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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?

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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

86 comments

  1. Dr Chris Westwood · July 21, 2015

    They have destroyed Hunt. Even vindicated, his life will nevever be the same again. As for that revolting crowd at UCL, words fail me. They appear not to realise how easy it is to break into a Twitter thread and see what they are Tweeting. You do not even need a Twitter account. Once you access one thread you can follow individual contributors and work your way through UCL. Do not be fooled into believing that UCL academics are supporting Hunt because I found little evidence for it. One young lady descrbed him as nobb. Absolutely charming. He is well away from that place, as is any potential student wanting a decent education.

    • ujwalk93 · March 29

      Exactly, UCL is a third-rate cheap institution

  2. St. John-Smythe · July 21, 2015

    Well done to Jeremy Hornsby. He had made a will out for one million quid to UCL, but now he has changed his mind in support of Tim.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/11748844/Author-drops-UCL-from-1m-will-over-Sir-Tim-Hunts-treatment.html

    If you want to fight this then rule number one is you have to hit them where it hurts. They ignore petitions and letters. I’ve written to two of the bigwigs at UCL already, and they obviously won’t get sacked either. So you have to kind of create a sort of avalanche effect where one good deed leads and inspires the next. UCL may well end up dropping out of the position they are in, as more and more talented scientists walk the other way.

    It’s a rotten apple. It has to be seen by the rest that you can’t do this to your people. If anyone else is working at this foul institution then I suggest knocking on Michael Arthur’s office door, telling him straight that he is wrong, and that if he does not change his mind then you are out. Then go.

    .
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    Support Tim Hunt – Support Real Science – Boycott UCL & City University

  3. delphinium123 · July 21, 2015

    Totally brilliant, forensic, account of what happened. Good work.

  4. Saurabh Jha (@RogueRad) · July 21, 2015

    Brilliant work. There’s a lot of morals in the story but for me, sadly, it is that joking in public may not be worth the gains. I once made fun of Just Kidding. http://qz.com/427200/americans-ruin-their-jokes-with-two-simple-letters-miserable-twits/ I think I’ll be using the phrase more often.

  5. Back in the old days, when someone so utterly – and with total contempt – failed the public trust the way these journalists have, the people would haul the naked from their offices for a good ol’ tar and feathering.

    We have lost much by abandoning the old ways…

  6. tlitb1 · July 21, 2015

    And to think you leave on the cutting room floor the Radio 4 Today editor, Tom Feilden, trying to gaslight us all by telling us not believe our lying ears:

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

    Er, no Tom. He doesn’t, unless you have tapes you haven’t broadcast? – Tom will never answer this, trust me😉

    Congratulations to Louise Mensch. She has left no wriggle room here for anyone wanting to try and honestly argue that Tim Hunt deserved an ounce of condemnation he received.

    As for the hard core remainder, the only options I see will be either going quiet or becoming even more delightfully OTT egregious in their sophistry🙂

    I think this work By Louise Mensch will be later seen as part of a watershed and corrective to the status of wave of noisy political activists that have undermined the trust in reporting today.

    • Dr Chris Westwood · July 21, 2015

      It is essential that BBC are made to come clean on that radio broadcast. They definitely don’t want this festering for too long with license fees being reviewed. Bishop and Colquohoun (Twitter traffic) are now using this as their last line of defence. It would be lovely to see them looking exposed when this collapses round their necks.

    • BadMemory · July 21, 2015

      Sarah Montague: “There are three problems with having women in the laboratory – according to the Nobel laureate Sir Tim Hunt …” The only time these words occur – R4 10/05/2015

      This is the “splice” – the edit:
      https://photos.google.com/search/_tra_/photo/AF1QipMf_XW6MRvL1SOOQFz–TZI7plx1uZxa9KXhqhK

      “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.”

      Identical recording used twice preceded by different clips, different contexts.

  7. Pingback: 1 – Nobel Laureate Tim Hunt was fired due to false reporting | Exploding Ads
  8. Mike Hollingsworth · July 21, 2015

    Brilliant. An absolutely brilliant piece of forensic journalism. Will it change anything – I do hope so, but won’t hold my breath!

  9. John Martin · July 21, 2015

    Several prominent academics were most quick to adopt the high moral ground, one of whom strongly intimated, on June 14th 2015, that Tim Hunt only got what he deserved and if he had “to weather a few bad weeks, well so be it” http://www.michaeleisen.org/blog/?p=1728

    They now complain of the vehemence of his defenders and engage in smug hand-washing double talk to deflect attention from their central role in this shameless vilification. An apology would indeed be the honorable option but that’s not in their hearts it seems? An episode that will live in ignominy for the perpetrators?

  10. Clarissa · July 21, 2015

    Reblogged this on Clarissa's Blog and commented:
    People, you’ve got to read this. Remember this huge scandal around the Nobel – winning scientist who was accused of denigrating female scientists? It was all completely manufactured by scuzzy journalists poised to exploit the public ‘ s love of Twitter outrage. It’s absolutely shocking. The guy was vilified, and now the world has moved to another fake outrage and nobody cares that this was all just a setup.

  11. Amy Alkon (@amyalkon) · July 21, 2015

    Louise,
    Thank you — for being one of the few who has stood up against the mob. Please consider doing an investigation of the ruin that was done to former Sci Am blogs editor Bora Zivkovic. He was not guilty of the “sexual harassment” he was accused of, but all of these supposed science writer “skeptics” just nodded their heads and scheduled the witch-burning.

  12. Venkat Swamy · July 22, 2015

    The damage to the reputation of a man who has sailed through most part of his life is done. Now that the hunter appears to have been on the wrong track, where does that leave the hunted? Will the media, including the social media take up the task of undertaking the repairs and even if it does, to what end. Out of about 100 journos, only this one bright head got all the nasty ideas and digging in, one gets the feel that hunter’s head with all the entrapments inside was not where it ought to have been.

  13. Greg Gauthier · July 22, 2015

    Until someone is willing to bring the law down upon the real liars, defamers, and abusers — and corrupt, self-serving enablers in the media who propel them to stardom — this will continue to happen, over, and over, and over again.

    So much for #EndBullying

    But the socially acceptable narrative would be shattered if we actually acknowledged who the real bullies are: The so-called “social justice warriors”, who are ironically anti-social, anti-justice, and perhaps the most cowardly and craven “warriors” this planet has ever seen.

    • Ivana Fulli MD · July 22, 2015

      Disagreed on your putting the blame on a social media storm when Sir Tim Hunt ‘s reputation and positions of power in science promotion at the EU & the RS could have been easily preserved by an absence of heavy lobbying against him by senior fellow academics uninterested in what he had to say in his defense and more professional press coverage following the big lies by a lecturer in journalism lying on her university CV and lying on Sir Pr Tim Hunt ‘ s informal speech at a conference lunch ( and answers from the audience).

  14. David Collum · July 22, 2015

    Thank you Louise.

    • Louise Mensch · July 22, 2015

      Thank you very much Professor Collum. Others should know he is a professor of chemistry at Cornell in the U.S. The witness of senior academics stunned that UCL would act before even speaking to Sir Tim has been very important. I think it shamed Sir Paul Nurse into doing what he did. In Britain, Nurse coming out for Hunt, against UCL was vindication. The actions of American heavyweights like Professor Collum of Cornell, Professor Taleb of NYU, counted with Nurse. That is my theory. No senior academic would swap plaudits from twitter morons for the respect of his or her peers. So it proved when Nurse stood up to be counted.

  15. Roland Paterson-Jones · July 22, 2015

    Wonderful, thanks.

  16. Ivana Fulli MD · July 22, 2015

    Thank you from the heart for comprehensive and professional pieces of investigative journalism in a sad story of a couple of great scientists bullied by UCL into a hasty demission of the husband, Sir Tim Hunt, not only from an honorary position at UCL but from very active positions of power he used apparently to do good in promoting biological research,and helping women researchers along the way, both at the RS and through an EU position.
    How silly can it be to pretend Sir Pr Tim Hunt didn’t lose any active position when he quit his lab work to promote scientific research and can’t do it anymore for the time being ? ( NB: He was precisely acting as an EU scientific expert during the Conference where he was to be receiving a very dishonest treatment by his hosts and a lecturer in journalism who used blatant and repeated lies to destroy his character with the eager help of two fellow academics.)

    I do hope an editor somewhere will ask you to publish a book using this sad and fascinating story In order to help the professional media and academia to behave in a more acceptable way next time political correctness gone mad uses feminism or indeed any other worthy societal issue to persecute an outstanding exceptional high quality scientist like it did with Mark Taylor and Sir Tim Hunt.

    You obviously deserve a rest after your hard work but please let us know on Twitter if the NYT offered you any answer and if The Guardian and the BBC among other do correct their infamous errors in publishing lies. How can the lies of Connie Saint Louis the lecturer in journalism who smeared Sir Tim Hunt can still be available to readers without any correction in “The Guardian” for example is something I find disturbing.

    Clients need to trust their doctors won’t prescribe them and keep prescribing them treatments because doctors are on Pharma payroll or because doctors want money (and or fame) from a therapy or any medical or surgical procedure with complete disregard for the benefits and side effects of those treatment or procedure for their patients.

    Readers need to be able to trust that at least big name journals like The Guardian, the NYT, Scientific American won’t let an important story be told in an unprofessional and dishonest manner just because potent science journalists chose to back up a chronic liar who unfortunately happens to be a lecturer in journalism. Why would enough people keep buying and read journals in the absence of professionalism in correcting of mistakes ?

  17. Nodar · July 22, 2015

    Great work, thanks. How did I hope the story was more of an accidental explosion, so to speak.
    And I just fail to see what those “big guns” hoped to gain by becoming the foundation stones for such a story — was it simply to portray themselves as defenders of “the right thing to think” of the day? Did they hope there will be no support for Sir Tim and when it turned out otherwise they couldn’t but to continue along the same path?
    Many thanks indeed, I enjoyed the piece immensely.

  18. Fred Wyropiquet · July 22, 2015

    If you can gain the scalp of a distinguished Nobel prize-winning scientist then you have the power to seriously threaten anyone. How you misuse that power is another matter. The administration of UCL have granted that power to anyone who wishes to wield it with the false flag of anti-sexism/racism etc. Those with the clear responsibility for good order and to defend their people have stupidly done the opposite and cowardly failed to correct their mistake.

    The first losers are those who stood to gain by decent promotion of women in science, swiftly followed by anyone who dares look at a bully ‘the wrong way’.

  19. Rob McMillin · July 22, 2015

    Great essay. The hive mind of modern feminism demands adherence to a narrative that bears no resemblance to reality. That reality requires constant reconstruction, as a building with a shabby foundation. I hope Sir Tim can get his name back, and his honor.

  20. telescoper · July 22, 2015

    So sexist remarks are OK, but only if people laugh at them?

    • Prentiz · July 22, 2015

      Did you actually bother to read any of this article before commenting? Nothing said was sexist.

      • telescoper · July 22, 2015

        Yes, I did. Thank you for asking. I think he spoke for longer than 13 seconds, however.

      • jhudd · July 22, 2015

        I think the part you miss is that we do not know what he said beyond those 13 seconds. All we know is that his accusers have lied about the 13 seconds that we do know about (and other matters). It is possible that he made sexist remarks, and possible that he did not. What is not possible (given the facts) is that his accusers told the truth.

      • louisemensch · July 24, 2015

        quite so. 13 seconds is sufficient to prove:

        1. omission of congratulations
        2. Self-deprecation (on “monsters”)
        3. Lying on ‘nobody laughed’ and ‘deathly deathly silence’
        4. Deliberate non-reporting on all of the above by the senior editors present
        5. Warm reaction of audience

        It’s amazing what 13 seconds of sound can do. Scientists; add a working Go-Pro to your travel equipment

    • Ivana Fulli MD · July 22, 2015

      You are free to find any joke unacceptable but many of us object to being told blatant lies by a journalist lecturer about a nobel laureate ‘s joke and the fact that the joke wasn’t received by a “deadly, deadly silence ” but pearls of laughters and applauses is one of the blatant lies Pr Sir Tim Hunt and the public were the victims of. Other were the addition of pretending he had thanked the women for making lunch and advocated for single sex labs and the omission of his following his joke by ” Now seriously”; Not to mention Connie Saint Louis pretending that she had compared written notes of the informal discourse with Oransky and Blum when the former publicly denied the three of them has any written notes on this informal toast before a lunch.
      Some people could have been enraged by what Pr Sir Tim Hunt actually said since another great scientist, Mark Taylor -who headed the team including women landing for the first time a robot on a comet- suffered hell at a time of immense success for him and his team for wearing a Hawaiian shirt with printed sexy women a female friend had made for him. It’s another matter altogether and not the subject of this hard working and great quality journalist’s article.
      .

    • Paul Matthews · July 22, 2015

      I wonder whether Professor Coles bothered to listen to the 13 second audio clip.

      • telescoper · July 22, 2015

        I did.

    • delphinium123 · July 22, 2015

      Not sexist at all. Hear what was actually said, and the context in which it was said. Layers of lies will not take away the truth of the matter, which Mensch has admirably uncovered.

      • telescoper · July 22, 2015

        Unfortunately that’s not possible. I can only hear the 13 seconds on the clip, followed by a few people laughing in the way people do when they’re embarrassed.

      • tlitb1 · July 23, 2015

        @telescoper · 19 Hours Ago

        “I can only hear the 13 seconds on the clip, followed by a few people laughing in the way people do when they’re embarrassed.”

        Doesn’t that make you wonder why Connie St Louis didn’t tell us at the time that people laughed in embarrassment?

        Or is your inquisitiveness, like your hearing, selective?😉

    • A.J. Simonsen · July 22, 2015

      It’s not sexist to have a different point of view, a different sense of humor or simply to
      have a sense of humor. Thank you for your tireless work on the Ms. Mensch.

    • Louise Mensch · July 22, 2015

      Professor,

      You need to not just hear that audio but acknowledge witness testimony that his joke was not sexist and, even in jest, he did not advocate sex-segregated labs.

    • Exactly. You know laughter can mask nervousness, too? Just because there was laughter and clapping does not mean he didn’t make sexist remarks. Yeah, maybe they just clapped out of politeness and laughed because they were uncomfortable.

      • Nodar · July 28, 2015

        That is not the point, now, is it? The point is misreporting (let’s put it mildly).
        Exercises in “popular psychology” — which could explain whatever one wants — serve no purpose, that is.

    • Mickelodian Ranks · July 25

      You didn’t read it at all did you? Or listen to the recordings… he wasn’t being sexist, thats the entire point! Precisely the opposite in fact…… Now I know this is obviously going to be difficult for you to grasp, maybe iif you get some crayons you can draw a nice picture that might explain it and color it in? But the entire thing, from start to finish, despite your clear inability to grasp it, was an exercise in quote mining to infer the opposite by an unqualified person posing on their CV as qualified with an axe to grind. Someone that should never have been in that job in the first place. A person who outright lied on their CV, not embellished it but lied outright!

      She even went on to mention how the things she had heard (which she could not have because its recorded) were matched by someone else, which they were not. The word we use for that is ‘lying!’. Connie Louis lied, outright, and then went on to compound that with further lies to back up her original lies!

      She (Louis) was then supported by news media who even stooped to cutting bits out of recordings that demonstrated they were wrong, after the fact. And all to end the career of a man who is married to a woman in science that he met doing the job, in the lab! Did it not occur to you that he might be referencing that?

      Those laughing were doing so because Tim Hunt was pretending to be prejudicial, tongue in cheek, and in fact insulting those who would demean women in the workplace… . Its called irony… In fact Tim is married to an immunologist, and here’s the irony… Tim and Mary MET in the lab!

      You should add this concept of ‘irony’ into your ideology… it’ll help to ensure you don’t mistakes, that you don’t actually start thinking the Flintstones is a bloody documentary or that Schrodinger really put a bloody cat in a box!

  21. maartenp · July 22, 2015

    What a great and thorough piece. Thank you for your tenacity in unraveling this tangle of lies. The whole affair also has opened my eyes as to how politicized and unproductive our institutions of higher learning have become. That does not bode well for the future.

  22. Michael Pyshnov · July 22, 2015

    OK, Louise, you clearly showed that the three witnesses lied, that they presented Tim Hunt speech as a “sexist” while they KNEW that it was not “sexist”.
    But now there is a bigger question: What interest they had in doing this?
    It should have been something else, not “sexism”, that was the reason for the attack on Tim Hunt, and, the “sexism” appears now as an invented pretext. This is unavoidable conclusion, and it needs answer. Are there any clues, well, considering that UCL administration immediately demanded his resignation, i. e. the three witnesses obviously had connection with Arthur?

  23. Keitho · July 22, 2015

    A dreadful event indeed. Reminiscent in every way of the Rotherham scandal. People just cowering in the face of Political Correctness and I am not just referring to sexism. Ms St Louis has a lot to answer for.

    • St. John-Smythe · July 23, 2015

      I don’t think she has a lot to answer for except for being stupid, as in the role of useful idiot. The same sham media have plastered her face everywhere, but they forget the other two. One is Blum, and the other is Oransky. Both are far better connected to the system than she is. They both operate from America, which is where political correctness was invented, along with feminism. The reason that they have not reinstated Tim is because the Americans have told them not to. We are talking about high-up power here, not university politics. It’s a major political revolution going on, as is clear to anyone who has studied it. Michael Arthur has effectively been told what to do. Also Oransky received $400 000 from the Mac Arthur Foundation in December last year. We also know St Louis got £50 K to write a book she has not written. This was from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Do you get the picture? It’s not her, but a conspiracy. She’s the pawn. So follow the line of power. She’s effectively a decoy, and she is too stupid to be the instigator. She’s just stupid enough to take the blame.

  24. Carol M · July 22, 2015

    What a sordid tale of truly horrible sub-human beings. Let us pray that karma finds these sham reporters sooner than later.

  25. harwork · July 23, 2015

    Dear Louise,
    I am not a journalist, so I do not know how Telegraph works, I try to post the link http://unfashionista.com in the comments section after this articles
    Should we forgive old men for making sexist remarks?
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/thinking-man/11756189/Should-we-forgive-old-men-for-making-sexist-remarks.html#disqus_thread

    About 7 times, and my comments were deleted, and one left without http://unfashionista.com link.
    I did not know that telegraph cherrypicks the comments to suit.
    You can try yourself and see.
    Thank you.

    • Andrew Cranston · August 10, 2015

      Keywords
      Watch out for them because web bots pick them up. For example, if you were to talk about something which rhymes with tigger, then it would be picked up and sent to the mods. Even if that does not happen, there are other webbots operating, and if they pick it up then some professional protester types, often from America, will press the report button and the Telegraph will slavishly obey. The solution to this problem is something called unicode. Use this character set for some letters. I’ve got these you can use. Just copy and paste them in. àßċďēğħĨĴķĻńōřśţũŵŸź e.g. ţim Huńt

  26. Pingback: WTF | Izuru
  27. Con · July 24, 2015

    She wrote a column in the Guardian about the Tim Hunt affair. The Guardian edited it repeatedly to try to make it readable, and didn’t note that it had been edited – contrary to their usual policy on edits. If you read the original effort, no longer available on the Guardian site, you can see why.

    Fortunately thanks to the efforts of the Internet Archive you can read the, appallingly written, original effort at:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20150623163921/http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jun/23/stop-defending-tim-hunt-brian-cox-richard-dawkins

    Somehow City University believes that the talent that wrote that garbage is a fitting person to be the the Director of their M.A. program in “Science Journalism”. Personally I wouldn’t hire her to teach kindergarten English. However I’m sure that City University students feel that their fees are well spent in remunerating this woman for their education.

    • Dr Chris Westwood · July 26, 2015

      I have bad news for you. Her students probably idolise her. These are student journalists, and student journalists have form on using the power of their student newspaper to attack anyone they dislike. I can remember the student newspaper during my post graduate studies attacking anyone who made a stand against left wing thugs. The fact that piles of their foul rags remained unsold perturbed them not one bit. They had the power. Just a low form of humanity.

      • Nodar · July 26, 2015

        It certainly reminds one of “The History Man”

      • Fred Wyropiquet · July 26, 2015

        The possibility that this may be true is reason to pursue the matter beyond mere confirmation that the original report was false. If journalist students get the idea that they can get away with bullying using false reports (either deliberately fashioned or through carelessness or prejudice) the repercussions on our society are unacceptable. Only fast corrections and apologies should save such transgressions from universal condemnation.

  28. harwork · July 24, 2015

    Dear Louise,
    Why did you not publish this message? So you are also cherry picking the comments as well!
    ———

    Dear Louise,
    I am not a journalist, so I do not know how Telegraph works, I try to post the link http://unfashionista.com in the comments section after this articles
    Should we forgive old men for making sexist remarks?
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/thinking-man/11756189/Should-we-forgive-old-men-for-making-sexist-remarks.html#disqus_thread

    About 7 times, and my comments were deleted, and one left without http://unfashionista.com link.
    I did not know that telegraph cherrypicks the comments to suit.
    You can try yourself and see.
    Thank you.

    • louisemensch · July 24, 2015

      Hi there,

      haven’t been on the blog sorry. When you post on wordpress with more than one link in your post it goes to spam. i am sorry

  29. Kef Schecter · July 24, 2015

    Sorry to nitpick, but when the article says “It is wrong of Blum to use the passive voice here,” the paragraph quoted did not use the passive voice at all. “Passive voice” has a specific, well defined meaning, specifically, the use of a copula with a past participle (typically the form “be [verb]ed” or “get [verb]ed”, as in “was shaken”, “get hit”, etc.). This construction does not appear in that paragraph. If it doesn’t use that verb construction, it’s not passive voice, even if it avoids stating the doer of an action.

  30. harwork · July 24, 2015

    Thank you Louise for posting my comment, I really appreciate it.

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  32. Pingback: Why it’s still vital to defend Tim Hunt | Sophie Hannah's website
  33. Pingback: College cut out of over $1.5 million in donor’s will due to treatment of Nobel scientist Tim Hunt | Living in Anglo-America
  34. Captain Nemo · July 27, 2015

    It is now July 27th – practically a month since Connie St Louis’s CV (an outstanding work of fiction) was taken down from the City University website, and replaced with the text ‘This page is in the process of being updated’. Last week I sent a note to City University asking if they had any idea how much longer this ‘process’ might take, but I have yet to receive a reply.

    • Dr Chris Westwood · July 27, 2015

      In fairness to City they are doing what UCL and the Royal Society should have done. They are evaluating the evidence in private. So different to the blabber mouths at UCL and RS.

      • Ivana Fulli MD · July 27, 2015

        Indeed if they really are preparing a disciplinary hearing for Connie Saint Louis on the matter of her exposed lies on her university CV and against Pr Sir Tim Hunt but the matters are serious enough to justify, in that case, an ufficial announcement of such disciplinary hearing to be hold and telling when it will be hold.
        Otherwise, one can fear that political correctness gone mad is making impossible for a British university to hold a lecturer in journalism responsible for any lie on her CV and against Pr Sir Tim Hunt because she pretends to fight for feminism and diversity. One would like to be sure her ” work ” on Tim Hunt won’t be used to consider her CV has become adequate for a lecturer in journalism…
        The bad quality of her English and the poor quality of some of her affabulations makes even a foreigner with a far from perfect command of English ask if a fitness to teach assessment isn’t also necessary.

        One thing is certain, Connie Saint-Louis won’t lack lawyers able to pretend cognitive bias & false memory are to blame ignoring humans lies deliberately out of politeness or convenience not cognitive bias ( from acquiescing politely about your coffee machine making Italian quality espresso when it isn’t exactly true to Bernard Maddoff selling his miraculous financial products )

      • A.J. Simonsen · July 27, 2015

        Agreed. I’m watching to see happens. But, as with many issues in a modern world, waiting is usually better. Just because the internet and media serve it up so fast there’s no reason to respond without due process.

    • Tom · July 28, 2015

      City Uni has posted an updated CV online. She now claims to have won a 2002 Glaxo/ABSW prize. A quick check shows that the prize went to Erika Wright

  35. Roland Paterson-Jones · July 27, 2015

    Another attempt at forensic analysis – not sure if this is entirely independent of yours, but it does seem to include some material absent from the above:

    http://cruwys.blogspot.ie/2015/07/the-tim-hunt-affair-call-for-evidence.html

  36. Anonymous · July 27, 2015

    RetractionWatch comment policy revised on July 25 to remind readers that dissent from party line will not be tolerated. Must be feeling the heat for questionable behavior…

    http://retractionwatch.com/the-retraction-watch-faq/

    • louisemensch · July 28, 2015

      Retraction Watch have edited btl comments without noting it

  37. Sarah L. Nield · July 30, 2015

    Louise Mensch is the Queen of true journalism!
    I myself have written, and keep writing, to Deborah Blum and the others, in an attempt to use reason. I have been doing so ever since the Tim Hunt lie (the only word I can think of) broke. She had not responded.
    I’m not a professor or science writer I’m not even well educated I’m just an ordinary working class woman whom can see what has happened. I have no faux feminist social justice filter to see through.
    These people look down out of their ivory towers and treat the rest of us like we are some kind of anthropological experiment.
    When they are challenged they either:
    1) Ignore.
    2) Attempt mockery
    I only know that the cabal are doing their best to ‘put it behind them’ and ‘wish it would go away’ and it might be forgotten as people have short memories but one day, and that day will come, one of them will make a joke and the thoughtless mob will turn on them, quite suddenly and without warning, and all their good works they built up will be washed away and all their desperate pleas of orthodoxy will be ignored because the liberal left turn on their own in an ever increasing shrill desire to not be thought of as un-PC.
    One more thing. I don’t know if anyone here is in touch with Sir Tim but if you are could you tell him that the poor ordinary sods, those not breathing in the atmosphere of their academic heights, think the good Sir Knight was treated abysmally and those who write against him, whom claim they are doing for the people, are not winning hearts and minds but infact losing them.
    Thank you.

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  39. Sebastian Schneider · August 4, 2015

    Wow. What is this all about? The guy told people smilingly about his somehow silly feelings and got sacked and disrespected?
    Is it real? Or viral marketing for John Cleese’s latest movie?
    How many nobel price winners do you have in England?
    Do you suffer from a pleague?
    If you don’t want them, send them over here.
    We Germans won’t accuse them of things we don’t understand anyway (lack of humour).

    Lesson of the play: If someone suffers from Mr. Hunts „Breathtakingly Sexist Speech“ (Alissa Greenberg, Times),
    do more sports. It helps boosting your lungs.
    Or start smoking cigars. Good old Churchill knew what he was doing.

  40. tom · August 5, 2015

    Reblogged this on How blue and commented:
    More on the purposely hunting down of Tim Hunt

  41. A.J. Simonsen · August 5, 2015

    Tangent: I thought I read somewhere that Debora Blum admitted to having been triggered or having a reaction to when Hunt used the term girls in his joke. Does anyone recall where that was? Link?

  42. Anonymous · August 8, 2015

    There’s now a timely cover story at The Atlantic: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/toc/2015/09/
    First article up has a curious passage: “But the flip side of this sensitivity is the savagery with which reputations and even academic careers can be destroyed by a single comment—perhaps thoughtless, perhaps misinterpreted, perhaps (God help you) intended as a joke—that violates the values of the herd.” [http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/09/thats-not-funny/399335/]

    • Ivana Fulli MD · August 11, 2015

      The Economist  paper edition of June 13th 2015 had treated previously the subject of political correctness gone mad at US campus with students’ politically correct offended feelings « wielded as weapons» to restrict the teachers ‘ freedom of ideas and of methods of teaching:

      ‹ (…)Laura Kipnis, a feminist scholar at Northwestern University, caused a stir when she revealed that students had sued her under Title IX after she wrote  that some sexual-harassment complaints are exaggerated. Ms Kipnis was cleared after a 72-day investigation. ›

      http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21654157-student-safety-has-become-real-threat-free-speech-campus-trigger-unhappy

      Be it as it may, If the world had known three science journalists suffered from indignant feelings about a self-deprecatory joke by Nobel of medicine laureate SirTim Hunt, we wouldn’t have had this European scandal with Sir Tim Hunt losing his member positions at both the Royal Society and the European Research Center committees. The scandal came from a self-deprecatory joke concerning Sir Tim Hunt ’s own life in labs because of falsely reporting about this joke. Sadly, it was and still is widely believed that Sir Tim Hunt asked seriously for sex segregated laboratories….

  43. Iain · September 1, 2015

    Good job. Well done.

  44. Rob · September 4, 2015

    https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/the-resignation-of-connie-st-louis – so I’ve put up a petition calling for the resignation of Connie Saint Louis. Her actions resulted in Sir Tim losing his job. She lied – plain and simple. She should lose hers.

  45. Pingback: SJWs Always Lie by Vox Day (book review) - 52 in 52 Weeks
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  49. ujwalk93 · March 29

    Well done Louise Mensch. So proud of you.

  50. Jo.Arb. · April 21

    I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with Brandy Zudrozny many times and I can assure you, nothing she writes could even come close to being labeled as “poorly researched bullshit.” I have seen her, first hand, exlude captivationing details and situations that would have been wonderful for her in stories even though including them wouldn’t have made her or those she learned the info from liable – not legally or ethically…even though their real names weren’t being used. Poorly rescourced and shitty is exactly what this tweeker length blog post is. Good day!

    • louisemensch · April 26

      Indeed, I apologise to poorly researched bullshit for comparing it to Brandy’s culpable guilt in publishing her pack of lies and not correcting them.

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