“Prominent Pornography Researcher Frames Defamation Claims As Sexual Harassment, Prompting a Defamation Suit by Her Target”

Jacob Sullum (Reason) reports:

For years neurosurgeon Donald Hilton and neuroscientist Nicole Prause have been clashing on the pros and cons of pornography…. Now the two intellectual combatants are facing off in a bizarre defamation case featuring dueling claims that each is trying to destroy the other’s reputation.

On April 16, Prause emailed the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA), where Hilton is an adjunct associate professor, to complain that she was “being openly sexually harassed by your faculty member Dr. Donald Hilton.” Specifically, she said, Hilton “publicly claims that I personally appear in pornographic films, attend the Adult Video Network awards, and molest children in my laboratory, because I trained at The Kinsey Institute.” She added that all those claims were “demonstrably false.” …

A U.T. spokesperson told the San Antonio Express News the university has no authority to investigate the matter, since neither Hilton nor Prause is an employee. Nor was that the only puzzling aspect of Prause’s complaint, which framed what are essentially defamation claims as sexual harassment….

In the defamation lawsuit that Hilton filed last week in response to Prause’s complaint, he says he has met her in person only once, at a 2009 conference where “nothing inappropriate was said or done.” Since then, he says, he and Prause “have not had any personal communications or interactions.” Hilton says he “has never flirted with Defendant Prause, made any sexual advancements towards her, or committed any other type of sexual misconduct towards her” or anyone else. He argues that her complaint against him is an attempt to discredit an intellectual opponent by making baseless charges—a tactic he says she has used against other critics of pornography.

Furthermore, Hilton denies claiming that Prause has appeared in pornographic films or that she is implicated in child molestation. He says she has attended the Adult Video Network awards, citing a 2018 Twitter post in which she said, “I think Jeanne’s story I heard at AVN was amazing.” …

There’s more in Sullum’s post.

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