Sunday, May 22, 2022

Girlpower Tries to Destroy a Great Scientist

Here is yet another battle in the current war between the sexes. It’s contemporary America in a nutshell. And it is positively terrifying.

On one side we have one of the nation’s most eminent scientists, a cancer specialist who used to run an important lab at MIT, who has garnered praise from the scientific world across the world, who has made and will make significant contributions to medical science, who will most likely be a strong candidate for a Nobel Prize. In short, in David Sabatini we have one of the great scientific minds of our generation, someone who has made and will make important contributions to cancer treatment.

On the other side we have a disgruntled junior researcher by name of Kristin Knouse, a nobody in the scientific world, but who is undoubtedly a social justice warrior and a militant feminist. She has set out to destroy Sabatini for the crime of dumping her. You see, at a time when Knouse was working in Sabatini’s lab, he had a short affair with Knouse. He was married at the time, and getting a divorce.

But then, the relationship did not proceed as Knouse wanted, so she decided to destroy Sabatini. She denounced him for grooming and coercing her into the affair. 

The New York Post recounts this side of the story:

Sabatini has contended he and Knouse began their fling during a 2018 conference, while he was in the midst of a divorce. By 2020, he thought the affair had cooled, though he claims Knouse wanted to continue. By October 2020, she complained she’d been harassed, and in a later lawsuit alleged Sabitini oversaw a “sexualized” environment in his lab.

Naturally, Sabatini was immediately fired. Because, you must always believe the woman. And besides, what is more important, the hurt feelings of a disgruntled girlfriend or advanced scientific research on tumors?

Then, the NYU School of Medicine, seeing an opportunity to hire a world renowned researcher, offered Sabatini a job. What happened next should shock and dismay you. Under pressure, NYU was forced to rescind the offer:

The Post reports:

After the Grossman School of Medicine announced it would not hire him, the National Institutes of Health decided to audit $500 million in grant money overseen by the dean who first considered bringing him aboard, Common Sense reported.

Dafna Bar-Sagi, a vice dean for science and chief scientific officer at the med school, called Sabatini “one of the greatest scientists of our century,” and oversaw an investigation of the allegations against him “at the risk of depriving society of the benefit of having someone like this continuing their career and making really meaningful discoveries that can affect human health for generations,” she told the outlet.

The reference to Common Sense points toward a story in a Substack newsletter run by one Bari Weiss.

The Post continues:

Sagi and recently sent NYU a letter raising concerns about her ability to provide “a safe environment for trainees,” Common Sense reported.

“If there was anything untoward about this man’s behavior, we would not have touched him with a 10-foot pole,” Ken Langone, the chair of the board for NYU Langone Medical Center, told Common Sense, calling the work to vet Sabatini “exhaustive.”

Outside lawyers consulted by NYU, who reviewed a report into the allegations done by MIT, found Sabatini was not given due process, the university told Common Sense.

“If people are close minded to the idea that there can be a consensual relationship between two adults, I’m afraid we can’t make any traction,” said NYU Medical School Dean Robert Grossman.

None of that mattered. Protests rose. Demonstrators made noises. The offer was retracted.

So, nothing counts but the word of a disgruntled former girlfriend. If you think that you live in a patriarchal society where women are systematically oppressed, you should think again. If you do not understand why people seem to consider Johnny Depp more credible than Amber Heard, think again.

Let’s look a little more closely at the indictment. From Bari Weiss:

True, he didn’t supervise Knouse. He didn’t work directly with her. He never threatened her or proposed a quid pro quo. And he certainly didn’t have the power to fire her. But, according to the report, he had “experience, stature, and age” over her. Knouse’s apparent desire to continue their relationship only served to confirm his influence: “That she felt the need to act ‘fun’ to impress Sabatini underscores how Sabatini’s words and actions profoundly impacted her,” the lawyers wrote. 

Nor did the lawyers care for the happy hours and whiskey tastings that Sabatini sometimes hosted in his office, which betrayed his “apparent ‘friendliness’ and general propensity to have ‘fun.’” (Knouse, in her counterclaim, says the events were “drunken,” and “conversations quite frequently veered to the sexual.”)

“While we have not found any evidence that Sabatini discriminates against or fails to support females in his lab, we find that Sabatini’s propensity to praise or gravitate toward those in the lab that mirror his desired personality traits, scientific success, or view of ‘science above all else,’ creates additional obstacles for female lab members,” the report concluded. 

This was baffling to everyone I spoke to: Nine of Sabatini’s current and former lab employees, a current faculty member at the Whitehead, and half a dozen top doctors and scientists in Sabatini’s field. Most of them would not speak on the record for fear of being associated with Sabatini and derailing their own careers. “It’s impossible to be honest about this and preserve your own skin,” says a scientist who recently worked under Sabatini.

That trainee called the report’s depiction of the lab an “alternate reality,” and the characterization of Sabatini as lascivious and retaliatory “deeply insane.” 

“They have the wrong guy,” a female scientist who knows Sabatini and Knouse told me. A female former trainee told me that the climate in Sabatini’s lab was “one of excellence.” She said that Sabatini could be demanding, but he was never demeaning or unfair. “I try to emulate him in my own lab,” another female former trainee said. A third female trainee said the lab could be informal, but it was hardly a locker room. “It just wasn’t in the air.“

I asked a former technician about the notorious whiskey tastings. “These weren’t keggers,” he said. “‘Bench scientists’ and ‘party’ don’t generally overlap.” 

The allegations over the relationship and the ones about the lab’s culture served to reinforce each other; if Sabatini was so ill-advised as to hook up with a younger colleague, surely his bad judgment spilt over into his (extremely well-funded) lab. Making such a claim also appeared to be advantageous to the Whitehead. 

Of course, this is terrifying. And yet, as Weiss points out, Sabatini has gotten offers from China, Russia and the United Arab Emirates. These are, as she says, “places that don’t care about the things he’s accused of.” And what about the values of a country that does care about these things, to the point of shutting down scientific research over hurt feelings.

Given that Sabatini has a young child, one suspects that he is hesitating to accept these offers. One suspects that they are not the only offers he will receive. And yet, America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, has become infested with leftist ideologies to the point that it is trying to destroy a man because a former girlfriend is exercising her girlpower. Unfortunately, strong and empowered women mostly show how strong and empowered they are by destroying men.

One would recommend that Sabatini debark for more friendly climes, for place where a man who is a scientific genius cannot have his career destroyed by the armies of the feminist night.


Steve Goodman said...

"You see, at a time when Knouse was working in Sabatini’s lab, he had a short affair with Knouse."

Later, you quote, "True, he didn’t supervise Knouse. He didn’t work directly with her. He never threatened her or proposed a quid pro quo. And he certainly didn’t have the power to fire her. But, according to the report, he had “experience, stature, and age” over her."

It appears from the contradictory statements above that Knouse worked somewhere other than in Sabatini's lab. It makes her case much less credible and, in fact, infantile. To be safe, at least for the time being, men should only date older women who work as dominatrixes.

Christopher B said...

This story seems to be making the rounds so I'll leave the same comment I did some other places.

While Sabatini certainly doesn't seem to have done anything that warrants Harvey-Weinstein-level cancellation, he's still a really good example that intelligence doesn't equal wisdom. (I'm not sure about the Post story but I read a sympathetic article on Bari Weiss's SubStack, and still gleaned the following.)

No relationship either or both partners feel needs to be kept secret is a good idea.

Don't have a physical relationship with a person who freely admits to multiple on-going affairs.

"Half your age plus 7" is a durable cliche for a reason. (50/2+7 is three years older than Knouse was at the time.)

To Mr. Goodman's comment, and specifically stated in the article I read, was a change in the lab policy during the time of their relationship that prohibited lab heads specifically from having extra-work relationships with any other lab employee. I gather that the previous policy was a more lenient prohibition on relationships with subordinates. Even Sabatini offered that not admitting and ending the relationship immediately was a misjudgement that gave Knouse more leverage over him.

Anonymous said...

Simply another case of women supremacy in action. Women always get the benefit of the doubt. I ti is interesting that women want to be treated as equal but then want to claim that men took advantage of them somehow, presumably because they aren't as smart or as capable as men or something. It is all pure BS and reason enough to ignore.

Walt said...

“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” OTOH, woke ethics ignore those fundamental things that eternally apply. That men and women are attracted to each other are driven to act on it.

Anonymous said...

This Sabatini saga is all part of the on-going narrative. It even has its own website and docudrama complete with talking points guide for the struggle sessions held at companies.( Some of my female science colleagues dismiss it but there are many how are vigorously supported by white knights. If my employer could have 100% scientists and engineers it would but in the fields they need, there are simply not enough available. This of course is blamed on the systematic gender discrimination despite the clear domination in terms of numbers of women at all levels of education until the hard science graduate studies at least in the USA.(, (

Anonymous said...

I noticed that "Toxic Femininity" came right after this.

370H55V said...

"Toxic Femininity" came first. Posts are displayed in reverse chronological order.