Polarizing free speech advocate Jordan Peterson is suing Ontario’s Wilfrid Laurier University for $1.5 million in a defamation suit.
As Global News reports, the University of Toronto psychology professor’s suit alleges that faculty at Laurier defamed him when they dressed-down a teaching assistant for showing a video of Peterson debating gender-neutral pronouns with an opponent.
Peterson has argued that the Trudeau government’s legal protection of gender-neutral pronouns constitutes a war on free speech and will make criminals out of anyone who refuses to recognize gender neutrality.
The suit centers around the reprimand that three faculty members delivered to teaching assistant Lindsay Shepherd after she showed the Peterson video. Shepherd clandestinely recorded the meeting and then shared the tape with the Canadian media, who widely disseminated it.
Recorded comments from the meeting include suggestions that sharing Peterson’s views with students is similar to exhibiting a speech by Hitler without any disclaimer. There are also suggestions that people who do not support gender-neutral pronouns are prejudiced against homosexuals, the transgendered and women.
Peterson’s suit also alleges that he was described by faculty as “academically suspect” and taught “charlatanism.”
Even though the reprimand was conducted privately, Peterson’s suit insists those involved should have “reasonably anticipated” that the conversation would not remain secret for long.
“Although the individual Defendants did not personally disseminate and broadcast it further … they could have reasonably anticipated that … [Shepherd] would inform others of what had occurred,” the statement reads.
Laurier U promises to “vigorously defend” itself.
“Laurier remains committed to intellectual inquiry, critical reflection, scholarly integrity, academic freedom and freedom of expression while striving to be a supportive and inclusive community,” reads a university statement.