Professor Jordan Peterson threatens to sue after critic calls him misogynist

Controversial Canadian professor and self-proclaimed free-speech warrior Jordan Peterson has threatened to sue a woman after she criticised him.

Prof Peterson shot to fame in 2016 after releasing a series of YouTube videos where he makes remarks about what he calls an increasingly politically correct society. Among his controversial opinions are the views that women wear makeup in the workplace to be sexually provocative, white privilege is a "Marxist lie" and people shouldn't have to comply with what gender pronouns others wish to be called by.

He has objected specifically to the Canadian government's Bill C-16, which proposed adding "gender identity or expression" as grounds for discrimination.

But his celebration of free speech seems to go only so far.

The Cut has reported Prof Peterson has threatened to sue author and Cornell University assistant professor Kate Manne for defamation after she criticised his best-selling book, 12 Rule for Life: An Antidote to Chaos. His lawyer, Howard Levitt, has demanded Asst Prof Manne, Cornell University and Vox, which published an interview where Asst Prof Manne criticised Prof Peterson's larger body of work, "immediately retract" all of her allegedly defamatory statements. Those statements reportedly include Asst Prof Manne saying "it doesn't seem accidental that [Prof Peterson's] scepticism about objective facts arises when it's conveniently anti-feminist".

If the parties didn't retract, Prof Peterson would attempt to protect his reputation by, among other things, potentially initiating legal proceedings.

Asst Prof Manne said the demands were a "classic attempt to chill free speech", reports The Cut.

But Mr Levitt responded by saying there was a difference between academic debate and referring to Prof Peterson as a misogynist and impugning his honesty.

Prof Peterson had also previously filed a lawsuit against Wilfrid Laurier University after he claimed three faculty members had defamed him there.