Tim Hunt backlash

Professor Richard Dawkins is demanding an apology from those who criticised Sir Tim Hunt over a leaked EU report he claims gives vital context to comments the Nobel laureate scientist made about his “trouble with girls” in laboratories.


Many science journalists were at the lunch and witnessed the whole thing, including Deborah Blum, Ivan Oransky, Charles Seife, and Connie St. Louis. After discussing what they saw and heard, they decided St. Louis should write an article about it in a blog post at Scientific American. What’s very important to note here is that both Blum and Oransky have corroborated St. Louis’ report, multiple times. Seife did as well. Blum asked Hunt about his comments, and he confirmed that he thought women were too emotional to work with men in labs.

In other words, it’s clear that even if he framed it as a joke, he was being sincere in his meaning and intent.

Yes, he meant it. He said so himself in his non-apology apology.

The fact that sexist jokes are jokes does not make them OK to tell at a conference on women in science.

If he’d apologized I suspect he would have been OK, but saying that he did mean what he’d said even though he was presenting his views in joke form was what sealed his fate.