Three years ago the Food Babe, Vani Hari, submitted a public records request to my university. I have always been a vocal about Hari, both in her egregious errors as well as her talents as a motivational pre-Goop peddler of generally poor advice. Of course, a blind squirrel does find a nut here and there, so I agree with her on some facets about food and farming.
But Hari was convinced that my criticisms were being dictated by the Biotech Industry Mothership, and that an independent scientist could not possibly find flaw with her analyses and recommendations.
This is the text from her blog about the need to file the request. She wanted to unveil how the "food industry" used me to "control science and deliver their PR and lobbying messaging." She got a big fat goose egg.
She exploited transparency laws and requested tens of thousands of pages of my personal emails. They were delivered to her promptly and at great taxpayer expense.
And three years later that incredible stack of documents has yielded zero outcomes that support her allegations.
I bring this up over 1000 days later for a couple of reasons. First, taxpayers are paying a fortune to comply with transparency laws. These are important rules that were put in place so that media could quickly have access to records of government officials, keeping them honest.
But somewhere along the line this all was extended to cover the private correspondences and paperwork of university professors. I'm always glad to comply, but it takes huge amounts of work time that I'd rather spend with students and research. It also is exceedingly expensive, as an attorney must go through each document and redact student, health and proprietary information.
It also confirms my original hunch about these witch hunts. People like Hari don't reach out and ask questions or pick up a phone-- they grab your private correspondence and then tell the story they want to tell from it.
But high marks to Vani for not making something out of nothing like others have done. She refrained from endless innuendo and taking lines out of context to build support for her (failed) hypothesis.
Back in September of 2015 when I was literally dying from anxiety and depression and contemplating quitting science, this blog post and the doxing that occurred in the comments section was devastating.
But three years later the truth clearly won. There was nothing there.
No secret collusion.
No corporate PR messaging.
Just thousands of pages of email from a simple guy that does his job and corrects those that deceive the public for personal gain.
Back in 2015 therapists told me that time would be kind. At least with The Food Babe's allegations, they were correct.