Dershowitz Complains To Yale Over Professor’s Criticism Of His Claims Of A “Perfect Sex Life”

I have repeatedly objected to the dubious diagnosis offered freely by Yale psychiatrist Dr. Bandy Lee of President Trump, including recent statements that seemed to combine her political and professional views of the subject. As I discussed in a prior column on the demise of the Goldwater rule, these efforts to diagnose Trump from a distance raise highly disturbing ethical issues. Now Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz has reportedly complained to Yale University after Lee suggested that he, and Trump supporters, display a “shared psychosis” with the president. Dershowitz triggered commentary when, in defense of allegations that he had sex with underaged girls during his association with child molester Jeffrey Epstein, he insisted that he had a “perfect sex life.” (Dershowitz is being sued by a woman who said she was forced by Epstein to have sex with him. It is one of a number of lawsuits currently pending against Dershowitz who has always maintained his innocence). As shown in dozens of prior columns, I oppose efforts to get academics punished or fired at their institutions out of concern for free speech and academic freedom. However, I agree with Dershowitz that Lee’s weaponizing psychiatric evaluations in this political debate is inimical to her school and her profession.

This controversy began with a statement on January 2 by University of Minnesota Law Professor Richard Painter. Painter is the former chief White House ethics lawyer in George W. Bush administration and I have been critical of his views on professed crimes and impeachable offenses by Trump as unsupported and unreasonable. It is not surprising to find an alliance with Lee in such comments so, when Painter noted that Dershowitz sounded quite Trumpian in claiming that he has “a perfect, perfect sex Life.”

Richard W. Painter@RWPUSA

Just like @realDonaldTrump‘s “perfect phone call” …. …Alan Dershowitz Insists He Has a ‘Perfect, Perfect’ Sex LifeThe former Epstein lawyer is being sued by a woman who says he forced her into sex.thecut.com4,1846:16 PM – Jan 2, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacy2,133 people are talking about this

That triggered Lee who promptly gave her signature shoot-from-the-hip psychiatric analysis:

“Alan Dershowitz’s employing the odd use of ‘perfect’—not even a synonym—might be dismissed as ordinary influence in most contexts. However, given the severity and spread of ‘shared psychosis’ among just about all of Donald Trump’s followers, a different scenario is more likely. There is even proof: his bravado toward his opponent with a question about his own sex life—in a way that is irrelevant to the actual lawsuit—shows the same grandiosity and delusional-level impunity . . . Also identical is the level of lack of empathy, of remorse, and of consideration of consequences (until some accountability comes from the outside—at which time he is likely to lash out equally).”

Dershowitz understandably objected to that outrageous and unprofessional analysis. He said that Lee was declaring “me as psychotic for defending Trump’s constitutional rights.” Dershowitz correctly points out that Lee’s “diagnosis” was based on his use of one of the most commonly words used in the English language:

“Publicly offering “professional opinions” or diagnoses in the absence of a psychiatric examination, is a violation of psychiatric ethics and the rules of the American Psychiatric Association,” he argued. “Dr. Lee has a history of such unethical conduct. She previously diagnosed President Trump as being psychotic. Now she is doubling down accusing me of having a ‘shared psychosis’ with President Trump, and having ‘wholly taken on Trump’s symptoms by contagion . . . She also believes that my use of the word ‘perfect’ — the same word used by Donald Trump in describing his phone call to the Ukrainian President — is evidence of a ‘shared’ psychosis. She does not mention that I used the word ‘perfect’ in the context of rebutting the false accusations against me and proclaiming, quite truthfully, that I have never had sex with any woman other than my wife, since the day I met Jeffrey Epstein . . . I used the word ‘perfect’ in reference to my fidelity during the period in which I was falsely accused, just as someone might say she had a ‘perfect’ attendance record. Moreover, Dr. Lee neglects to mention that the interview during which I used that word took place months before President Trump used it. I guess she believes he caught the contagion from me.”

That response was complete and unassailable in my view. That is where I would have left it rather than go to the school. I have disagreed with Dershowitz in the past about such responses (here and here and here). It is not that I disagree with his position in such disputes but the response itself can undermine free speech protections, particularly for academics who are speaking not in their classrooms but the public forum.

28 thoughts on “Dershowitz Complains To Yale Over Professor’s Criticism Of His Claims Of A “Perfect Sex Life””

  1. Doesn’t speak too highly of Yale for not sequestering her in the broom closet. They really are letting her speak to students?
    Perhaps when one goes to a doctor the smart question is “Did you go to Yale”? If affirmative, do not walk out, RUN!

  2. I don’t know whether Alan Dershowitz and Donald Trump display a “shared psychosis”. But what the hell was Dershowitz doing hanging around Jeffrey Epstein, a convicted pedophile who trafficked in underage girls to service his friends and business associates? Dershowitz was Epstein’s go to guy. He got Epstein a sweetheart deal over Epstein’s sexual abuse of underage girls. The plea agreement was so unseemly that Alexander Acosta, who arranged the deal, had to later resign. Epstein went on to prey on other women. Dershowitz liked hanging out with Epstein. Both flew together to a party hosted by Ohio billionaire Leslie Wexner. After the party Dershowitz boasted: “”I was Jeffrey Epstein’s intellectual gift to Leslie Wexner”. No wall flower about touting his “intellectual” gifts! What I do think is Dershowitz and Trump share narcissistic personalities. Both engage in constant self-flattery, arrogance and the belief they have never done anything wrong in their lives. You say Dr. Lee’s “weaponizing psychiatric evaluations in this political debate is inimical to her school and profession”. But you yourself have been “weaponizing” the debate over Trump’s impeachment by taking the side of the Republicans.

  3. It’s obvious that Lee is making a brazen play to be nominated as Sanders’ Surgeon General. Being on record as finding, as a medical diagnosis, that all of the Deplorables are psycotic makes it easier to treat the problem medically rather than politically. After getting involuntary commitment orders for all the GOP senators that support Trump it should make her confirmation assured.

    Then they’ll implement a National Red Flag law, and then start making sure the Deplorables get the help they obviously need. Hopefully they will be able to find a cure before the fatality rate of the treatment reaches 50%, but in any case a cure will be found.

  4. “However, given the severity and spread of ‘shared psychosis’ among just about all of Donald Trump’s followers…”

    Thank you, Bandy, for publicly revealing your Trump Derangement Syndrome. We can now dismiss your diagnosis-at-a-distance pseudo-psychiatry without further comment. Are you familiar with the concept of self-delusion? You and your TDS-afflicted pals might consider some cognitive behavioral therapy so that when you hear the name Trump you don’t completely lose your minds.

  5. Class action suit of Trump voters against Dr Lee for malpractice and defamation. Damages for the injury to their reputation, as their Democrat friends, relatives, and colleagues could have used Dr Lee’s reprehensible remarks as a reason to view them as mentally ill.


  6. Weaponizing mental illness diagnosis for political gain is wrong.

    For Dr Lee to claim that Trump voters share a psychosis with the president, her ability to practice psychiatry is in question. Her behavior is morally, professionally, and ethically wrong. If she had called Trump voters a curse word, that’s free speech. For a psychiatrist to claim Trump voters have a mental illness, that’s a public misdiagnosis.

    Her license should be reviewed. I consider this malpractice. She is a disgrace to her profession. She also uses a mental illness diagnosis as a derogatory term, which is terribly unkind to actual mental health patients.

  7. Turley has himself in a hole protecting Trump already, trying to protect Dershowitz might be a bridge too far. It’s bad enough that the names of Turley and Dershowitz are already linked together.

    1. How about Turley defends who he wants, whenever he wants, and for any reason that seems just to him. Whether your metaphors of “holes” and “bridges” have any merit, other than to highlight cliche driven and unimaginative prose is another question.

  8. I’m sure if we thought about this for a moment we could come up with an apt analogy, but regardless, what Lee obviously did with malicious intent was weaponize her credentials to mislead and thereby defame. If it were me I would sue her AND the university. And I would win.

    What Turley’s essentially saying is that “what happens in the university, stays in the university.” While I can understand both sentiment and its basis, I also tend to think that tolerance at some point must yield to self-defense. Dershowotiz obviously feels that both his standing and his livelihood were endangered and has therefore rightfully chosen to seek just recompense. While yes this may have the effect of chilling free speech we must remember that it is not per se free-speech, but behavior, we seek to censure.

    1. To begin, strike last use of the word “free” – it is not per se speech but behavior, might more concisely express.

      I’ve also been struggling with precepts related to “free speech.” Because it would appear to me that political commentators in recent years have sought to discourage these defamation suits that would rightfully quell the fraudulent and imaginary on which they theatrically thrive and survive.

      The “fake” side of public voicing is, what, probably a billion dollar industry? But we mustn’t quell such unethical activities through cries of “foul,” right?

      No values, no pride, no integrity — just pay me. And I think the public, largely comprised of independent thinkers, for the most part, sees right through it.

  9. When bandy Lee croaks and gets an interview at the Pearly Gates she will have been pre-denied and will go straight to Hell.

  10. Classic transference. Yet another Democrat accusing others of the bad things they themselves have committed. Bandy Lee will break every rule of her profession and perhaps the law to attack Donald Trump and his supporters. It is all about building social credits within the church of liberalism to bring fame and fortune to Bandy Lee.

    1. That’s classic projection.
      Transference is the act of projecting your feelings about one person onto another, for instance your feelings about your dysfunctional parents onto your head shrinker.

  11. The culture of the professional-managerial class in our time (especially of it’s faculty component) is such that it is exceedingly unlikely that Bandy X Lee will suffer official or unofficial sanction for making an a** out of herself. Again, these institutions are ‘sociologically corrupt’, and can be repaired only if they are put under trusteeships composed of people not like them.

  12. these efforts to diagnose Trump from a distance raise highly disturbing ethical issues.

    It is not that I disagree with his position in such disputes but the response itself can undermine free speech protections, particularly for academics who are speaking not in their classrooms but the public forum.

    Come on Turley, how highly disturbing and unethical does an academics speech need to be before you would find a response appropriate?

  13. No one has asked Yale Medical School how it is that Bandy X Lee, who is not an accomplished scholar, was awarded with a professorship there. And, of course, they’re far too arrogant to explain themselves as institutions of higher education are and are permitted to be.

  14. This tripe about classifying Trump voters as a unique pathology fits Hillary Clinton’s bombast about deplorables. Thinking Independents don’t like to be insulted and will choose the stinky sandal over the Bruno magli, that has stepped in poop and then been sprayed with air freshener.

  15. Defamation has consequences. Dr. Lee isn’t practicing free speech. She’s defaming 50% of the country by unethically (and of course idiotically) suggesting that we have a “psychosis”. It’s the same as me claiming, based on a variety of her assertions and ties to her field, she is most likely a pedophile and child molester. Or because she writes about violence, I claim that she has an obsessive fetish and psychosis about violence. She is wrong, has behaved unethically (and vilely) and it’s time to state objectively that Dr. Lee is a fraud to her Yale and anyone with any intellectual veracity.

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