Yale professor of psychiatry Bandy Xenobia Lee, who has captained efforts to stigmatize President Trump and anyone connected with him as mentally ill, just widened her campaign to include retired Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz.
This time, Lee may have gone after the wrong guy. Lee tweeted:
Which scenario? That he has wholly taken on Trump’s symptoms by contagion. There is even proof: his bravado toward his opponent with a question about his own sex life—in a way that is irrelevant to the actual lawsuit—shows the same grandiosity and delusional-level impunity.
— Bandy X Lee, MD, MDiv (@BandyXLee1) January 3, 2020
This … was probably a mistake.
Dershowitz possesses a track record of suing people who he says defamed him, including Jeffrey Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre Roberts, who claimed publicly that Dershowitz slept with her while she was jet-setting with Epstein.
President Donald Trump and Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh–two of the people Lee has gone to incredible lengths to publicly stigmatize with mental illness–likely won’t bother suing Lee for defamation. She’s barely a bug on their windshields. But Dershowitz may not prove so forgiving.
Dershowitz hit back hard with an article at Gatestone Institute:
Dr. Bandy Lee has never met me, never examined me, never seen my medical records, and never spoken to anyone close to me. Yet she is prepared to offer a diagnosis of “psychosis” which she attributes to my being one of President Trump’s “followers.” (I voted for Hillary Clinton and am a liberal Democrat.)
Calling a public figure “crazy” is a fairly safe tactic for pundits and the average person under defamation laws. But mental health professionals are held to a higher standard by courts, since professionals are assumed to have expertise and public trust when it comes to mental illness. In a nutshell: when a psychiatrist calls someone psychotic, the public believes her.
Lee seems to have fallen into the *delusion* (if you’ll pardon the expression) that she’s Rachel Maddow, a fabulist who can say pretty much anything and nobody will take her seriously. But Lee is not Maddow, she’s a mental health expert … one who may need a good lawyer soon.
In addition to legal culpability for reckless statements, ethical guidelines exist to restrain psychiatrists and psychologists from stigmatizing public figures without examining them and without their permission. Dershowitz says Lee has crossed the line:
Publicly offering “professional opinions” or diagnoses in the absence of a psychiatric examination, is a violation of psychiatric ethics and the rules of the American Psychiatric Association. According to that esteemed organization, “it is unethical for a psychiatrist to render a professional opinion to the media about a public figure unless the psychiatrist has examined the person…”
Lee has characterized most Trump voters as having “shared psychosis.” She has waged a three-year campaign of mean-girl psychiatric backbiting against the president and everyone in his orbit. She has at least strongly implied that Justice Kavanaugh is an angry, entitled, paranoid, unstable alcoholic.
In a sane world, Dershowitz would not have to sue Bandy Lee. She is manifestly out of control, and professional associations should be putting the muzzle on her, not leaving such work to her victims. She’s a hazard to her profession and the public’s trust in confidential, objective medicine.