Tim Hunt BBC Radio screenshotImagine a world where a guy dedicates his life to science, and then in his golden years he’s professionally executed after making a joke about how dangerous love in the lab can be. What kind of crazy world would allow online mobs to run a scientist out of town over a single joke? You can now stop trying to imagine that world, because the sad truth is that we’re living in it. Just ask Nobel laureate Tim Hunt.

Mr. Hunt said the following while speaking at the World Conference of Science Journalists in Seoul, South Korea:

“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 criticize them, they cry.”

That joke caused female scientists on Twitter to ironically cry like babies. They threw a giant temper tantrum and Mr. Hunt was forced to resign his position at University College London (UCL).

When Mr. Hunt sought to clarify his remarks during a radio interview with The Guardian, the paper’s editors thought the only part worth printing was that he “did mean the part about having trouble with girls.” Here is the full quote, in context:

“I mean it is true that I have fallen in love with people in the lab and that people in the lab have fallen in love with me and it is very disruptive to the science. Because it is terribly important that in the lab people are on a level playing field, and I’ve found that these emotional entanglements made life very difficult. I’m really sorry I caused any offense. That’s awful. I just meant to be honest, actually.”

Should a man lose his job over that? Should he be dragged like a suspected witch to the Twitter town square and thrown into the fire? Is it unforgivable to say that falling for a coworker is often a bad idea? The answer is “No.”

Mr. Hunt and his wife — who is also a scientist — were understandably angry with the way UCL hurried to throw them to the curb. They told The Guardian June 13:

What he said was wrong, he acknowledges, but the price he and his wife have had to pay for his mistakes has been extreme and unfair. “I have been hung out to dry,” says Hunt.

His wife, Professor Mary Collins, one of Britain’s most senior immunologists, is similarly indignant. She believes that University College London — where both scientists had posts — has acted in “an utterly unacceptable” way in pressuring both researchers and in failing to support their causes.

Certainly the speed of the dispatch of Hunt — who won the 2001 Nobel prize in physiology for his work on cell division — from his various academic posts is startling. In many cases this was done without him even being asked for his version of events, he says. The story shows, if nothing else, that the world of science can be every bit as brutal as that of politics.

The Guardian has it wrong — it isn’t science that is “brutal.” It is the ideology that so many academics subscribe to that is scary. It can take a man who dedicated his life to ridding the world of cancer and serve up his professional corpse within 24-48 hours if he upsets the sensitivities of his field’s rabid feminists.

Staff at University College London should be ashamed. A man was fired for acknowledging a simple truth: When two people fall in love — in a work setting — professional criticism becomes exponentially harder to deliver without tears.

Every time an institution tries to placate the Twitter mob, it only makes the mob hungry for more bodies. These people would try to end a zombie apocalypse by throwing the diseased some of the last remaining healthy humans.

The only thing University College London proved by firing Mr. Hunt is that while it may be a place of science, it is also occupied by a bunch of spineless academic back-stabbers.

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

27 comments

  1. Isn’t it sad? I mean, you can’t be playful anymore, you can’t even be honest about relationships between men and women anymore. That’s really annoying because that’s half the fun! 😉

    Tim Hunt did make a mistake however, he apologized, he admitted that what he said was “wrong.” That is like red meat in shark infested waters. They will go in for the kill just like it’s a feeding frenzy. They prey on the weak and they eat their own. If he had refused to clarify, refused to admit wrong doing and stood his ground he’d be in much better shape. There is a time to apologize, we all say careless things, but these people are totally driven by the narrative, so you have to be really careful not to hand it to them. He didn’t say anything “wrong” but now the implication is that he did.

    1. I’m not sure how they can fire a guy for talking about what he experienced. He had relationships with women at work and things he said to them during those relationships made them cry on occasion. Rational people can discuss whether he just had a unique experience or if he has insight into deeper truths about men and women, but the kind of feminists who helped get this guy fired are not rational.

      I fail to see how this man should be Public Enemy Number One for a single offhand remark at an academic conference. Even a couple of his female colleagues defending him in one of the Guardian pieces. If a guy cracks a joke that feminists don’t like, then that man should be kicked out of a community that works to cure men and women of cancer. That’s some amazing feminist logic right there.

    2. “I’m not sure how they can fire a guy for talking about what he experienced…”

      I don’t think they really did fire him? He resigned, didn’t he? That is the nature of how this game is usually played, it is all about the narrative, so they convince you you did something wrong and you crumble in the face of all the shaming. They have neither the legal nor the moral upper hand, but they do have that passive/aggressive form of public shaming that Fems know so well.

      I’m not blaming the guy, it’s just that from witnessing this kind of crap so many times, I’ve seen how the game is played. The way to win it, is to drop the rope, like in a game of tug of war. They all collapse in a heap if you refuse to crumble to their demands.

    3. In the article I read they told him that he could either resign or be fired. He’s 72 years old, so I guess he figured it wasn’t worth it to get fired and then fight it. I think he’s going to just spend time in his garden and enjoy the rest of his days with his wife. I can’t blame him.

    4. “the kind of feminists who helped get this guy fired are not rational”

      I said this elsewhere today, and it bears repeating: “some feminists think a man blinking in the direction of a woman is sexist.”

  2. Hmmm…..in a wayward attempt at humor, have I ever said, done, or written something that was dumb and/or got someone mad? Yes, all three. We all probably have. Guess I can’t teach in Britian.

    So if I’m scoring the PC movement correctly: former male Olympian feels like a woman in man’s body and wants to have a reality show = good; white woman feels she’s African-American, misleads everyone and wants to work for NAACP= petition worthy bad, allowed to resign; British scientist tells joke that doesn’t go over well and wants to continue his award winning science = so bad that he’s dismissed from the university immediately. That’s the world we live in!

    1. It must be incredibly exhausting to be a modern feminist. They’re on red alert 24 hours a day for that one moment a person says something offensive. It’s like their whole existence hinges how good they are at scouring the internet for inappropriate or clumsy comments. Sad.

  3. Wow, Duckman’s rant is truer today than it was 21 years ago.

    Hunt made only one mistake: he apologized. He didn’t completely roll over and beg, but he still apologized to a degree. You never apologize to the Twitter Mobs and the various types of idiot that comprise their ranks. I can’t help but notice that the self-proclaimed “We stand up for all women, even the hypothetical ones” crowd can’t be bothered to stand with Pam Geller–either out of cowardice, a skewed set of priorities, or both. Heck, they were more upset about Black Widow being called a whore than Scarlett Johansson being called worse for being a spokeswoman for Sodastream.

    When you apologize to these idiots, you just encourage them to continue with their inane quest to censor everything they don’t like. There was the Batgirl/Joker cover, that scientist guy with the t-shirt, and on and on and on. How soon before one is denounced for not liking a particular show or movie? I think if those Captain Marvel and Black Panther movies get any bad reviews, we’ll all see a lot hectoring and accusations of intolerance.

    Admittedly, I do enjoy when these idiots eat their own. Joss Whedon can be a real pain in the ass in general, but last month’s “‘Jurassic World’ is sexist based on that one clip I saw” posturing was such a transparent attempt to play to the SJWs that I truly enjoyed seeing him rattled over the complaints he didn’t make the Black Widow badass enough. Nonetheless, this online nonsense is way out of hand. There’s expressing an opinion and then there’s acting like a child. And much like with an out of control child, the only way they’re gonna behave is when people make it clear they’re not gonna put up with any of their crap.

    It’s comforting to know that some people (such as Jerry Seinfeld) are starting to recognize the mindset behind people like this, but it’s not enough. But I’m certain that will change. One day, the Twitter mobs and their ilk will go too far and the adults in the room will give them such a verbal thrashing that they’ll be catatonic. The little twerps can dish it out, but they can’t take it.

    1. I think your prediction for the Captain Marvel and Black Panther movies is probably quite accurate, SpiderTerry84. Marvel has a good track record so far, so I’m assuming both movies will be solid. Regardless, that will not stop the Tumblr/Twitter activists from trying to silence any criticism with the “War on Women”/Race cards.

      In regards to Joss Whedon, I agree with you. Every time he gets up on his political soapbox it seems like he sweats smugness. It was rather amusing to see his fans turn on him with Quicksilver-type speed. Those who live by the sword, die by the sword. Likewise, those who live by political correctness die by political correctness. 😉

  4. The worst part is when they apologise which only serves to validate the sexism, hate speech and the LITERALLY mentally deranged behaviour of these feminists and social justice warriors.

    Remember poor Matt Taylor who wore a shirt designed and made for him by a female friend also apologising for some crime he never committed? I don’t think it’s fair to demand these poor men single-handedly try and tackle the feminist mob… but they could at least play their role of GENUINE victim, with dignity and (like a black man accused of looking at a white woman with rape in his savage eyes) ask for evidence of his alleged crime to be produced, and a grown up discussion (or even a trial) to be had.

    Not one of these hysterical woman will have thought to ASK him how he came to hold the view that women can be perhaps a little prone to emotional sensitivity in the lab. Does this man’s lifetime’s experiences count for nothing? Of course – he is but a man! And they represent the feminist mob who cannot be challenged!

    There IS genuine sexism against women which prevents women from fulfilling their potential as fully actualised, independent, free thinking, intellectual equals to men………. AND THIS IS IT.

    Every time a man responds to a bunch of batshit crazy women throwing a hissy fit by resigning, lowering his head and apologising for upsetting women’s feelz he is literally being sexist and he is belittling all women. He would never treat men who acted so unreasonably in that way. He would fight his corner and defend his (non) crime from their mad claims.

    Biologically men are hard wired to appease women, and women are hard wired to make demands upon men. Women get pregnant and then give birth and have to nurse. This makes women vulnerable and dependent on men, and ‘in the wild’ if a woman does not make constant demands on her male partner for resources and special consideration, then she and her children risk not surviving….. hence the hard wiring.

    But for all of human history women’s demands for resources and special treatment have been NATURALLY limited by natural scarcity (crap technology, low living standards for all), and so a man was naturally limited in the amount of resources and protection he could possibly provide to his woman and his children. So there was never any need for men to really put their foot down.

    But since the industrial / technological revolutions those natural limits have been lifted, and women’s capacity to make demands has also been given the added force of the emergence of violent and coercive systems of wealth redistribution (socialist governments). WOmen can now use the guns of the state to make demands on all men and their resources. And the state is only too happy to facilitate this as it provides the justification for growing the power of the state, raising taxes and generally usurping men’s role in society. Feminism and big government are natural allies. Feminists have NOT achieved independence, they have simply identified Big Gov as the ultimate ‘Alpha males’ and they have all chosen to marry government, rather than men. Big gov has lots of guns and the legal right to use them to redistribute wealth and opportunities in women’s direction …. ordinary men do not.

    Today if a woman’s natural hard wired compulsion to make demands on men (often resorting to emotional manipulation, such as holding herself hostage), is not checked by rationality and objectivity (generally considered to be male traits), then she will end up demanding the whole world on a plate, which is not good for her or for men or for children or society as a whole.

    TL;DR Men need to grow some balls and not succumb to emotional terrorism. They need to do this for women’s own sake, at least as much as their own.

    To apease irrational, deranged, sexist, hateful women as if they were little children is to define women as incapable conforming to basic rational and civil standards of behaviour which in turn defines women as inferior to men. Women deserve – and desperately need – to be treated as adults, and (not that this is an argument) women will be a lot happier once men learn how to treat them as true equals in this respect.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, curiosetta. I really appreciate it. I’m pretty sure some of what you said in that comment will cause a few feminists to go into fits of rage, so I guess I’ll just step back and see if any of them calm down enough to respond. 🙂

      It will be interesting to see if anyone who believes gender is “a social construct” will respond to your comments about men and women being wired differently from birth.

    2. What’s interesting is that in some schools now girls ARE being given special fluffy, pink science classes and boys are not allowed to attend. But because it is a feminist program, this is celebrated as wonderful and progressive…. rather than insulting and offensive.

      Had Mr Hunt been a woman his remarks would have immediately been championed as an ‘vital issue’ which demanded funds be thrown at it, committees be set up, special programs be implemented etc. All run by feminist women of course!

      It’s like the recent episode where feminists tried to stop women from earning an income posing topless in a UK tabloid newspaper….. while across town some other feminists were protesting in the streets topless (but wearing balaclavas) demanding the ‘right’ to bare their breasts in public.

      Feminism is not burdened by any actual principles, nor is it even an ideology because even that implies some sort of internal consistency. Feminism is just a mental illness/ personality disorder. The disorder manifests as the compulsion to portray oneself as the oppressed powerless victim of every situation, while portraying men as the all powerful, privileged, oppressors. This narrative is used to justify making constant demands for ‘free stuff’ and special treatment. Feminism is a resource acquisition strategy. It is (like I outlined in my previous comment) female hard wiring expressing itself without any restraints from the higher brain. We’ve just spent the last century being critical of men’s hard wiring, and demanding they use their higher brains to put a limit on it. Now it is the turn of women. LOL

  5. If it were me, I wouldn’t have apologized. Apologizing to the perpetually aggrieved means they own you.

    I get sick of the Twitter Inquisition and how people take those perpetually aggrieved online activists seriously.

    1. The fascinating thing about this story is that the atmosphere feminists have created is one that runs contrary to the mission of greater understanding. Their rabid behavior and the “Off with his head!” campaigns have made it so guys like us are not inclined to apologize — for anything.

      If I know that admitting any level of wrongdoing will result in my personal and professional destruction, then why on earth would I willingly go there? Answer: I wouldn’t. And neither would most sane men.

      Basically, you have a situation where a guy like me, who once may have been willing to say, “You know what, I could have said that better. That was clumsily worded. I apologize,” is no longer willing to extend the olive branch. He’s not going to stick his neck out because he’s watched guys like Tim Hunt have it professionally chopped off. Smooth move, feminists.

    2. “Their rabid behavior and the “Off with his head!” campaigns have made it so guys like us are not inclined to apologize — for anything.”

      You’re right and one of the things that really ticks me off about feminists, and about the left for that matter, is how they are actually hardening hearts. Racism and sexism have been so over played, they’re now completely meaningless terms.

  6. Note to Vunderguy: I’m not sure what the heck your problem is, but after having told you not once — but twice — that you were banned, you continued posting. On top of that, your latest comment was yet another shining example as to why you are banned. You are an angry young man who has some serious growing up to do. I suggest spending less time trying to start fights online and more time figuring out how to become a mature adult.

    I said before that you would be added to the spam box and your ban extended if you commented again, and now that is done. There is a very high probability that I will not remember to take you off the spam list. You have no one to blame but yourself. Your ban will end July 12, 2016.

    1. Vunderguy just doesn’t know when to quit. The kid has some serious issues he needs to work on.

    2. I wonder if he’ll continue saying weird things into the void that is my spam box. 🙂 I have had that happen before. Oh well. I wish him the best in the year ahead.

  7. I’ve said it many a time, and I shall continue to say it til they put me in the dirt. You cannot EVER please these people. There’s no speaking to them. There can be no reasoning with them. They’re constantly angry, whiny, and bitch and moan about every minuscule thing that they can point out, all while espousing whatever random buzzword of the week that they feel like incorporating into their ideologically driven speeches.

    The fact that these feminists have such a grip on media nowadays is legitimately frightening to most people. You so much as say or do something they deem as wrong, they’ll come after you like the rabid wolves they are.

    1. On some level it’s a shame that Suey Park bit off more than she could Chewy Park and went after Stephen Colbert. Her Twitter feed provided endless material for why feminists like her are so culturally scary. For the most part, though, feminists know not to bite the hand that feeds. They stay away from other liberal stars.

  8. This very subject was brought up on BBC Question Time last night. Some of the choice comments were your standard for cases like this “oh it’s all about the education, the educations what is needed” and I work in a class and all the science assistants are female, we should look to them as positive role models”

    1. There’s the rub though, isn’t it? We sacrifice honesty at the alter of “positive role models.” We can never criticize a woman because if women in any prominent roles are taken to task — even in a gingerly way — it’s unacceptable and a threat to the “positive role model” narrative.

  9. This crossed my screen during my daily blog reading. This Hunt story? Yeah, it’s worse than it originally seemed:

    http://legalinsurrection.com/2015/06/social-justice-warrior-gets-taste-of-her-own-medicine/

    The basics are that the Social Justice Nitwit who got this ball rolling (Connie St. Louis) lied her butt off–twisting comments to make Hunt look bad and leaving out the ones that’d make him look good. The good news is that Connie may be in hot water over this and that other reporters have put her under the microscope. The bad news is that Hunt is still out of a job. The worse news is that Social Justice Nitwits will continue to be a very vocal detriment to civilized society.

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