I just want to flag something else about the remarkable "apology" issued by the Associate Editors of Hypatia, which a couple of readers flagged for me. It contains the following:
It is our position that the harms that have ensued from the publication of this article could and should have been prevented by a more effective review process. We are deeply troubled by this and are taking this opportunity to seriously reconsider our review policies and practices. While nothing can change the fact that the article was published, we are dedicated to doing what we can to make things right. Clearly, the article should not have been published, and we believe that the fault for this lies in the review process. In addition to the harms listed above imposed upon trans people and people of color, publishing the article risked exposing its author to heated critique that was both predictable and justifiable. A better review process would have both anticipated the criticisms that quickly followed the publication, and required that revisions be made to improve the argument in light of those criticisms.
The "open letter" is even more explicit that Prof. Tuvel is not, in the view of the signatories, a competent professional scholar, stating that, "Many published articles include some minor defects of scholarship; however, together the problems with this article are glaring," so much so that they demand retraction.
I confess I've never seen anything like this in academic philosophy (admittedly most signatories to the "open letter" are not academic philosophers, but some are). A tenure-track assistant professor submits her article to a journal, it passes peer review, it is published, others take offense, and the Associate Editors of the journal declare that "Clearly, the article should not have been published" and that the abuse to which the author is being subjected is "both predictable and justifiable." Even the Synthese fiasco in 2011 did not involve behavior this egregious by the editors (and all the editors there stepped down not long after that fiasco).
I hope that Prof. Tuvel consults a lawyer about this defamation; and while it looks to me like defamation per se (i.e., damages are presumed since the critics are impugning her competence in her profession), I would imagine showing damage would not be hard. How can Prof. Tuvel, for example, now use this repudiated but allegedly peer-reviewed article as part of her tenure process? Indeed, how can her department or college support her for tenure when she has been so vilified as a scholar and professional by people who work in her fields? I wonder did any of those professing solidarity with those who specialize in taking offense consider the very tangible harm they are doing to the author of this article?
I would encourage someone to set up a petition to denounce the outrageous treatment of Prof. Tuvel by the Hypatia editors. I would be happy to correspond via e-mail about some draft language, though I will be off-line much of the rest of the day today.
We have been living with an "atmosphere of reckless attack" in philosophy (as one correspondent put it to me in 2014) for awhile now. I hope this proves to be the final straw, and that the community will finally stand up and denounce this misconduct that should be anathema to a scholarly community. If Prof. Tuvel does decide to seek legal redress for what has happened to her, I will organize fundraising on her behalf. It really is time to stop this madness.