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Ethics Complaint Filed In Anti-Gay Regnerus Scandal

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Mark Regnerus is an anti-gay-rights figure at the University of Texas at Austin.

The NOM-linked anti-gay-rights Witherspoon Institute gave Regnerus $785,000 to execute a study ostensibly, but not actually, on gay parents’ child outcomes.

The legitimate scientific community is united in concerns about the Regnerus study’s lack of intellectual integrity, and the fact that prior to publication, the study did not receive ethical and appropriate professional peer review.

Brad Wilcox is a Witherspoon Institute official. He also serves on the editorial board of the journal that published the Regnerus study, Social Science Research.

Wilcox had proven fiduciary conflicts of interest in serving as a paid Regnerus study consultant and also, apparently, as a peer reviewer of the Regnerus paper.

There follows a COMPLAINT against Brad Wilcox, filed with the American Sociological Association:

Dear Dr. Hillsman:

In this COMPLAINT, I shall make allegations against ASA member Dr. Brad Wilcox (aka W. Bradford Wilcox); Wilcox has egregiously violated the ASA’s Code of Ethics.

Wilcox is associated with:

1) The University of Virginia  (Director, The National Marriage Project; Associate Professor, Sociology)

2) The Witherspoon Institute   (Director, Program on Family, Marriage and Democracy; Editorial Board Member, Witherspoon’s “Public Discourse”)

3  Elsevier journal Social Science Research (Editorial Board Member)

These allegations relate to Wilcox’s unethical behavior involving a study by ASA member Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas at Austin; “The New Family Structures Study.”

Salient, documented facts of the matter include:

1) Wilcox’s Witherspoon Institute is the chief funder of the Regnerus study;

2) Wilcox, an editorial board member of Social Science Research, which published the Regnerus study, served as both a paid Regnerus study consultant and a peer reviewer of the Regnerus study;

3) After the sociological and scientific communities united in expressing concerns about the intellectual integrity of the Regnerus study, and about the suspicious process by which it was approved for publication, Wilcox signed a letter in support of the Regnerus study, which letter was promulgated by Baylor University, and which letter contains many deliberate distortions of the scientific record

WILCOX’S SPECIFIC VIOLATIONS OF THE ASA’S CODE OF ETHICS:

1)

Number 1 of the ASA’s Code of Ethics, “Professional and Scientific Standards” says that sociologists: “rely on scientifically and professionally derived knowledge; act with honesty and integrity; and avoid untrue, deceptive, or undocumented statements in undertaking work-related functions or activities.”

Where Wilcox as I) a highly-placed official with Witherspoon, which funded the Regnerus study; II) acted as both a paid study consultant and peer reviewer of the Regnerus study for the journal Social Science Research, where he is an editorial board member, Wilcox failed to act “with honesty and integrity.” In acting as both a Regnerus study consultant and peer reviewer, Wilcox had multiple fiduciary conflicts of interest. As a paid study consultant, he had a conflict of interest in being a peer reviewer, because paid study consultants want studies for which they have consulted to be published so that their services as paid consultants will be in high demand. Moreover, the Witherspoon Institute as the chief funder of the Regnerus study is promoting it very aggressively, in anti-gay-rights political contexts, at least in part to be able to stimulate additional donations to Witherspoon; Wilcox as a paid Witherspoon official therefore had that additional fiduciary conflict of interest in acting as both a Regnerus study consultant and peer reviewer.

2) Number 1 of the ASA’s Code of Ethics, “Professional and Scientific Standards” says that sociologists: “rely on scientifically and professionally derived knowledge; act with honesty and integrity; and avoid untrue, deceptive, or undocumented statements in undertaking work-related functions or activities.”

In signing the Baylor University letter in support of the Regnerus study, Wilcox did not avoid deceptive statements, or act with honesty and integrity.

The Baylor University Institute for Studies of Religion letter in support of the Regnerus study was promulgated to counter the legitimate scientific community’s expressions of concern about the intellectual integrity of the Regnerus study, which Wilcox’s anti-gay-rights Witherspoon Institute had funded. The Baylor letter incorporates multiple deliberate distortions of the scientific record, in a propagandizing and fraudulent attempt, scientifically to legitimate the Regnerus study to the public; an example of such a distortion will be given below.

The lead signer of the Baylor letter, Baylor ISR Director Byron Johnson, like Wilcox is an official with the Witherspoon Institute, which funded the Regnerus study. Two additional Witherspoon officials signed the Baylor letter; none of them disclosed their direct connection to the funding of the Regnerus study. Wilcox had a fiduciary conflict of interest in signing the Baylor letter and therefore should at least have disclosed that conflict of interest. The Witherspoon Institute is heavily engaged in promoting the Regnerus study and through promotions of its activities hopes to solicit and receive monetary donations to the Witherspoon Institute.

Here is but one example of the distortions of the scientific record contained in the Baylor letter. In its sixth paragraph, the Baylor letter alleges that the Regnerus study’s findings parallel findings of Daniel Potter’s paper “Same-Sex Parent Families and Children’s Academic Achievement,” which was published in the Journal of Marriage and Family.

The aim of the Baylor letter signers in alleging that the Potter study’s findings “parallel” those of the Regnerus study was this; Regnerus alleges to have proven correlation between same-sex parents and bad child outcomes; not only does the scientific community question whether Regnerus proved such correlations; it questions whether he actually studied children of “same-sex parents.” The majority of Regnerus’s test group respondents were born to and substantially raised by married couples of opposite genders; their parents therefore are their mothers and fathers; they do not have “same-sex parents,” though that term is written into the Regnerus study. The Baylor letter signers hoped to make the public believe that like Regnerus, Potter is alleging that he proved correlation between same-sex parents and bad child outcomes.

However, Potter in reality says that the differences his study found between children of same-sex parents and children of heterosexual parents are “nonsignificant net of family transitions.” The Baylor letter quotes from the very same sentence in which Potter says that the differences he found are “nonsignificant net of family transitions” but truncates the sentence, not including the phrase “nonsignificant net of family transitions,” and then the Baylor letter tacks on language clearly intended to get the public to believe that the differences Potter found were not “nonsignificant” but rather, significant.

The Baylor letter misrepresents the scientific record that is the Potter study in other ways. For example, the Baylor letter alleges that the children Potter studied had same-sex parents who “lived together.” In documented reality, however, Potter’s data came from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study—Kindergarten cohort(ECLS – K). That data does not allow a researcher scientifically to determine whether parents of the children studied are “same-sex parents” living together.  Potter speculated that some of his study subjects’ parents might have been same-sex parents living together, on the basis of unsound methods. What is more is that even supposing that some of Potter’s study subjects’ parents were actually “same-sex parents,” the Baylor letter is demonizing of actual same-sex parents by implying that same-sex parents who live together have scientifically been proven to correlate to bad child outcomes, though Potter says that differences found are “nonsignificant net of family transitions.”  If same-sex parents truly are living together, then there are no family transitions, are there?  The Potter study did not purport to compare stable gay-headed families with stable heterosexual-headed families. But the Baylor letter made a point of telling the public that Potter’s same-sex parents lived together and correlated to bad child outcomes.

The Baylor letter verifiably does distort the scientific record in an attempt to mislead the public about the Regnerus study. On multiple counts, Wilcox violated the ASA’s Code of Ethics by signing the Baylor letter. It must be mentioned in passing that Baylor University views homosexuality in a non-scientific manner. It thus is not appropriate for a sociologist to sign his name to a letter distorting the scientific record on studies involving homosexual persons. For reference, in a New York Times article about gay students at Christian colleges, a Baylor spokesperson said “Baylor expects students not to participate in advocacy groups promoting an understanding of sexuality that is contrary to biblical teaching.” And, in November, 2011, Baylor University was criticized for hosting a special sociology course of study titled Homosexuality as a Gateway Drug.

While individual schools, and individuals, might have first amendment rights to demonize homosexuals, doing so is inconsistent with many points of the ASA’s Code of Ethics, as promulgating demonizing lies against homosexuals as a class of persons is inconsistent with scientific knowledge about homosexuality. In signing his name to a letter containing deliberate distortions of the scientific record, in favor of a study his organization The Witherspoon Institute funded and is promoting in anti-gay-rights political contexts, Wilcox should have considered what the “Baylor University” brand represents vis-a-vis scientific knowledge of homosexuality, and civilized, respectful treatment of homosexual persons.

3)Section 10 of the ASA’s Code of Ethics is titled “Public Communications.” The section is introduced with: “Sociologists adhere to the highest professional standards in public communications about their professional services, credentials and expertise, work products, or publications, whether these communications are from themselves or from others.”

This allegation involves publication of an essay by Robert Oscar Lopez about the Regnerus study on the Witherspoon Institute’s venue “Public Discourse,” where Wilcox is an editorial board member. Since shortly after the publication of the Regnerus study, Lopez had been making comments on multiple internet sites, expressing irrational prejudices against gay persons in support of the Regnerus study. Regnerus saw Lopez’s comments and contacted Lopez first, to commence a correspondence with him about the study and “LGBT issues.” Shortly thereafter, an essay by Lopez appeared on Witherspoon’s “Public Discourse.” The Lopez essay is full of harsh, negative, and sometimes ridiculous judgments and inferences against gay people. For example, Lopez, who alleges he was raised by a lesbian mother, complains that he spoke with a lisp, and that the reason for his lisp was that he did not have any male role models. More seriously, the Lopez essay contains multiple misrepresentations of what the Regnerus study says. All of those misrepresentations are skewed in the direction of inciting readers against gay rights.

Wilcox, with editorial authority over Witherspoon’s “Public Discourse,” violates the ASA’s Code of Ethics, which says that “Sociologists adhere to the highest professional standards in public communications about their . . . . publications, whether these communications are from themselves or from others.”

Furthermore, Section 3 of the ASA’s Code of Ethics, “Representation and Misuse of Expertise,” letter (d), says: “If sociologists learn of misuse or misrepresentation of their work, they take reasonable steps to correct or minimize the misuse or misrepresentation.”

The Lopez essay, with its distortions of what the Regnerus study says, is being publicized to the four corners of the earth, largely by Wilcox’s Witherspoon Institute and/or Witherspoon officials who also have authority at other anti-gay-rights organizations.  Neither Regnerus nor Wilcox have made any effort to correct Lopez’s false statements about what the Regnerus study says. Regnerus appears to have recruited Lopez for the purpose of cultivating him for promotions of the Regnerus study. Documentation should be examined to determine which Witherspoon figures were involved in processing the Lopez essay through to publication. Wilcox should have made an effort to correct to the public the very widely disseminated distortions of Regnerus made in the Lopez essay published on the Witherspoon site. But additionally, Wilcox in association with Witherspoon would have had multiple fiduciary conflicts of interest in promoting the Regnerus study through “Public Discourse,” as Wilcox served as both a paid Regnerus study consultant and a Regnerus study peer reviewer.  If Wilcox personally was directly involved in processing the Lopez essay through to publication, then he was, essentially, promoting his services as a paid study consultant. That the Lopez essay verifiably contains distortions of what the Regnerus study says, makes especially troubling that Wilcox would in any way promote his study consultant services by means of that scientifically inaccurate vehicle.

Upon request, I shall furnish further matches between Wilcox’s behavior and items listed in the American Sociological Association’s Code of Ethics.

Sincerely,

Scott Rose

 

New York City-based novelist and freelance writer Scott Rose’s LGBT-interest by-line has appeared on Advocate.com, PoliticusUSA.com, The New York Blade, Queerty.com, Girlfriends and in numerous additional venues. Among his other interests are the arts, boating and yachting, wine and food, travel, poker and dogs. His “Mr. David Cooper’s Happy Suicide” is about a New York City advertising executive assigned to a condom account.

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‘Poisonous’: Former Advisor Says Republicans Have ‘Just Switched Trump Off in Their Brain’

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In an interview with The Guardian, one of Donald Trump’s former senior advisers stated that the word he is getting from people he has spoken to is that they want the former president to be put out to pasture after the poor midterm election results for Republicans weeks ago.

According to John Bolton, who served as Trump’s national security adviser, it’s time for the GOP to move on from the former president if the party wants to reclaim the Oval Office in 2024.

Bolton, whose tenure serving under Trump ended acrimoniously, told the Guardian’s David Smith that there are a multitude of reasons to put Trump in the rearview mirror, but the impact that the former president had on GOP fortunes in the midterms seems to be the final straw with many conservatives.

“There are a lot of reasons to be against Trump being the nominee but the one I’m hearing now as I call around the country, talking to my supporters and others about what happened on 8 November, is the number of people who have just switched Trump off in their brain,” Bolton explained.

ALSO IN THE NEWS: Trump’s new Mar-a-Lago scandal proves why aides want him to stick to a teleprompter

Elaborating, he continued, “Even if they loved his style, loved his approach, loved his policies, loved everything about him, they don’t want to lose and the fear is, given the results on 8 November, that if he got the nomination, not only would he lose the general election, but he would take an awful lot of Republican candidates down with him.”

“There’s no doubt Trump’s endorsement in the primary can be very valuable to a candidate in the Republican party. But relying on that endorsement or trumpeting yourself as the Trump-endorsed candidate is poisonous in the general election. So if you actually want to win elections, Trump is not the answer,” Bolton continued. “William F Buckley [the conservative author] once had a rule that in Republican primaries he supported the most conservative candidate capable of winning the general election and, under that theory, Trump loses.”

The Guardian’s Smith notes that Bolton “… joins Trump’s vice-president Mike Pence, secretary of state Mike Pompeo, attorney general William Barr, UN ambassador Nikki Haley, chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and onetime ally Chris Christie in a growing rebellion among alumni making the case – overtly or subtly – that Trump has become an electoral liability.”

You can read more here.

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license

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Trump’s Dinner With Kanye Also Included a Former Aide Accused in Pay-for-Pardon Play, and White Supremacist Fuentes

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Donald Trump‘s dinner earlier this week with antisemite Kanye West and holocaust denier and white supremacist Nick Fuentes may also have included two other right-wingers, hinted at by the former president himself.

After Axios‘ reporting confirmed that Fuentes had in fact had dinner with Trump, Trump issued a statement saying, “Our dinner meeting was intended to be Kanye and me only, but he arrived with a guest whom I had never met and knew nothing about.”

But later, on Friday afternoon via his Truth Social platform, Trump wrote a defense of the dinner with an expanded guest list.

READ MORE: Trump Claims He ‘Knew Nothing About’ the White Supremacist Antisemite Who He and Kanye West Dined With at Mar-a-Lago

“This past week, Kanye West called me to have dinner at Mar-a-Lago,” Trump wrote. “Shortly thereafter, he unexpectedly showed up with three of his friends, whom I knew nothing about. We had dinner on Tuesday evening with many members present on the back patio. The dinner was quick and uneventful. They then left for the airport.”

As The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman noted, Trump did not denounce his guest’s extremist beliefs.

“Three of his friends,” according to the far-right wing website Breitbart, apparently includes Fuentes, far-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, and former Trump 2016 aide Karen Giorno.

Breitbart states, “two people who say they were at the dinner on Tuesday evening–Yiannopoulos and onetime Trump aide Karen Giorno–have publicly stated that Fuentes was in fact at the dinner with West and Trump.”

“’Nick attended the dinner and sat across from the president. I sat to the president’s right and Ye to his left,’ Giorno said in a statement to podcaster Tim Poole’s website Timcast,” Breitbart reports. “‘The president was by himself for dinner but invited Ye to meet some people on the patio.'”

Politico reports Giorno “confirmed to Politico that she was also at the dinner with Trump, West and Fuentes,” but does not mention Yiannopoulos as a dinner guest.

READ MORE: Watch: Chasten Buttigieg Says Tucker Carlson Is Focusing on ‘Hate’ After Host’s Latest Anti-Gay Attack on His Husband

Referring to Kanye West by his new name, VICE News adds: “Ye, who has been been on an antisemitic spiral in recent months, announced he is going to be running for president in 2024, and Yiannopoulos is his campaign manager. He claimed that he asked the former president to run with him as his vice-president. According to Ye, the dinner involving the billionaire, the rapper, and the white nationalist devolved into screaming and derogatory epithets.”

Yiannopoulos is the former Breitbart editor who became disgraced after saying, “I think in the gay world some of the most important, enriching and incredibly life-affirming, important shaping relationships very often between younger boys and older men.” Earlier this year U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene came under fire for hiring, as an intern, Yiannopoulos, even after he appeared to support sexual “relationships” between boys as young as 13 and older men.

Karen Giorno, The New York Times reported early last year, “had access to people around the president, having run Mr. Trump’s campaign in Florida during the 2016 primary and remaining on board as a senior political adviser during the general election.”

“In July 2018, Ms. Giorno signed an agreement with Mr. Kiriakou, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times, ‘to seek a full pardon from President Donald Trump of his conviction’ for $50,000 and promised another $50,000 as a bonus if she secured a pardon,” The Times reports.

Kiriakou is John Kiriakou, who The Times identifies as “a former C.I.A. officer convicted of illegally disclosing classified information.”

On what appears to be her Instagram page, Giorno has photos of herself with numerous Republicans, including Marjorie Taylor Greene, Mike Flynn, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Florida attorney general Ashley Moody and several other top Florida elected officials, U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster, and Sarah Palin, among others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Trump Claims He ‘Knew Nothing About’ the White Supremacist Antisemite Who He and Kanye West Dined With at Mar-a-Lago

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Donald Trump and Kanye West had dinner at Mar-a-Lago Tuesday night and the disgraced artist who goes by “Ye” brought a guest, the white supremacist, antisemite and “America First” and “Big Lie” purveyor Nick Fuentes. Now the former president is claiming Fuentes was a guest of West, and he knows “nothing” about him.

“Trump’s direct engagement with a man labeled a ‘white supremacist’ by the Justice Department, one week after declaring his 2024 candidacy, is likely to draw renewed outrage over the former president’s embrace of extremists,” Axios’ Jonathan Swan and Zachary Basu report.

Axios notes that in a video West posted to his recently restored Twitter account, he says, “Trump was ‘really impressed’ with Fuentes because ‘unlike so many of the lawyers and so many people that he was left with on his 2020 campaign, he’s actually a loyalist.'”

“Ye, who has lost major sponsorships over his anti-Semitism and recent far-right associations, has said he wants to run for president in 2024,” Axios adds. “The rapper claims Trump started ‘screaming’ at him at the dinner and told him he would lose — ‘most perturbed’ by Ye asking Trump to be his running mate.”

READ MORE: Watch: Chasten Buttigieg Says Tucker Carlson Is Focusing on ‘Hate’ After Host’s Latest Anti-Gay Attack on His Husband

Swan says Trump issued a statement in response to his reporting, claiming he does not know Fuentes.

“Kanye West very much wanted to visit Mar-a-Lago,” Trump’s statement says, an apparent attempt to minimize his dining with two racists and antisemites. “Our dinner meeting was intended to be Kanye and me only, but he arrived with a guest whom I had never met and knew nothing about.”

The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman observes that Trump’s “statement does nothing to denounce that background, including Holocaust denialism, or even acknowledge it.”

Trump first claiming West just wanted to see Mar-a-Lago, but immediately after calling it a “meeting” is notable, given that West has since suggested he is running for president.

Axios importantly adds that “Fuentes first gained notoriety after attending the white supremacist ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville in 2017,” and, “Trump was heavily criticized at the time for his response to the racist violence.”

Journalist Jeff Sharlet is the executive producer of Netflix’s “The Family,” based on his books that exposed the secretive Christian right organization of the same name. The Family, also called The Fellowship, hosts the annual National Prayer Breakfast. Its members were involved in Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill.

Sharlet warns this is an “inflection point.”

“Trump dinner with Ye, at this point, is a major story,” Sharlet tweeted. “But with Nick Fuentes? That’s an inflection point even for a former president already committed to fascism.”

Journalist and activist Elad Nehorai tweeted: “Never let a single right winger or Republican claim they care about Jews after this. Fuentes openly praises Hitler. He is a Holocaust denier. He is one of the US’s most dangerous white nationalists. Trump hosted him & not one Republican had said a word.”

Attorney and former Republican Ron Filipkowski, who tracks and reports on right wing extremism, says Trump’s statement “reminds me of the time when Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio was in the WH in Dec 2020 and said he was just there to check out the Christmas decorations.”

Tarrio told ABC News last year he “got invited to the White House Christmas decorations tour through ‘Latinos For Trump.'”

READ MORE: ‘Standard Bearer of Trumpism’ Marjorie Taylor Greene Bridges White Nationalism and the GOP

Top national security attorney Brad Moss mocked Trump’s claim about the Mar-a-Lago dinner.

“Trump legal team: MAL is a totally secure place where we can be trusted to store classified records,” he tweeted. “Trump PR team: Security at MAL is so lax that a raving white supremacist can just crash Trump’s dinner party with Ye.”

Indeed, The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman commented, “It’s not the central issue with meeting with Fuentes, but the fact that people can show up unvetted and meet with Trump at his club is part of what alarmed the DOJ about his retention of government records, including classified material, when he left office.”

She also posted a screenshot from her book, relevant to Trump’s embrace of the two racists and antisemites. She quotes him saying, “A lot of these people vote,” in relation to “Trump’s refusal to condemn David Duke’s support forcefully in early 2016.”

The AntiDefamation League (ADL) in a 2021 report wrote, “Nicholas Fuentes is a white supremacist leader and organizer and podcaster who seeks to forge a white nationalist alternative to the mainstream GOP.”

Some of Fuentes’ antisemitism has been documented by ADL.

READ MORE: House GOP Whip Denies ‘Knowing Anything About’ Republican Congressman Fundraising With Antisemitic White Nationalist

“Fuentes has made a number of racist and antisemitic comments under the guise of being provocative and ironic,” ADLs report states. “For example, he has referred to Daily Wire columnist Matt Walsh as ‘shabbos goy race traitor’ because he works for Jews (Ben Shapiro, a Jewish conservative, runs the Daily Wire). On a livestream episode, Fuentes ‘jokingly’ denied the Holocaust and compared Jews burnt in concentration camps to cookies in an oven. On May 24, 2021, Fuentes participated in a debate on right-wing conspiracist Alex Jones’ InfoWars with Robert Barnes, a man described as a ‘constitutional lawyer’ who has legally defended both Jones and Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse. During the debate, Fuentes made numerous antisemitic remarks, including, ‘I don’t see Jews as Europeans and I don’t see them as part of Western civilization, particularly because they are not Christians.'”

Fuentes is strongly pro-Trump, as West alluded to.

“Fuentes promoted election fraud narratives and encouraged his adherents to participate in nationwide ‘Stop the Steal’ protests,” according to ADL.

 

This article has been updated to include Jeff Sharlet’s remarks.

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