I want to be crystal clear I do not have an ounce of sympathy for Mady Hornig and what she endured at the hands of Ian Lipkin.
Opinion By Kent Heckenlively, JD
You see, I was brought up by a STRONG WOMAN, and if any man within a mile of her tried to do what Hornig now accuses Lipkin of doing, that man would quickly live to regret it. This abuse would not have lasted years and decades.
Hornig’s complaint, filed on May 18, 2017 in the United States District Court, Southern District of New York, Case #1:17-cv-03602-ER is a story of dishonesty and indecency in the SMALL THINGS.
The GREATER CRIMES of Ian Lipkin and Mady Hornig,
the attack on good scientists like Dr. Andrew Wakefield and Dr. Judy Mikovits, who if their research into autism and chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) had been actually investigated, might be making a difference in the lives of millions of people today, remains unaddressed.
I have written at length about the GREATER CRIMES of these two individuals. I will detail now the SMALL THINGS which are alleged by Mady Horning to have occurred between them so you will understand HOW they could be CAPABLE OF MONSTROUS CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY.
The following is taken directly from Hornig’s complaint, although I have broken it up into specific sections for ease of reading, highlighted in BOLD.
BACKGROUND: “Plaintiff has worked with Lipkin since 1996 on research on the relationships of infection and immunity on brain disorders, primarily myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (“ME/CFS”), mood disorders, schizophrenia, Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal infection (“PANDAS”), attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (“ADHD”) and autism, and was recruited with him to Columbia in 2001, joining the faculty as a full-time faculty member in 2002.” (Paragraph 21 of complaint.)
LIPKIN THE LOVER: “Plaintiff and Lipkin had a personal relationship which ended in 2011.” (Paragraph 22 of complaint.)
“In or around the Fall of 2014, during a conversation when Plaintiff was alone in Lipkin’s office, he told Plaintiff that a major donor with whom he had been having an affair had just ended the relationship. Lipkin had previously told Plaintiff and Mailman Donor Relations personnel that he should be the only person to interact with this donor because of their ‘special relationship.’ In the conversation where Lipkin reported on the break-up, he said to Plaintiff ‘How can she break up with me by email right after having great sex,’ noting that she had helped him in and out of bed because of a broken ankle. When Plaintiff asked him to stop this line of conversation, telling him that he was making her very uncomfortable, he leaned threateningly toward her and screamed, ‘This conversation is OVER!'”” (Paragraphs 29-32 of complaint.)
LIPKIN THE BOSS: “Throughout their professional relationship, Lipkin made clear that he expected Plaintiff to be his largely-silent and always subservient partner, forced to work almost exclusively on his projects and to give hum undue credit for her own work, to the detriment of her own professional growth, stature in their shared field, and productivity.” (Paragraph 23 of complaint.)
“Telling Plaintiff not to speak at internal and external meetings (sometimes kicking Plaintiff on the shins, under the table, to discourage her from speaking, or saying “shut up, Mady” or “shut the f**k up, Mady” at meetings attended by both Columbia and non-Columbia colleagues) and inappropriately challenging her when she does speak.” (Paragraph 25e of complaint.)
“At some point in 2014, Lipkin called Plaintiff into his office late in the day, after staff had left, and demanded she look at lesions on his buttocks. Plaintiff was taken aback by this inappropriate request and felt very uncomfortable, but she did as she was asked, for fear of retaliation by Lipkin if she did not do so.” (Paragraphs 27-28 of complaint.)
“On July 9, 2015, Lipkin interrupted a meeting Plaintiff was having with staff she was supervising on a time-sensitive project, to demand that Plaintiff join him in his office to look at something urgently. Plaintiff assumed that she was being asked to review a document or email that needed to be sent on an urgent basis. After Plaintiff went with Lipkin to his office, he locked both the door leading to his office suite and his office door, pulled down his pants, and again demanded that Plaintiff look at a lesion on his butt.” (Paragraphs 35-37 of complaint.)
“On July 27, 2015, while Plaintiff was home with a fever and recovering from oral surgery, Kanas sent her a text asking Plaintiff to take a call with her and Lipkin about an upcoming Center event. Plaintiff agreed, took the call with Kanas and Lipkin, and was first told by Kanas that she had discussed Plaintiff’s discomfort with the events of July 9th with Lipkin. Lipkin then launched into a defense of his behavior and announced the first of a series of retaliatory actions – stripping Plaintiff of her title as medical director of the Center on the spurious assertion that Lipkin had exposed his buttocks to her and demanded that she give him an opinion on his lesions based on her medical director role.” (Paragraphs 48-50 of complaint.)
“On July 25, 2015, Plaintiff learned that Lipkin had asked Meredith Eddy (“Eddy”), Plaintiff’s project coordinator, to schedule a meeting on an autism paper that Plaintiff was leading at a time when Lipkin knew Plaintiff would be traveling. When Plaintiff went to Eddy’s desk to ask her to change the meeting date, she learned that Eddy had been brought to Breshnahan’s office by Lipkin. Plaintiff then called Breshnahan’s office and asked her to put Lipkin on the telephone, asking him why he was meeting with Breshnahan and Eddy. Lipkin falsely stated that he had just “wanted to catch up with his friend [Dr. Breshnahan],” offering no explanation for why he had brought Eddy to Breshnahan’s office. Plaintiff learned from Eddy, at this meeting, Lipkin had tried to manipulate Breshnahan into saying negative things about Plaintiff’s productivity and performance, but that Breshnahan had instead only said positive things about Plaintiff.” (Paragraphs 57-61 of complaint.)
LIPKIN THE ADMINISTRATOR: “The use of SFARI autism/immunity grant money violated the terms of the grant on which the post-doc line is funded, as neither ME/CFS research nor research on the microbiome is included in the SFARI autism/immunity grant.” (Paragraph 67 of the complaint.)
“On August 12, 2015, Lipkin met with Bresnahan and Ezra Susser (a researcher, former chair of the Epidemiology department and regular collaborator on Center projects) to discuss Plaintiff’s performance. After that meeting, Bresnahan told Plaintiff that, based on that meeting, she believed Plaintiff’s job was in danger. Two days later, Bresnahan told Plaintiff that Lipkin was out to “demolish” Plaintiff, that Lipkin is a “maniac” with regard to Plaintiff, incessantly trying to denigrate her work and capabilities to both Bresnahan and Susser, that Lipkin was in a “manic state” with regard to his determination to sully Plaintiff’s reputation, and that, for all of these reasons, Plaintiff should be in fear for her job.” (Paragraphs 85-87 of complaint.)
“On November 17, 2015, while Plaintiff was being interviewed by a Mailman employee for a Thanksgiving-related piece on tryptophan (a compound found in turkey and other common Thanksgiving foods that is believed to induce drowsiness) for the in-house Mailman newsletter, Kanas appeared and announced that Lipkin had required her to sit in on all of Plaintiff’s media interviews.” (Paragraph 91 of complaint.)
“Lipkin has repeatedly refused to support Plaintiff for promotion to full professor, despite her extensive record of accomplishments, using as an excuse, hurdles that he has not imposed on any male faculty, and that, when met by Plaintiff, resulted in the imposition of yet another hurdle not faced by her male colleagues.” (Paragraph 101 of complaint.)
“During that conversation, Galea also told Plaintiff “off the record” that the departmental committee reviewing her application had discussed whether Plaintiff’s failure to achieve these markers of independence was related to their perception of Plaintiff as a victim of “Stockholm syndrome” based on their observations of Lipkin’s behavior towards Plaintiff.” (Paragraph 112 of complaint.)
LIPKIN THE EMPLOYEE OF COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: “Following Plaintiff’s complaints of discriminatory treatment and hostile working environment, Lipkin severely curtailed Plaintiff’s access to technician’s and staff necessary for her to meet her scientific goals on funded projects and to generate pilot data for new grants, while he routinely and consistently afforded other (male) faculty, including those who have neither written successful grants nor directly assisted in bringing in the funds, the access they need. Lipkin also informed staff on grants where he and Plaintiff are co-PIs [Principal Investigators] that they “work for him” and must ignore requests from Plaintiff to do work related to these grants if he has made a competing request. Staff were also told that all work, and changes to work scope, must be pre-cleared with Lipkin.” (Paragraphs 114-117 of complaint.)
“On December 21, 2015, Plaintiff met with Mailman Dean Linda Fried about Lipkin’s continuing discriminatory and retaliatory behavior, presenting her with a lengthy chronology and list of requested remedies. In a follow-up meeting on January 5, 2016, Fried told Plaintiff that while she “care about” her, she needs to ‘protect [her] leadership.'” (Paragraphs 120-121 of complaint.)
“At a March 17, 2016 award ceremony for Lipkin at the Chinese Consulate, Plaintiff was seated apart from all other Center faculty, at a table with administrative staff. Lipkin’s denial of any role in the seating assignments is not credible.” (Paragraphs 169-170 of complaint.)
“The authorship plan for this paper had been clearly established by the Autism Birth Cohort (ABC) steering committee and by Columbia-Norwegian Institute of Public Health international legal agreements and policies, both generally and specifically for this paper. At the April 8, 2016 meeting, Lipkin refused to address any aspect of the draft paper other than its title page, which continued to list Plaintiff as the corresponding author. [Author’s note – Corresponding author is generally considered to be the most prominent scientist in regards to developing the data in the article, writing and editing, and is important for career advancement.] Lipkin demanded that Plaintiff make him a corresponding author, in addition to his senior authorship position, screaming “GO CALL YOUR LAWYER! I won’t allow this paper to be submitted unless I am corresponding author.” (Paragraphs 174-177 of complaint.)
LIPKIN THE SCIENTIST: “On April 25, 2016, Plaintiff met with Lipkin and project coordinator Eddy to review data for an autism/prenatal acetaminophen paper. Lipkin kept insisting on capturing a particular message from this work which did not appear to be supported by the data. To bolster his demanded findings, Lipkin proposed that Plaintiff and Eddy pull inconsistent data and use it in a separate paper, insisted that the only interpretation that made any sense was his, and enumerated the points he wished to have addressed on his fingers. Lipkin then forced Plaintiff to repeat each point for his approval/correction, as if Plaintiff were an elementary school student.” (Paragraphs 186-189 of complaint.)
“In May, 2016, Lipkin wrongly refused to allow Plaintiff access to the data and findings of Nagy-Szakal’s ME/CFS and microbiome research, despite this research being focused on samples from studies which Plaintiff co-wrote and on which she was a PI. [Principal Investigator] Lipkin also wrongly excluded Plaintiff from meetings discussing the paper being developed based on these data. Because of Lipkin’s refusal to share these data and findings, Plaintiff was unable to present the findings at a closed and confidential research meeting on ME/CFS that Plaintiff attended in London in June, 2016.” (Paragraphs 195-197 of complaint.)
“In August, 2016, Plaintiff learned that she had been excluded from seeing ABC data relating to the SFARI autism/immunity grant and the NIH/NINDS autism/immunity R56 grant that she had been requesting for weeks on a project she had been monitoring (autism ToRCH data and paper) and for which she is a designated co-PI.” (Paragraph 198 of complaint.)
“In August, 2016, Plaintiff learned that Lipkin had unilaterally decided not to allow Plaintiff to conduct analyses of samples acquired under the CFI Pathogenesis and Pathogen Discovery grant. Lipkin provided no rationale for this decision.” (Paragraphs 209-210 of complaint.)
Author’s note – Is it just me or does it seem like Lipkin is hiding information about autism and chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS)?
You might want to read my books, PLAGUE or INOCULATED to find out even more about what he is likely to be hiding!]
“Two particularly egregious instances of funds diversions involved a substantial proportion of SFARI autism/immunity grant funds being applied by Lipkin (over Rochmat’s objections) to fund the salaries of Briese and a bioinformatician, Boyhun Lee, neither of whom participated in work on the SFARI grant.” (Paragraph 230 of the complaint.)
“Having had no response to these complaints about misused funds, which had also been sent to Columbia’s outside counsel, Plaintiff prepared detailed charts that were sent to Columbia’s outside counsel on November 11, 2016. The charts identified five projects where Plaintiff believed that funds had been misused – the SFARI autism/immunity grant, the NIH/NINDS autism/immunity R56 grant, the CFI Main grant, the NIH/NINDS Gene-Environment Interactions in an Autism Birth Cohort grant (“ABS-2-grant”), and the NIH/NINDS ME/CFS R56 grant.” (Paragraphs 244-245 of complaint.)
THE LIPKIN EFFECT ON EMPLOYEE HEALTH AND MORALE: “As a result of the discrimination to which Plaintiff was and continues to be subjected, she has suffered and continues to suffer from severe anxiety, depression, and stress-related symptoms including sleep disturbances, extreme exhaustion, gastro-intestinal disturbances, recurrent styes, repeated, prolonged respiratory infections, and an exacerbation of her Horner’s syndrome. She also had a tooth abscess which required seven procedures.” (Paragraph 374 of complaint.)
“Lipkin’s discriminatory and retaliatory actions have caused and continue to cause Plaintiff to feel shame, degradation, self-consciousness, and a loss of self-esteem.” (Paragraph 375 of complaint.)
“Plaintiff also experiences an excruciating sense of being “Gaslighted,” thinking that she cannot trust her own memory of events, due to Lipkin’s repeatedly denying facts and Columbia accepting Lipkin’s false assertions, repeatedly requiring Plaintiff to provide evidence that directly contradicts Lipkin’s assertions.” (Paragraph 376 of complaint.)
THE HECKENLIVELY VIEW ON THESE CLAIMS:
I wish I could say I was surprised.
After covering the Lipkin-Hornig team’s spectacular train-wreck of bad science in two books, PLAGUE: One Scientist’s Intrepid Search for the Truth about Human Retroviruses, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS), Autism and Other Diseases, as well as INOCULATED: How Science Lost its Soul in Autism, I have come to expect the very worst from this pair.
Let me speak first of the little crimes.
Dr. Lipkin seems to be even worse than I expected in his private conduct. Dr. Hornig has suffered greatly in the two decades she has worked with him.
But to me, it’s a little like Dracula being the subject of a law suit from his human assistant, Renfield, the former patient at a lunatic asylum who helped him obtain victims.
Yes, I’m sure that Dracula abused Renfield, but certainly there are more pressing considerations, like Dracula’s victims. And seriously, is the goal of all this just to get Dracula’s castle because you spent so much time over the years redecorating it?
The entire corrupt scientific edifice which has been allowing these diseases to continue needs to be torn down.
In this case, we have the MILLIONS WHO SUFFER FROM AUTISM AND CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME (ME/CFS) AND AUTISM.
In that effort, Lipkin and Hornig have been partners in an enormous crime. They have sullied the names of honest and brilliant researchers like Dr. Andrew Wakefield and Dr. Judy Mikovits. Wakefield and Mikovits should be FIRST ON ANYBODY’S LIST to lead our nation’s efforts to get answers for these diseases. They have integrity, both in personal matters, and when you put them on the very biggest stage in the world.
As Hornig suffers from her anxiety, depression, and gastro-intestinal disturbances, I want her to consider the marvelous health of Andy Wakefield and Judy Mikovits.
One would think that having your reputation destroyed would cause you to crumple like a cheap suit. But that has not happened. As I write this, Andy Wakefield’s film is at the Cannes Film Festival where they are setting up international distribution. He practices yoga for stress, is in great shape, and believes every day that his work will be vindicated. I have never met a more optimistic person.
Judy Mikovits continues to speak internationally, is praised by many she meets as being an inspirational figure, and has attracted the attention of some insanely wealthy individuals who want to support her work. And she prays every day.
I used to think that being the victim of injustice was the worst thing that could happen to a person. I do not believe that any more. I believe that participating in injustice, as Mady Hornig and Ian Lipkin have done, is far more damaging.
And if there are any federal prosecutors out there reading this, HORNIG IS CLAIMING THAT FEDERAL CRIMES WERE COMMITTED BY LIPKIN IN THE MISUSE OF FEDERAL RESEARCH FUNDS!!!
I am hopeful that the revelation of these SMALL CRIMES, will lead to the complete revelation of the ENORMOUS CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY that have been perpetrated by researchers like Mady Hornig and Ian Lipkin, as well as the pharmaceutical industry, and their willing accomplices at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Andy Wakefield says to me:
“I cried in laughter when I heard about it. I can’t wait to read the whole case…”
Opinion By Kent Heckenlively, JD
Kent Heckenlively is the author of INOCULATED: How Science Lost its Soul in Autism, available on Amazon and at Barnes&Noble.com