July 5, 2015

LOUISE MENSCH: The railroading of Tim Hunt.

First, The Sun published a photo of Sir Tim smiling at the time, contradicting the claims he “wasn’t joking” and “everybody in the room was stony-faced”.

Second, it appears that members of the Royal Society’s Diversity Committee, Britain’s leading organisation of scientists, had slammed Sir Tim before he’d even said a word to the media.

Professor David Colquhoun, also of UCL, said: “I collected some stuff about the misogynistic Nobel prize winner on my Facebook page.”

And what did he put in that thread about alleged “sexism”?

“Here you can see Tim Hunt tipping a bucket of ice water over his (very successful) wife.” That’s right, an Ice Bucket Challenge!

Then there’s the BBC, which seems to have put words in Sir Tim’s mouth. The Today show quoted him as referring to “women in the lab” and “the trouble with women”. But those words were not in any audio of him they broadcast.

Did he say that? They wouldn’t answer me.

“We treated Professor Hunt fairly,” a BBC spokesman told me. “His words were not selectively edited to change their meaning.”

Oh yeah? Then why did the show use Tim’s words “I was only being honest” in TWO different places referring to two different things?

Meanwhile, the President of the European Research Council, Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, went on the record in an exclusive statement to me on Friday.

He confirmed he had “the testimonies of eyewitnesses” that Tim was being ironic and praising women.

He also said that Sir Tim Hunt “actively supported” and voted for ERC pro-women science initiatives.

Jean-Pierre said Sir Tim was “keen” to talk to “young researchers, male and female” and answer all kinds of questions, which was “precisely why I chose him to accompany two women ERC grantees to attend the very special conference in Seoul.” Oops!

I’ve asked the BBC to release the full audio of what Sir Tim said in his Today interview, and the questions he was asked.

So far they’ve refused to do that. If the Beeb has evidence that can clear him, they have a duty to provide it. Let’s hear that entire tape.

This whole thing stinks.

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