Another ‘bunny boiler’ who must be believed

Bettina Arndt

Four days before Christmas (2021) one of our elite Melbourne universities committed an act of total bastardry. They announced they were firing a tutor working in one of their colleges. His employment was terminated forthwith – just in time for the festive season. 

This young man’s story should send a chill through the ranks of every man working in an organisation in Australia. His crime was sexual harassment, defined strictly by the rules of ‘believe women’ justice, where her version of events became gospel whilst his stood for nothing.

The glaring lesson which emerged is there is nothing men can do to protect themselves from malicious accusations. This guy, I’ll call him ‘Chris’, was an ultra-cautious man, very conscious of the need to maintain professionalism in his role as a residential college assistant and tutor. He’s a thirty-year old with a PhD, in his first job after achieving his PhD in social psychology, a position which required him to provide pastoral care, living amongst the students and supporting them.

All was going well until one of the girls, let’s call her “Eve,” took a shine to him. He hadn’t even registered it was happening until a member of the administrative staff pointed it out to him. Chris then took strenuous measures to ensure professional boundaries were being kept, such as: telling staff and students repeatedly that he would never have female students alone in his room; making sure doors were kept open if he was with females in a common space; changing his personal phone number so students couldn’t contact him other than through email and avoiding social interaction with Eve.

He also reported what was going on to the college principal, particularly when another student spread a rumour he was having sex with Eve, and sought advice from colleagues as well as the university’s HR unit specifically designed to help people deal with such issues.

Eve was clearly not happy when she met resistance to her numerous attempts at more intimate social interaction with Chris, complaining when he hugged other students but not her when saying goodbye to them after a group event, or when he reopened the door of the common room where they were both studying, after she had closed it.

In July, he was suddenly officially informed a complaint had been made against him by Eve and told he had to leave the residential hall. He was assured the matter would be treated confidentially but quickly learnt from other students that the list of allegations was circulating in the college.

The whole matter ended up in the hands of an external investigator who took four months to go through the process of interviewing Eve and the friends who collaborated her story. Chris was not permitted to contact witnesses who could have supported his version of events, nor has he been given a list of who was contacted during the investigation.

Many of the alleged sexual harassment offences were trivial in the extreme. Like catching her by the waist when she was tripping over. Placing a scarf around her shoulders after she had specially asked for one. Placing a blanket around her and other students sitting outside on a cold night. Including her in a group of students receiving goodbye hugs after an event. Placing a hand on her shoulder whilst herding students across a busy road. All these events occurred in the presence of other students, with Chris treating all students in a similar manner.

The most damning allegation involved Chris supposedly asking Eve to a movie night in his room, where he hugged her and touched her knee. Chris says emphatically that this was a fabrication, pointing out that when this was alleged to have happened, he had already approached his superiors and the university’s HR program for advice on handling the unwanted interest Eve was showing. Yet, the external investigator claims the movie night allegation was “proved”.

It’s notable that some of the more outrageous claims in the list – such as suggesting Eve be shown photos of penises – was listed as unproven, presumably because witnesses failed to support her story. There’s just no way this process can claim to offer just treatment to the accused man when the investigator so blatantly chose to include only witnesses recruited by Eve, excluding those suggested by Chris who could have disproved many of the allegations.  This applies particularly to the administrator who warned Chris that Eve had a crush on him, and kept tabs on the young woman, noting her unhappiness when Chris put up professional barriers to limit contact with her.

It is mighty depressing ploughing through the list of trivial nonsense included in the 35 allegations cooked up by this young Miss and her friends, knowing that many thousands of taxpayer dollars were spent on this one-sided investigation designed to shaft the accused young man. In today’s climate, there’s just no other possible outcome from this arse-covering exercise than to dig up suitable dirt to support the university’s initial decision to turf him out.

Getting ready for the next battle

So here we are. We’ve had one of our campus justice legal team helping Chris through the investigation process and we are very grateful to him for his valiant efforts. (Readers unaware of my ongoing battle exposing the shameful campus kangaroo courts may like to read this summary from my website, which includes information about the wonderful group of lawyers doing pro bono work to help accused students.)

We now face an unfair dismissal hearing before the Fair Work Commission – never easy when up against the very deep pockets of our universities. You have to wonder if the timing of the dismissal was influenced by the fact that Chris had only 21 days to file his application – not easy to do when all lawyers are on their Christmas break. Neat trick, eh?

Throughout the Christmas period I have been worrying about this impressive young man, who was already devastated when we first had contact back in August, after he found himself thrown out of the college and publicly shamed. It’s very telling that it was his ex-girlfriend who contacted me seeking help for Chris. When an ex will vouch for a man’s decency, it’s a pretty sure sign he is a real mensch.

Now he faces the New Year broke and jobless, after working for years on his PhD. There’s a certain irony in the fact that Chris, of Malay/Chinese descent, did his PhD research on racism, yet Eve, who is also Asian, included a bizarre allegation of a racist slur in her long list of allegations against him. Go figure.

So, I’m putting out the call to all you good people, particularly those with Victorian connections, to see if you can find some urgent employment to tide him over as he faces the ordeal of another long legal battle. I’ve started a gofundme* to gather funds for this process – given that even if we get some pro bono legal help, there are costs in this difficult exercise. It would also be nice if Chris had some immediate financial relief, since he was excluded from his tutoring and research jobs while the investigation took place. Every little bit helps.

‘bunny boiler’ – reference to Alex Forrest (Glenn Close), in the 1987 film Fatal Attraction (d Adrian Lyne) in which her revenge for being spurned by Dan Gallagher (Michael Douglas) is to boil a rabbit on his stove. 

*Gofundme has disabled this campaign. (Ed)

Bettina Arndt comments:

How about that? Another woke organisation taking it upon themselves to act as our moral guardians, even determining which victims we are permitted to support. This fundraising platform is full of campaigns to raise money to stop sexual assault and harassment, or funds for sexual abuse ‘survivors.’ Here’s Nina Funnell raising nearly $250,000 defending a survivor who defamed Christian Porter and other politicians during the furore over sexual assault/harassment allegations.

I hope you will agree this is an outrage and will help me alert people to this latest intrusion into our basic rights and liberties.

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15 Responses to Another ‘bunny boiler’ who must be believed

  1. Keith says:

    Sadly, child abuse has been rampant in Australia for decades or more, resulting in all of those children affected never growing up to be the person they were meant to become. The brain doesn’t develop as it should, the outcomes are devastating and as adults, it can be difficult for them to operate as those unaffected by this trauma do.
    In many cases the psychological diagnosis is Borderline Personality Disorder, which is very difficult to treat as the “slate of life” has been permanently written on. Delusions can be a part of this problem, and there are many cases of men stalking or women having infatuation with men.
    In a lot of these cases, one wonders how much effort is put in by authorities in determining the psychological profile of the accuser to rule out vexatious allegations.
    By no means does this suggest that in this instance this theory applies, simply that such situations occur.

  2. Robin Bowles says:

    I was horrified to get this info from Tina. I read the whole file, including the 35 ‘allegations and the ‘independent investigation report. I thought I was reading a Monty Python script!! !! ‘Chris’ had 21 days to find a Melbourne lawyer, fill in a Fair Work appeal application and lodge it— from 22December with the clock ticking! Anyone who knows Melbourne would know that everything (except shops and cafes) closes down from Christmas to mid January. The uni would have known this. He didnt know any Melbourne lawyers. Fortunately, I tracked my guy down on holidays in the hills. He ‘borrowed’ access to a nearby email and we got the form signed and lodged in time. (Fair Work are very rigid about the 21 days. The uni would have known this too.) My guy has taken Chris on pro bono. He’s a Rottweiler! Watch out for a big fight in Fair Work. If you want to help you can send donations to https://www.bettinaarndt.com.au/donate/. ‘Chris’ is out of work, so if you live in Melbourne and have a job going…?

  3. LB says:

    Garry, I don’t agree that fellow commenters are necessarily accepting the article “as gospel”. One can only comment on a story as it is presented. As it stands, it reads as a serious indictment on the employer, the University, if indeed it failed to act when the employee first reported concerns. Aren’t the pressing issues the apparent lack of natural justice, procedural fairness, and an alleged questionable investigation? Sounds all too familiar, sadly.

  4. Noeline Durovic says:

    Dear Andrew.What an appalling happening to a young mans life…For it appears for him there is no redress to a “gobleygook” of lies made up to “Hurt and Defile” him. Will he ever recover who knows?..What I find beyond all else is the blatancy of this young mans accuser aided and abetted by the made up sexual deviant rubbish. Unproven design from a woman scorned supposedly. Their in there is crime aided and abetted by a gaggle of unreliable stupid unproven lies! Because this woman has indecently concocted with innuendo to pursue the destruction by deliberate actions of intent! They’re in to set out to destroy this young mans life forever. Above all banned together with her vindictive malixious friends and associates cooking up as described “a shameful campus kangaroo sexual deviant tale of sheer rubbish and lies”. Christian Porter re visited..Hounds of socialism and lefties. BAD STUFF – SOOOO SAD. ?????

  5. Jess says:

    The problem is we end up with a double edge sword in cases like this. Women that fabricate or exaggerate innocent gestures into not so innocent ones, ruin the system for the genuine victims of this. On one hand the genuine victims rarely get taken seriously but the fabricated stories do. You have men that get away with it and others that have their lives and careers destroyed. Where is the logic?

  6. Julie says:

    A very disturbing story.

  7. Brian Johnston says:

    Something not right with this story.
    The external investigator says the movie night was proved. The proof/evidence needs to be tabled.
    Pastoral care, living among the students. How, what, where.

    • Garry Stannus says:

      Yes, Brian Johnston [January 2, 2022 at 7:03 pm ]: Bettina has over the decades since the 70s when I first would hear her on ABC radio … she has shaped her career – ‘hung her hat’ – on challenging now what to her is a bias against men in matters of complaints by women in ‘word v word’ situations et al.

      Look, I’m sure that many complaints made by women against men are truly-founded: i.e., valid. And – on the other hand – obviously there are cases such as that which was discussed in a recent WCR article.
      [https://wrongfulconvictionsreport.org/2021/12/05/act-cop-scott-white-found-guilty-of-perjury-the-flipside-of-a-wrongful-conviction/]

      I admire your various comments, Brian – even though they sometimes land you in hot-water with Andrew. You do seem to question what you come across and you do seem to pose your questions / make your judgements based on the available evidence/references and the lack of them.

      I was wondering whether Andrew would post the Arndt article. I’d read it earlier – to me, I thought it was a bit thin, that is, that it invited us to accept a manifestly ‘pro-Chris’ point of view … even while there seemed to anomalies in the narrative.

      Was the ‘movie night’ allegation proved or not? How can we – as readers – decide the matter and thus form an opinion, without knowing how the ‘kangaroo court’ proved it or not? Do we take Arndt’s and Andrew’s word for it?

      Of course, I recalled Helen Garner’s ‘The First Stone’. Reading Bettina’s article, how could I not recall that Melbourne controversy! I am a little disheartened that fellow commenters could quite so easily accept ‘as gospel’ the Arndt article [https://bettinaarndt.substack.com/p/hung-out-to-dry], as republished by Andrew.

      Personally, I’ve had to reassess my view of Arndt. Here’s a quote from something she wrote a while ago:

      The sexual assault questions include events the participants had “witnessed or heard about” rather than personally experienced. The report quoted an example of a woman claiming an MP “grabbed me and stuck his tongue down my throat.” Unpleasant, unwanted behaviour, indeed. But classic of the new expanded definition of sexual assault being used to create the rape crisis narrative – a long way from Brittany Higgins’ lurid tale of being ravished on the Minister’s couch, which led to Kate Jenkins’ latest boondoggle.

      [https://bettinaarndt.substack.com/p/parliamentary-antics-and-the-great]

      I can’t quite work out what she was saying there. Was she dissing the Higgins allegations? Was she also saying that while having someone’s tongue forced down your throat may be unpleasant/unwanted, it should not be classed as sexual assault?

      I’m wondering if Arndt has not dug herself deep into a corner of opinionative and sometimes intemperate writing, considering regularly one point of view and perhaps, not the other.

  8. Steven Fennell says:

    Firstly let me say that I agree with what Robert Greenshields says above and what LB also has to say. I can’t add any comments other than to say that hindsight is a wonderful thing. I will no doubt cop a canning for my comments which some readers may suggest are too Orwellian; with specific reference to George Orwell’s dystopian account of a future totalitarian state in Nineteen Eighty-Four.

    BUT this unfortunate situation could have been prevented with a well placed nanny cam in his office. Sure it’s a small cost that he should not have to endure but it would have been so very prudent.

    I refer to the case of Gabe Tostee ( see reference) who would have been found guilty by any jury EXCEPT for the fact he had video proof of his allegations that the girl attacked him. I am not arguing the rights or wrongs of the case, I am simply saying that a video recording saved his life.

    In this day and age how many readers have a “dash cam”? A “dash cam” to stop insurance fraud, or a police or civilian report that is simply not as the evidence records?

    And how many “nanny cams” are legally or illegally set up to either confirm a suspicion or simply to be aware of what is happening in their absence?

    In cars “dash cams” are pretty common.

    Having said that the University behaved in a most despicable manner.

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-10-20/the-story-of-gable-tostee-and-warriena-wrights-tragic-date/7941720?nw=0&r=HtmlFragment

    • andrew says:

      Excellent point Steven.

    • Pauline Chalmers says:

      Follow the police’s example – wear bodycam to record everything said and done by HIGH risk individuals committed to harming you in a targeted campaign. The cancel culture is out of control in America and it’s seeping into Australasia.

  9. tony brownlee says:

    no surprises here! just the same old bulkshit

  10. Peter Martin says:

    My opinion is that it seems that the University have overreacted and at an early stage should have managed the situation better. They have adopted what they perceive is the easy way out. They may yet regret that decision.

  11. Robert Greenshields says:

    Confronting those who compose a good old fashioned verbal, is not a new phenomenon, and the old saying “when injustice becomes law, then resistance becomes duty” is fundamentally essential. NSW policing forces have been well recorded as utilising verballing as a form of active, in house, criminal behaviour, and in some cases have the support of venal judicial protagonists and administrations.
    Sadly, the case written of in this article, and the probably misinformation and disinformation used by authorities, I believe, most possibly has hundreds if not thousands of precedents, and when you combine the choreographed/cultured deceit, with the costs of representation to resist the injustice of being grossly misjudged, the policing forces have a known leverage, that many cannot economically afford to face.
    NW NSW is well known to be recognised as party to the fore mentioned twin cultures, and when perjury is added in support, under oath, as another apparent tool, the regression of standards and values by policing and judicial administrations confirms the ultimate erosion of our nations once heralded. egalitarian and trustworthy morals.

  12. LB says:

    What a despicable story. Where is the employer’s duty of care? What sort of investigation was this decision based upon? And why did the University allow and accept this allegedly unjust process? I wonder, perhaps when these young “ladies” grow up and have sons of their own they may just reflect on their vile behaviour.

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