Portland State University Professor Brian Gilley’s article “The Case for Colonialism” has been removed from publication in response to death threats received by the journal’s editors.
— Philip N Cohen (@familyunequal) October 9, 2017
Gilley’s controversial article, which had incited a hoard of academics to call for its removal earlier this month, was finally pulled from Third World Quarterly after editors at the journal received “credible” death threats.
Eric Weinstein, the Managing Director at Thiel Capital and brother of embattled biology professor Bret Weinstein, called the decision to remove the journal article as a type of “thug-review,” meaning the practice of threatening violence to determine whether or not a certain perspective can be shared in an academic journal.
Thug-Review, n: a post Peer Review practice where threats of violence to life, limb, reputation & livelihood determine academic publication. pic.twitter.com/jOICrOiWeu
— Eric Weinstein (@EricRWeinstein) October 9, 2017
Gilley, amidst amounting pressure from his professional community, asked that the article be removed from the publication in late September. “I have asked the Third World Quarterly to withdraw my article ‘The Case for Colonialism,’” Gilley wrote in a post on his faculty page. “I regret the pain and anger that it has caused for many people. I hope that this action will allow a more civil and caring discussion on this important issue to take place.”
He claims now that he regrets asking for the publication to retract his entry, telling the online publication Minding the Campus that he is now “back in the fight.”
Instead of the abstract paragraph describing Gilley’s article, the journal now displays a statement explaining that the content was removed in response to “credible threats of personal violence.
This Viewpoint essay has been withdrawn at the request of the academic journal editor, and in agreement with the author of the essay. Following a number of complaints, Taylor & Francis conducted a thorough investigation into the peer review process on this article. Whilst this clearly demonstrated the essay had undergone double-blind peer review, in line with the journal’s editorial policy, the journal editor has subsequently received serious and credible threats of personal violence. These threats are linked to the publication of this essay. As the publisher, we must take this seriously. Taylor & Francis has a strong and supportive duty of care to all our academic editorial teams, and this is why we are withdrawing this essay.
Leftist scholar Noam Chomsky, a member of the editorial board at Third World Quarterly, defended Gilley’s entry, arguing that retracting the piece would open “dangerous doors.” Despite Chomsky’s statement, 15 of his colleagues at Third World Quarterly resigned their positions on the editorial board.