Jordan Peterson, a clinical psychologist turned anti-political correctness crusader, has responded to a statement from the Durham City Council about his upcoming appearance at the Durham Performing Arts Center.
The council’s statement was shared Friday on the official Facebook page of Mayor Pro Tem Jillian Johnson and is signed by the entire council and Mayor Steve Schewel. In it, council members declare Durham “a place for all of us” and say that Bull City residents have been “disturbed and angered by Mr. Peterson’s racist, misogynist, and transphobic views.” (You can read more about those views here and here).
“Those who seek to exclude or deny the humanity of others will find no comfort here,” they write.
In a blog post titled “Durham City Council Purchases Unearned Virtue with the Currency of Denouncement,” Peterson writes that the council’s statement is “not written merely to denounce me. No: it’s written to denounce everyone who has the temerity to buy a ticket to this event. If my views are ‘racist, misogynistic and transphobic’ then clearly everyone who wants to hear me express them is deplorable in the same manner.”
The post has set off dozens of angry emails to the city council members, whose email addresses were included at the start of Peterson’s post.
“Everything that is reprehensible about the radical and ideologically-possessed left – all the moral self-righteousness, the platitudes, the clichés, the mindless celebration of diversity for the sake of the demonstration of tolerance, the naivete, and the appalling malevolence of casual denunciation – is on painful display in this missive. Exposure to such a piece of writing left me with a strong desire for a hot shower accompanied by plenty of soap and a scrub brush,” he says.
Peterson also states that he was not invited to DPAC, as the statement begins, but rather rented the theater (DPAC and one of its two management companies, PFM, didn’t respond to messages left by the INDY. The other, Nederlander, referred questions to DPAC) and says the statement should have referred to him as Dr. Peterson, not Mr.
Many of the angry emails council members have received cite these two bits of information. Others link to Peterson’s post and accuse council members of accepting a mainstream media narrative vilifying Peterson, rather than looking at his work first-hand.
While some are local, several of the writers say they are from Canada and England, and appear to think the statement was made by elected officials in places called Durham in those countries.