Hate-Mail and Personal Invective

(I will only bother to post this when it hails from an interesting source.)

Prof Audrey Macklin, Dalhousie University

[Note: Prof. Macklin leaps to the defense of the Immigration & Refugee Board after publication of my article, "Pity the Innocent Men." The following letter was submitted to The Globe and Mail - it was published several days later, somewhat edited, and was the only letter to appear about my piece, although I know others (including supportive ones) were sent. What follows is the text as Prof. Macklin posted it to the FEMISA mailing list after I posted news of my article there. Prof. Macklin has also attacked my co-complainant in the CHRC case against the Immigration & Refugee Board, Prof. Ferrel Christensen, in the letters column of The National Post. She has failed throughout to point out that she sat as a member of the Immigration and Refugee Board between 1994 and 1996.]

23 February 1999

Dear Editor:

After [sic] reading Mr. Jones' crude attack on the IRB Guidelines on
Gender Related Persecution [sic], one might be forgiven for inferring that the
Guidelines instruct decision-makers to reject male refugee claimants.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The Guidelines were precipitated
by the failure of some decision-makers to take seriously certain types of
refugee claims made be [sic] women. Nothing in the Guidelines prevents, impedes
or discourages the acceptance of any refugee claim made by any man for any
reason. Before and after the Guidelines, fear of forcible conscription,
summary detention, and extrajudicial execution have all been the basis of
successful refugee claims by men, though Mr. Jones' [sic] inexplicably asserts
otherwise. Furthermore, men who have been sexually violated or fear
forcible sterilization can and do cite the Guidelines in support of their
claim. Finally, the existence of the Guidelines have [sic] not altered the fact
that the number of men who come to Canada and successfully claim refugee
status still exceed the number of women, despite estimates that the
overwhleming [sic] majority of the world's refugees are women and children, and
despite Mr. Jones' misleading use of statistics to suggest otherwise.
Mr. Jones' [sic] is simply indulging in a common (if witless) form of
anti-feminist backlash, wherein measures designed to address existing bias
against women are caricatured as constituting anti-male bias,
even in a situation where no man can be disadvantaged by them, and some
men may be benefitted.

Yours truly

Prof. Audrey Macklin
Dalhousie Law School
902/494-1005(ph);494-1316 (fax)
6061 University Avenue
Halifax, NS, CANADA B3H 4H9

The Danard Correspondence

[Note: Now this is really intriguing. Danard is Deputy Editor of the Saturday "Focus" section of The Globe and Mail, Canada's self-proclaimed "National Newspaper." She received a clearly-labelled Press Release from me - exactly how is still to be determined; I had never heard of her - and launched into a memorable tirade.]

[E-mail received 29 March 1999.]

Adam Jones:

Your story ran in Focus in The Globe and Mail, which I work for, but if you wish
to continue your connection with The Globe, please make it through Cecily Ross
or Sarah Murduch [sic]. I've no time for your sexist nonsense.
The reason extra protection is urged for women and children during hostilities
is because they do no not [sic] sign declarations of war, are not members of the
Serbian troops, are not flying NATO planes, were not members of Hitler's inner
group etc etc etc down through the centuries.
Men kill men and women, and the aggressors understand that men could hurt
them, not women. If you want to do us all a favour, go after the men who make war.
Otherwise, I receive enough antiwomen hate stuff without yours too.

Joan Danard

I immediately responded:

To Joan Danard, The Globe and Mail:

What an astonishing piece of correspondence from you! I will forward it to [Associate Editor] Sarah Murdoch, [Globe editor-in-chief] William Thorsell, and ["Focus" editor] Cecily Ross with the request that they take some disciplinary action. I have never heard of you before, and have no idea how you obtained a copy of my press release. But I can find no record of sending it to you -- the above-mentioned were the only recipients at The Globe -- and I can tell you I do not appreciate being harassed and verbally abused by Globe staff out of the blue.


Adam Jones

Danard responded:

You sent it; That is how I received it. This is harassment? All I ask that you send me nothing more. Stuff that comes to me from you will be filtered out.

Joan Danard

I forwarded this message as well to Thorsell et al., noting: "[...] I can find no precedent or explanation for this explosion of personal vitriol against the author of a press release, especially when much of the content is founded on a feature article that appeared in Ms. Danard's own newspaper. I again urgently await some communication from you in this matter."

Later on 29 March, I received the following message from Ms. Murdoch, to whom I am indebted for publishing my two controversial features on gender issues, "The Invisible Victims" (in 1992) and "Pity the Innocent Men" (1999).

Hi Adam:

I'd like to apologize on behalf of The Globe for the notes you received today from Joan Danard. As you know, your views are extremely provocative and I think you hit a rather large and raw ideological nerve. That's no excuse, however. This is not the way we treat our contributors. [...] William is aware that I am writing this note to you, and agrees with me.

All the best,


For me it left some questions hanging, and I responded, also on 29 March:

Dear Sarah,

I appreciate your apology on behalf of The Globe, and please pass on my thanks as well to William Thorsell. But I am really concerned about any "gatekeeper" role that Joan Danard might be playing at "Canada's National Newspaper." To have a Deputy Editor of the "Focus" section expressing such narrowly ideological hostility towards an outside contributor (indeed, towards any member of the public) is worrisome -- particularly if that editor is to be in charge of similarly-themed submissions in the future. Can I ask for William's assurance that Ms. Danard will not have an editorial role to play in any gender-themed op-ed submissions? Would it also be appropriate to ask Ms. Danard to apologize to me personally for her intemperate and abusive language?

All the best, and I hope to hear further,


I also sent the Danard correspondence to a few friends. James Steiger, a Psychology professor at UBC, intervened on my behalf, with a letter to William Thorsell that I regard as definitive:

Dear Mr. Thorsell:

I have seldom encountered anything like the correspondence Ms. Danard sent to Adam Jones in my dealings with the publishing industry.

Ms. Danard's blatant misandry is, like most deep-seated hatreds, irrational. One is tempted to ask her, "What percentage of men who have ever lived have killed?," or perhaps, "Are Serbian women unaware of what their male relatives are doing? Do they never protest? Do they share utterly no responsibility?"

Of course, people like Ms. Danard are immune to facts, to logic, and to reasoned argument. The question is, what is she doing representing your newspaper? Someone who hates half the human race so much has no business in any kind of position to control the flow of human ideas.

James Steiger
Department of Psychology
University of British Columbia

The following day (30 March), Danard wrote to me:

Dear Adam Jones:

I reacted precipitously to your press release yesterday and would like to apologize. I had no right to react as I did and I promise you this is not the way I am accustomed to treating contributors to The Globe and Mail. I was having a bad day and this was an isolated incident. As far as gender issues are concerned, I have never had difficulty detaching my personal views from the work at hand. However, I understand your concern and give you my assurance that I will not handle work that you may submit for publication in the future. You know that Sarah Murdoch is a long-standing fan of yours. I am sure this incident will not colour that relationship in any way.


Joan Danard

And still it nagged ... on 31 March I wrote to William Thorsell:

Dear Mr. Thorsell,

I have received the apology from Joan Danard [...]. Since Ms. Danard informed me on 29 March that she was filtering out e-mail from my account, I thought I would address this letter to you, with the request that you forward it to Ms. Danard.

I am pleased to accept Ms. Danard's gracious apology. I feel, however, that some loose ends remain.

First is the point made by one of my correspondents: that if Ms. Danard had "expressed such views about any other group on earth but men, she would be summarily fired." It is indeed interesting to imagine a male Deputy Editor of "Focus" responding with similar hostility to the contributor of a feminist-themed press release -- with rhetoric like, "If you bra-burning lesbian feminists want to spout your anti-male hatred, you can do us all a favour and take it somewhere else," followed by a threat to ban the correspondent permanently from the editor's e-mail.

"Bad day" or not, it is hard to believe such an editor would still have a job after such an outburst. But if he did, it is highly unlikely he would be allowed to handle future gender-themed submissions. I am not asking for Ms. Danard's head on a platter, but I do believe her pledge not to handle any of my submissions is insufficient. The invective and narrow-minded formulations she expressed in her original messages cast doubt on the proposition that she is capable of "detaching [her] personal views from the work at hand," as she claims. My own view is that anyone submitting a gender-themed article or commentary to The Globe and Mail should not have to deal with Ms. Danard. I ask for your personal assurance that this will be the case.

In closing, I note Ms. Danard's assurance that Sarah Murdoch is "a long-standing fan of yours," so this "isolated incident" should not "colour" my future relationship with The Globe. I am not sure whether accepting two of my feature pieces in seven years indicates that Ms. Murdoch is a "long-standing fan." But in any case, I am disturbed by the insinuation that placing a freelance article with The Globe requires one to have a booster on-staff. One would hope for a more impartial and efficient mechanism for evaluating outside submissions. When it comes to gender-themed contributions, at least, one must question whether Ms. Danard has shown herself capable of such impartiality, or -- just as important to a newspaper -- the appearance of it.

I send you my best regards, and hope to hear from you further.

Adam Jones

I have not had a response (or, indeed, direct communication at any point) from Mr. Thorsell. However, two excellent pieces appeared subsequently in his newspaper on the gender-selective atrocities in Kosovo. I have no idea whether my press release or l'affaire Danard influenced the Globe's coverage, but it was almost unparalleled in North American mainstream media. The articles are found at the tail end of the Kosovo April Coverage.)

Created by Adam Jones, 1999. Last updated: 14 April 1999.