Jordan Peterson quits Twitter after sparking outrage with tweet calling Sports Illustrated model Yumi Na 'not beautiful'

Controversial clinical psychologist Dr Jordan Peterson has sparked outrage once again after declaring a 'plus-size' Sports Illustrated model is "not beautiful" in a widely condemned tweet. 

Dr Peterson, a Canadian lecturer, best-selling author and divisive figure who has repeatedly made headlines for his thoughts on women and race, crafted a tweet on Tuesday in which he shamed Sports Illustrated cover girl Yumi Nu -  the magazine's first-ever Asian-American plus-size swimsuit model - for not meeting his definition of 'beauty'.

"Sorry. Not beautiful. And no amount of authoritarian tolerance is going to change that," he wrote, accompanied by a tweet from the New York Post featuring the magazine's cover - which showcases Nu in a scanty black bikini.

After receiving an almost immediate wave of criticism in response to his remark, the "free speech" enthusiast followed his tweet with the message: "Rage away, panderers. And tell me you believe that such images are not conscious and cynical manipulation by the oh-so virtuous politically correct."

The "mean-spirited" tweet continued to be met with a torrent of criticism, the swift backlash eventually prompting the 59-year-old - who is staunchly "anti-snowflake" - to announce he will be taking a break from Twitter for the foreseeable future.

Hours later, he complained the "endless flood of vicious insults" is exclusive to the platform, lamenting the social networking giant's "incentive structure" makes it "intrinsically and dangerously insane".

"I told my staff to change my password, to keep me from temptation, and am departing once again. If I have something to say I'll write an article or make a video. If the issue is not important enough to justify that then perhaps it would be best to just let it go," he continued, later adding: "I've been torn between the responsibility I feel to stay informed and provide value to my subscribers and my observation that Twitter is unacceptably toxic."

On Tuesday afternoon (NZ time), Peterson officially made his departure, farewelling his loyal fanbase with the missive: "I plan to write an article on the technical reasons that Twitter is maddening us all very soon. Bye for now."

Among those who have condemned Peterson's backbiting are men who do consider Nu to be attractive, many of whom said they have wives, girlfriends and partners with a similar and "beautiful" body type.

"Sheesh. Big fan here. I find my girlfriend with a body type like this quite beautiful. Dial it back a bit homie," one man wrote.

"'Sorry. Not beautiful. And no amount of authoritarian tolerance is going to change that'," another quipped, alongside a photo of Peterson looking a little worse for wear.

"Why do men feel it's their duty to publicly pronounce their view on the attractiveness of women? Couldn't you just keep it to yourself?" a woman added.

However, Nu herself didn't seem at all fazed by Peterson's critique, tweeting, "Hoes mad" alongside an emoji of nail painting - often associated with sassiness - in response.

Peterson has a chequered past in both his private and public life. In 2019, he underwent a stint in rehab after developing an addiction to prescription medication. It's understood Peterson became dependent on anti-anxiety medication after his wife was diagnosed with terminal cancer that April.

The clinical psychologist's 'big break' into the mainstream came in 2018 after he shared a series of viral videos to YouTube explaining why he refused to call his students and fellow faculty members by their preferred pronouns, propelling Dr Peterson to internet stardom. He then leveraged his newfound fame by inserting himself into Canada's debate regarding transgender rights.

That year he also released his controversial self-help book 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, which sold millions of copies worldwide. The book was briefly removed from Whitcoulls' shelves following the March 2019 mosque shootings in Christchurch as weeks earlier, the psychologist - who had been touring Aotearoa at the time - was photographed embracing a fan wearing an anti-Islam T-shirt. The book was later reinstated.

The public speaker has also frequently come under fire for promoting outdated views on women, gender and race. In an interview with Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson, he said the idea that women have been historically oppressed by men is an "absolutely reprehensible rewrite of history". He also has advocated for "traditional" gender roles and suggested women wear makeup to work to be "sexually provocative".

The academic has previously touted the benefits of a 'carnivore diet' - a way of eating that involves solely consuming meat - claiming it helped him recover from benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome.

Peterson has also actively pushed back against COVID-19 vaccines and restrictions in Canada, claiming Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would "have to kill [him]" before he'd willingly get a booster jab