Ben Zeisloft, Campus Reform
- A Yale psychiatrist known for “diagnosing” former President Donald Trump for a “dangerous mental pathology” filed suit against the university, claiming that her ouster was a result of her comments about Trump.
- She received a notice of termination citing her lack of a formal teaching role — a rationale that the suit dubbed “pretextual.”
A Yale professor known for harsh criticism of Donald Trump filed suit against the university, claiming that her ouster was a result of her comments about the former president.
Bandy Lee — a psychiatrist with Yale University who claims that Trump has a “dangerous mental pathology” — said that she was the subject of “unlawful termination” due to her “exercise of free speech about the dangers of Donald Trump’s presidency.”
The lawsuit alleges that Lee was fired at the behest of Professor Alan Dershowitz, a member of Trump’s “inner circle,” according to Lee. Dershowitz sent a letter to Yale administrators asking that Lee receive disciplinary measures in accordance with the American Psychiatric Association’s ethics rules.
Following revelations of his ties to Jeffrey Epstein in 2019, Dershowitz said on Fox News that he has led a “perfect, perfect sex life.” Later in the same year, President Trump dubbed his conversation with Ukranian President Volodymyr Zalensky — for which he was subsequently impeached — a “perfect conversation.”
According to the complaint, Lee tweeted that “Alan Dershowitz’s employing the odd use of ‘perfect’…might be dismissed as ordinary influence in most contexts.” However, “given the severity and spread of ‘shared psychosis’ among just about all of Trump’s followers, a different scenario is more likely,” she added.
Lee then asserted that Dershowitz had “wholly taken on Trump’s symptoms by contagion.”
Psychiatry Department chair John Krystal warned Lee that he may be compelled to “terminate [her] teaching role at Yale University” if her “behavior d[id] not change.”
Lee was then summoned to a meeting during which she “was told that she had breached psychiatric ethics by ‘diagnosing’ Mr. Dershowitz.” The university cited Lee’s alleged violation of the American Psychiatric Association’s Goldwater rule as the basis for its action against her.
The Goldwater Rule states that “On occasion psychiatrists are asked for an opinion about an individual who is in the light of public attention or who has disclosed information about himself/herself through public media. In such circumstances, a psychiatrist may share with the public his or her expertise about psychiatric issues in general. However, it is unethical for a psychiatrist to offer a professional opinion unless he or she has conducted an examination and has been granted proper authorization for such a statement.”
According to the lawsuit, Lee disagreed and requested a formal investigation.
In May 2020, Lee received a notice of termination which cited her lack of a formal teaching role — a rationale that the lawsuit called “pretextual.”
Yale University spokesperson Karen Peart told student newspaper Yale Daily News that Lee was a voluntary faculty member and that “Yale does not consider the political opinions of faculty members when making appointment decisions.”
Campus Reform has repeatedly reported on Lee’s controversial statements about President Trump.
“At least Hitler improved the daily life of his followers, had discipline, and required more of himself to gain the respect of his followers,” she said the day before the November 3 election in a since-deleted tweet.
“When he says, ‘I am the least racist person you have ever met,’ he tells me that he is surely the most racist person I have ever met,” she remarked in a 2019 interview.
In 2018, Campus Reform discovered that Lee has not held a valid medical license since at least 2015.
Campus Reform reached out to Lee and Yale University for comment; this article will be updated accordingly.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BenZeisloft
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