tan Siow Chin.

Opinions differed as to whether the joke was inappropriate or not. The Korean woman organizer and the Russian and Malaysian journalists all laughed; the men were more critical, including the Spanish and Australian and Filipino witnesses cited here – but nobody has said that Sir Tim was not joking. Without exception eyewitnesses have said he was joking and that he praised women in science AFTER the joke, not, as Blum claimed, before it. Mocking himself then praising women? Absolutely.

But let’s get down to the awful suggestion of sex-segregated labs – Connie and Deborah and Ivan of the ironically named ‘Retraction Watch’ all backed each other in the account that this was a genuine argument. No mention of ‘but men would be worse off’ and then the praise of women in science.Wouldn’t people be up in arms at such a suggestion?

Timothy Dincali was explicit: Nobody on his table had complained or discussed it for the whole rest of the lunch.

But what about the deadly, deadly silence? That’s not a matter of interpretation, is it? Either everybody was shocked, and silent as Sir Tim sat down, or they were not.

So was Connie at least accurate about the horrified reaction in the room?

Sarah Montague: Connie St. Louis, when he said this – I mean, you heard him, you were there – what was the reaction in the room?

Connie St. Louis: Well, there was a deathly silence, ……. after he’d finished, there was this deathly, deathly silence.

Spoiler: NO. NO SHE WAS NOT.

Dr, Scott Watkins (a critic of Hunt)

there was probably some polite applause, and it’s possible that some of the people did laugh with him at some of the comments.

Timothy James Dincali

there was a clear, definite applause immediately after he spoke. It was a polite applause, to be sure, but not a gentle nor quiet kind of applause. And it couldn’t have been misinterpreted as being for some other speaker precisely because it happened just as he sat down.

There was laughter and there was applause. Whether or not there were any misgivings in the audience about his remarks, the fact was that there was definite laughter and applause. Could it have been that the audience was simply being polite about it? Perhaps. But they definitely did not sit in stony silence.

He certainly did NOT sit down to stony silence. Putting aside whatever misgivings people might have had with his words immediately after, I can say with absolute certainty that the rest of the lunch proceeded normally.

Pere Estupinya

there were the typical applauses after his intervention, that was at least three to four minutes long….

….when he finished, there was the conventional applause after any intervention. It would have ben weird (and noticeable) if not….

Nataliya Demina

I am surprised to read Connie’s answers, as if we were at different luncheons. Many people smiled and applauded! I saw words about deadly silence and stone faces in CSL piece… that wasn’t true, people reacted quite differently. There are several eyewitnesses who also laughed and applauded as me, no deadly silence at all

Tan Siow Chin

I did laugh at his comments…. and yes, I did applaud as well.

So we now have debunked:

1. Connie St Louis – “Nobody was laughing – everybody was stony faced – when he finished, there was a deathly, deathly silence.” This is, quite simply, false on its face.

2. The President of the Korean Federation of who said all her members were scandalized – both Professor Hyunsook Lee and the female Korean conference host at the actual event totally contradict that issued statement days later. The Korean woman present spoke personally to the president of the ERC to confirm her view of Sir Tim’s speech, and of course, that no other Korean women she spoke to present noticed anything amiss:

3. Deborah Blum’s Storify account that Sir Tim opened with some praise of women but then finished only some jokes against them. Every other eyewitness says it was the other way round. Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, President, ERC, confirms on the record that he received oral eyewitness accounts plural that day of Sir Tim’s support for women scientists in that speech.

But what remains? Well, the rest of Blum’s storify – namely, that Sir Tim did really think that women were too emotional etc etc  – as opposed to his personal romantic problems (a lab romance is how he met his wife, Professor Mary Collins. But Blum knew what Sir Tim had said was controversial the day before, so where is her recording?

Tim talks

This photo was taken when I was asking him if he was joking, Blum said. Yes, I can certainly see who is joking and who is serious here Debs, you pillock (British term; non-gendered insult). Blum repeatedly claims the photographer Kathryn O’ Hara ‘backs’ and ‘confirms’ her account. She does not; she merely  took the photograph. Nor was O’Hara even present at the original lunch.

Blum should have produced a contemporary recording and transcript. Frankly, if she brought one up now I wouldn’t believe it.

(Somebody pointed me to a YouTube video of one of Sir Tim’s other lectures. He is frankly a bit of an old sweetie. And it seems he uses irony pretty often as a rhetorical device “And then a wonderful thing happened,” he says in the speech. “The lab burned down.” )

Sir Tim Hunt’s reported comments, as a serious attack on women in science, and an argument for sex-segregated labs – shocking everybody in the room, scandalizing his hosts, received in deathly silence,   were indeed dreadful – but nobody bothered to fact check if the reports were true. They were not true. They were false. 

And nobody bothered to ask any of the most very basic common sense questions:

1. If Sir Tim despised women in science so much, why would he agree to be the guest of honour at their lunch?

2. How likely is it that a British man of 72 would seriously attack his hosts before a lunch?

3. Had the guy ever asked for a single-sex lab in his entire life?

4. What was the conference programme, was he doing anything for women at the goddamned conference, such as agreeing to be guest of honour at the ‘Women Scientist/Engineer lunch’ and as the female Maylasian scientist points out, moderating a session to highlight two women scientist speakers?

If you look at the programme, the parallel session that was sponsored by the European Research Council during the conference and moderated by Tim Hunt had female scientists as its both speakers – hardly the action of a real male chauvinist pig, yes?

5. If Sir Tim despised “women in the lab” so much why did he marry Professor Mary Collins?

6. Sir Tim was there as representative of the ERC. Jean-Pierre Bourguignon told me three times that since 2010 he had been working on and voting for its ERC Gender Equality Plan – five years of work.

Professor Hyunsook Lee’s mentor has obviously done more for women in science in the last five years than his critics have done in a lifetime. He got a creche installed at the Okinawa Institute.

He hasn’t yet been as successful in his fight to get one installed in the Crick Institute but, he says, he will keep fighting.

The head of the Crick is Sir Paul Nurse, who – coincidentally – is also the President of the Royal Society,

Time to consider the new evidence, UCL and The Royal Society – isn’t that what scientists do?

And lastly for those Tim Hunt attackers with any shame whatsoever here he is on the ERC website fighting breast cancer for ‘Breast Cancer Awareness Month’. Tim Hunt not only fighting for the ERC’s gender equality plan and for creches in Okinawa and the Crick – he’s fighting for Breast Cancer awareness AND, er, fighting ACTUAL BREAST CANCER. You know, fighting for women’s lives. 

1. The European Research Council already funds several projects related to breast cancer. Can you tell us what the ERC’s added-value is in this  field?

The ERC aims to support excellent scientists who propose excellent projects with an investigator-driven or “bottom-up” approach. Research funding from the ERC supports basic research that is higher risk than the work supported by specialist funding agencies with longer time-lines. It has therefore the potential to be of greater benefit in terms of providing major novel discoveries that could lead to new insights and ultimately to cures. There have been excellent examples of this in breast cancer research. In former times, the only treatment for breast cancer was surgery, and the main area of research simply concerned how much tissue to cut out. There was almost no understanding of the fundamental causes of breast cancer. This is exactly where the ERC’s added-value now stands for as it funds excellent basic research in many fields, including Life Sciences.

Oh shut the hell up about Breast Cancer Sir Tim! Women don’t need you! Go away! You made a joke about your own wife! Report to the nearest police station! We have plenty of Nobel-prize winning cancer scientists, ten a penny, they are!  It’s not as if you write for Buzzfeed, is it?

Lunch correction buzzfeed J

PS: I shall write a separate blog on all the falsehoods and inconsistencies in the BBC Today Show’s reporting, which put words he didn’t say in Sir Tim’ mouth and edited ‘I was only being honest’ to make it apply to something else – and in Deborah Blum’s, Charles Seife’s, and Connie St. Louis’ accounts – but to have listed everything here would have been to bog down the main point: the President of the ERC contradicts Connie St. Louis’ versions of events, and so does the Korean woman host of the lunch and multiple eyewitnesses.

And so does Sir Tim Hunt’s record of support for women – not that any of the twitterstorm rushing to judgement gave a flying **** about that. Look! Vagenda’s got a hashtag! Who needs fact-checking?

Well, I guess I like to do things in a slightly more old fashioned way, you know, like finding witnesses and colleagues and asking them questions. 

They taught me that at Oxford. You might call it “data journalism”. As in – get some data.

The “feminist” who lobbied the Royal Society to strip Sir Tim Hunt of his committee position, Dorothy Bishop, is very much against making jokes about women, because, as she said of Sir Tim “You don’t need to be a decent human being” to be an FRS.

So Professor Dorothy Bishop, FRS, I’ll just leave this one here, shall I?

zzzz In love with him t hunt

due process J

The Royal Society’s ‘Diversity Committee’ Pre-Judged #TimHunt. Now UCL Should Give Him Due Process

Imagine the scene: you are a distinguished female scientist, a Professor and an employee of the college you work for, University College, London. You have a blameless employment record and have served your employer – and its students – with distinction for many years.

Suddenly you receive a call from a senior representative of your employer, pressurizing you about the actions of your spouse – actions you have nothing to do with, and do not understand as yet, because he is unable to speak for himself, as he is traveling back home from the far side of the world.

Your employer’s representative gives you a message for your spouse; he must resign, or he will be sacked. Your employer places you in the middle of its workplace drama with somebody else, a drama which, as a female scientist, you had nothing to do.

What a terrible, stressful suggestion – from your place of work – pass on its threat of public humiliation, without due process, to your beloved husband, an old man of 72, whom they are not allowing to come home and speak to them first.

That is what University College London apparently did to Professor Mary Collins; and the man said to have made the call is the Dean of Life Sciences, Professor Geraint Rees. Certainly he publicly tweeted about ‘taking action’ and ‘establishing facts’ on her husband before the University spoke to Sir Tim.

I don’t know if Professor Rees is in any way a superior to Professor Collins in the academic hierarchy. But why did UCL ask a woman employee to involve herself in its threats to the reputation of a member of her family? Is that not creating a hostile work environment?

I’d call that sexist, UCL. I’d call that bloody sexist. And if it happened, I don’t see how it can be either legal, or consistent with UCL policy towards paid employees.

What made this worse was that Professor Rees’s colleagues in academia, Professor David Colquhoun and Professor Dorothy Bishop*, had pre-judged Professor Collins’ husband and were actively campaigning to get him disciplined at the Royal Society and UCL – over a lie, and without fact-checking.

On Jun 7th Sir Tim Hunt was asked to say a few words at a luncheon speech in Seoul where he was supporting a conference of science journalists.

This speech included a self-deprecating joke about his own (factual) romance in the lab. It was not a joke about women scientists at all; it was a joke about his own romantic ineptitude, and it mocked sexist attitudes by saying “Now, seriously…” showing that the prior joke was irony, or sarcasm.

As is well known, Sir Tim and his wife, Professor Collins, met when she was his lab student and already married;  she left her former husband for Sir Tim; they remain married –  and they remain scientists.

“Let me tell you about my trouble with girls. Three things happen when they are in the lab: you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticise them they cry. Perhaps we should make separate labs for boys and girls? Now, seriously, I’m impressed by the economic development of Korea. And women scientists played, without doubt an important role in it. Science needs women, and you should do science, despite all the obstacles, and despite monsters like me.”

In his professional life Sir Tim Hunt has an active record of mentoring and promoting women that have been his students. He has never asked for single-sex labs or advocated for them. Eminent female scientists that have studied under him, including Professor Hyunsook Lee, Professor of Biological Sciences at Seoul Unversity, have come forward to say so.

On Jun 7th, journalist Connie St Louis tweeted a partial account of Sir Tim’s words leaving out “Now seriously….” and his praise of women in science. She insisted that he was deadly serious and had not praised the role of women in science. She also stated Sir Tim had ‘thanked the women present for making the lunch because that was their role’

Some journalists present, like Deborah Blum, backed her account in tweets. Others denied it.

I shall write a separate blog on the unethical and false reporting of this event by Connie St Louis, Deborah Blum, Charles Seife, and others; but the academics come first – they are meant to be evidence-based scientists, not political campaigners.

At this point Sir Tim Hunt, who was doubtless bewildered, had made no statements to the press at all that were made public.

On June 9th, before Sir Tim Hunt had been able to speak to his university, University College London, or any statement from him had been broadcast, three Professors – two with affiliations to UCL and one to the Royal Society were – without even speaking to Sir Tim – plotting to deprive him of his honours without due process of any kind. It is VERY IMPORTANT TO NOTE that they did so BEFORE his comments to Radio 4’s “Today” Show were broadcast.

They are: Professor David Colquhoun, Professor Dorothy Bishop – both of the “Diversity Committee” of the Royal Society, i understand – and Professor Geraint Rees.

[Edit – Professor Bishop has commented below and I have replied to her. She isn’t – thank God – on the Royal Society’s Diversity Committee – but she used it as the weapon for the smear campaign she waged on Sir Tim before he had said a word. As detailed here, she lobbied Professor Rees of UCL against him and she lobbied Colquhoun against him. I have removed statements that she is on the committee – she simply used the committee, via Colquhoun, demanding he be taken off his post where as her Royal Society colleague he serves. Again and again she is cited by Colquhoun for her demand that Sir Tim be forced out of the Royal Society’s committee – and UCL’s.]

Here is my evidence that all three pre-judged Sir Tim based on no evidence and without speaking to him: that they actively campaigned for the deprivation of his honorary posts.

comments made

This is unjust –  and academically unsound. “Science needs women” is an ironic comment, given that “Science needs women” were words Tim Hunt also said at that lunch. Dorothy Bishop suggests “WE ask that he not be on ….committees given his views.” What views? She cannot know them; at this stage she has only an unverified tweet contradicted by other witnesses.

“Am establishing facts,” Professor Rees says. How could he do so, without having spoken to Sir Tim Hunt? “And will consider further action when known.”

But the facts were NOT known and COULD NOT have been known without speaking to Sir Tim.

“Can the diversity committee respond to this?” says one Clare Burrage, tagging in Professors Colquhoun and Bishop and showing them the tweet of St. Louis. “OMG, how very disappointing,’ says Colquhoun, tagging in @UTAFrith. “Are you referring to #Huntgate?”

Cool hashtag bro. You’re so hip.

Colquhoun immediately tweets to another person. I suggest that he is clearly lobbying: “I think we can expect statements soon from @RoyalSociety and @ucl (where Hunt has hon appt) about Huntgate.” He then links to a Royal Society statement of distance; presumably he and the “Diversity Committee” have demanded it. A woman scientist tweets to Colquhoun “Did he really say it?” Colquhoun says, tellingly “I fear he may have. We are on the job.” On the job, Detective Professor? What, without a word from the accused?

On the Job J

“It’s totally contrary to the beliefs of @royalsociety and @ucl… not that I speak for either.” “Good!” Colquhoun exults, RTing a Royal Society tweet to Connie St Louis saying “Tim Hunt’s comments don’t reflect our views.”

How could the Royal Society know what Tim Hunt’s comments were? But let’s get back to the busy, busy anti-Hunt campaign by powerful member of the Royal Society’s Diversity Committee, Professor David Colquhoun, UCL. “The Royal Society is quick off the mark dissociating itself from Hunt’s dreadful comments #Huntgate.”

But his fellow Royal Society  member, Professor Dorothy Bishop, is not satisifed with the public shaming over a misreported joke about Prof. Hunt’s love life, and is using the Diversity Committee as her weapon. Again, at this stage Sir Tim Hunt had made NO reported comments to the press WHATSOEVER: “Not sure it’s enough. In five minutes or so Hunt has undermined all RS is trying to do on diversity. Need statement from Nurse.”

UCL Nurse J

That’s Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society, who joked that he wanted labs to be “marriage bureaus” and science students to fall in love and marry for visas. This wasn’t a view of the interview he discouraged: Nurse tweeted it out from the official Crick account. Can you say…… #DistractinglySexy?

Crick Nurse Sexy J

But I digress… Sir Paul’s cunning and #DistractinglySexy Crick laboratory has “distracted” me from the pre-judging campaign waged by Bishop and Colquhoun against a gentle old man, their distinguished colleague, who has supported women scientists all his working life, without the courtesy of speaking to him.

We are still before any comments made by Sir Tim Hunt.

“Well said, @girlinterruptin,” continues Colquhoun to the Oxonian scientist, linking to her blog. “Tim Hunt has no support. I expect more statements tomorrow.”

He and Bishop are a bit more open about how they are lobbying against Hunt, before speaking to him, and on the basis of a misleading, partial report, in the comments below this blog – before the Radio 4 Today Show was broadcast. Dorothy Bishop, FRS,  also says of Sir Tim Hunt, FRS, at that moment, still her colleague at the FRS and still on a committee of the Royal Society, “there is no requirement you be a decent human being.”

Let’s take a pause here: Bishop says Tim Hunt is not a decent human being, before he has made any comment whatsoever.

Bishop and Hunt Colquhoun human J

Into the pre-judgement, no-due-process fray, we now welcome Professor Geraint Rees, Dean of Life Sciences at University College London; who obliges Professor Colquhoun’s campaign with a tweet saying UCL rejects the “alleged views”. For good measure he too tags in @RoyalSociety – I expect at the explicit request of either or both of Professors Colquhoun and Bishop, but can’t be sure.

Wooh! An “alleged”!

But Professor David Colquhoun is certainly not going to allow a little disclaimer like “alleged” spoil his fun with Tim Hunt: “Very glad to see my dean coming out swinging on the Hunt affair,” he crows.

Coming out swinging.

Nobody has heard from, or spoken to, Sir Tim Hunt.

:Dean swinging J

But see! What light from yonder window breaks? Why, ’tis the Today Show on Radio Four and its producer Tom Feilden, who is has read the unpleasant comments calling Hunt not a decent human being and demanding the removal of his committee memberships before speaking to him.

‘Will you give me a call?” he asks of Bishop and Colquhoun. He also seeks comment from @UTAfrith. Amazingly, he did not ask @Demna25 to comment, as she was tweeting what a total absurdity Connie St Louis account of the event was. Feilden did not approach any defenders of Sir Tim Hunt on Twitter.

“Just called but you weren’t there,” says Colquhoun, although he obviously reaches Feilden later. Next, David Colquhoun approvingly cites as evidence of Tim Hunt’s wickedness a Buzzfeed piece that had to be retracted:

Tim Hunt did not say “Thanks to the women journalists for making lunch.” This was reported on Twitter, but was later corrected to note that it was said by a female politician. Jun. 10, 2015, at 7:59 a.m.

And in possibly his greatest hit, Professor David Colquhoun, University College London, Fellow of the Royal Society, “Diversity Committee” of the Royal Society, calls Sir Tim Hunt, 72, FRS, UCL (at that moment) a “misogynist.”

A misogynist. A person who hates women. Sir Tim Hunt.

Misogynistic Hunt Colquhoun J

I had a look. He’s edited it. Facebook preserves the edit history:

Yesterday saw a disaster for the advancement of women. Tim Hunt is reported to have made appallingly misogynistic comments about female scientists. The best report so far is on Buzzfeed

That would be the Buzzfeed “report” that Sir Tim Hunt “thanked women scientists for making his lunch” based on mis-read tweet which they retracted. Two days later Colquhoun added:

As a member of the Royal Society’s diversity committee, I feel pretty angry about his daft views. I’ve heard nothing like them for many decades. They have set back our work, temporarily.

In the comments underneath his post, Professor Colquhoun comes up with some KILLER evidence of what an UTTER WOMAN-HATING BASTARD Tim Hunt is:

Ice bucket challenge J

“Here you can see Tim Hunt tipping a bucket of ice water over his (very successful) wife”

Yes, that’s right, the married scientists had entered the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS. WHAT A PROPER PAIR OF [GENDERED INSULTS]!

At this point I am suspecting Professor Colquhoun doesn’t get out much.

But Tom Feilden of Radio 4 having solicited opinions only from arch-critics of Hunt has now got an interview up. I have asked the BBC many questions about this interview. I have received background partial answers which I cannot quote, and have requested on-the-record answers.

Here, however, is a summary:

In the piece, the presenter opens the segment by stating as a fact that Sir Tim Hunt said words he did not say, in an order he did not say them. She notes with sarcasm that Sir Tim had said he was joking and being ironic.

This was the first time the world had heard any statement at all that Tim Hunt was not only joking but joking ironically, that is, sending up himself, not sending up women.

However, the Today show does not broadcast Tim Hunt’s speech in his own defence, explaining what he meant by the joke and the irony of it. That is a basic, fundamental requirement of an impartial state broadcaster. It has never put those words or quotes online.

She then moves to a quote from Hunt, where he talks about emotion and crying without mentioning women at all. It ends “I only meant to be honest, really.”

Unchallenged, Connie St. Louis and Jennifer Rohn are allowed both to give negative views on Hunt and present, in the case of St. Louis, falsehoods as facts. St. Louis’s lies are so voluminous they require a separate blog, and I refer here to the lies in her account, not the lies on her CV. Rohn is the author of a “Lab-Lit” romance called “Experimental Heart” described by Science magazine’s reviewer, an oncologist, as an “accurate” portrayal of the “familiar” world of “dark-room romance.”

Ho-hum.

This broadcast, however, spliced the words “I was only being honest” away from where Sir Tim actually said them and put them after comments about crying (where women aren’t mentioned) to make it appear “I was just trying to be honest” referred to his views on women rather than about his own life. A later BBC audio of Sir Tim shows he clearly refers to his own life (as his joke did) and ends with the same words “I was just trying to be honest” – that is, about himself, not women in science.

bloggers all hours DC R4 hunt J

David Colquhoun then won the victory for which he had so ardently been lobbying. Tellingly, he said it “would have been sooner” “had he not been on a plane back from Korea.” Note his use of the word “job”, something he later denies Sir Tim had (after the backlash starts).

Tim Hunt resigned from his hon job J

The Today show audio was partial at best. “I was only being honest” appears to have been wrongly placed. At my university, Oxford, we were taught to examine primary sources and challenge assumptions. At the very least, it was clear on June 10th that there was more Sir Tim had told the BBC as the presenter referred to it “he claims he was joking“. But UCL did not ask Sir Tim. The Royal Society, whose President Sir Paul Nurse had made a much more #distractinglysexy joke about the Crick lab, did not ask Sir Tim.

Instead, it appears, Professor Geraint Rees, who had publicly stated he was “establishing the facts” and would take more action “when known” (they were not) – allegedly called Professor Mary Collins, an actual employee of University College London, and informed her that if Sir Tim did not resign he would be sacked. Professor Rees and UCL did not deny it when this was put to them by the Telegraph. I have given Professor Rees the chance to rebut this allegation over several days as part of public-interest journalism, and he has not. Still, if it was not Prof. Rees it was a senior colleague of Prof. Mary Collins and s/he was speaking for the employer.

This is #DistractinglySexist. This is dishonourable. This is evidence-free. This is unscientific. This is political. This is a hostile work environment for Professor Mary Collins. What had she to do with it? How will UCL explain their overtly sexist actions – not jokes, actions?

How will the Royal Society explain their actions towards Sir Tim Hunt FRS on no evidence that was tested – such as, was the Today show broadcast the full story in the right order and context?

How will they explain the pre-judgement of Sir Tim BEFORE the Today show broadcast by Professors Bishop and Colquhoun? How will the Royal Society explain their different approaches to the jokes of Hunt and Nurse?

UCL issued a statement about the matter that appears to be provably false:

Sir Tim Hunt’s personal decision to offer his resignation from his honorary position at UCL was a sad and unfortunate outcome of the comments he made in a speech last week. Media and online commentary played no part in UCL’s decision to accept his resignation. 

In a huge amount of back-tracking and scrambling Bishop and Colquhoun have referred to this last line again and again. But “media and online commentary” is the ONLY source UCL had over what Sir Tim Hunt had said in Korea. They had no other sources, because they did not speak to Sir Tim Hunt. His words on Radio 4 could have been – and in fact had been – heavily edited. They did not check with Sir Tim Hunt to see if this was the case. Thus, they had no sources other than media and online sources. Due process did not happen.

Neither did respect for the position and rights of their actual employee – Professor Mary Collins.

UCL has a Council on 9th July. Given the evidence that Sir Tim Hunt’s resignation was forced in a sexist manner via his wife, and that two of the most powerful pushing for it had pre-judged Sir Tim EVEN BEFORE THE EDITED TODAY SHOW PROGRAMME, Fellows of UCL, or whoever judges there, should ask that his honorary Professorship be restored.

The Royal Society, on similar grounds, should restore his honorary membership of whatever committee he was on.

And because of their campaigning and pre-judgement of Sir Tim, which was evidence-free, contrary to good science, Professors Dorothy Bishop and David Colquhoun should, in my view, both be asked to resign from the Diversity Committee of the Royal Society.

Sarah Vine J

And the last word on Sir Tim Hunt, described, pre-Today show, by Professor David Colquhoun as a “misogynist” and of whom Professor Dorothy Bishop (of Oxford University, I am ashamed to say) stated “You don’t need to be a decent human being” to be an FRS, should go to one of his former female science students, Hyunsook Lee, now a Professor of Biological Sciences at Seoul University, Korea:

Korean letter

Thank you very much for fighting cancer, Sir Tim Hunt, FRS, Nobel prize-winning biochemist. I am not a Professor of science like David Colquhoun nor a Pulitzer winner like Deborah Blum. But I am a woman and a feminist, and I am grateful for your scientific work and your life-long mentoring of, and support for, women.

 

* I called her “Deborah Bishop” when her name is “Dorothy Bishop.”

UPDATE: 18 questions for the @Guardian

Image

UPDATE: It would appear that – if Buzzfeed is right – an employee/s or agent/s of the New York Times and/or the Guardian knowingly and willingly smuggled life-endangering stolen intelligence across our borders:

Now the Times or an agent for the paper, too, appears to have carried digital files from the United Kingdom across international lines into the United States. Discussions of how to partner on the documents were carried out in person between top Guardian editors and Times executive editor Jill Abramson, all of whom declined to comment on the movement of documents. But it appears likely that someone at one of the two papers physically carried a drive with Snowden’s GCHQ leaks from London to New York or Washington — exactly what Miranda was stopped at Heathrow for doing.

Remember, the Guardian said they agreed to destroy their computers – all of them – that contained the intel; they professed that they did not know what David Miranda was carrying – I believe their corduroy pants to be on fire even as we speak.

If they lied and kept copies and physically shifted the data, the UK and US intelligence agencies should go after them full throttle for espionage. At the bottom of this blog we have the police opening a criminal investigation into Miranda – remember the relief against that bit is only temporary – for transporting this data… if the Guardian have done it, they should be pursued in exactly the same way. Same with the New York Times.

Being a journalist doesn’t allow you to traffic in intel that can endanger lives OR impair the ability of the UK to conduct its intelligence capabilities: The Miranda judge said that clearly today in his draft judgement.

http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/Resources/JCO/Documents/Judgments/queen-on-application-of-miranda-sshd.pdf

  1. It is also significant that one of the exceptions in Section 10 of the Contempt of Court Act 1981 to the protection for journalistic sources and in Article 10(2) is where the interests of national security require disclosure. In X v Morgan-Grampian (Publishers) [1996] 1 AC 1 at 43 it was stated that, once it is shown that disclosure will serve one of the interests specified in Section 10, ie. national security and interests of justice, “the necessity of disclosure follows almost automatically”.
  1. The court also considered inspection and disclosure for the purpose of protecting national security, including by preventing or avoiding the endangering the life of any person or the diminution of the counter-terrorism capability of Her Majesty’s Government (the terms of the exclusion from the undertaking the defendants were prepared to make) should be permitted in the limited period until 30 August, notwithstanding the high importance of protecting journalistic sources

We should also ask why the Guardian is panicking and has run to America (possibly with a copy of the Snowden data it would have been lying about not retaining in the UK).

I speculate, because RIPA and TACT were correctly used to force Miranda to share his passwords: and the UK government and police now have a whole bunch of stuff on Greenwald, Poitras, Miranda, Snowden, Wikileaks and the complicity of the Guardian. They know our guys – and the Americans – have them bang to rights and criminal charges and indictments for Greenwald et al may well be coming down the pipe.

Thanks once more to our security forces at Heathrow for their immense work in catching Greenwald and his non-citizen mule red-handed.

—————————————————————————————

 

1. Why did you initially lie about David Miranda not being offered a lawyer, and then fail  andto correct the record all day long?

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/18/glenn-greenwald-guardian-partner-detained-heathrow

To detain my partner for a full nine hours while denying him a lawyer, and then seize large amounts of his possessions, is clearly intended to send a message of intimidation to those of us who have been reporting on the NSA and GCHQ.

2. Why did you alter the original story that included this lie, wiping the fact that it was Glenn Greenwald who filed it?

http://www.trendingcentral.com/who-wrote-the-guardians-initial-report-on-david-miranda/

3. Having known all day long that Miranda had been offered a lawyer, why did you only run your interview with him admitting this at 10pm, after other UK papers had gone to bed and could not correct their supportive editorials?

4. Why did you first give the entire British press the misinformation that David Miranda was merely your journalist’s husband, when he had been paid by you to work on and “assist in the story”?

5. Since you claim the high ground on “press freedom” I am sure you will wish to be transparent, and address claims that you were not engaging in “journalism” here at all, but instead knowingly abetting espionage. Here we go:

You state

The Guardian paid for Miranda’s flights. Miranda is not an employee of the Guardian. As Greenwald’s partner, he often assists him in his work and the Guardian normally reimburses the expenses of someone aiding a reporter in such circumstances

You paid for David Miranda’s flights and expenses because, you claim, he was “assisting Glenn Greenwald” in his work.

But how was he assisting Glenn Greenwald? If he was transporting purely “journalistic materials”  why did Greenwald not use FedEx? If the data needed to be secure, why not use a P2P fileshare site? Why did the Guardian approve paying Miranda’s expenses when there are direct flights from Berlin to Rio that Poitras and Greenwald could have used?

Is it because Glenn Greenwald explained to you that as a US citizen he could not email, transport, or securely share stolen information about US and UK intelligence operations against foreign regimes without committing a serious felony and needed to use his husband as a mule?

In that case is not Guardian Media Group corporately responsible for abetting espionage against the United States and United Kingdom?

6. The question of “Exactly HOW was David Miranda “assisting” in the story while your paper was paying him to do so” arises even more strongly when we look at Miranda’s statements to US TV. Here is a video of him and Greenwald talking to Anderson Cooper at CNN. You will want to slide the cursor to 5:05.

Here you will note Miranda’s hilarious “not me guv” pretence of not being a mule and Glenn Greenwald’s corresponding smirk sitting next to him.

Miranda: “I don’t know that… I was just taking the fi- … those materials back to Glenn. You know Glenn been working with a lot of stories along the years…I didn’t quite follow everything that he writes every day…I can’t follow him, because I have to have a life.”

Get that, Mr. Rusbridger? Your man “assisting on the story” says that he doesn’t even know what this story is about, he wasn’t even paying attention to it, because he “has to have a life”.

In what way then was he assisting in the story and why was the Guardian paying for his flights and expenses – unless the paper knew that Miranda was needed to physically transport stolen classified US intelligence because, unlike Greenwald and Poitras, he is not a US citizen?

For what reason did you not ask Mr. Greenwald why flights and expenses were necessary for Mr. Miranda?

How precisely did you understand Mr. Miranda to be “assisting a reporter in his work”?

Assuming you knew that David Miranda was transporting incredibly damaging, life-threatening CIA and GCHQ national intelligence, how is the Guardian Media Group not complicit in this?

7. If the GMG is indeed complicit, through knowledge and payment, in the cross border smuggling of stolen NSA and GCHQ data, why should not the US authorities and the Home Secretary prepare corporate and criminal charges against the Guardian, David Miranda, Glenn Greenwald, and Laura Poitras?

8. I believe it to be the case (I am open to correction) that Mr. Rusbridger has stated he did not know what David Miranda was carrying. Is this not completely disingenuous, as the only way he would have paid for the flights would be he suspected a human mule was necessary to transport the dangerous files?

9. Alan Rusbridger tweeted what he claimed was a photo of a smashed Macbook destroyed by security services. In fact, the internet soon proved there were parts from at least four computers in the picture. Why was the Guardian storing unbelievably dangerous material that threatens our national security on as many as four office computers, at least, that could easily be remotely hacked by any number of foreign spy agencies?

10. On a total of how many drives and computers did the Guardian copy this material?

11. On a total of how many basic office computers around the world has Guardian Media Group made copies of this material?

12. You know that on Portugese TV your reporter Glenn Greenwald threatened revenge exposure of British spy agencies, & that Mr. Rusbridger claimed this would not happen. Yet yesterday the Independent newspaper exposed a top secret British base working against our enemies in the Middle East, thereby endangering British intelligence efforts against terrorism and the lives of British intelligence agents?

13. Did the Guardian Media Group or, to your knowledge, any of its employees, particularly Mr. Greenwald, leak this incredibly damaging story that endangers UK intel to the Independent, out of a desire for revenge?

14. Why did you assert that Mr. Miranda was carrying “journalistic materials” if you claim you had no idea what he was carrying?

15. Why do you assert that journalism – reporting about a story or news item – is the same as possessing, smuggling, and copying, stolen classified intelligence information that endangers the life and work of British intelligence agents?

16. In deciding to insecurely hold this information on multiple office computers and goodness knows what other means, were you aware that (again speaking in a foreign language) your “reporter” Glenn Greenwald said to Argentina’s La Nacion:

http://www.standard.co.uk/comment/comment/matthew-dancona-in-this-spy-story-the-state-is-not-so-clearcut-a-villain-8777943.html

Last month, Greenwald told the Argentinian daily newspaper, La Nacion, that Snowden had “enough information to cause more harm to the US government in a single minute than any other person has ever had”

If you are not aware of this, why not? If you are aware of this, why is Guardian Media Group storing this information on insecure basic office computers?

17. Since Mr. Greenwald has made you aware of the incredibly damaging and dangerous nature of this information, why have you not supplied copies to the US and UK governments, so that they can see what Snowden has leaked to China, Russia and Wikileaks, and take steps to protect the lives of their agents and intelligence assets – lives that you and Guardian Media Group are well aware are now at risk from exposure?

Because you yourselves have said you have held back even more damaging and identifying material, you clearly have had sight of it. Why are you not allowing the US and UK to also have sight of it so we can protect our people? Do you literally not care about their lives, knowing full well they’re endangered by your reporter, Glenn Greenwald?

18. Why are you disabling questions on the ironically-named “Comment is Free” on your Greenwald articles? Is it because you have no shame?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/10259658/Scotland-Yard-launch-criminal-investigation-over-David-Miranda-data.html

Jonathan Laidlaw QC, appearing for Scotland Yard to oppose a legal challenge by Mr Miranda, said: “That which has been inspected contains, in the view of the police, highly sensitive material the disclosure of which would be gravely injurious to public safety and thus the police have now initiated a criminal investigation.

“I am not proposing to say anything else which might alert potential defendants here or abroad to the nature and the ambit of the criminal investigation which has now been started.”

He added that the material amounted to “tens of thousands of highly classified UK documents”.

The Guardian/Observer and the Indonesian Farting God

Madsen2

Why so coy, Guardian and Observer Weakend?

We all know you pulled your front page splash from the Observer on NSA snooping, after Twitter pointed out that your source, Wayne Madsen, was a grade A nut job.

Today and last night, the apparently real Twitter account @WMRDC posted the following:

The real “fruit loops”: Michael Moynihan, Damian Thompson, “Prof” John Schindler, Louise Mensch, Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs.

Me and Michael Moynihan? Charles Johnson? Damian Thompson? Too kind, sir, too kind.

I then went through and had a little look at Mr. Madsen’s account. Apparently it is real, as it has been posted links to his nutjob website since 2009. I thought I would treat you all to a few of his previously posted tweets, all easy to see on his recent stream and available to the staff of the Guardian and the Observer.

UK sex scandal: It’s Bo Jo and Sam Cam (Mayor of London and PM’s wife). More at http://WayneMadsenReport.com 

Was Obama’s mother a secret worshiper of an Indonesian farting dwarf god? Today at http://WayneMadsenReport.com 

Evidence that Cheney had Saddam’s chief banker murdered to steal his money. Today at http://WayneMadsenReport.com 

Is Obama a member of a secretive sect – the Subud? Today at http://WayneMadsenReport.com 

More evidence emerges of Breivik’s links to Israel. Today at WayneMadsenReport.com

New 9/11 information points to domestic treason terrorism behind attacks. Today at WayneMadsenReport.com

Arabic-speaking Mossad teams directed 9/11 “hijacking” cells. Today at WayneMadsenReport.com

Was Obama’s mother a CIA economic hit woman? Today at WayneMadsenReport.com

Murder of GCHQ man fits old British intelligence modus operandi. Today at WayneMadsenReport.com

Proof: CIA actively recruited at Occidental when Obama was student. Today at WayneMadsenReport.com

Add Obama’s maternal grandfather to list of CIA family members. Today at WayneMadsenReport.com

Is Obama a real-life “Manchurian Candidate?” Today at WayneMadsenReport.com

The CIA connections of President Obama’s father. Today at WayneMadsenReport.com

The CIA-Mossad-Saudi network that launched Al Qaeda. Today at WayneMadsenReport.com

Obama’s gay Chicago past linked to murder of Obama’s former church’s choir director. Today at WayneMadsenReport.com

Wow. Personally, I’m really impressed by the Obamas, aren’t you? They’re like the Corleones, but Hawaian. Or like that family in Spy Kids or something. Mother! Father! Grandfather! Son! All CIA agents! Members of the secret Sudud society! And worshippers of the Indonesian Farting God!

You don’t mess with the Indonesian Farting God, boyeee.

Now according to this impeccable source, The Observer actually had their splash on the first editions of the physical paper on Sunday, but unlike them, I would prefer to actually double check it.

Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) who broke the massively important #Snowden story was clearly embarrassed by this epic journalistic FUBAR. He personally had nothing to do with the story, but it is not good enough to say that the Guardian and Observer are separate. They are clearly not separate. The story was front page on the Guardian website, under the Guardian brand; the Guardian must take responsibility.

The Daily Beast also alleges that the writer appears not even to have spoken to Madsen, his “source”, and to have plagiarised a blog called “PrivacySurgeon.org”:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/07/01/nsa-nutjob-anatomy-of-a-fake-observer-story.html

And overlooked by those piling on The Observer was the rather significant fact that the paper appears not to have spoken to Madsen, instead mining quotes from an interview he gave to a blog called  PrivacySurgeon.org. (Indeed, some of Doward’s language is very similar to the source material, but why kick a man when he’s down?)

The Guardian’s US Editor responded on Twitter that they had removed the story, to which Harry Cole provided the perfect riposte:

@janinegibson: Observerstory, taken down while editors look at it.” <- They’re meant to do that before you publish it.

So a few questions remain for that beacon of transparency and of getting other journalists locked up, the Guardian:

1. Did your reporter plagiarise his Madsen quotes, and/or language, from a blog as suggested by the Daily Beast?

2. Did your reporter even speak to Wayne Madsen?

3. Did your reporter google or search the Twitter feed of Madsen and if not, why not?

4. Why are you pretending that the Guardian and the Observer are separate when they have the same editor and the story was front page on the Guardian website?

5. If they are separate, why was it @JanineGibson, Twit Bio “Editor in Chief, Guardian US” who responded and pulled the story?

6. Why did “editors look at” a front page story only after the Internet had Fisked it? What is the Guardian/Observer’s practice in terms of editorial checking on major stories? If such a giant story was run on the front page with zero checks or controls, how can readers have any confidence you check any of your stories?

7. Did the story make the printed first edition of the Observer?

Comment is Free was good enough to ask to reprint my blog on privilege-checking; I double dog dare them to reprint this one, and let their own readership hold them to account on “journalism” that goes beyond mere shoddiness to allegations of quote-mining.

Lastly, what are the consequences at the paper for running stories sourced like this?