Canadian psychologist and author Dr. Jordan Peterson has been ordered to undergo “social media training” following controversial posts he made in recent years.
This order was confirmed by an Ontario court after it dismissed Peterson’s legal complaint against the College of Psychologists of Ontario. The College, an academic body, had deemed several of Peterson’s social media posts as constituting professional misconduct.
The renowned psychologist, who is a professor emeritus at the University of Toronto and a popular media personality, has made headlines for various posts, especially those critiquing transgender ideology, COVID-19, and other subjects. In a noted incident, Peterson was temporarily suspended from Twitter (now known as X) for comments made against transgender actor Elliot (formerly Ellen) Page.
Peterson had written, “Remember when pride was a sin? And Ellen Page just had her breasts removed by a criminal physician.” Peterson regained access to the platform after Elon Musk acquired the company. In another incident, Peterson criticized Sports Illustrated for showcasing a plus-sized model, saying, “Sorry. Not beautiful. And no amount of authoritarian tolerance is going to change that.”
Following such posts, the College of Psychologists directed Peterson to undertake social media training, cautioning that non-compliance might result in the loss of his psychology license in Ontario. Peterson, responding on social media, stated, “To clarify: it’s been decided: I either submit to social media communication retraining or face a disciplinary hearing and possible suspension of my clinical license and the right to represent myself as a psychologist.” He subsequently sought a judicial review of the College’s order, contending that it shouldn’t govern his political remarks on social media.
However, the Ontario court upheld the College’s decision. The judges unanimously asserted that the order was within the College’s purview to protect the psychology profession’s image in the public domain.
Peterson contended his comments were his personal views and weren’t expressed in his professional role. But Justice Paul Schabas countered, “Dr. Peterson sees himself functioning as a clinical psychologist ‘in the broad public space’ where he claims to be helping ‘millions of people.’” Schabas added, “Peterson cannot have it both ways: he cannot speak as a member of a regulated profession without taking responsibility for the risk of harm that flows from him speaking in that trusted capacity.”
In response, Peterson told CBC News, “I’ll comply with their regulations, but I’m not going to do it in secret… And the reason I’m not going to do it in secret is because I don’t believe I’ve done anything wrong.” Later, on X, Peterson informed his 4.6 million followers, “So the Ontario Court of Appral ruled that @CPOntario can pursue their prosecution. If you think that you have a right to free speech in Canada. You’re delusional.”
He vowed to make the process public, saying, “I will make every aspect of this public. And we will see what happens when utter transparency is the rule. Bring it on.”