Exactly two months ago today, I wrote about Yale forensic psychiatrist Bandy X. Lee (“She Blinded Me with Science“), a neurotic obsessive whose neurotic obsession was given a stamp of scientific approval by a fairly fawning article in Scientific American. She had diagnosed Donald Trump as psychotic, and everyone who voted for him as suffering from psychosis.
That struck me as laughably unscientific on its face (which it was): not so much that there might be a deranged forensic psychiatrist on Yale’s faculty, but that a once-esteemed journal of science would provide legitimacy to that kind of lunacy.
I’m happy to report that Bandy X. Lee turns out to have been fired by Yale University. A while ago.
Unsurprisingly, according to the New Haven Register, she is now suing the university for wrongful termination (which in itself is intriguing, given that she was apparently an unpaid volunteer, as we shall see).
In defense of her actions, she wrote a letter to the Register, in which she claimed:
As a violence scholar, I projected that Donald Trump was dangerous, not as much for specific acts of violence but for the groundwork he would lay for a culture of violence that would then give rise to epidemics of suicides, homicides, and mass violence. Although his election in the first place served as a barometer for a poor state of collective mental health, once in office and being kept there, he vastly exacerbated and legitimized violence.
And that’s not all.
In her email to the Register, Lee said, “The American Psychiatric Association, by declaring me and others who would speak up as ‘unethical,’ based on its trade association rule, arguably violated our universal pledge under the Geneva Declaration not to collude with destructive governments and its own code to serve society. It enabled the president not to be held accountable for his mental unfitness and facilitated the deaths of 500,000+ Americans, which many scientific reports now confirm were largely unnecessary.”
Are there scientific reports, or any reports, claiming that the deaths of half a million Americans were necessary?
Is there a rising tide of American Darwinians that hasn’t crossed my radar?
Also, what’s with the “largely unnecessary?” Is Bandy X. Lee saying that some of those deaths were in fact necessary? How many? Which ones?
And if Wuhan virus deaths were in fact “largely” unnecessary, and were instead a direct consequence of the Dread Tyrant Trump, why have we had any deaths here in Denmark? Did Trump somehow compel Mette Frederiksen to kill off a couple of thousand Danes just to provide cover for his own American holocaust? And not just Frederiksen: Merkel in Germany, Johnson in the UK, Macron in France, Bettel in Luxembourg? Did all the leaders of all the world conspire to kill of their own people unnecessarily to help Donald Trump kill off half a million Americans?
Or is it possible that Bandy X. Lee is less a sciencey scientist than a gibbering lunatic with a massive axe to grind?
The Register says that her federal lawsuit claims “breach of contract, lack of good faith and wrongful termination and states she was fired for her public statements about Trump and his ‘inner circle,’ including attorney Alan Dershowitz.”
According to the article, her lawsuit “seeks reinstatement to the faculty, economic and non-economic damages, ‘including lost income, lost benefits, lost resources, lost privileges, lost indirect but significant remuneration, future economic losses, emotional distress, harm to reputation and loss of enjoyment of life’ and punitive damages.”
That’s a lot to ask, given the nature of her affiliation with Yale:
Yale spokeswoman Karen Peart said in an email, “Dr. Lee was a voluntary faculty member in the School of Medicine, and her request for reappointment was considered in accordance with Yale’s policies and practices. Yale does not consider the political opinions of faculty members when making appointment decisions.”
Peart added, “Voluntary faculty members in the Department of Psychiatry are unpaid, but, in exchange for up to four hours of departmentally-sanctioned teaching activity per week, they receive a Yale faculty affiliation.”
She was teaching no more than four hours per week, on a volunteer basis, in exchange for the luster of a Yale affiliation. And she wants to sue for lost income and benefits (etc)?
Beyond her neurotic obsession—I’m not a psychiatrist, so I’m not diagnosing her, just enjoying my first amendment right to colorfully criticize a public figure—does she also suffer from the ailment referred to by the 2013 edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) as “batshit crazy?”
Magic Eightball says: “Signs point to yes.”
(The Magic Eightball is also not a psychiatrist. Nor is it especially scientific. But ohmygodyouguys, it is so crazy accurate sometimes!)
I don’t see her lawsuit as having any value beyond whatever publicity her attention-starved neurosis requires.
In her lawsuit, Lee quotes an email from Dr. John Krystal, chairman of the Psychiatry Department, which “warned Dr. Lee that the department would be compelled to ‘terminate [her] teaching role at Yale University’ if her ‘behavior d[id] not change.’”
In other words, she was warned. Sternly:
Referring to her statements about Trump and Dershowitz, Krystal wrote, according to the complaint: “It seems to me … that the published quotes suggest that you are not making cautious, reasoned statements qualified by the limitations of the information you have …. Worse, the recklessness of your comments creates the appearance that they are self-serving in relation to your personal political beliefs and other possible personal aspirations. … You are putting me in a position where I have to ask, ‘Is this the sort of person that I can trust to teach medical students, residents, and forensic psychiatry fellows?’”
That’s the firm but restrained kind of language used in university HR departments. Were Bandy X. Lee employed by some of the employers I’ve had over the years, the language would have been firmer, less restrained, anda whole lot saltier.
But there is a wonderfully appropriate internet meme that cuts right to the chase:
So I wonder: does Scientific American still consider this hysterical neurotic obsessive a valuable voice in the service of science?
Will Scientific American retract their stupid de facto endorsement of the stupid non-science screechings of the neurotic obsessive Bandy X. Lee?
Or will Scientific American stand squarely on her side and support her lawsuit on behalf of her massive contribution the field of science?
(Disclosure: I worked at Yale University’s Alumni Office for about half a year back in the 90s. Far from being fired, I got a letter of commendation from the university president for my efforts. I haven’t even thought of that job in years and certainly don’t feel any special affinity for Yale, but thought I should mention that in case the wild and woolly comment section suddenly exploded with the revelation that I had once worked there and was therefore obviously biased against the objectively excellent scientist Bandy X. Lee.)