TORONTO, Ontario, June 21, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – University of Toronto psychology professor and cultural commentator Jordan Peterson filed a $1.5 million suit this week against Wilfrid Laurier University, two Laurier professors, and the school’s former gender and equity manager for defamation, the National Post reports.
The suit stems from a meeting held to discipline former teaching assistant Lindsay Shepherd for playing a video clip of Peterson criticizing a law mandating recognition of gender-confused individuals’ preferred pronouns. Faculty members accused her of threatening her students and compared Peterson to Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler.
Shepherd had secretly recorded the audio of the meeting and subsequently released it, creating a media firestorm and forcing the university to issue public apologies, retrain certain personnel, update certain policies, and approve a new Statement on Freedom of Expression.
Nevertheless, Shepherd is suing the university as well, for $3.6 million because the incident has allegedly left her “unemployable in academia.” Commenting on her suit, Peterson teased Wednesday that the school “has much more to learn before all this is over,” apparently referring to his own lawsuit.
Peterson’s suit names the school, Professor Nathan Rambukkana, Professor Herbert Pimlott, and former gendered violence prevention and support acting manager Adria Joel, who is no longer with the university. It says they defamed him by describing him as racist, sexist, misogynistic, incompetent, and dangerous; alleging that he helped target trans students; and claiming he doesn’t have any credible professional research to his name.
“This has a significant impact on Peterson’s reputation among those with whom he deals, including fellow academics, future and existing students, the university where he works and those whom might read his books or listen to his lectures,” the statement of claim argues. “Ironically, Peterson’s academic credentials are dramatically superior to those of either Professors Rambukkana or Pimlott.”
Peterson has amassed a strong following of conservative fans — and left-wing enemies — in recent years for his hard-hitting assessments of political and cultural issues.
He has argued that “abortion is clearly wrong,” called “intact heterosexual two-parent families” the “necessary bedrock for a stable polity,” decried transgender ideology as “completely insane,” and encouraged parents to oppose the “indoctrination” of so-called “comprehensive” sex-education.
Peterson is a particularly fierce critic of modern universities, arguing in a recent Prager University video that higher education is largely dominated by “post-modernists pushing progressive activism” by indoctrinating rather than teaching young people. “If you’re a taxpayer or paying for your kid’s liberal arts degree, you’re underwriting this gang of nihilists,” he warned.
“The politically correct on campus should not think that they can defame people, slander people and bully people implicitly and explicitly with impunity,” said Peterson’s attorney Howard Levitt, who is also representing Shepherd.
Levitt noted that the attacks on Peterson’s character and competence are particularly damaging because they don’t come from “some internet troll mouthing off,” but “professors and head of gender equity studies making comments that are atrocious.”
Wilfrid Laurier University has responded with a statement pledging to vigorously defend itself, and claiming it “remains committed to intellectual inquiry, critical reflection, scholarly integrity, academic freedom and freedom of expression while striving to be a supportive and inclusive community.”
Peterson sees the impending legal battle as more than a fight for his reputation; rather, an opportunity to send a message to the broader culture dominating modern universities about pushing their agenda with impunity.
“So I think this is a warning, let’s say, to other careless administrators and professors who allow their ideological presuppositions to get the best of them to be a bit more careful with what they say and do,” he explained. “We’ll see if two lawsuits make the point.”