As many of you have followed, there is a controversy that appears to building by the hour. Let’s start with a quick recap. There is a free speech controversy swirling around an ethics complaint in Illinois brought by University of Denver law professor Nancy Leong (below left). Leong runs a blog site called Feminist Law Professors and recently discovered the identity of an anonymous commenter who has, according to Leong, left racist and sexist comments. She says that he is a a public defender in his late 40s and she wants him punished for his comments. He posted under the name Dybbuk. Some of us criticized that complaint as ill-advised and a threat to free speech principles. Then University of Chicago Professor Brian Leiter (left) who held a poll of sorts to determine if he should reveal the name of Dybbuk. Leiter says that Professor Paul F. Campos (right) has threatened him not to reveal the identity of the poster targeting Nancy Leong with the disclosure of unspecified embarrassing information on Leiter. That is where we last left this controversy. We have now received a response from Professor Campos.
In the earlier discussion, I noted that Leiter directly accused Campos of threatening him in the email after he supported Leong and held the poll on whether to “out” the anonymous poster who criticized her.
We then received the following comment on our blog:
I contacted Leiter because I assumed he would want to know that someone is trying to get me (and perhaps other people with media platforms) to participate in this person’s scheme to embarrass him. And of course this person might act on his or her own.
In his characteristically dishonest fashion, Leiter is failing to mention that he has already “outed” Dybbuk on at least two occasions, by publicizing Dybbuk’s real name on two different internet fora.
Amusingly, Leiter ran a poll on his law school blog, soliciting opinions on whether he should do something (disclose the identity of a pseudonymous internet critic) which he had in fact already done. The anonymous person who contacted me was apparently unaware of this, and, since I did not respond to the message, I didn’t correct that mistaken impression.
Before addressing the comment, I wrote to Professor Campos to confirm that he is the author of the statement and that he had informed Leiter that he was not the author of the email. He confirmed that he is the author of the comment and added (with permission for full disclosure) that:
I sent Leiter an email letting him know that I had gotten a message from somebody who was threatening to publicize what this person characterized as embarrassing revelations regarding Leiter, if Leiter outed Dybbuk, and that this person was trying to enlist me in this project. As I pointed out in the comment on your blog, Leiter had via his internet activity already “outed” Dybbuk, by posting his real name on a couple of sites, and it puzzles me why Leiter continues to pretend that he hasn’t outed Dybbuk.
Since Campos says that Leiter already published the name of the individual, it would suggest that there is no “blackmail” of Leiter to try to prevent the disclosure. Moreover, he insists that he merely warned Leiter of the attempt and refused to engage in such a threat. Yet, Leiter clearly reads it as a threat and refers to “Campos’s latest malfeasance.” He also strongly suggests that the two are in league and refers to them as “Campos and dybbuk are “cyber-buddies.”
That raises the issue eluded to in our earlier discussion. There are a great number of allegations of unethical and potentially criminal acts being fired across the Internet. Campos is saying that he warned Leiter and that Leiter took the warning and told people that Campos was blackmailing him. While he included the email, the title of the blog clearly conveys the allegation of wrongdoing. Headlines alone can be defamatory under tort law. Here an allegation of blackmailing falls under a per se category of defamation by impugning the professional character of a law as well as alleging criminal conduct. While Leiter can insist that this is merely opinion and his inclusion of the email may suffice to show that he has not misrepresented any of the underlying facts, these cross allegations could easily move beyond the purely rhetorical.
34 thoughts on “Professor Campos Responds To Professor Leiter In Controversy Involving Professor Leong”
A young Nevada lawyer sent a once sentence email to Professor Leitner via private email: “You’re a “Law and ______” Professor, not a lawyer. How would you know how to ‘think like a lawyer’?”
Leitner’s response was to PUBLICLY humiliate the lad on Leitner’s blog and concurrently to email the sender, threatening to transmit his email to the lad’s “senior partners” at his law firm, a not so veiled threat to embarrass the lad with his employers (or worse).
Moreover, just Googling Brian Leitner Chicago will yield a cornucopia of on-line references to Leitner’s many highly public feuds and vendettas (mostly but not exclusively) on Leitner’s part against other law professors, philosophers, and bloggers.
If Leitner is truly the “victim” in all of these instances (as he likes to claim), he is an unlucky fellow indeed. “I have many enemies” he is fond of saying.
However, a fair minded assessment of all of this points inescapably to the conclusion that Brian Leitner – while brilliant – is also unbelievably petty and vindictive, and that there is no perceived slight too trivial for Leitner to respond to not only in kind but with both guns blazing. And if there are employers or licensing authorities that Leitner can threaten the blasphemer with, so much the better for Leitner.
This does not bespeak an even temperament or a sterling character – in my opinion of course.
I know this website gives quality dependent posts and additional information, is there
any other web page which provides these kinds of information in quality?
It is truly remarkable to witness the depths to which academics will stoop in the furtherance of their petty agendas and intestine feuds, particularly when contrasted against their rather impressive record of similar behavior made public on the internet (Yes Brian, I am talking about you).
Behavior like this ought to obliterate tenure.
Sad how many sockpuppets that Leiter has posted with in this comments thread. He needs help.
To BW from the comment above:
“Leiter also used the aduren handle to post at JD Underground, in an attempt to discover the identity of “dybbuk,” another on-line critic. His post asked “is dyybuk ____?” He then replied to his own post, with the message “That’s the rumor.” The post was deleted by the JDU admin (who, unfortunately, had just acceded to Leiter’s demands that an old thread begun by dyybuk be deleted. I don’t have any reason to believe the admin realized that “aduren” was actually Leiter).”
Oh no, Mr. Z again! We established that you are an obsessed lunatic on the other thread. Go away!
The problem with the remaining scambloggers is that there are few actual adults left. The movement has brought some public awareness of the economic issues and transparency, and law school applications are dropping significantly, paticularly with the work of Kyle McEntee and others. Most of the responsible people have moved on with their lives. Those that remain post at Outside The Law School Scam or Third Tier Reality are the worst of the commenters from Campos’ blog, and those sites have become just a cesspool of defamation against individuals they want to silence, which often devolves into the sexist and racist. Anyone who challenges them is subject to more cyber-abuse — anonymously of course. And I say that as someone who usually does not agree with the targets of their wrath,mbut thinks healty, respectful debate is important. They probably have more posts on Brian Leiter and Nancy Leong than they do about law school issues, but if anyone objects using their real name, of course, then they are added to the target list. They are trying to squelch the speech of people who disagree with them using their anonymity and their opponents’ actual names.
Plenty of people have been privately forwarded Leiter’s threatening email. If you want to confirm he sent them contact those people – it is pretty obvious who some of them are. I certainly am not going to respond with identifying information to what could be a Leiter sock-puppet.
I am guessing that this threat has to do with Leiter’s use of the Aduren identity, which someone guessed was Neruda in reverse – hacking the mail account it had on some webmail provider – no one knows what this anonymous person found at the time, but he/she hinted in public fora that it was pretty juicy and embarrassing. I’m not condoning the email hack (and who knows, Leiter apparently has more, which might also have been hacked), but it is a pretty safe bet that some very cringe-worthy stuff was there.
Zipser — I recall a while back Leiter threatened to out a few people who had been harassing him and others. For example, one guy used a moniker that was “Brian Leiter’s Rotting Teeth.” If he was really saying “unless you stop commenting about law school economics,” that would be problematic. I have my doubts, though, that your paraphrasing is accurate. Could you provide the exact text of the threat?
I am one of several people to have received threatening e-mails from Brian Leiter – essentially along the lines of – I have your e-mail, I have you IP address, stop commenting on law school economics or I will contact your employer and publish your identity. Most readers will recall that there was considerable controversy over this behaviour.
And now the sexist, racist cyber-bullying has a distraction. Move along, folks, nothing to see here. Campos piled on with dumbub or whatever. And he creates the distraction from the sexist, racist cyber-bullying. Move along, folks, nothing to see here.
Leiter “gets it”. Good links on his blog.
I will shorten the brilliance of my last response.
I’m rubber and you’re glue. The stupid inanities you mutter are stuck on you.
Wash em off with truth and sincerity or rub em in deeper with your own BS.
Why exactly would Prof. Campos be “informing” Leiter of a request to embarrass him? Because of Campos’s longstanding affection for Leiter? Not very likely.
The email to Leiter didn’t say that anything would be done if Leiter outed Dybbuk. It merely informed Leiter of the request. Also the comment on this blog didn’t specify where Leiter had outed Dybbuk — just that he had done so on a couple of web sites. Obviously specifying the locations would abet the outing behavior.
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