Connie St. Louis Falsely Accuses Colleague, Prize Winner of Ethics Breach

UPDATE AUGUST 4:

A search of the bot internet WayBack Machine reveals that in 2004 Ms. St Louis described herself only as the presenter, not as a producer, of the ‘Life As…’ series for which Ms. Wright had won the prize two years earlier.

I returned to the Science Unit in 1999 to begin my presentation career with a new series. LIFE BEFORE BIRTH a joint R4 /world service commission which charts the scientific and medical developements from birth to death. This is presently in its third series.

In both 2013 and 2014 her own site’s About Me page called her a broadcaster without adding ‘award-winning’.

Connie St Louis is a freelance broadcaster, journalist, writer and scientist. She is director of City University London’s Science Journalism MA.

She appears to have added ‘award-winning’ only later, with an implied claim of producing Ms. Wright’s production and series.

Connie St Louis is an award-winning broadcaster, journalist, academic, writer and scientist. She presents and produces a range of health programmes for radio including BBC Radio’s 4 landmark seven ages of man series, “Life as…”

 

For the first time the producer in the science unit Erika Wright broke with the traditional and ethically  way that programmes from the science unit we’re entered for the Glaxo smith Kline / ABSW  prize and submitted the programmes that were jointly made just in her name. She  realised that this was wrong and she  recognised my contribution as presenter and writer of the scripts for the programme and we shared and divided the prize. However, she neglected to ask the organisers  to add my name to the prize.

Email from Connie St. Louis, re her City University CV‘s claim of winning the prize for ‘Life As A Teenager’ actually won by producer Erika Wright; the above claims are factually false, Ms. Wright committed no ethical breaches, submitted the entry in the normal way, won the prize, and had no duty to amend it or add Ms. St. Louis’ name to it in any way.

 

With Tim Hunt, sorry seems to be the hardest word.

Connie St. Louis, whose reports of ‘no laughing’ and ‘deathly silence’ have now been shown to be a lie, has still not apologized in the matter. She was exposed, early on in the affair, by a forensic piece of investigative journalism by the reporter Guy Adams, as having invented much of her CV. This was hugely important at the time, as I had not yet found witnesses, photos or audio that could prove that Sir Tim Hunt was telling the truth about his brief toast in Seoul (2-3 minutes duration, not 5-7 as Ms. St. Louis falsely reported). Back then, credibility was very important. City University removed her CV from their website but said they would stand by her, as did the Association of British Science Writers.

City University, London, have now published Ms. St. Louis’s ‘updated’ CV. It is still wrong.

Does it matter that the first  “reporter” of the Sir Tim Hunt lie is still teaching journalism? I think it does. In a way, this story, at first about proving the Hunt reporting false, has moved on to being one about ethics – and discrimination. Sir Tim and Ms. St. Louis were treated very differently by their academic institutions. UCL got it wrong with Sir Tim, and City University got it partly right with Ms. St. Louis. Whereas UCL jumped on the basis of a lying tweet and a campaign by Professor David Colquhoun, with Dean of Life Sciences Prof Geraint Rees tweeting about a colleague before even speaking to him, City did not blindly believe reporting.

That was the right thing to do. They took their time and spoke to Ms. St. Louis. However, she is not being open and truthful either then or now. She is still claiming under ‘awards and prizes’ the award given to another person, the producer Erika Wright, for ‘Life as A Teenager,’ a landmark radio show that Ms. St. Louis was just the presenter on.

In a sensational email, on the record, Ms. St. Louis falsely claims that she actually won this prize, and that Ms. Wright committed multiple ethical breaches; that Ms. Wright broke with tradition to claim a joint prize singly, that did not belong to her, and that Ms. Wright further failed to correct the record by not noting who really did win that prize. “add my name to the prize”

Such a claim of an ethics breach would be highly damaging if it were at all true, which it absolutely is not. Ms. Wright as a past winner served on the panel the following year judging the next year’s winners. Ms. St. Louis’s false charge is all the more graceless and remarkable because it would appear that Ms. Wright had been very kind about Ms. St. Louis’ false claims, and Ms. St. Louis was told that in advance. A BBC spokesman had said

“The awarding of the prize was in the producer’s name, but Connie was involved and as such it would not seem unreasonable for her to put it on her CV.”

The BBC of course did not award this prize; they therefore have no standing to say who should or should not claim it; so my inference is that this generous quote reflected the thoughts of Ms. Wright. (it was an Association of British Science Writers’ prize).

Ms. St. Louis was given that gracious quote in advance. However, her reply to this generosity was to falsely accuse the actual winner of ethics breaches both in her entry of the show and her subsequent behaviour. Connie St. Louis wrote:

For the first time the producer in the science unit Erika Wright broke with the traditional and ethically  way that programmes from the science unit we’re entered for the Glaxo smith Kline / ABSW  prize and submitted the programmes that were jointly made just in her name. She  realised that this was wrong and she  recognised my contribution as presenter and writer of the scripts for the programme and we shared and divided the prize. However, she neglected to ask the organisers  to add my name to the prize. [Sic]

It cannot be stressed strongly enough that this is an absolute falsehood. Ms. Wright committed no ethics breaches; she and she alone won the award. When asked about this claim of ethics breaches the BBC refuted it very strongly.

A BBC spokesman said

We are unaware of these allegations. Any suggestion that the proper process wasn’t followed around the 2002 award is untrue.

The false accusation that Ms. Wright broke with “the traditional and ethically way” [sic] that entries were made to the prize is factually false.The BBC has a process, and Ms. Wright as producer was the sole winner. In this link you can see previous BBC Science entries made for the producer of any show submitted to the awards.

Ms. St. Louis is here flinging vile accusations, without a shred of evidence to support them, at a former colleague who has been kinder to her than she deserves. Is that who City University Journalism students deserve to have designing their MA? A ‘journalist’ who not only reports lies and steals credit, but accuses other journalists of ethics breaches for prizes they actually won?

At some point universities have a duty to examine what they offer to students, not just a loyalty to staff.

Ms. St. Louis also accused City University for being responsible for the false information on her CV, such as that she wrote for papers she never wrote for:

My cv has not been changed. The information that was put on the website by the university was part of online profile trial it was inaccurate and scraped from places that were old and inaccurate. I had no Idea that this incorrect information was publicly available until I was asked about it last month. This information was removed as soon as possible.This profile is in the form of that the university stipulates. It is the first time I have written a profile for the university website.

This is, of course, absolute and total rubbish. Ms. St. Louis stood for election to the World Federation of Science Journalists on the same false CV. She submitted that CV to them. WCSJ2015, which sold conference tickets falsely calling her an ‘award-winning scientist’, is the conference of WFSJ – they are one and the same.

Ms. St. Louis was elected on a fraudulent CV and the WFSJ removed the same from their website to protect her. I do not include a link as the CV has personal details on it, but it has been archived.

City University needs to ask some ethical questions. Ms. St Louis is now on the Board of a World Federation of Science Journalists, elected by her peers on a CV that has been proven to be full of lies. It is not out-of-date – it is invented. Why did she falsely claim to write for papers she has not written for? Why does she put “Member of the Royal Institute” on her CV? These are not ‘out of date’ errors they are Jayson Blair style fiction.

Finally, Ms. St. Louis is a former President of the Association of British Science Writers. They were the award-giving body to ‘Life As a Teenager’. They supported her after her false CV was revealed. There is a huge conflict of interest in these ‘Science Journalism’ bodies acting improperly to cover up false reporting by one of their own.

Ms. St. Louis is, further, being covered up for by the Guardian newspaper. As her emails show, she is not at all a good writer; she writes with appalling grammar, yet positions herself as a senior journalist. Of course she is not likely to have lots of print journalism experience as she falsely claimed as she cannot write. There is an issue with the Guardian so heavily editing her wretchedly poorly written article slamming Sir Tim Hunt (and further lying about what he said). Here is the original.

First, a handmaidenesqueinterview in the Observer at Hunt’s lovely house in rural Hertfordshire. The interview is full of lovely anecdotes of Hunt doing the grocery shopping and cooking (a modern reconstructed man?). It ends with what can only be describes as a ‘whining’ platform.

“A whining platform”?

But because I thought it might happen and there might be a possibility that too much attention was turned on Hunt. [sic]

It goes on.

I asked the Royal Society, who is in charge of these matters in the UK funded by the taxpayer;

Er….

The Nobel eight’s idiotic attempt to orchestrate and equate the upset caused by Hunt’s ill advised and sexist comments with some kind of ‘academic chilling’.

Ohhh-kay. I’m sure they are all absolute idiots, as you say. ‘to orchestrate and equate the upset caused’ – well, if i can detangle some English sense out of that, Ms. St. Louis, I rather think that this was your role, was it not?

Connie St. Louis needs to apologise to both Erika Wright and Sir Tim Hunt. She accused them both falsely. She also ought not to be designing an MA course in journalism, or sitting on the WFSJ or ABSW boards, either. I will assume since City University didn’t care about her false CV, they won’t mind their students being taught by a woman who falsely accuses her colleague of stealing a joint prize through unethical behaviour (although I hope I am wrong). I assume that WFSJ, with Curtis Brainard, Deborah Blum, and Ivan Oransky all involved in its governance, is OK both with its members being deceived in an election and a new Board member lying about another journalist’s prize and that journalist’s ethics; same with ABSW who know perfectly well that Erika Wright correctly submitted her entry and won the award.

But all of that does not speak well to the ethics and standing of Connie St. Louis. Rather, it speaks very poorly to the ethics of the top brass at the World Federation of Science Journalists and at the Association of British Science Writers (if the latter now stand by her). Whether City University do anything to prevent their students being taught journalism by a lecturer who makes wholly false allegations against another science journalist, and wrongly claims that person’s prize, we shall see. They have a duty to their students. At this point Ms. St. Louis’ wrongful behaviour is already on the record. It is the behaviour of the institutions around her that is looking more and more unethical.

 

 

72 comments

  1. delphinium123 · August 3, 2015

    What person, in such a position, is not aware of what her CV says or doesn’t say? As a professional working in health/neuroscience, I know how important it is to keep one’s CV up to date. If it contains errors, it is the individual’s responsibility. It is childish to pass the blame onto others. I am stunned that CSL continues to deceive, deny, and dissemble. Shame on her. Good work, Louise – how little we would know if you had not done your forensic work on this case.

  2. Fred Wyropiquet · August 3, 2015

    Can I clarify? Are we now to believe that:

    “an award-winning freelance broadcaster, journalist, writer and scientist.”

    claims an award for a radio broadcast that is not confirmed by the awarding organisation
    has written a couple of newspaper articles
    has written a chapter in a text book
    failed to complete her postgraduate studies.

    Seriously?

    • louisemensch · August 3, 2015

      yes.

      and has claimed to have experience she does not have, falsified her CV in other ways ‘Member of the Royal Institute’, stood for election to journalists’ associations on the same false CV, and finally accuses another journalist of ethical breaches for not handing over a prize that journalist won fair and square.

  3. @justamusicprof · August 3, 2015

    I’m confused. The press at the time gave credit to Connie St Louis. No mention of Erika Wright:

    “Connie St Louis continues her documentaries on the seven ages of Man with four new programmes on the teenage years.” Observer (Stephanie Billen), 23/6/02, p. 41.
    “At the helm, Connie St Louis did what she felt to be the right thing: sent the adolescents packing and swiftly called in the experts.” Guardian (John Robinson), 28 June 2002, p.16.
    “Connie St Louis presents a four-part series examining the teenage years as part of an ambitious larger project examining the seven ages of man.” The Birmingham Post, 25 June 2002, p.14.

    Did you miss these? Or am I missing something?

    • Tom · August 3, 2015

      CSL was the presenter, the award went to the producer.

      • @justamusicprof · August 3, 2015

        She did all the work, all the interviews, the entire seven-part Life As series (each segment being multi-partite) is everywhere credited in the press as Connie St Louis’s production. Dozens more media examples. Erika Wright’s name does not appear anywhere. Find me one example where the media at the time credited any segment of that important series it to Erika Wright and I’ll shut up.

      • Tom · August 3, 2015

        Funnily enough, the quote that would have destroyed your line of reasoning (where CSL credited the production of that series to EW of the Bristol unit) was recently deleted from CSL’s own website. Funny that.

      • louisemensch · August 4, 2015

        How fascinating. I wonder if the before and after versions are archived. Love to add that as an update to this post. How repulsively dishonest of her.

    • debbiekennett · August 3, 2015

      Here’s the page on the BBC website about the awards: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3043484.stm

      • @justamusicprof · August 3, 2015

        Well aware of this. And I think Connie was screwed based on my own research into the media archives at the time.

      • Sophie Hannah · August 3, 2015

        If one were the presenter of the award-winning programme, and one wanted to put said programme on one’s CV, this would be a totally honest and okay way to do it: ‘I was significantly involved in/was the presenter of a programme, Life as a Teen, for which the producer, Erika W, won the Glaxo Whatnot in 2002.’ No problem there. But huge problem about simply putting ‘Award in 2002 for Life as a Teen’ on one’s CV when award actually has someone else’s name on it.

      • Sophie Hannah · August 3, 2015

        I mean…because it *is* a credit to a person if a show they’re heavily involved in wins an award. So, sure, put it on CV – you *should* put it on, but you’re obliged to mention if award went to named individual and that individual isn’t you, if you see what I mean!

      • debbiekennett · August 3, 2015

        According to the GSK website the prize is awarded for science writing: http://www.lexdon.com/article/glaxosmithkline_absw_science_writers_awards/125198.html Having once been an interviewee and consultant on a BBC radio programme I know from my personal experience that it’s the producer who does most of the work in terms of doing the research, preparing the questions and writing the script. The award does appear to have been for writing and not presenting. However, as the BBC said, there’s nothing to stop her putting it on her CV so long as it is described in an accurate way along the lines that Sophie suggests.

      • louisemensch · August 3, 2015

        I note though that although the BBC (and I infer Erika Wright) gave that generous quote this was done BEFORE Ms. St. Louis made her false allegations about Ms. Wright, the winner of the prize.

        In fact strictly speaking the BBC does not have any standing to say who should and should not declare themselves the winner of this award as they are not the award-making body – that’s the ABSW.

        What the BBC does have standing to comment on, is if the entry for the award was properly submitted as it comes from their Science Unit. I sought comment on this, because Ms. St. Louis made a very specific allegation that this was an ethical breach in how the entry was made – a breach by Erika Wright who had just been so gracious to her.

        The BBC can’t really comment on who should win the prize but they do have standing as the entering body, to say if there is any substance to the false allegation of wrongful entry made by Ms. St. Louis against Ms. Wright. And they replied ‘absolutely not’.
        Over 13 years later nobody can truly say now that the prize was wrongly given out – even the ABSW who now have a conflict of interest. But the BBC could say if it was wrongfully entered as alleged. It wasn’t.

        Therefore only Ms. Wright is the winner of that prize, as the producer of the series. Nobody else won it. The BBC entered the award; it did not make the award.

    • Louise mensch · August 3, 2015

      Why are you confused? There is a link to the award, by the Association of British Science Writers, directly in the blog; showing a similar pattern for past entries.

      Ms. Wright produced the series and was the only winner of the award. As the BBC say there is no question, contrary to Ms. St. Louis’ wholly false allegation, that the entry was made improperly at the time.

      • Ivana Fulli MD · August 4, 2015

        Any actress can’t pretend she was the recipient of a golden globe award because the director of a movie she played a character in has won one for directing the movie and vice versa. It’s crystal clear for anybody of good faith and @justamusicprof is just showing that she cannot reason properly.

  4. Brendan · August 3, 2015

    Surely City University should be answerable to Trading Standards. They have been selling a product – the MA course – under a manifestly false prospectus.

  5. Dr Chris Westwood · August 3, 2015

    Louise, I am glad you are drawing a distinction between UCL and City as to their handling of discipline and PR issues. It takes some believing to accept that UCL are to create a major business and management centre down in Docklands. How can UCL claim to be a fit organisation to both train managers and to provide consultancy services based on their incompetent handling of the Tim Hunt issue. I feel sorry for any organisation needing their help. Perhaps City can provide accreditation for UCL degrees, and provide an auditing role. You just have to laugh. Unfortunately it is not funny.

  6. Maggi Wilson · August 3, 2015

    I am absolutely staggered at the poor literacy demonstrated by a supposed journalist. How did she get her job?

    • Ivana Fulli MD · August 4, 2015

      I am not qualified in forensic psychiatry but I did a short course on it as part of my adult psychiatrist qualification decades ago. On the first lesson, we were made to study the case of a crook who had come to trouble with the justice system after he had sold land to built that didn’t exist to several people including a notary. He told us that successful crooks forensic psychiatrists like himself have an uncanny capacity to inspire trust in people who should know better.
      It remains that procedures are made to be followed and decent universities do check the CV of their lecturers which obviously this London city University doesn’t.

      • Ivana Fulli MD · August 4, 2015

        Mea Culpa, please read:
        He (forensic psychiatry teacher) told us that successful crooks, forensic psychiatrists like himself had to examine to give testimony to courts, have an uncanny capacity to inspire trust in people who should know better.

  7. BadMemory · August 3, 2015

    Worth reading (pages 3-4) – it raises a few questions …

    From the Introduction to “Reframing Libel” (2011):

    “In my time years in the BBC I had spent many hours debating and interpreting words with lawyers. I knew all too well that sometimes it’s a very fine balance that of truth telling and avoiding libel.”

    http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/12297/1/Reframing%20Libel%20Book%20Edited%20by%20Connie%20St%20Louis.pdf“

    • dwestonfront · August 3, 2015

      Very interesting indeed. And it is the same incredibly clumsy writing style. So clumsy in fact it makes me flinch. What must some of her students think? She clearly does not check her work before publication either.

      “In my time years in the BBC” – good grief.

      The most interesting part for me is what precedes that:

      “‘There by the grace of God …. I too had been threatened
      with a Libel action; I knew the terror and panic of facing financial ruin. However for me that process
      was short lived because my employer the BBC behaved like the mother hen and opened up its
      wings and gathered me under them, to allow me to nestle fearlessly. ‘They must sue us [the BBC]
      first!’ came the resounding battle cry from the then controller when he heard of the action.”

      Now I really want to know more about this….

    • Steven Neugarten · August 3, 2015

      I tried to follow thev link, this was the result: 404 File not Found – City Research Online

  8. @justamusicprof · August 3, 2015

    No, actually, Sophie Hannah, I don’t see at all what you mean. A producer oversees the work. Connie did all the real work: she identifed the players, conducted all the interviews, wrote all the script, and narrated the entire series herself. Some media at the time credit her as being ‘at the helm’ of this series and laud her work. She should have been named on the award and it is simply outrageous that she wasn’t. I’ve got 20+ media citations crediting her with this entire series. Not to mention that she’s mentioned as a ‘climbing the ladder’ at the BBC, contrary to all malicious falsehoods that have denied the fact that she even worked for the BBC. Is that just? Is that fair? Is that decent? Where’s your warm and fuzzy love and compassion for someone who’s been unfairly denied credit for a huge amount of important broadcasting work spanning 7+ years? This article is nothing short of disgraceful.

    • debbiekennett · August 3, 2015

      The producer and the presenter normally work very closely together but the producer is often the one who identifies the players and contacts them to arrange the interviews, prepares the scripts, etc. http://www.bbc.co.uk/academy/production/radio/producing/article/art20150521143614203
      The GSK website and the BBC website both state that the prize went to the producer. It sounds as though she generously shared the prize money in recognition of the joint effort involved. There seem to be separate awards for presenters and producers: http://www.radioacademyawards.org/winners/

    • Louise mensch · August 3, 2015

      My quotation from the BBC is unabridged and direct. Normal procedure was followed. What is outrageous is the suggestion that Ms. Wright did anything unethical.

      As to any claims of scriptwriting, given the actual writing I have before me, I’d like to see the originals. Off air talent can be under recognized. The producer of the series is in charge of it and she won the prize. Her entry was ethical in every respect. The BBC has procedures for these things and they were followed.

      • louisemensch · August 3, 2015

        the above are by me; one is phone, one computer.

    • Fred Wyropiquet · August 3, 2015

      But she didn’t win the award. I doesn’t matter if you present lots of evidence to show that she did more than narrate – and you haven’t offered any evidence* – she still didn’t win the award. There is a form of words that could have been used “Presenter of the award-winning …” that purists might quibble over but would give the nearest excusable claim to what she seems to believe to be true. But she didn’t win the award – and she says she did. And your papering over those facts is indecent.

      * a cursory glance shows that presenters get all the media attraction whilst producers are invisible – but then producers can win the awards and not the presenter.

    • Louise Mensch · August 3, 2015

      Just out of interest did she actually tell you she “did all the real work”?

      That would be an incredible claim to make, as well as libelous.

      If not, what’s your source for such an outlandish and unsupported suggestion?

      • @justamusicprof · August 5, 2015

        Riddle me this, Louise: if she didn’t win the award, why did she share the financial prize w/ Erika Wright? Hmmm? Do you know the answer? I do. Only one who needs to worry about libel is you, dear Mensch.

      • Fred Wyropiquet · August 5, 2015

        @justamusicprof taunts:
        “Riddle me this, Louise: if she didn’t win the award, why did she share the financial prize w/ Erika Wright? Hmmm? Do you know the answer? I do. Only one who needs to worry about libel is you, dear Mensch.”

        This seems to be back to front. As I understand it Erika won the prize, alone, as producer. Certainly that’s what is shown on the website of the awarding body. If it’s wrong they have had 13 years to correct it so I assume that they haven’t been asked to change that or they have been asked and have refused to ‘correct’ it because it is already correct. If you know better then please offer chapter and verse – else I (and any other reasonable person) goes by the best evidence. There was a single person winner and that was Erika.

        It seems that Erika shared the financial part of the prize with Connie. That was good. Many prizes with much kudos and very large sums of money attached have been won by those who didn’t do the work with none of the benefits going to their colleagues. A number of Nobel prizes fit this description. As it happens I have no reason to suppose that Erika didn’t do all the work for which she won the prize and I’m disinclined to credit Connie St Louis with any of what she claims, at least not without significant proof. As far as I can see Erika shared the money because it’s in her nature to do that on the occasion of good fortune – which also has to accompany all awards in addition to skill and hard work.

        That Erika chose to share the financial award says nothing about the skills and work that Connie may or may not have put into the project. But even if Connie had done most of the work she still didn’t win the award (see above). It is still wrong to claim the award as her own. I would advise the stance taken by Jocelyn Bell Burnell:
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jocelyn_Bell_Burnell#Nobel_Prize

      • @justamusicprof · August 5, 2015

        For @connie_stlouis Let my accusers be clothed with shame, And let them cover themselves with their own disgrace as with a mantle. Ps 109:29

  9. Sophie Hannah · August 3, 2015

    Paula – I agree that if a prize has been awarded to the wrong person, then that’s unfair. I have no idea whether the prize that went to Erika W should have gone to Connie SL. But whether or not it should have, it didn’t, right? It went to Erika W. Therefore surely it is factually incorrect for CSL to claim it as ‘her’ award? Also, why did BBC say that award was submitted in normal way and no injustice occurred when prize went to Erika? Look, I know nothing of who did most of the work on the prog. But I do know that if a prize is awarded to someone else, you can’t claim it as your own. (If this weren’t the case, many many novelists would be able to claim that they and not Hilary Mantel hadd won the Man Booker prize every year!)

    • louisemensch · August 3, 2015

      In order that Ms. Wright not be libeled, I just want to make it absolutely clear that there is no question whatsoever that Ms. Wright won the prize in a totally ethical manner and that Ms. St. Louis’ allegations are untrue. Sources say that it could be very damaging to a producer to let an allegation of credit-stealing sit out there. I know you are not making such an allegation but discussing theory, but for the record, Ms. St. Louis’s allegations are absolutely untrue.

      Ms. Higgins has not looked at the links I provide. They clearly show that the BBC always entered the producer of a series for similar awards. Ms. St. Louis says ‘For the first time….’ Ms Wright broke with the ‘traditional and ethically way.’ Even if the BBC had not confirmed that wasn’t true, one only has to look at the ABSW lists to see that what Ms. St. Louis says is plain wrong. Traditionally all the series entered were entered in the name of a single producer. There aren’t joint entries made. St. Louis is not correct. It is easy enough to check.

  10. Sophie Hannah · August 3, 2015

    ‘Had’, not ‘hadd’, sorry!

  11. Pat Sheehy · August 3, 2015

    As in her academic career, she did enjoy unaccountably meteoric success at the BBC. Her cv says ‘she joined the BBC’s two-year Network Radio Trainee Reporter Scheme. After one year, she secured a job as Producer and was promoted to Senior Producer in the BBC Science Unit.’ Should one feel impressed by that, or a little disconcerted, I wonder.

  12. John Martin · August 4, 2015

    Those who vilified Tim Hunt are now cowering behind their own weasel words and trying to wash their hands of it – “the lunatics are taking over the asylum”.

    • Fred Wyropiquet · August 4, 2015

      There is a clear call for a diplomatic ending to the whole affair, a call that makes sense, but it would be nonsense to conflate diplomacy with capitulation to bullies. We don’t have the right to say to Sir Tim Hunt, “Hard luck mate, life’s tough” and we don’t have the right to say the same to current & future students and staff at UCL and elsewhere because we were unable to get the instigators to see the unreason of their action. But perhaps we need to signal that there is no appetite for a frenzy of retaliation – even though the scrutiny was brought on by their own vindictive action – but the price has to be proper self-reflection and consequent apologies.

      • louisemensch · August 4, 2015

        Hmm yes. It will however require apologies and restitution. I have complained to the BBC. They are a public service broadcaster and should correct their misquotes.

  13. John Martin · August 4, 2015

    Perhaps it may be better to concentrate on “rehabilitating” poor Tim Hunt rather than wasting energy on the intransigents – there are none so blind as those who will not see. Do not give them the mantle of “victimhood”.

    • Fred Wyropiquet · August 4, 2015

      It’s a pity the rules of the John Maddox Prize don’t quite match for Sir Tim Hunt. Is there a prize for someone promoting future generations in science? It would be fitting.

    • Dr Chris Westwood · August 4, 2015

      John, you have raised a good point. But there is no way he can go back to UCL. Even the Royal Society would be difficult because of the way Paul Nurse let Colquohoun, Bishop and Frith started a Twitter trial without him exercising any authority. Ths leaves only Europe, and he could go back there. Now think about this. Hunt got his knighthood for something he did years ago. He has worked tirelessly, ever since, encouraging youngsters to go into science. There are better and bigger honours than a knighthood. That would shut them up, and get him back into the system. Anyone out there with any influence.

      • louisemensch · August 4, 2015

        I don’t agree re Royal Society; that was different and I think Sir Paul made good amends. Also see Prof Dame Athene on the perception of his comments vs his real comments.

        UCL is a distraction. Sir Tim told Nature magazine there was no point returning as his lecture commitment to them had already finished. At this point the shame of Michael Arthur is global in the academic community. I see on my feed disdain from Professors as far away as India, NYU, Cornell, and CA. UCL have blown it comprehensively. Why touch them with a bargepole?

        Sir Tim will be welcomed back to lecturing and already has invitations, for example, the British Ambassador to Chile invited him to go and lecture there to young scientists. I imagine he may feel he wants a break and to decide how best to protect himself in future; record all his own speeches on video and give nothing off the cuff without a recording. And not to any WFSJ members!

    • louisemensch · August 4, 2015

      I agree, I would not have blogged on Connie unless she had made this accusation. It’s brand new, and blows up Ms. Higgins’ narrative portraying Connie St. Louis as the victim of bullying, sexism etc. It’s highly embarrassing for all her defenders, as it shows she is not merely willing to attack a man falsely, a senior scientist, but also willing to attack a female producer and colleague, a fellow journalist whose credit she has tried to steal.

      I wrote this up for my paper after seeking comment from the BBC but they decided Ms. St. Louis didn’t make an interesting enough item and it was bumped for a piece on Alton Towers.

      Nonetheless as Connie is due to train new young journalists, her false accusations against her hard-working colleague deserve an airing. The post is already at around 3000 views 🙂

  14. Fred Wyropiquet · August 4, 2015

    I admit to hoping that apologies would do the job and that apologies would surface once the cowards realised that it wouldn’t “all go away”. Those proudly and loudly proclaiming themselves to be feminists and turning that title into a bully’s weapon and illegitimately using it to shield their self promotion, can be assured that none of this will “go away”. In her amateurish attempts to bag the scalp of Tim Hunt, Connie St Louis has shown the vulnerability of academic institutions to bullying. That won’t be forgotten. Women must be given equal opportunities to men without destroying the decency of working relations free from the fear of bullies.

    • Dr Chris Westwood · August 4, 2015

      Fred, you may be interested in Dame Professor Athene Donald’s latest blog. A young female academic joined the conversation, and everyone should read her comments. She stated that she believed Tim Hunt not to be the sexist he was accused of. She even admired Colquohoun for what he is doing promoting the cause of women. She then described some shocking experiences working for a male department head. You need to read this to understand how much better the energy used on both sides of this debate could be used fighting real problems.

      • debbiekennett · August 4, 2015

        Chris, I agree that the debate needs to move forwards and there are so many real problems that need addressing. I am concerned, however, that we are in danger of replacing one stereotype with another. While it is indeed shocking when a woman is badly treated by a bullying male department head, it should be remembered that this is the action of an individual and that he doesn’t represent the entire male sex. All institutions need to have good mechanisms in place to ensure that vulnerable people can report their concerns and have the issues investigated, but we need to remember that every time an accusation is made there are two possible outcomes: (1) the person is guilty or (2) the person is innocent. The damage done to someone’s reputation as a result of false accusations can be just as bad as the consequences of bullying. There should be robust procedures in place to ensure that everyone is treated fairly. Bullies can be females as well as males. Often the worst offenders have charismatic personalities and are compulsive liars, and they get away with their behaviour for a considerable time before being caught out. It seems to me that with the current focus on “microaggressions” such as jokes that are perceived as “sexist” we’re losing sight of the bigger picture.

      • louisemensch · August 4, 2015

        Completely agree.

      • Fred Wyropiquet · August 4, 2015

        I have read it. It is in reading that that I am even more resolved that this débâcle needs a proper conclusion. Her experiences show that it is essential that, not only should women be free of unacceptable pressures, but that workplaces need to be *comfortable* places where problems can be openly discussed. Letting the bullies win will destroy such ideals. Colquohoun may think he is on the side of the angels but his actions will produce exactly the opposite. And he would still owe Sir Tim and Mary that grovelling apology whatever the case.

      • A.J. Simonsen · August 8, 2015

        I saw that post Dame Professor Athene Donald’s bog as well. I certainly don’t deny that sexism exists. But I wonder about academia; would a better term simply be bullying? I remember my Dad saying years ago that defending his dissertation was the most demoralizing experience he ever had. More recently a friend worked for a male dept. head with multiple EEO complaints filed against him. After two years the gutless university finally chose to not renew his contract. However, the female PhD who assumed responsibility for the department was threatened by utter competence. I live in a university town and am not an academic, but the stories I hear from neighbors and friends about tenure, funding and management causes me to think that the term “higher learning” is the ultimate oxymoron.

  15. Daran · August 4, 2015

    Hi Louise.

    http://www.absw.org.uk/absw-awards/guidelines.html

    “The awards are for individuals or a team (see specific category rules for exceptions to this rule). No more than four names should be included per entry and these should only be the names of those primarily responsible for the quality, clarity and originality of the content presented.”

    A plain reading of the parenthetical remark is that only the rule that “awards are for individuals or a team” might be the subject of an exception, not the criteria for name submission. In any case, nothing in the specific category rule for the “… best communication … in a non science context” award excepts it from those criteria.

    A producer of a radio programme indisputably has primary responsibility for its quality, clarity and originality. A few other roles – researchers, script writers, and editors – have responsibility for their particular area of contribution, but cannot reasonably be said to be primarily responsible for the program content as a whole. The role of “presenter” isn’t even one of them. A presenter reads from a script, and has no responsibility in that capacity for its originality or its substantive quality, and only limited responsibility for its clarity. The ABSW presumably does not give awards to presenters for not mumbling. So for St Louis to have a colourable claim to have deserved the award (under the current guidelines) she would have had to have been the producer or a co-producer.

    At this point, relevent questions would appear to be

    1. Were the name submission criteria in 2002 the same as as they are today? If not, what were they?
    2. What involvement in the program does St Louis (now) claim she had which satisfied the 2002 criteria?
    3. Can her claims be verified or falsified?

    Perhaps you could turn your formidable search and research skills to them.

    • Daran · August 4, 2015

      Perhaps you could also edit my comment above to close the italics tag after “primarily”.

      • Louise Mensch · August 5, 2015

        lol!

        I think the point is not what was possible back in 2002 when Erika won her prize, but the lie that Connie told about it.

        The lie being three part. 1. That Erika changed the traditional method of entry. A glance at the BBC’s past winners shows that to be false. 2. That in entering the show in the standard way Erika Wright committed a breach of ethics. NO SHE DID NOT. Three, that Erika Wright committed a further breach of ethics by not changing the name on the prize in later years when she should have done so.

        sources close to the matter were keen to point out that false accusations of credit-stealing, like the one Connie makes here, can really dog a producer and so at every turn I have emphasized that there isn’t a shred of truth to Connie St. Louis’s false accusation.

  16. Michael Pyshnov · August 4, 2015

    What do you want from Connie St. Louis? She knows, and she can prove it to you, that she is needed and she is loved by millions. She is needed and loved by her university and by the best in the world broadcasting corporation. Obviously, millions of livelihoods depend on people like her. And, obviously, it is ridiculous to blame her for the UCL affair.

  17. Michael Pyshnov · August 5, 2015

    You can’t miss this, science journalists:
    The “adventure” gene predicts political attitudes in Chinese females, according to NUS study.
    http://news.nus.edu.sg/press-releases/9281-the-adventure-gene-predicts-political-attitudes-in-chinese-females-according-to-nus-study

  18. Anonymous · August 6, 2015

    http://www.thelawyer.com/briefings/correlate-your-business-decisions-with-reputation-risk/3037981.article

    UCL are finding themselves being quoted as an example of how not to manage things. Have not read the full review because I do not have an account. But we can guess what they say from the introductory paragraph. They should very soon find their way into text books on PR and management. Not a good advert for their business school. All the more reason for the Cass Business School over at City to smile.

    • Chris Westwood · August 6, 2015

      Didn’t know my name was changed to “anon”. No, I am not the prolific composer o
      of Baroque music.

  19. lin · August 8, 2015

    Am I the only one wondering why her degree lacks a year? Has that been verified?

    BSc (Hons) Applied Biology, University of Hertfordshire (formerly Hatfield Polytechnic)

  20. Andrew Cranston · August 9, 2015

    St. Louis is just the pawn in this. You can tell by how stupid she is, but what is also stupid is to focus attacks on pawns, because that is their function, to take the heat off the real culprits, who are hardened communist types. You can’t reason with them, change their mind or anything, but pulling them from the shadows with investigation which is watertight can do a lot of good.

    First of all though you will have to work out that St. Louis was not the person who is responsible. There’s one small give-away clue where she says something along the lines of she felt what she was doing was very important and was very concerned to get it right. Well what that tells me is she was doing it on behalf of someone else.

    They set that man up, and the reason they set him up was because he was the kind of man who is a free-thinker and has shown no signs what so ever of being affected by their brainwashing. Michael Arthur shows copious signs that his mind has been fully compromised, but Tim does not. He is a non-conformist, and to these communists he is dangerous, especially with a Nobel Prize, because people will never take to the idea of someone being rubbished and cast as stupid with a Nobel Prize. You see, they had to get him out of his positions of influence, such as the Royal Society, UCL, European funding bodies.

    So to repeat, it has nothing what so ever to do with this stupid woman. They could have picked any stupid woman they liked. What is important is who is doing this. You’ll have to work harder at it to find out. You won’t get this information from published sources. You’ll have to talk to people in confidence and properly research it. Remember, if a liar says you take a left turn, then you know the right way is a right turn, and vice versa. What have the liars told you?

    • Fred Wyropiquet · August 9, 2015

      The liars have told me that Connie St Louis is not responsible.

  21. Michael Pyshnov · August 9, 2015

    Again, who done it? Most generally – communists. The creeping revolution recently accelerated hugely. In science, their goals include replacing scientists with a crowd of technicians (for which role young girls are chosen). Apparently, Tim Hunt was teaching science and scientific thinking, not helpful to breeding govt. slaves operating testing kits.

    Personally responsible are M. Arthur (actually performing the trick), I. Oranski and B. Blum (supplying the false evidence and delegating C. St. Clair to paint the background).

    That this was a conspiracy, I have no doubt whatsoever, but may be even a provocation (can Sir Tim remember any?). Also, no doubt that there is huge personal animosity that is never absent where non-scientists have administrative and political power over a scientist. A scientist is always alone. What is called “scientific community” once again proved to be a ghost image. Seeing the revolution coming fast, they even went to the other side, cowards.

  22. Pingback: ABSW: Complaint Against Connie St. Louis over Tim Hunt, Erika Wright and her C.V. | Unfashionista
  23. Rachel Fell · December 19, 2015

    Thank you for posting this article

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