Along with publisher HarperCollins, author Laura Kipnis is being sued for defamtion over claims made in the book Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus. The suit is being taken up by an unidentified Jane Doe.
Unwated Advances is a polemic that characterizes the recently reported-on epidemic of campus rape as a result of a kind of cultural hysteria. The deeply anti-feminist take makes a handful of specifc claims about specifc cases, including the situation surrounding a Northwestern philosophy professor Peter Ludlow, who resigned after having sexually harassed two students. Kipnis' book (and other assorted error-filled writings on this situation) essentially accuse the accusers of lying about the encouters with Ludlow.
“Ludlow,” Kipnis writes, “was guilty-though not of what the university charged him with. His crime was thinking that women over the age of consent have sexual agency, which has lately become a heretical view, despite once being a crucial feminist position.”
The lawsuit specifically accuses both Kipnis and HarperCollins of defamation, publishing private communications, invasion of privacy and emotional distress. Doe is asking for a full retracraction of the statements in the book, which included personal communications between Doe and Ludlow and confidential records from Northwestern. Doe is similarly asserting that Kipnis' characterization of the encounter as both romantic and consensual is highly manipulated. Doe alleges that Kipnis wrote sections of her book in retaliation for Title IX complaints taken out against her and claims that HarperCollins did not properly fact check their author.
“In defending Ludlow and attempting to (falsely) reframe him as the victim malicious female students and a Title IX process run amok, Kipnis gratuitously discloses private and embarrassing details about the personal life of Plaintiff, a current Northwestern student," says the suit.
HarperCollins is not currently offering a comment on the situation.
You can read Jezebel's thorough take on the case over here.