Professor Campos Responds To Professor Leiter In Controversy Involving Professor Leong


camposAs 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.

nancy-leong-fullbody2In 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”

  1. Leiter has claimed before that Campos is a serial liar. Where did Leiter ‘out’ dybbuk, as Campos asserts? I just searched his blog and couldn’t find it. And if Leiter had already outed dybbuk then why did Campos send him an e-mail warning that he would release embarrassing information “should you choose to ‘out’ Dybbuk”? He should have just released the information. Surprised you seem to have fallen for this nonsensical explanation.

  2. I don’t quite get the who flung fu thing here. If the badguy has been outted then the good gal should be happy and the others can stay mum. But mum is not what the fu flingers really want in life. There are now three spots on the wall. I am waiting for the male chauvinist blog to open up.

  3. That was pretty darn funny. Nice break from the sturm und drang here, lol.

  4. Magginkat, Report to the nearest Politically Correct Sensitivity Class immediately! And, we want to see your papers verifying you completed the program before commenting here again. Carry on.

  5. Magginkat, Report to the nearest Politically Correct Sensitivity Class immediately! And, we want to see your papers verifying you completed the program before commenting here again.

  6. LOL Dredd! Can’t argue with that one. That’s exactly what I thought of Ms Leong from the first time I read about this. I know we are told not to judge a book by it’s cover but in the picture of Leong she looks smug & arrogant. I can’t figure why she would start this mess when it seems that she is the one who did the stalking to uncover the poster of the anonymous critiques.

  7. What a mess. I sure hope this wasn’t going on when my daughter was in law school. I’d hate to think of having to pay for an education with professors distracted by such malarkey.

  8. Oh gosh Spinelli, I wouldn’t know what to do without you. Thank you so much.

  9. Wow…. Will there be an end where anyone is going to be satisfied with the outcome…. This is a no win for everyone….. Credibility is tarnished…. If the recipient of the anonymous posting was asked to remove it before going cyber…. I think all would have a better standing…. But this is turning into a childish mnemonic game…

  10. I see a Reality TV series in the making. Law Professors Gone Wild. If they sign up Leong it’s a hit show. Maybe Jerry Springer can be the host/producer..”JERRY, JERRY, JERRY!

Comments are closed.