Tim Hunt’s Supporters Defend Him Following Sexism Scandal

After Nobel Prize winning biochemist Tim Hunt’s comments about women in science sparked an Internet firestorm and forced him to resign from several positions, some prominent politicians and scientists are saying his punishment has gone too far.

Nobel Prize winning biochemist Tim Hunt has been punished too harshly for recently saying that women are a distraction in laboratories, according to some prominent politicians and scientists standing by him.

The British scientist resigned from several positions after telling an audience in Korea last week that women should work in segregated labs because “[men] fall in love with them, they fall in love with [men] and when you criticize them, they cry.” He apologized for the comments but stood by his claim that men falling in love with women in labs is “disruptive to the science.” The backlash on social media, however, forced him to resign from his honorary professorship at University College London and his positions at the Royal Society and the European Research Council (ERC) days later.

Hunt conceded in an interview with The Observer that his comments were “inexcusable,” but also claimed that they were misinterpreted. He told The Observer that he made them in “a totally jocular, ironic way,” and he feels that the authorities that pushed him to quit handled the situation unfairly.

“I have been hung to dry by academic institutes who have not even bothered to ask me for my side of affairs,” he said.

London mayor Boris Johnson came to Hunt’s defense in an op-ed for The Telegraph on Sunday, saying that research shows women really do cry more than men.

“Whether you say it is a function of biology or social expectation, it is a fact that – on the whole – men and women —> Read More