Bandy Lee, a law and psychiatry professor claims that the Yale School of Medicine fired her because of her critical comments about Donald Trump’s mental health.
Lee filed a lawsuit against the school on March 22. In the lawsuit, she alleges that she was fired for exercising her First Amendment right to free speech. Lee says that she was fired for tweeting about Donald Trump’s mental health. Lee was an assistant clinical professor in the school’s psychiatry department.
The issue began when Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard Law School professor emeritus, complained to Yale about Lee’s tweets, the lawsuit reads. Dershowitz defended Trump during his first impeachment trial.
Lee has opposed the American Psychiatric Association’s recommendation that its members refrain from commenting on public figures. Lee’s claim says. Lee wrote a book “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President.”
The book claimed that Donald Trump’s mental health issues were directly affecting the mental health of Americans and that the issue was a direct threat to our democracy and could cause the country to become involved in violence.
Richard Painter, a professor at the University of Minnesota Law School tweeted out to Lee noting the similarities to Dershowitz’s claim about his sex life and Trump’s claim about his phone call with the president of Ukraine.
During an interview in July of 2019, Dershowitz stated that he had a “perfect, perfect sex life.” Trump said he had a “perfect conversation” and a “perfect call” with the Ukrainian president.
Lee responded to Painter’s tweet with, “Alan Dershowitz’s employing the odd use of ‘perfect’… might be dismissed as an ordinary influence in most contexts.” She added that “given the severity and spread of ‘shared psychosis’ among just about all of Trump’s followers, a different scenario is more likely,” and that scenario was “that he has wholly taken on Trump’s symptoms by contagion.”
After the tweet, Dershowitz reportedly complained to Yale that Lee had “publicly diagnosed Trump as psychotic, based on his legal and political views without ever examining or meeting him,” according to the suit. He states that he did formally ask the university to discipline Lee and to investigate whether she violated any school rules.
In her Suit, Lee claims that her speech was protected under the First Amendment because she was “acting on a citizen’s duty to contribute her gifts to society, including her professional training and knowledge, and not as a psychiatrist under private employment.”
Dershowitz is not a defendant in the suit, but he did state that Lee was fired because of her “completely unprofessional, unethical and unacademic” conduct. He also stated that he did not have any contact with Yale after making his initial complaint.
Lee “credits me with getting her fired,” Dershowitz said. “I’m not that powerful. I am pleased with the fact that I brought to Yale’s attention the facts that demonstrate her deviation from professional norms. The facts are the facts, and Yale acted on the documented facts, not on my opinion.”
A spokesperson for Yale stated that Lee was a voluntary faculty member, and that “Yale does not consider the political opinions of faculty members when making appointment decisions.”