By David Futrelle
Bettina Arndt has had quite a week, so far. On Sunday, the Aussie Men’s Rights Activist and sometime-pedophile-defender was inexplicably awarded one of Australia’s highest honors for her alleged “services to gender equity,” sparking a massive outcry from feminists and others actually committed to equality.
Then yesterday the independent Australian media outlet New Matilda released the results of a longtime inquiry into her credentials, reporting that while she’s often portrayed in the Australian press as a “clinical psychologist” or even as Dr. Arndt, she is “not a doctor, has never obtained a PhD and nor, as it turns out, is she a psychologist or clinical psychologist.”
In an interview with New Matilda, as the publication reports, Arndt
strongly denied allegations she has ever sought to intentionally mislead people about her profession.
Despite these denials, a New Matilda investigation can reveal Ms Arndt has actively participated in the promotion of material which portrays her falsely as a psychologist, clinical psychologist and doctor.
These false descriptions have been widely reproduced across hundreds of articles, radio, and television interviews, as well as on Ms Arndt’s own official website, YouTube Channel, Facebook page. Ms Arndt has curated and distributed multiple videos and images where others have falsely described her title, without correction.
Indeed, as New Matilda points out, the back cover of the first edition of her own book The Sex Diaries, from 2009, identifies her as a “clinical psychologist” with “thirty-five years of experience as a sex therapist and psychologist,” which might help to explain just how this particular rumor got started.
In Australia it’s illegal to falsely claim to be a psychologist, an offense that can carry several years of jail time or a $60,000 fine.
When New Matilda asked why she didn’t bother to correct media outlets misrepresenting her credentials more often, she said:
You can’t start every interview by correcting your host. I mean I do sometimes. [I have done] many times. Many times. But I’ve done, I don’t know how many thousands of interviews in my life. When you have a two-minute television interview and I have an important message to say I’m not going to spend the first minute going through my qualifications, am I?
Actually, she could and should correct this sort of misrepresentation every time it happens. And if she doesn’t want to take up her precious airtime with a correction she could always speak to the media outlets before her interviews to ensure they identify her correctly.
The New Matilda piece also goes into some details on other controversies surrounding Arndt, such as her weird soft spot for pedophiles. It’s well worth reading in full.
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