Controversial Canadian psychologist Dr. Jordan Peterson has quit Twitter after coming under furious fire for saying that a plus-size Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover model is ‘not beautiful’.
Peterson, 59, who is famous for his stances against political correctness and ‘woke‘ ideologies, shared his views on the magazine’s latest cover star Yumi Nu on Twitter on Monday, posting an image of the 36-year-old curvy model’s shoot, while writing: ‘Sorry. Not beautiful.
‘And no amount of authoritarian tolerance is going to change that.’
Within seconds of posting his tweet, Peterson – a clinical psychologist, author, and former professor at the University of Toronto – was met with a flurry of criticism from other users, many of whom began taking aim at his own appearance, while others labeled him an ‘a**’ and a ‘freak’.
‘Professor against political correctness’ Dr. Jordan Peterson has announced that he is quitting Twitter after coming under furious fire for saying a plus-size model is ‘not beautiful’
Peterson, 59, who is based in Toronto, made the comment about this cover image of plus-size Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model Yumi Nu, 36
Nu, who is a Japanese and Dutch recording artist, became the first-ever Asian plus-size model to be featured in SI Swim as a rookie last year
The latest in a long line of controversies: Inside Dr. Peterson’s past scandals
2016: Slammed proposed Canadian legislation that would ban discrimination based on ‘gender identity or gender expression’, claiming it would threaten free speech
2017: Claimed that ‘the idea of white privilege is absolutely reprehensible’ because ‘most people have all sorts of privilege’
2018: Told British TV network Channel 4 that men need to ‘grow the hell up’ and ‘adopt responsibility’ while discussing the crisis of masculinity. Also claimed that the gender pay gap was not ‘only due to sex’
2019: Cambridge University withdrew Peterson’s fellowship after facing furious backlash for announcing ten-part lecture series
2020: Peterson’s daughter Mikhaila revealed that he had been hospitalized in Russia after developing a severe dependence on anti-anxiety medication benzodiazepines. She claimed that he ‘nearly died several times… from what the medical system did to him in the West’
Late 2020: Staff at Penguin Random House Canada attempt to block the publication of his self-help book Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life, slamming Peterson as an ‘icon of white supremacy and hate speech’
2021: Tells The Sunday Times that he had become suicidal as a result of his benzodiazepine dependence and shared that he had to be put in an induced coma while hospitalized in Russia
‘My guy you look like a child’s skeleton covered in mayonnaise with dryer lint on the top. You’re in no position to be assessing anybody’s beauty you rickety junkie,’ one person fired back at Peterson, who is the author of the international bestselling book 12 Rules For Life: An Antidote to Chaos.
Others flipped the script by copying the words from the psychologist’s tweet and re-posting them with a picture of him.
Initially, Peterson stuck to his guns, firing back at ‘panderers’, and insisting that the decision to feature a plus-size woman on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit was ‘a conscious and cynical manipulation by the oh-so virtuous politically correct’.
In another tweet he added: ‘It’s a conscious progressive attempt to manipulate and retool the notion of beauty, reliant on the idiot philosophy that such preferences are learned and properly changed by those who know better.’
However, after he continued to be bombarded with what he described as a ‘vicious flood of insults’, Peterson called it quits, announcing that he was ‘departing’ Twitter, while branding the social media platform ‘intrinsically and dangerously insane’.
‘The endless flood of vicious insult is really not something that can be experienced anywhere else,’ he wrote. ‘I like to follow the people I know but I think the incentive structure of the platform makes it intrinsically and dangerously insane.’
He continued: ‘So 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.’
Despite his insistence that he was ‘departing’ Twitter, Peterson’s account remains active – and he continued to tweet even after claiming that he was exiting the social media site.
However he hinted that he will take his opinions elsewhere in the near future, writing: ‘I plan to write an article on the technical reasons that Twitter is maddening us all very soon. Bye for now.’
Peterson’s proposed ‘departure’ from Twitter comes just weeks after he quit the platform for the first time, explaining that he felt a ‘genuine relief’ during the three weeks that he spent away from the social media site, adding that he believes his ‘life got worse against almost instantly’ following his decision to rejoin.
The bestselling author claimed that he had been subjected to a ‘flood of vicious insults’ after making his comments and was therefore planning to ‘depart’ Twitter ‘once again’
His exit from Twitter came hours after he defended his opinions, insisting that the decision to feature a plus-size model on the cover was an ‘attempt to manipulate the notion of beauty’
‘I recently stopped accessing Twitter for three weeks as an experiment,’ he wrote. ‘I had some of my staff post video links etc. It was a genuine relief. I started to read and write more.
‘I started using it again, a few days ago, and I would say that my life got worse again almost instantly.’
Peterson is certainly no stranger to online controversy; he first shot to infamy in 2016 when he publicly descried proposed legislation in Canada which aimed to ban discrimination based on ‘gender identity or gender expression’.
In a series of YouTube videos, Peterson claimed that such a rule would challenge free speech, noting that he would refuse to refer to transgender or non-binary people by their preferred pronouns.
Then, in 2020, Peterson’s daughter Mikhaila, revealed that her father had been battling an addiction to benzodiazepines, a severe anti-anxiety medication, announcing on YouTube that he had been hospitalized in Russia as a result of his dependence on the drugs.
‘He nearly died several times,’ she said solemnly in the clip, adding: ‘He almost died from what the medical system did to him in the West.’
Peterson (seen in 2018) has become infamous for his very public stance against political correctness and woke ideologies
The author has published two self-help-style books citing his personal way of life, 12 Rules For Life: An Antidote to Chaos and the follow-up, Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life
The following year, Peterson and his daughter spoke to The Sunday Times about his medical struggles, revealing that he had become suicidal as a result of his benzodiazepine addiction, and that he had to be placed in an induced coma once he arrived in Russia to undergo treatment.
According to Mikhaila, her father’s health struggles began back in October 2016 when he began following a ‘lion diet’ of just meat and vegetables – something that Mikhaila, who lives in Russia with her husband, touted as a means of combatting symptoms associated with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.
She said that the diet left her father struggling to stand, battling an ‘impending sense of doom’ and a severe lack of sleep.
It was during this time that Peterson first was prescribed ‘a really low dose of benzodiazepine.’ The antidepressant is a part of the familial drug that includes Xanax and Valium. The family saw positive results from the drug and life moved on.
Peterson had become a household name by early 2019 but was left devastated after his wife of 30 years, Tammy, was diagnosed with kidney cancer. The clinical psychologist was terrified at the idea of his wife dying as she struggled battling the disease that she would eventually beat.
In 2020, Peterson’s daughter Mikhaila (pictured together) revealed that her father had been battling a severe dependence on anti-anxiety medications, which had left him suicidal
His doses of benzodiazepine were raised during that summer, but instead of helping ease his qualms, things only seemed to get worse, prompting him to continue upping his dose to the point where he had become almost entirely dependent on the drugs.
After struggling to find a solution to his issues in his home country of Canada, Peterson made the decision to travel to Russia to undergo treatment there, explaining: ‘The judgment of my family was that I was likely going to die in Toronto.’
Eventually, Peterson was able to return home to Canada in late 2020, when he faced further controversy over the planned publication of his latest self-help book – Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life, a follow-up to his international bestseller 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos.
Around the same time that he returned home to Canada, staff at Penguin Random House attempted to block the release of his book, calling him an ‘icon of white supremacy and hate speech’ for his series of controversial remarks made over the past few years.
In 2017, he said in an interview: ‘The idea of white privilege is absolutely reprehensible and it’s not because white people aren’t privileged. Most people have all sorts of privilege.’
In a 2018 exchange on the British TV network Channel 4, he told interviewer Cathy Newman that young men were crying out to be told to grow up and be more ‘competent’ and that women ‘deeply’ wanted them to.