A British news channel says it’s consulting security specialists because one of its presenters has been the target of threats following an interview with controversial Toronto professor Jordan Peterson.
Channel 4 news editor Ben de Pear said on Twitter that journalist Cathy Newman has been the subject of “vicious misogynistic abuse, nastiness, and threat” following the conversation, which he says is “an unacceptable response to a robust and engaging debate.”
Peterson, a professor at the University of Toronto, is best known for refusing to use gender-neutral pronouns for transgender and non-binary people who request them.
The conversation between Newman and Peterson has been viewed more than two million times since it was posted to YouTube on Tuesday.
In the occasionally adversarial interview, Newman challenges Peterson as he suggests that men and women are fundamentally different.
After de Pear announced that Newman had been the target of abuse, Peterson took to Twitter to tell his 300,000 followers not to threaten Newman.
“If you’re threatening her, stop. Try to be civilized in your criticism. It was words. Words, people, words. Remember those?” he wrote.
In the segment, he expressed the view that while it would be ideal to allow the genders equal opportunity, women are likely to shy away from careers in the engineering whereas men would steer clear of nursing.
Asked whether gender equality is desirable, Peterson said “if it means equality of outcome, then almost certainly it’s undesirable.”
Peterson cited Newman as an example of a successful woman, but attributed that success in part to her being “disagreeable”.
Agreeability, he argued, has played a role in preventing the majority of women from attaining the same career heights as many men.
In addition to the reported threats, Peterson’s followers suggested that Newman was “putting words in his mouth”.
Neither Peterson nor Newman immediately responded to interview requests, but the latter said on Twitter that she doesn’t plan on suing anyone.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my bout with @jordanbpeterson as did 100s of 1000s of our viewers. Viva feminism, viva free speech,” she wrote.