There has been welcome progress in our campaign against Winchester University and the dangerous depraved views of their American sociology lecturer, Professor Eric Anderson. Dr Anderson is an influential commentator about sex and sexuality and appears in the media – such as on BBC TV discussing gay marriage together with his ‘nanny’, and on ITV disputing why men cheat on their partners.
In a previous post I highlighted how Professor Anderson described in lectures how he likes sex with 16 to 18 year old boys – for which he is willing to pay if necessary – and wants sex with 1,000 more boys and men before he dies. He also claimed that the damage caused by child molestation is merely a “social construct”.
Such foul views from a high-profile academic are threatening to the welfare of children and teenage boys, yet for three years a report on the lectures was available online without public comment from the Winchester University authorities. So our campaign group Because Children Matter started to protest.
In November the Sunday Times published (£) an article about the campaign and approached the university for a statement; the authorities responded merely that they have “reprimanded (Anderson) for his remarks”. Apparently they consider this private reprimand fulfils their public responsibility towards young people. There has been no public repudiation of Anderson’s views; no apology, statement of regret or insistence that he withdraws his lectures.
In December it was announced that celebrity gardener, broadcaster and media personality Alan Titchmarsh is to be appointed Chancellor of Winchester University in August 2015. I immediately wrote an open letter to inform him about Professor Anderson’s views and to ask him to reconsider his appointment. As Alan Titchmarsh’s views are of importance, I’m publishing here our correspondence exchange:
Dear Mr Titchmarsh,
We write on behalf of children and young people to ask you urgently to reconsider accepting your appointment as Chancellor of Winchester University.
Professor Eric Anderson is on the staff of the University’s Department of Sport & Exercise and in that capacity has visited other universities teaching unacceptable and amoral behaviour.
As an example, in a lecture at Trinity College Oxford he made the following appalling statements which were duly verified by the reporter:
“I’m going to cuss a lot and I’m going to break down all kinds of hegemonic structures. If you’re offended by discussions of anal sex, vaginal sex, rimming, cheating, having cum all over [your] face then you should probably leave.”
“[I have had sex with] easily over a thousand people.”
“I like sex with 16, 17, 18 year old boys particularly, it’s getting harder for me to get them but I’m still finding them… I hope between the age of 43 and the time I die I can have sex with another thousand, that would be awesome, even if I have to buy them, of course, not a problem, you pay for all kinds of entertainment and pleasure.”
When asked, Professor Anderson admitted with a laugh that he is a sexual predator and – worst of all in the current climate of concern about child abuse – he as Professor of Sport claimed that team sports are more damaging to adolescents than sex.
“The damage that’s caused by child molestation is socially constructed by the western world,” he said dismissively, and contrasted this to other cultures where children engage in sex with adults as a rite of passage.
Professor Anderson also gratuitously referred to the former Archbishop of Canterbury, now Master of Magdalene College Cambridge, Rowan Williams, as an “arsehole”, “a total bigot” and “a fucking liar”.
He bragged to his listeners that his previous employer, Bath University, had “practically ran me out of town because they couldn’t stand my research”.
A fuller report on Professor Anderson’s lecture may be found at the reference below*.
No doubt like most people you will consider these statements utterly reprehensible. Yet Winchester University has neither removed Professor Anderson from his post as apparently Bath University have done, nor publicly reprimanded him and repudiated his views. Rather the university authorities continue to shelter him and give him a platform from which to promote his views.
In the light of this we ask that you do not associate your good name with the University, and that you reconsider accepting your appointment as Chancellor.
Director, Because Children Matter
Alan Titchmarsh replied:
Dear Mr Craig,
I was extremely dismayed by the contents of your letter and have explored matters thoroughly with the Vice Chancellor of Winchester University.
Like you I totally deplore what Professor Anderson said in his talk and in no way share his views. The lecture you mention took place over three years ago, and at the time Professor Anderson was severely reprimanded by the senior management team of the University. He subsequently apologised for his remarks, realising that they were not only inappropriate but considerably ill-advised. There has not been – and most certainly should not be – any recurrence of such an event.
You may argue that his views will not have changed and that it is these which you find reprehensible. I would only say that we live in a society where free speech, opinions and social mores (even those with which many of us profoundly disagree) are allowed to be expressed and exercised, provided they remain within the law. Although most people do not share his extreme views and find them, at the very least, distasteful, Professor Anderson is a respected authority on the subject of sexuality.
It is an uncomfortable subject for many, and there are countless differing views as to what sort of behaviour is acceptable among consenting adults. This is something which a great many of us find difficult to assimilate, and I am very sympathetic to your feelings.
While I realise that you may well regard this as a poor defence, I would argue that I can do far more good for the University of Winchester by accepting the post of Chancellor than I would by turning my back and declining any involvement with the broader sweep of the university’s activities which, with some 8,000 students, is of considerable importance, value and scope. The wide ranging abilities of the University of Winchester’s students, the breadth of their experience and backgrounds, coupled with their subsequent achievements, is testament to the dedication and skill of the university staff and their overriding sense of values. These values embrace tolerance as well as deeply held principles.
I am a committed Christian who admires and respects the university’s inclusive Christian ethos and to this end I will always make my views clear and continue to stand up for legitimate human rights, as well as showing tolerance towards those of different faiths and beliefs. To remove a person from post because their sexual mores differ from one’s own, is not, in my view, either justifiable or defensible.
However, there are boundaries which should not and must not be crossed; boundaries which are very clear in law, especially when it comes to the protection of children. This is something of which I am profoundly aware and an area in which I will have no hesitation in making my views known and in encouraging action which I think is both appropriate and justified. With a conscientious and dedicated approach I will execute the role of Chancellor to the best of my ability and in what I hope will be regarded as a responsible and vigilant fashion.
I hope you will understand the reasoning behind my stance, even if you do not agree with it.
Following our exchange of letters the Daily Mail ran an article in January under the headline: “Titchmarsh, a gay lecturer and a row over teenage sex”.
Then over the horizon charged the heavy cavalry of The Sun’s Kelvin MacKenzie – the newspaper’s former editor of Gotcha! and Freddie Starr Ate My Hamster! fame.
In a series of hard-hitting pieces MacKenzie damned Anderson as the “perv prof” and a “predatory creep”. He also:
(a) urged his readers to write to Winchester’s “hapless” vice-chancellor Professor Joy Carter about Anderson;
(b) offered to pay whistle-blowers at the university to let him, MacKenzie, know what is going on there and explain why the vice-chancellor is so silent about Anderson;
(c) encouraged parents not to let their offspring, especially boys, apply to Winchester University until the authorities disclosed what action they had taken over Anderson’s remarks;
(d) dismissed Anderson’s assertion that children in some cultures engage in sexual activity as a rite of passage with the killer-comment that “that should please the people of Rotherham”; and
(e) identified Anderson’s links with the disingenuous pro-paedophile lobbying group B4U-ACT founded by the convicted paedophile Mike Melsheimer.
Winchester University and Dr Anderson were rattled by the onslaught. Someone promptly prevailed upon the Oxford Student website to take down the report on Anderson’s lecture, which was done on 4th February. In response MacKenzie, sensing yet more skulduggery and sleight-of-hand, announced he was putting back up the offending report for all to see, this time on his own website.
It was tabloid journalism at its most effective and professional.
(MacKenzie’s columns of 29 January and 2, 5, 9 and 12 February are available on The Sun (£) website.)
But Anderson continues in his post at Winchester University and continues to publish his propaganda, pseudo-science and untruth. The London Evening Standard’s David Sexton reckons that Anderson’s latest academic offering is an “outstanding imposture” and a “rant” that is unconcerned about the needs of women, provides information and links for those looking to hone their masturbation skills (!), disseminates shamelessly unrepresentative research and should not have been published by Oxford University Press. Catherine Hakim in The Guardian agrees it is “a proselytising text rather than social science” and is surprised too that the book has been published by OUP.
Anderson remains malignly influential thanks to his prestige platform at the university and the protective wall of academia surrounding him.
So our job is not over yet…