Free Speech Hero Jordan Peterson Launches Another Defamation Lawsuit

In new court documents, Peterson indicates that he hopes the result of suing people for insulting him will be more free speech on campus.

|
Sep 12 2018, 4:15pm

Photo via VICE screenshot.

Controversial professor, self-help guru, lobster aficionado, and noted free speech advocate Jordan Peterson has launched a second lawsuit against Wilfrid Laurier University over how they described him.

According to the National Post, Peterson filed the paperwork for the second lawsuit on Tuesday. This one claims that the University’s statement of defence in which they asked for the lawsuit to be dropped further defamed him by saying he benefited from the press surrounding the controversy in which they compared him to one Adolf Hitler—he is asking for $1.75 million.

In his second lawsuit, Peterson apparently took inspiration from Laurier’s hyperbole and invoked the Holocaust in the court documents, stating that he benefited is like saying “those who survived the Holocaust should be grateful to their oppressors for teaching them survival skills.” The Laurier press release also indicated that the “stated purpose” of Peterson’s lawsuit is “causing academics and administrators to be more circumspect in their choice of words and that the lawsuit is being used as a means of unduly limiting expression on matters of public interest.”

For those of you lucky few who aren’t familiar with the drama that occured last year it goes like this. Lindsay Shepherd, a teaching assistant at the Waterloo university, played a clip of Jordan Peterson in an intro-level communication class. This prompted Shepherd to get hauled into a meeting by her superiors and be dressed down for showing the clip—in the meeting, which Shepherd recorded and released through media, her superiors likened playing a Peterson video to showing Hitler. The incident was quickly launched Canada into yet another free speech on campus debate. Now, almost a year later, we’re still fucking talking about it. Free speech, Rick Flair woooooo!

This debate culminated in two June defamation lawsuits—one filed by Shepherd and one by Peterson. Shepherd is suing the school for $3.6 million for making her “unemployable in academia.” Peterson, for his troubles, asked for $1.5 million in damages over the negative comments in June.

The “silencing” of Shepherd and Peterson at Laurier thrust them into being some of the most covered figures in Canadian news last year. Shepherd has made frequent guests stops on TV and YouTube shows positing herself as one of the youngest “free speech warriors” on the circuit. Peterson, meanwhile, has carried on his merry way of best-selling books and sold out speaking tours. On top of his book and talks, Peterson also has one of the most successful Patreon accounts online, making upwards of $60,000 a month for his YouTube channel in which he posts his lectures on the Bible, free speech, academic drama, and lobsters.

The National Post reports that Peterson’s lawyer says he expects both lawsuits to become a single action and that, in the lawsuit, Peterson indicated that he hopes the result of suing people for insulting him will be more free speech on campus.

The University, like it did when the first lawsuit was originally filed, states that it will vigorously fight this lawsuit.

Sign up for the VICE Canada Newsletter to get the best of VICE Canada delivered to your inbox.

Follow Mack Lamoureux on Twitter .

More VICE
Vice Channels