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.”


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.”


  1. ticobas · July 2, 2015

    Reblogged this on Fallacy hunting.

  2. Bishop Hill · July 2, 2015

    Colquhoun has a pathological hatred of Conservatives. Not sure this post is going to help him get over that. 🙂

    • markpummell · July 2, 2015

      yet is uber-conservative himself; the irony eh…

      • Mat · July 6, 2015

        Sorry in what way is he ‘uber-conservative ‘ all I can find is his hatred for Bush ,Blair and the US ? so where is your proof of his his uber-conservativeness ?

  3. ty thompson · July 2, 2015

    What a great age we live in, where rumors carry more weight and result in more expedient action than legal proceedings.

  4. Radical Rodent · July 2, 2015

    That the Royal Society has a “Diversity Committee” speaks volumes about the mentality of the people in this fiasco.

  5. oblivionent · July 2, 2015

    Reblogged this on Oblivion Entertainment.

  6. A.J. Simonsen · July 2, 2015

    Great recap, though I tend to think there’s some truth in what he said. And so what if there is?

    • Marco · July 3, 2015

      Even though I personally like to have women around me (as long as they don’t cat-fight), it is an old knowledge that women distract men (and vice-versa – though to a lesser degree). If this was different, mankind would be extinct by now, btw. 😉

      This knowledge is even so old that Buddha already 2500 years ago organised separate communities (“Sangha”) for male and female monks. He understood very well, that concentrating becomes hard, if you’re sexually aroused (and men can be triggered visually – i.e. it is enough to see a woman – no need to touch).

      There are even a few recent studies proving exactly this point (that men’s concentration lessens, if an attractive woman is around). In a quick search, right now, I stumbled over this one:

      • Marco · July 3, 2015

        …just wanted to clarify: Stating that men or women usually are distracted by a member of the opposite sex does not imply that I’m against mixed groups (of workers / researchers / sports teams – whatever)! I just wanted to state the obvious, because the Feminist Thought Police nowadays calls everyone a **** [imagine your personal worst insult] who raises topics that were considered self-evident a while ago.

        But such taboos do not help to solve any problem. Even the opposite: They cause other – usually worse – problems. You can only solve a problem, if you are able to openly (and without insulting your interlocutors) discuss it and its possible solutions.

      • A.J. Simonsen · July 3, 2015

        My point exactly.

      • kp · July 3, 2015

        so nice of you to admit that men rarely distract women. you’re not doing your jobs well.

      • Marco · July 3, 2015

        I don’t know what exactly is your point, hence I’m not sure, if this reply fits, but I still try to answer:

        During millions of years of evolution, certain behavioural patterns evolved that provided an advantage, i.e. that increased the number of successful offspring (read Darwin). It is well known that a man produces millions of sperms per day and can thus father uncountable children, while a woman can only be pregnant roughly once a year – and at pretty heavy cost. Thus, obviously, the sexual behaviour benefitting men is different from the one benefitting women:

        A man having as much sex with as many partners as possible maximises his total number of offspring. Additionally, a man has the time and resources to actively protect and otherwise engage in family life in only a small number of families. Hence, men are usually following both strategies at the same time. The first strategy, i.e. having sex with as many women as possible, puts the man in the situation of the seeker, the more active role doing the first step. He has to approach many women, while the women can relax, lay back and pick the best men (likely to play their role in their second strategy – providing protection and support in family life).

        Since men are thus in the position to seek and approach, it is clearly an evolutionary advantage, if they are already triggered visually, because seeing a potential mate is the first step before any other things can happen (e.g. talking or touching).

        Women, being in the position to grant or deny sexual access based on what they consider a good choice, don’t need to be sexually triggered already visually. It is even better for them (giving them more information for a good choice), if they are sexually triggered later, not already when merely seeing a man.

        Thus, most women are less visually sexually triggered than most men. Of course, nature is not exact – there’s a wide variety in everything (looks, behaviours, etc.). But statistically, these claims hold true.

        The feminists claim that this all was nonsense, that behaviour was socially constructed. But since their beliefs are just that – a religion [which is based on beliefs by definition] – it is no wonder that they persistently reject all rational argumentation (like the one I provided above) and even studies.

        Btw. if you take a look at economy, every CEO will tell you that a difference in available resources automatically forces you to different behaviours in order to become successful. This is the same in nature, no matter if you take a look at different species in different habitats or different sexes, where one has abundant sexual capacity (millions of sperms per day) and the other one has very limited (one single egg per month and pregnancy+baby-care taking more than a year).

        So, having said all this, there’s nothing to “admit” in that there are differences in the attraction (and distraction) of men and women. It is self-evident. But as said: Not all men are affected the same and not all women – it’s only the vast majority. And of course, there are gay people, too, and bisexuals. Life is more complex 😉 But it still helps to understand things, if you look at the majority, first.

      • janeatworkdottc · July 4, 2015

        Absolute tosh Marco, but a lovely bit of Mansplaining. Next time I get the hots for a cute guy I see I will remember what you’ve told me, I’m not triggered I am imagining it.

      • Marco · July 4, 2015

        To work with your own tools: Using the word “mansplaining” is an inacceptable insult against all men and I therefore see no point in *really* answering.

      • janeatworkdottc · July 4, 2015

        Phew what a relief, and chuffed to hear you’ve left the country too.

      • Marco · July 4, 2015

        Of course! Don’t you know that rats leave the sinking ship first?! 😀

  7. deevybee · July 3, 2015

    I am puzzled by the argument that the facts were not established at the point I and others commented on Tim Hunt. Hunt said what he said in a very public forum with journalists present and there were several reputable sources who corroborated the account by Connie St Louis. Then the next day on Radio 4 Hunt repeated most of what he had said in Korea explaining he was being honest. So the facts of what he said are pretty well established.

    Where I guess we differ is on whether there is any context that could justify saying that women should be kept out of the lab because they were distracting, tended to cry, etc. The media has made much of this and looked for evidence that it was all a joke. Indeed, it’s now claimed that it was not just a joke but a ‘self-deprecating’ joke. I don’t find that evidence convincing, but I also find it irrelevant. If it was a joke it was a sexist joke and if anyone was deprecated it was women scientists. As Cathy Newman has pointed out, people who wouldn’t defend racism seem to think it’s okay for someone to make a sexist statement provided then then say it is a joke:

    As an ex-politician who purported to be a feminist I wonder how you would feel if David Cameron had stood up at an international congress of female politicians and said the the problem with women in parliament was that he fell in love with them, they fell in love with them and tended to cry, so on balance they should not be in parliament. Ho ho ho.

    Thanks to you there’s now a Chinese whispers doing the rounds on Twitter, whereby I am now credited with the statement that Tim Hunt was not human. Here’s what I said in a piece in the Independent, where I noted how well-liked he was.

    I have indeed argued that he is not an appropriate person to serve on committees that dish out jobs/funding etc because it would not be possible to have confidence in the outcomes. Both the Royal Society and the European Research Council have been criticised for the low success rates of female applicants for grants. Both are trying to remedy that. Neither organisation can retain credibility if they have someone on the panel who thinks it’s okay to make disparaging jokes about female scientists in public.

    It has been interesting to see how the right-wing media have twisted this story to turn Hunt into a victim pursued by legions of feminazis. Facts have been misrepresented ( and a surprising number of people have come out of the woodwork to defend Hunt’s right to make a sexist joke. It just confirms what a long way we have to go: women at still are at a huge disadvantage in science, just as they are in politics.

    Finally, I’m not a member of the Royal Society Diversity Committee.

    • louisemensch · July 3, 2015

      hi Professor Bishop. In case you had difficulty reading this post, the thrust of it is that your lobbying, and your vicious and false comments about Sir Tim, came BEFORE the Today show was even broadcast. You accused him of being “not a decent human being” BEFORE it was broadcast. You lobbied the Royal Society AND you lobbied UCL to strip him of honors BEFORE he had said a word. And journalists present at the speech were saying what an absolute falsehood St. Louis’ account of it was AT THE TIME. You rely now on the Today show, which, it turns out, spliced and edited the ‘Just trying to be honest’ comment and placed it out of context. And on the record on June 10th, the President of the European Research Council confirmed that Sir Tim’s speech was full of praise for women in science and hoped for no barriers to women in science.

      I will correct that you are not on the Diversity Committee, but it doesn’t change the facts: you, you personally, lobbied the Diversity Committee; you used the Diversity Committee as your weapon, in collusion with Colquhoun; you asked on Twitter that both the Royal Society and UCL strip Sir Tim of his honours BEFORE he had said ONE WORD in broadcast. You have libeled him then and indeed now. He didn’t make a sexist joke; he made a joke about sexists. You are an embarrassment to our university, and our feminist movement, in your evidence-free and biased approach that did not give this distinguished supporter of women in science the courtesy of a phone call or an email.

      And as to his attitude on policy and selection, the President of the European Research Council has written to me on it. I hope it will embarrass you as you deserve.

      My feminism does NOT include the smearing of life-long supporters of women in science.

      • Dorothy Bishop · July 3, 2015

        I’m baffled by your account. You seem to think that I lobbied UCL to have Hunt’s honorary position removed. Where did you get that idea? I sent a single tweet about his role on promotions/appointments committees at UCL and was immediately reassured by Geraint Rees that Hunt’s appointment was honorary and he had no such role. I’m touched that you think I am so powerful that the people in UCL will strip someone of an honorary degree on the basis of the single tweet you quoted, but it is a bit far-fetched.
        Throughout, and indeed in the quotes you cite above, I am clear that I was *not* asking for any honours to be revoked. I did not say that Hunt was ‘not a decent human being’ but rather this was an irrelevant consideration as far as Fellowship of the Royal Society was concerned. The quote you cite from my comment makes it clear I am not asking for him to have honours removed, but instead for him to be removed from committees that make decisions on grants etc – a point I developed in the piece in the Independent, where I also noted he was a ‘nice man’ and well liked, but just not appropriate in this role.
        And I am still curious as to how you would respond if it had been David Cameron talking about women in politics. Would you have agreed it was all just a joke?
        I seem to recall you weren’t so happy with the ‘irony’ defence when Austin Mitchell made a stupid sexist comment

      • Jane · July 4, 2015

        Gosh, I am embarrassed by your abusive behaviour. It seems only you know the facts and everyone with a different view to you is a liar. Have you read the letter from his Korean hosts?

      • janeatworkdottc · July 4, 2015

        Please note my comment is directed to Louise Mensch not DVB

    • tlitb1 · July 3, 2015

      “Thanks to you there’s now a Chinese whispers doing the rounds on Twitter…”

      I’m sorry but you may think this mode of racist stereotyping is acceptable but it isn’t. I don’t think we need to know what was on your mind when you wrote that. I have written to your employers to express my utter shock at your words and hope that they will be removing your privileges and informing the public that they distance themselves from your outmoded thinking.

      • Marco · July 4, 2015

        > I have written to your employers … and hope that they will be removing your privileges and … distance themselves from your outmoded thinking.

        One more enemy of freedom of speech/opinion 😦 It’s a pity that our society is more and more dominated by intolerant haters like you. Though it reminds me of kindergarten “I’ll tell your mom that you said …”, these intolerant actions unfortunately often have far bigger consequences nowadays.

        Once more, I feel the urge to quote Voltaire: “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”

        Stop complaining about other people’s opinions to their employers! Be thankful instead that there still is some freedom of speech left despite people like you – otherwise you yourself might quickly end on the pyres of the new inquisition!

        And if you’re not able to bear other people publishing an opinion different from yours, then you’re not ready for public discussions. In this case, I kindly ask you to go back to school and learn about the Age Of Enlightenment as well as Freedom Of Speech and other accomplishments of humanism.

      • Tobias · July 4, 2015

        > One more enemy of freedom of speech/opinion
        @Marco: Interesting point of view. But in the light of the Article and that Professor Bishops reply quoted by tlitb1, might it not be that the comment was meant as one of sarcasm or irony?
        Playing the point that Professor Bishop was offended by Sir Hunts words but using a phrase which might be offensive to another large (ethical) group of people?

        Just thinking…

      • Marco · July 4, 2015

        I’m very sorry!

        It seems my irony detector is damaged! 😀

        Seriously, I read the comment in my Thunderbird (got the e-mail-notification) and replied without being aware of the context. This way I overlooked that this was irony. But now that you say it and I read the messages again, it becomes pretty obvious.

        @tlitb1, @Tobias: Please accept my apologies!

        Still I’d like to note that our society turns more and more stiff and intolerant, judging every single word you say, actively trying to misunderstand, whenever possible, and shit-storming (or worse!) for the tiniest bad wording. It seems, nowadays, you need to ask a lawyer to check all your public statements as they become as dangerous as a misunderstanding in a contract.

        And a related note: It is known that euphemisms (e.g. saying “coloured” instead of “negro”, “sex-worker” instead of “prostitute” etc.) don’t help at all! Look up “euphemism treadmill” for yourself. That’s why I personally prefer to *really* respect everyone (no matter what race or ethnic group) and to *really* *not* discriminate anyone instead of just *seeming* to be politically correct. And consistently, I still continue to use the words “negro”, “prostitute” and all these other “politically incorrect” words.

        IMHO this political [in]correctness nightmare makes this society worse than the dictatorship I lived in 30 years ago. This is, because in contrast to said dictatorship, it is so extremely dishonest and hypocritical! The Political Correctness Thought Police claims they would fight for Freedom Of Speech, Equality, Humanism but in reality does the exact opposite.

        Btw. I consider myself a “nerd”, even though this was name-calling until only a while ago. Here, the opposite can be seen: People really changed the meaning of the term to sth. positive – rather than switching from word A to B to C and so on again and again.

      • tlitb1 · July 4, 2015


        No worries. I wrote that trying to channel what it must feel like to spot an ‘outrage’ and then wax self-righteously in condemnation of it and I found it disturbingly easy to do 😉

    • greylander · July 3, 2015

      “If it’s a joke, it’s a sexist joke.” What? How so?

      Are you one of those people devoid of the capacity to comprehend irony?

      Do you think the things Stephen Colbert would say on his show were intended literally? Expressing his own views?

      The point of the *joke* was precisely the opposite of the literal meaning. So if the literal meaning is “sexist” then the meaning the joke is non-sexist — expressing a favorable opinion of women in science. The point of such a joke is that a person who literally held those views is sexist, that such views are wrong.

      • janeatworkdottc · July 4, 2015

        I think if you have to do this much explaining the joke doesn’t work does it? You are supposed to be able to get it at the punchline. His hosts in Korea wrote a letter to UCL expressing their shock and anger and specifically pointing out that they didn’t want to be fobbed off with “it’s just a joke” either. As a women who has been sneered at many times of the years as a “joke” I get the “joke”. There are so many things the man could have said but he chose a sneery “joke”, I think he wrote his own destiny there.

    • Me · July 4, 2015

      You’re not bloody well paying attention, are you?!
      In the (known) context that he met his wife in the lab he said, as part of a speech,
      “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.”

      • janeatworkdottc · July 4, 2015

        He was talking, he hasn’t written down what he said. This was written by someone else. People are either for or against, what you are quoting is written by someone who wants to prove TH was joking and therefore a nice chap who can say what he likes. as long as he was just kidding.

      • Marco · July 4, 2015

        Obviously, you were not reading what else I wrote here. So let me please re-iterate the IMHO most important points:

        1) It is his FREEDOM OF SPEECH to say whatever opinion he has and wants to publish – even if you or I do not like it! I quote Voltaire for the 3rd time: “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” Freedom Of Speech is one of the most important achievements of Humanism and humanity in general. It’s a pity that you obviously don’t understand this 😦 Actually, “pity” even is an euphemism.

        2) Even if he said what was claimed he said, this is a case of lost commensurability: Even if Sir Tim was correctly quoted, a *single* bad joke would not be sufficient to devaluate his *lifetime* achievements! It was stated by many female students that he was in fact a great supporter of women in science – totally independent of what he said or did not say at this one single occasion.

        3) Your society (I stop seeing it as mine – I emigrated for exactly these reasons a while ago) is turning more and more intolerant about the slightest bad wordings or “politically incorrect” views. You – and you seem to be part of it – the Thought Police, denounciate people for the sake of the very values you hypocrite claim to defend.

    • David Jones (@metaburbia) · July 6, 2015

      ‘people who wouldn’t defend racism seem to think it’s okay for someone to make a sexist statement provided then then say it is a joke’

      The joke, as you well know and as several others have accepted, was an ironic one made against himself – as an older white guy – to satirise some antediluvian attitudes.

      Dr Emily Grossman, for one, who was subjected to some vile attacks on Twitter after her TV debate with Milo, had the wit and the grace to accept this in a twitter exchange I had with her.

      Pretending that you don’t understand, and don’t understand irony, and that it’s akin to racism is grossly dishonest, cloth-eared, or just plain stupid.

      • Jane Robertson · July 6, 2015

        She really is not pretending not to understand.

        He was invited to Korea to promote ideas on how to improve women’s careers in science, and he chose to come up with this convoluted nonsense about women crying and him being a chauvinist monster. How did that fit the brief? Of all the things he could have said to advance the debate he has to tell us he can’t cope when a women cries and isn’t that funny haha. It offended his hosts. They asked him not to try and fob them off with being told it’s a joke. Read their letter to him.

        Why are we all wrong for not finding it funny on any level? Why are you calling this Professor cloth eared and stupid for saying it’s not funny? She is trying to refute Louise Mensch’s rather excessive criticism and you are just calling her names. Tim Hunt is ill served by supporters of your ilk.

  8. Ash · July 3, 2015

    Wow, very persuasive! Thank you for taking the time to research this and write it down so well.

  9. lapogus · July 3, 2015

    Beware the UCL Thought Police.

    • jsoleary · July 7, 2015

      They are a nasty nest of vipers, condemned out of their own mouths. I look forward to hearing what they’s say in court.

  10. Jeff · July 3, 2015

    It was only “just a joke” after he got in trouble for it. During the speech, and the day after he was deadly serious.

    • louisemensch · July 3, 2015

      Er, no. That was a wholesale lie by Deobrah Blum.

      • Jeff · July 5, 2015

        Wow. Powerful rebuttal of the point there.

        Your article was a wholesale lie.

        I guess that means I win the argument.

        Got any proof it was a lie?

      • Jeff · July 6, 2015

        Well, Louise, it seems your entire argument is based on “the people I agree with are telling the truth, the people I disagree with are lying”. That’s not investigative journalism, it’s confirmation bias.

    • Anonymous · October 23, 2015

      I have the audio now. you retract?

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  12. Marco · July 3, 2015

    Even if Sir Tim Hunt had said what was claimed, and even if this pseudo-journalist had not completely failed her job, it would still be his right to have and publicly say whatever opinion he wants! His opinions are totally independent from his professional work (provided that they don’t prevent him from doing his job)! This applies to everyone of course – not only Sir Tim Hunt!

    “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” (Voltaire)

    The feminist Thought Police unfortunately forgot this and many other basics of Western culture originating from the Age of Enlightenment. Seeing the Western Culture today “I cannot eat as much as I would like to vomit” (Max Liebermann)

  13. . (@gimpyblog) · July 3, 2015

    Even if Sir Tim Hunt had said what was claimed, and even if this pseudo-journalist had not completely failed her job, it would still be his right to have and publicly say whatever opinion he wants! His opinions are totally independent from his professional work (provided that they don’t prevent him from doing his job)! This applies to everyone of course – not only Sir Tim Hunt!

    What he said is not in dispute. His opinions do stop him from representing UCL as an honorary Prof as they undermine UCL’s commitment to equality. It’s really not difficult to understand. He said something stupid, he admitted he said it, repeated it, then resigned from an honorary position.

    All this bluster, smear and innuendo is setting back attempts to create a more equal society.

    The continued hounding of the journalists is becoming quite sinister. Not only is it mainly the female journalists coming under attack, but people using high profile platforms to target critics with considerable less power is, at best, outrageous bullying, but now seems more like a deliberate attempt to publicly shame people for daring to challenge authority.

    • stephenemoss · July 3, 2015

      This is exactly right, and it’s what many critics of UCL have failed to grasp. The University places enormous importance on equality issues – try replacing the word ‘women’ in Tim Hunt’s comments with ‘black people’, and ask if this would have been acceptable.

      Gender and race equality are issues that people such as David Colquhoun and Geraint Rees (both of whom I know personally) have been championing at UCL for years, and comments from a high profile UCL figure (even if made in jest) can undermine the reputation of the University in those areas.

      • Sam Juno (@marscrumbs) · July 3, 2015

        “Frist you fall in love with black people. They fall in love with you..” I don’t see the problem.

    • Radical Rodent · July 3, 2015

      … attempts to create a more equal society.

      You obviously do not see anything remotely sinister in that statement, else you would not have written it. Ever heard of, “Four legs good, two legs bad”? How quickly that morphed into, “Four legs good, two legs better.”

      Instead, you prefer to consider the criticism of journalists (and others) who have appeared to use Prof Hunt’s self-deprecating humour to further their own agendas, whatever they might be, referring to such criticism as “hounding”. Perhaps you cannot see what has been engaged upon with Prof Hunt as “hounding”, to the point where he falls on his own sword.

      Should you read the comment that Prof Hunt made, you might be surprised that it in no way undermines UCL’s commitment to “equality” (a concept that might actually NOT be the commitment – see the quotes in the first paragraph, above – we are all equal, only some are more equal than others). It was a little dig at his own experience in the lab, and, should you deign to consider the opinions of those women who HAVE worked with him in the lab, you will see that none of them have anything but the highest praise for him and his attitudes.

      But, then, it is far more satisfying to attack and harass a man with unwarranted criticism and innuendo as, let’s face it, they deserve it, don’t they?

    • Tobias · July 3, 2015

      “What he said is not in dispute.” “He said something stupid”

      I beg to differ. The original tweet (and following critics) were not quoting the complete statement, changing the meaning of the statement. Other people dispute this.
      It would be like wrongly! quoting you as
      “All this bluster, smear and innuendo is […] female journalists […] with less power, bullying.”

      So no, I agree with Marco. If his opinion does not prevent him to do his [honorary] job, the do not matter.

      And fortunately, his opinion is _not_ what was stated by his critics and does not prevent him from doing his job. Unfortunatly hist critics were louder.

    • Marco · July 3, 2015

      > What he said is not in dispute.

      It seems, you didn’t read the text?! IT IS IN DISPUTE!!! The journalist failed her job, because she quoted Sir Tim Hunt so *incompletely* that the meaning of what he originally said was distorted to the opposite!

      Rather than quoting it all here again, I kindly ask you to do your homework and read the actual *complete* text – most importantly Tim’s original and complete “self-deprecating joke about his own (factual) romance” from “Let me tell you about my trouble with girls” to “Science needs women, and you should do science, despite all the obstacles, and despite monsters like me.”

    • ThirteenthLetter · July 3, 2015

      “It’s really not difficult to understand. He said something stupid, he admitted he said it, repeated it, then resigned from an honorary position.”

      Did you just wake up from a coma a few hours ago and miss all the news? It’s been quite well established that his words were completely taken out of context by an incompetent journalist, and he was speaking in support of women in science.

      • . (@gimpyblog) · July 3, 2015

        This isn’t true. I’m afraid you’ve fallen for the smears of the press and of Louise Mensch. His statement was corroborated at the time by several other journalists present. Tim Hunt didn’t say he was misquoted either, he confirmed what he said and repeated it on the Today Programme. Besides, even if you assume it was an ironic statement, or a joke, it was still a completely unacceptable. People in senior positions should not get away with making jokes at the expense of women in public, and Tim Hunt didn’t.

        It is also important to understand that he resigned before this really took off on social media, within a day or two of the original reporting. It is also important to understand that he has still kept the many roles he has in various places where his professional expertise is needed. The man is still an exceptional scientist admired for his work and his willingness to continue contributing to his field, and nobody is stopping this. He is not, however, a good ambassador for equality and UCL, hence the resignation.

      • louisemensch · July 3, 2015

        The lies in here are:
        1. Hunt only said his words were reported accurately not the mischaracterization of them
        2. He did not repeat anything on the Today programme that is a lie; the Today show audio was doctored, too;
        3. It is a lie about his resignation timing; social media was all that there was to go on; UCL didn’t speak to him

      • Marco · July 3, 2015

        In his place, I’d have resigned, too. But not because of having done anything wrong, but because I honestly would not want to be associated in any way with people like these at UCL,

        (1) who trample freedom of speech under foot,
        (2) who do not care for due process,
        (3) who intimidate my wife prior to – or even instead of – talking to me,
        (4) who lost all commensurability (even if Sir Tim was correctly quoted, a single bad joke would not be sufficient to devaluate his lifetime achievements),
        (5) who abuse their institution for their own private intrigues (at least so this whole thing looks to the outside).

        UCL and all people involved have shamed themselves. They should at the very least publicly apologize! Actions like this are a far greater disgrace than Sir Tom’s wrong quote even could be.

      • janeatworkdottc · July 4, 2015
        Perhaps you could wake up from your own coma and consider the reaction Tim got from his hosts in Korea.

      • Bobby · July 4, 2015

        Note the date on the request for an apology: the 16th of June. More than a week after the date that the comments were made. Given that delay, it seems likely that this request for an apology wasn’t a response to the comments made by Tim Hunt, but a response to the Twitter response to it. It seems that the Koreans felt pressured into demanding an apology.

      • Jane Robertson · July 4, 2015

        You are desperate to believe this guy is a victim aren’t you, even trying to explain away this letter he got from his hosts. expressing their anger. The saddest thing for TH is that he now has you awful misogynistic supporters patting him on the back and claiming him as you hero, that’s the worst damage to his reputation i’m afraid.

  14. Vivek Rao · July 3, 2015

    This is what so called Feminism has come to Lies Deception, Hypocrisy, Intimidation of the Vulnerable, Suppression of Free Speech, and Denial of Due Process. I earlier thought that Geraint Rees, Dorothy Bishop and David Colquhoun were simply spineless. However, from this article it is clear that they are a bunch of mean petty self serving bunch shits. However what is infinitely more worrying is the role mainstream media and the support it has provided to this ghastly inquisition..

    • Marco · July 3, 2015

      So-called Feminism today is nothing else than an open war against men. Or to say it differently: It’s a power struggle of one social group against others.

      Unfortunately, most men don’t understand this yet.

      These various “equality ***” institutions are not about equality at all.

      Or has any of these institutions ever seriously tried to get more males into kindergartens and primary schools? Even though it is known that many boys lack mentors – many of them have no father (present) and thus meet their first male guiding person in high school (due to the high number of single moms).

      No, of course these institutions did nothing to get (more) male guidance into the education of our young children! Instead they even did the opposite: They heated up the pyres for burning many innocent men in their witch hunt against pedophilia. In such a climate, most sane men abstain from applying for such jobs. And – even worse, at least in countries like Germany, where sports clubs have a long tradition – men abstain from voluntary work. This includes me, btw. When I was a teenager / young adult, I spent a lot of time “working” voluntarily as a trainer in a sports club. I would never do this in Europe today! …and the US is even worse.

      When I asked feminists these questions about males in kindergartens, they often answered, most men simply don’t want to work in a kindergarten or a primary school for other reasons. I usually ask them then: Strange; if it is the case that there’s a statistical sex-related preference about work in a kindergarten, why do you claim then that other fields of work are as attractive to women as they are to men? After all, this claim is the base for all these quotas. So, why do you, feminists, want quotas for management, but not for kindergarten? Usually, at latest, this is the point when they start insulting me. But I don’t care 😉

      For me, the answer to my question is simple: There is a small minority of women (I’d estimate less than 10%) who are really eager to get into management with the quotas being far higher (usually 40%). For these ambitious women, the weapon “quota” is thus a great tool to easily get their way into the positions they want. They don’t really care about equality. They care about their own personal interests – nothing more. Btw. other weapons – e.g. shit-storms in the social media – are used for the same purpose, too. Cases like Sir Tim’s demonstrate this very well. I’m sure, there’s someone benefiting from his ruin.

  15. Marvin · July 3, 2015

    “his honorary Professorship [should] be restored.”
    Why on earth would Sir Tim want to be a member of associations that do not respect even the most fundamental values? Of organizations that have lost the respect for humanity and mankind and the very values that define them? Of organizations that have turned into bureaucratic monsters with no other reason for being than to feed themselves?

    By providing a stage for some zealots to throw dirt around for their own personal benefit – and not taking any action at all when the full truth did come out! – , the Royal Society and UCL have let themselves drag into a quagmire of intrigue and conspiracy and become part of the problem themselves.

    If they have any aspiration to go back to their former glory, it takes more than a few resignations to get there – more like a Hercules to open the flood gates to wash away the dirt from the Augias stables they have become.

  16. IA_Adam (@IA_Adam) · July 3, 2015

    Western “civilization” is a kakistocracy now because the best a brightest are needed to manage our ever more complex technology driven infrastructure, the societies themselves are managed by administrators whose only qualification is ambition and, beyond that, nothing else. They are the bottom of the talent barrel, but they’re given the same power a more skilled and wise leader should be given. Wisdom is dead. Justice is quickly dying.

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  18. Rob · July 3, 2015


    You may want to check out this article from the Columbia Journalism Review. Two instances of St Louis being accused of misrepresenting what someone said.

  19. Michael Pyshnov · July 3, 2015

    Should a university resemble a 100% politically correct Hollywood show with the producers regarding scientists as their actors, adjusting the numbers of sexes and minorities and dictating when they should cry and laugh and what they should say?

    The removal of Sir Tim Hunt is the second case of political persecution of a Nobel laureate, the first was that of James Watson. In both cases, their alleged “crime” was purely political, and it was framed in political slogans, “racism” and “sexism”.

    The public debate around the decision of UCL to remove Tim Hunt is missing the point. (Were his words a joke or not? Was there enough “sexism” in his words? Did twitter remove Tim Hunt?) Let’s now get serious and ask: Was the removal of Tim Hunt legal? I believe it was completely illegal. And the law does exist here, it is first – the law against discrimination and second – the law protecting freedom of speech.

    Discrimination is an act of using irrelevant considerations (such as sex, colour of skin, etc.) in a decision/judgement made by an official against an individual. Discrimination is taken as an act denying an individual his or her human right(s). Such act is illegal, and the discrimination must be proved. There is no claim and no evidence that Sir Tim Hunt has committed such act. His speech did not represent any decision, and, being a joke or not being a joke, did not, and was not even capable of damaging/changing the standing of any women before the law or denying their human rights.

    Then, what is the accusation against him? The official explanation is the letter of Professor Michael Arthur, UCL President & Provost, “Provost’s View: Women in Science”, see

    This is a remarkable document. In it, Michael Arthur 1) did not refer to any law whatsoever, 2) refused, in his own words, to “…repeat or re-analyse who said what…”, i. e. refused to present the evidence, 3) justified the removal of Sir Tim Hunt solely on his (determined by the administration) “sexism”. The text seems to be written by a political agitator in the smashing style of Leon Trotsky, totally disrespectful of the law and civilized academic tradition. He calls the removal of Tim Hunt an “episode”.

    In sharp contrast with discrimination which, in a particular decision, is depriving individuals of their human rights, “sexism” in a speech is incapable of doing this. The accusation of “sexism” here is no more than a political opinion, a label which cannot be used to punish anyone. Therefore, the removal of Tim Hunt was an illegal act, patently – a political persecution. Moreover, it was an act of discrimination and a denial of the basic human right – freedom of speech.

    Looking closer at this “episode”, I believe it was designed not even so much against Tim Hunt, but with the purpose of establishing a precedent for persecution of any political dissent. Tim Hunt was chosen as one who loved his university and would not start a legal fight. He was chosen as a top scientist to show that no one is immune to political persecution, and that interests of science are the last item on the administration agenda.

    As a Provost, Michael Arthur failed to uphold the law and academic freedom. As a President, he failed to act impartially and, actually, fuelled the “gender war”. In his letter, he claims to have acted on behalf of women, but the women appeared on the side of their former teacher, actually proving that Michael Arthur’s claim of acting on their behalf is a false claim. UCL urgently needs the new Provost and the new President.

    Finally, it is important to understand that an employee does not sell his whole self to his employer. A woman cannot be obliged to sleep with her boss. Why, may I ask, a university includes political and social agenda in its rules for the employees? The scope of this agenda must be severely restricted to respect basic human rights of all its employees. A public university cannot be run as a political party or a Hollywood show.

    I had posted a few comments on the matter at
    My email is probably hacked.

    • Marco · July 3, 2015

      > The public debate around the decision of UCL to remove Tim Hunt is missing the point.

      > the removal of Tim Hunt was an illegal act, patently – a political persecution.

      > it was designed not even so much against Tim Hunt, but with the purpose of establishing a precedent for persecution of any political dissent.

      This is a very interesting and important point. Unfortunately, universities are not what they used to be (thanks to Bertelsmann and similar unethical organisations): Once there was the freedom of academia to research and discuss independently. But of course, independent intellectual thought is the enemy of the elites. Thus, cases like Sir Tim’s must be seen in this broader scope of a general attack on the intelligentsia.

      Thanks you mentioned this point! Me too, I missed it in my previous comments.

    • Morten Dahl · July 4, 2015

      Do the laws you refere to also apply to honorary positions?

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  22. Susan Ballentyne · July 3, 2015

    A lucid, intelligent, well-written and thoroughly researched article; a sweet counterpoint to the factual shortcomings, rabid rhetoric and semi-literate weasel words of Connie St. Louis. Please also support and spread the online petitions to reinstate Sir Tim. Between them, they’ve garnered over 6,000 signatures:


    Many thanks!

  23. Neowarden · July 3, 2015

    Reblogged this on neowarden.

  24. erejnion · July 3, 2015

    It shames me to think that I heard of the story, and didn’t bother to check it. I just stopped after a passing though “the truth is definitely far more complex and they are trying to smear him, but probably they have at least a little reason to”.

    But yeah, get used to this. What is important is not what you mean, it is what “trigger” words you use. This is the reality of current feminism and SJWs.

  25. plasma cutter · July 3, 2015

    Alas, if you are after evidence-based due process, you are not part of the feminist main stream, which has successfully engaged in a witch hunt against not only prominent figures, but every single college-aged male.

    This has resulted substantive policy changes, at least in the USA, under which all men are presumed guilty upon accusation.

    The dingbats have taken control, and now, according to official university policy, all sex is rape, unless the woman involved deigns not to report it.

    You can try to take back your movement, but I wish you luck.

    These bigoted man-haters are not “fringe” anymore, they’re the “main stream”, and have kicked others like you out of the movement, no matter how highly regarded they were not 20 years ago.

    • louisemensch · July 3, 2015

      I am a warrior woman and worth a thousand fauxminists!

    • janeatworkdottc · July 4, 2015

      Hi plasma cutter, I’m a mainstream feminist, I was born in the 60s so was there 20 years ago. I don’t fall into your description at all though so I am not sure I am permitted by you to be one anymore?. I am not a man hater, I have sons and brothers and lovers all of whom I love (and work in a mixed sex office without crying or falling in love most days) I am not bigoted, or a dingbat, I don’t equate sex with rape (wow that’s a very extreme view you have there) and have not been kicked out of the movement, I am still there and I am not out hunting witches ( they were usually female right? Is Tim Hunt a witch, is science the new witchcraft? I missed that memo) so I am a bit of a loss as to your job description entitled Alas, but next time I am chatting to my feminist friends I will see if anyone knows a bigoted man hater as it sounds like they are all over the place from what you say.

      • Marco · July 4, 2015

        > I don’t equate sex with rape

        It honours you if you (still) don’t do this, but this is unfortunately today’s reality of feminism and the main-stream in the West (both in Europe and even worse in the US). As already said – and chuffed by you, in another comment 😉 – one of the main reasons I escaped this country/region before I end up in prison (being a sexually active man).

        Btw. I love to pass my knowledge to the next generation *here* (in my adopted home) – giving them an advantage over Europe 😉

        And like it or not, you being a “mainstream feminist” have paved the way for this sick development (in all aspects – including the European brain drain)!

        But don’t worry. The Western society will simply become extinct after a while and other, more healthy societies will take over 😉 This is how this world has functioned for centuries – or even much longer (millenia / hundreds of thousands of years). It’s called “evolution”.

      • janeatworkdottc · July 4, 2015

        More mansplaining, you are the dude. No-one I have ever met equates sex with rape, but you obviously have met every feminist alive today and can recount all their views here, you’re amazing.

      • Marco · July 4, 2015

        …says the person insulting (again!) her interlocutor using the word “mansplaining” – ah I forgot, only men can insult women – women, however, are always right and never insult…

        …btw. I did not meet *every* feminist, but I met *enough* for my life time.

      • Morten Dahl · July 4, 2015

        Your discussion here is a good example of one of the key elements in the Hunt situation. People seem more interested in their own agendas than the issue at hand. As boring as it may seem it is all about finding a proportional reaction to Hunts remarks and in doing so finding out 1. what what said and how was it intended, and 2. investigating how Hunt has handled gender issues throughout his career. Had the discussion and the decisions in this way been based only on facts and relevant arguments the case would have been short as it is by all reasonable standards actually not a big deal to make a remark like Hunt did.

      • janeatworkdottc · July 4, 2015

        This is what is hosts had to say about how he behaved whilst with them.
        I’m not the problem here mate so back off.

      • Morten Dahl · July 4, 2015

        …….it was aimed at both of you

  26. David S · July 3, 2015

    A compelling story. Can’t help feeling that this might be the culmination of a feud between the professors. Colquhoun’s speed in organising what looks like a witchhunt suggests that he was already gunning for Sir Tim, and found his opportunity. Is there some history we should know about?

    • louisemensch · July 3, 2015

      I don’t know, but tomorrow I will add to this blog a little coda dedicated to Prof Colquhoun’s loathsomeness

      • . (@gimpyblog) · July 4, 2015

        You really don’t know who he is, do you?

      • lecanardnoir · July 4, 2015

        You will never achieve anything in your life like Professir Colquhoun has.

      • suchan104 · July 4, 2015

        Interesting that .(@gimplyblog) and lecanardnoir seem to think that because David Colquhoun has very significant scientific achievements to his name he is beyond question, while conveniently forgetting that Sir Tim’s scientific achievements exceed those of David Colquhoun.

      • Morten Dahl · July 4, 2015

        Dear Louise

        Looking forward to your blog on Colquhoun. Please include a comment about the ironic and disturbing fact that professor Colquhoun is know and rewarded for his work with “Improbarbel science”. This should make him an expert in judging what needs to be investigated in order to make a statement or conclusion on the subject at hand. He should be a watchdog agains premature dicisions.

        Morten Dahl

  27. David S · July 3, 2015

    I think it’s called Sayre’s Law.

  28. Morten Dahl · July 3, 2015

    Dear Louise Mench

    First thank you for your time and efford in writing this.

    I have followed the process and noticed that at no point has Connie St Louis or any other opponent to Tim Hunt investigated or taken into consideration the actual broad support Tim Hunt has offered female scientist during his career. On the contrary, especially St Louis “has seen it all before”, and therefore find no need to simply investigate Tim Hunts professional practice and relationsship with female scientist and students. Obviously this is the procedure of someone in the need of a scapegoat that can serve their purpose.

    From your documentation I understand that this also seems to be the case with professor David Colquhoun. I find this particularly disturbing because Colquhoun, contrary to his prejudgemental approach against Tim Hunt, is known and rewarded for his work with “Improporbal science”(!?)

    If you study the arguments and reasoning of the social justice warriors, they clearly fall in line with Karl Poppers observations about science versus psedoscience which motivated him to write his acknowledged principal works about scientific discoveries. Though the proces of measuring out a “proper” or fair reaction to Tim Hunts remarks is not a scientific proces I think it bares a lot of similarities when it comes to finding a foundation for making qualified descisions.
    Is it remarkable how well Poppers examples – especially the part about Alfred Adler – resembles the proces against Tim Hunt. Please see below.

    Karl Popper wished to distinguish between science and psedoscience and knew that the most accepted answer to the problem is that science is driven by its empirical method. In contrast to empirical confirmation within natural science Popper mentions Marx. Freud and Alfreds Adlers Individual psychology that seems to have more in common with religion than science:

    “……Once your eyes were thus opened you saw confirming instances everywhere: the world was full of verifications of the theory. Whatever happened always confirmed it. Thus its truth appeared manifest; and unbelievers were clearly people who did not want to see the manifest truth; who refused to see it, either because it was against their class interest, or because of their repressions which were still ‘un-analysed’ and crying aloud for treatment. The most characteristic element in this situation seemed to me the incessant stream of confirmations, of observations which ‘verified’ the theories in question; and this point was constantly emphasized by their adherents. A Marxist could not open a newspaper without finding on every page confirming evidence for his interpretation of history; not only in the news, but also in its presentation–which revealed the class bias of the paper–and especially of course in what the paper did not say. The Freudian analysts emphasized that their theories were constantly verified by their ‘clinical observations’. As for Adler, I was much impressed by a personal experience. Once, in 1919, I reported to him a case which to me did not seem particularly Adlerian, but which he found no difficulty in analysing in terms of his theory of inferiority feelings, although he had not even seen the child. Slightly shocked, I asked him how he could be so sure. ‘Because of my thousandfold experience,’ he replied; whereupon I could not help saying: ‘And with this new case, I suppose, your experience has become thousand-and-onefold.’

    What I had in mind was that his previous observations may not have been much sounder than this new one; that each in its turn had been interpreted in the light of ‘previous experience’, and at the same time counted as additional confirmation. What, I asked myself, did it confirm? No more than that a case could be interpreted in the light of the theory. But this meant very little, I reflected, since every conceivable case could be interpreted in the light of Adler’s theory, or equally of Freud’s”

    ….”I could not think of any human behaviour which could not be interpreted in terms of either theory. It was precisely this fact–that they always fitted, that they were always confirmed–which in the eyes of their admirers constituted the strongest argument in favour of these theories. It I began to dawn on me that this apparent strength was in fact their weakness.” (….) “the theories in question were compatible with the most divergent human behaviour, so that it was practically impossible to describe any human behaviour that might not be claimed to be a verification of these theories.”

    Karl Popper concludes that “It is easy to obtain confirmations, or verifications, for nearly every theory -if we look for confirmations.” (from “Conjectures and Refutations”, 1963)

    The remarks from Tim Hunt has made the experience of the orthodox feminists thousand-and-one-fold. Everything in Tims Hunts few misplaced sentences confirmes that he is a sexist – this of course “without seeing the child” and thus neglecting the empirical documentation of Tim Hunts wide support of female scientists throughout his career. The typical pattern of religious or ideological pursuers of political correctness is to navigate around the empirical facts that could falsify their theories.

    In the words of the great (according to her CV) Connie St. Louis:

    “The Tim Hunt story has followed a typical pattern of oppression. First there is a hollow apology. Then there is claim about being misunderstood. Next there is an outcry from the establishment. So it’s no surprise that a growing number of people, mainly men, have come forward to support Hunt”…..”No surpise – just as expected”

    And from Janet D. Stemwedel: “The familiar pattern in the #TimHunt defense. This is nothing women in #STEM haven’t seen before, which is exactly our point.”

    Morten Dahl

  29. Anonymous · July 3, 2015

    Twitter: Excludes context by ridiculously limiting the number of characters and includes a super powerful positive feedback loop. What could possibly go wrong?

    That said, the spirit of Karl Popper just dropped by and asked me to pose the following question: Where do the true and complete words of Sir Tim Hunt on which this blog post is based come from? Is there a recording of his speech or something? (Things would be a lot easier with a proper source.)

  30. Pingback: Ivan Oransky on Sir Tim Hunt: “We gathered quotes immediately afterward” | Science Transparency
  31. · July 4, 2015

    This whole thing reminds me of two quotes from Russell. One Bertrand Russell, the other Russell Brand.

    In the latter case :

    “Tyranny is the absence of nuance”.

    In the former (from the Scientific Outlook):

    “If you tackle him on party politics, theology, income tax,
    house-agents, the bumptiousness of the working-
    classes and other topics of a like nature, you are
    pretty sure, before long, to provoke an explosion,
    and to hear him expressing wholly untested opinions
    with a dogmatism which he would never display in
    regard to the well-founded results of his laboratory

    As this illustration shows, the scientific attitude is
    in some degree unnatural to man; the majority of
    our opinions are wish-fulfilments, like dreams in the
    Freudian theory. The mind of the most rational
    among us may be compared to a stormy ocean of
    passionate convictions based upon desire, upon
    which float perilously a few tiny boats carrying a
    cargo of scientifically tested beliefs.”

  32. Pingback: The women nobody wants to see: public virtues and private viciousness - blog by Gurdur - Blogs on the Heathen Hub
  33. Tom · July 4, 2015

    It is clear that Connie St Louis is a complete and utter fraud. This incident will only be over when she admits to the entire world that she is a liar, that she deliberately twisted a kind, humble man’s words to make him look like a monster. I have never been so angry about anything in my life. She cannot be allowed to get away with this. Her lack of credibility has been completely exposed, yet she seems to think she can just brazen this out, repeat the lies over and over and that eventually it will blow over and she can get back to the important job of seeking offence where none was intended. But it would appear that she is too thick to realise she is toast.

    Connie St Louis teaches journalism, yet clearly doesn’t understand the basics. Had she done it properly in the first place and offered Sir Tim the right to reply there would have been no story, no furore, no knee-jerk reaction from Sir Tim’s spineless (or mendacious) colleagues at UCL. But she lied. Deliberately. Repeatedly. And she’s still lying. It has to stop. How can she teach journalism when she clearly doesn’t even know what it is?

    • janeatworkdottc · July 4, 2015

      Tim Hunt seriously offended his Korean hosts, they wrote to UCL asking for an apology and insisting they not be fobbed off with being told it was only a joke. TH did apologise to them and asserted to them that it was only a joke. He resigned form his post, and whined to the papers about being hard done by. Why is this being blamed on C St L? Please don’t answer, its a rhetorical question. What he said was not ok however you want to spin it and he admitted that in his apology to the Koreans.

      • Marco · July 4, 2015


      • Tom · July 4, 2015

        No, the Koreans were baffled by the shitstorm whipped up by CSL.

      • Tom · July 4, 2015

        It is also worth repeating what I said above. If CSL, a senior lecturer in journalism, had followed the correct procedure for breaking stories there would have been no story. How can a senior lecturer in journalism be so completely unaware of how to practise journalism?

  34. janeatworkdottc · July 4, 2015
    • Tom · July 4, 2015

      Until CSL lied on twitter, no one who understood English was offended.

      • janeatworkdottc · July 4, 2015


      • Marco · July 4, 2015

        Likely. The date of this letter indicates it. A lot of things may have happened within this time.

        Maybe there were more (non-public) intrigues – a few private mails, a few phone calls. After all, people who publicly behave as descibed in length above surely scheme non-publicly as well.

        Additionally, people in Asia (I know Asia very well) usually first try to interprete things positively. Being aware of the risk of language/culture-caused misunderstandings, they are – in contrast to our Thought Police – very forgiving. But they have a culture of “you must not lose your face”. Hence, if it turns out that you have been badly insulted (without even noticing before), you *must* react, because you otherwise lose face.

        Thus, the shit-storm may have made the Koreans think that they had misunderstood, at first, or they had been too forgiving. If there’s such a fuzz in the English-speaking world about the alleged original words of Sir Tim Hunt, then they simply must have got it wrong, and thus they must do sth. to keep their face.

  35. Tom · July 4, 2015

    Yes, very.

  36. Tom · July 4, 2015

    If that is how you wish to interpret it..

  37. smorgasbroed · July 4, 2015

    Excuse me for putting it bluntly but: Fuck Feminism.

    As all isms BTW … . The extreme or even unreflected form – of which exist multitudes more as of the former – is a destructive force and destroys more than it helps.

    And venting steam on twitter with a real name in an official position is a clear sign of being unreflective … If not stupidity.

    Those people are the worst of those pretending to be a knight in shiny armor, they actual are more like Darth Vader not realizing that have been manipulated and instrumentalized for some idea. Or perhaps they stole the armor and instead of being helpful they clumsily chop of the heads of the wrong people.

    Either way: shame on you.

    • Marco · July 4, 2015

      I agree. All these religions cause more harm than they do good.

    • Jane Robertson · July 5, 2015

      Darth Vader was an actor with a plastic hat on, a fictional character. You seem to be saying that the idea of human equality can only be viewed as destructive? That women believing in human equality is the delusion of the manipulated and instrumentalised. You sound a bit deranged.

      • Marco · July 5, 2015

        @Jane Robertson

        Darth Vader started as a Jedi – on the good side. But he lost his path and ended up doing the exact opposite. I assume that @smorgasbroed means that the same applies to feminism: Started on the good side and perverted to the opposite.

        In my opinion, he’s right (if I understood him correctly), and I don’t think this is a problem only of “isms”, but of *all* ideologies (most importantly including religions): They start with good motives (at least they claim so) and end in catastrophe.

        You imply that “human equality” (a good motive) was still the goal of feminism. I disagree. Feminism does not pursue this goal, anymore. Maybe those, who call themselves feminists, today, still claim to fight for equality, but their actions don’t support this. It’s the same like the Christians who claim to follow the religion of love and peace – but torture and kill uncountable innocent people in the most horrific ways.

        Please note: Many Christians who act this way are not aware of doing anything wrong! In their view, they do the right thing. When they e.g. burn a witch, they do this out of love and kindness. They do the witch’s soul a favour when they set her free from Satan’s spell – by burning her alive on the pyre.

        You might want to read and Karlheinz Deschner – Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums [Criminal History Of Christianity].

        This is exactly the problem with ideologies: People following them are so blind that they don’t even see what harm they do.

        When feminism started in the 18th century, there was indeed a need for it. The women were discriminated and needed equal rights. But during the 20th century, feminism’s goals were achieved and feminism turned into sth. completely different and very ugly. Today, it’s merely discrimination of men and lots of unfounded shit-storms caused by people who feel offended by everything (including truly friendly and warm-hearted compliments).

        Besides all the haters starting all these excruciating shit-storms, one of the main problems of feminism today is that it shifted its understanding of “equality”:

        Originally, feminism’s goals were *equal* *rights* and *equal* *chances*. But now, the feminists call for *equalization* (this is even official according to their German words – don’t know if they admit it this openly in other countries/languages). I’m not a native English speaker, hence I’m not sure whether I chose the right words and can make myself understood correctly. There’s a fine, but very important difference between these two types of equality:

        *Equal* *rights* mean the doors are open for everyone. No discrimination.

        *Equalization*, however, means that if person A does not *want* to go through the open door, then you either shut the door for person B to prevent him from going through, too, or you force person A through the door – or in its most extreme form even both (like a kind of revenge, because person B’s relative went through the door, before).

        In practice, this equalization means that men are discriminated against, while women are pushed into directions they don’t want to go. Of course, the feminists find it totally unbelievable and inacceptable, that other women might not want to go the same way (maybe they project their own ambitions to every other woman). They then blame the society for somehow having brainwashed those women who have different goals in life. That individuals have the right to individual decisions escapes them.

        Example: A friend of mine became a mother, a few years ago. After she took one or two years off, she told me that she loves to stay at home taking care of her child (her husband earns enough – no financial need to return to work). But her friends increasingly group-pressure her into returning to work – just because women today are supposed to do that. It’s thus not her right to go back to work, but it is her duty – this is one aspect of equalization instead of equal rights. Of course, in the eyes of the feminists, she wants to go to work, but she’s not aware of it (how bizarre) 😉

        Another example are these quotas: The feminists are pushing (don’t know if they succeeded) for 40% quotas in management. This assumes that roughly 40% of all the people who *want* to work in management actually are women. It never occurred to the feminists that the many downsides of this tough work (which I did myself for much longer than a decade) might not be the dream of so many women. Or maybe – IMHO more likely – they know this very well and simply abuse feminism + quota to ease their own personal way into management. Alternatively, they simply are man-haters and see this as a chance for making men’s lives harder.

      • Jane Robertson · July 6, 2015

        Marco please stop bombarding me with your anti feminist criticism when I reply to someone other than you.

      • Anonymous · July 6, 2015

        > Marco please stop bombarding me

        I didn’t “bombard” you. This was actually my *first* reply to you. Or are you maybe using multiple identities here?!

      • Marco · July 6, 2015

        …and it seems this blog is broken – tried to post using the same identity as before – didn’t work anymore. Just trying again and apologizing for myself having switched the identity (at least temporarily).

      • Smorgasbroed · July 6, 2015

        Excuse me but Darth Vader is NOT an actor but a role in a movie played by an actor. That lousy way of writing or lack of interest in understanding what I say – or both – is in itself rendering your comment irrelevant. And nowhere did I say something about “human equality” … you are over interpreting which proofs you are an unreflected part of that -ism.

        No, I don’t explain to you why I chose Darth Vader. Educate yourself. Don’t swing rhetorical clubs at me when you don’t even understand what I was talking about.

      • Jane Robertson · July 6, 2015

        You are excused.
        Educate myself? A Star Wars film? Yeah ok I need educating about movie character with a deep voice and a “light sabre”.

      • Smorgasbroed · July 6, 2015

        Oh, and Jane, one thing: This is an open discussion and everyone can take part. I did not talk to you in the first place either. So hold your temper. Marco might have a written an rather lengthy statement but this proofs only how much he is interested in that topic and also it proofed how easily you are offended by rather mild criticism.

      • Smorgasbroed · July 6, 2015

        Jane, by denying the relevance of pop culture for yourself you are not rendering it irrelevant for other. This is a rather arrogant POV. You continue to proof that you have no point to make in this discussion.

  38. Michael Pyshnov · July 4, 2015

    The point is that Tim Hunt resignation was obtained by fraud, a humiliating fraud and psychological calculated pressure. He fraudulently was led to believe that he had no choice. If you look at the “process” by which it was obtained, the ambush on a plane, the message that was sent to his wife, etc., it is quite clear. Add to this later “justifications” by M. Arthur, his “apologies”.

    These methods are known from times immemorial; courts had dealt with this before. Now these methods are used by administration around the world. It’s the same people, the same methods.

    What his detractors are saying is called demagogy, playing on words, inventing fraudulent new terms, then building up a “case” that is completely outside of the law. Example:

    I know about these things. I had an interesting moment when years after my PhD program was terminated, I found my research stolen, and I was told that my research was “salvaged” (not stolen) by my supervisor. See

    • Morten Dahl · July 6, 2015

      So this hole thing was planned?

      • Smorgasbroed · July 7, 2015

        I’d not say “planned” but more like “carried out following a scheme”. There might not even be a person involved pulling on strings. My feeling is that topics of sexism, feminism, misogyny tend to need an initial pointing of fingers and if the audience is big enough and the “target” interesting enough an avalanche quickly builds up.

        Now Twitter comes into play: Since Twitter does not really allow conversations because of the character limit – which is again eaten up by account names – what you can say is very limited. Very. People tend to make sharp comments, witty statements which then leads to more witty statements and sharp comments. Naturally imprecise they hence create either misunderstandings or – if tweeted around persons of the same peer group – enormously powerful positive feedback loops.

        I say it differently: Throwing the first stone is easy on Twitter. If you have reach, you can easily stone people to “death” … Which makes a very powerful weapon.

  39. benjaminhuish · July 4, 2015

    Excellent forensic breakdown of what we know now. I’ve always believed in equal rights for all and have always argued the lagging behind of female representation in this day and age is inexcusable, but what happened to Sir Tim Hunt was wrong on EVERY level and way of looking at it. Total foul play.

  40. Pingback: With Professors Like This It’s No Wonder Science Journalism Is So Fair … | News Leader
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  43. Chris · July 8, 2015

    Just to give the whole affair a little context, here’s a university diversity officer who banned white men from an event, and started a killallwhitemen hashtag, still on the job.

  44. Pingback: Weekly miscellany: gay marriage, Tim Hunt, the Pope, China, Greece and Europe | Contra Mundum
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