A former psychiatry professor at Yale University is suing the Ivy League school, alleging that she was fired because of her mental health diagnosis of President Donald Trump, whom she had never met.
Dr. Bandy Lee, who previously worked as an affiliated faculty member in the psychiatry department of Yale’s medical school, on Monday filed a First Amendment lawsuit against the university, reported student newspaper the Yale Daily News. She demands reinstatement and compensation for damages, including “economic losses” and “emotional distress.”
Lee has been questioning the mental health of Trump since 2017, when she became the editor of “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump,” a New York Times best seller in which a group of 27 medical professionals claimed that Trump was mentally unfit for his job. The book caused controversy at the time, since it broke a long-standing ethical standard known as the “Goldwater Rule,” which states that psychiatrists should never provide professional opinions in the media about public figures they have not personally examined.
In 2018, Lee was called by House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) to a congressional hearing, where she laid out to lawmakers why she believed Trump had became mentally unstable to the point that he should be involuntarily committed to a hospital mental health program.
The lawsuit, however, mostly centers around Lee’s social media speech. According to court filings obtained by the Yale Daily News, Lee is alleging that Yale fired her in response to a Twitter post she made in January 2020, which characterized “just about all” of Trump supporters as suffering from “shared psychosis” and said that Alan Dershowitz, a lawyer on Trump’s legal team, had “wholly taken on Trump’s symptoms by contagion.”
Dershowitz refuted Lee’s claim, and wrote an email to Yale administrators over the psychiatry professor’s breaking of the Goldwater Rule and demanding she be disciplined.
“Dr. Bandy Lee of the Yale Medical School has publicly ‘diagnosed’ me as ‘psychotic,’ based on my legal and political views, and without ever examining or even meeting me,” Dershowitz wrote in the letter. “This constitutes a serious violation of the ethics rules of the American Psychiatric Association. I am formally asking that association to discipline Dr. Lee. By this email, I also formally ask Yale University, Yale Law School and its medical school to determine whether Dr. Lee violated any of its rules.”
According to court documents, Dershowitz’s complaint led the the psychiatry department leadership to warn Lee that she should stop making similar public statements, otherwise the department “would be compelled to terminate [her] teaching role.” Lee continued to write on Twitter about Trump’s mental stability even after the official warning.
Lee was fired in September 2020, with a psychiatry department letter explaining that the decision was mainly due to her “clinical judgement and professionalism,” rather than the “political content” of her statements.
“I have done this with a heavy heart, only because Yale refused all my requests for a discussion, much as the American Psychiatric Association has done,” Lee wrote in an email to the Yale Daily News. “I love Yale, my alma mater, as I love my country, but we are falling into a dangerous culture of self-censorship and compliance with authority at all cost.”
Yale University didn’t immediately respond to The Epoch Times’ request for comments.