Author Jordan Peterson announced that he was quitting Twitter after receiving backlash for calling plus-size model Yumi Nu’s
Nu, who is also a singer-songwriter, made history last year as Sports Illustrated Swimsuit’s first “Asian curve” model. Nu, who is of Japanese and Dutch ancestry, is also the granddaughter of Benihana founder Rocky Aoki and the niece of DJ Steve Aoki.
Peterson sparked outrage on Monday after tweeting, “Sorry. Not beautiful. And no amount of authoritarian tolerance is going to change that.”
Peterson’s post prompted over 20,000 replies and over 52,000 likes.
Twitter users were divided, with several of his own fans condemning Peterson for publicly insulting a woman’s looks. Others shot back that Nu was overweight and unhealthy.
“Why do men feel it’s their duty to publicly pronounce their view on the attractiveness of women? Couldn’t you keep it to yourself?” demanded one user.
Some argued that beauty standards have changed over time, with curvier women being the ideal at one point and thinness being desirable at another.
“It’s obvious you have never been to an art museum in Europe,” stated one user, whose response garnered several thousand likes. “Some of the most memorable paintings, I’ve ever seen in my lifetime, were of women that looked just like this.”
Under their caption is an image of a naked, “curvaceous woman” believed to be from the 17th century being embraced by a man at her feet.
Several of Peterson’s own fans disagreed with his ideas of beauty.
“I’m a huge fan of yours & am always getting my young adult sons & daughter to watch your videos,” one user began. “But I have to disagree. Beauty is subjective. You can be older or heavier & still be beautiful. Is it standard beauty? No.”
“I love your talks… but this comment is beyond disappointing. you may not even know on how many levels this is disturbing. try interviewing more young women on your podcasts. you’ve got a lot to learn. until then, stop criticizing women’s bodies,” wrote another user.
Once hailed by the New York Times as “the most influential public intellectual in the Western world,” the University of Toronto professor emeritus initially seemed unfazed by the comments he received.
“Rage away, panderers. And tell me you believe such images are not conscious and cynical manipulation by the oh-so-virtuous politically correct,” he said.
However, Peterson posted a series of tweets shortly after, stating that he would be staying off the social platform.
“I recently stopped accessing Twitter for three weeks as an experiment,” he wrote “I had some of my staff post video links etc. It was a genuine relief. I started to read & write more. I started using it again, a few days ago, and I would say that my life got worse again almost instantly.”
Peterson continued, “The endless flood of vicious insult is really not something that can be experienced anywhere else. I like to follow the people I know but I think the incentive structure of the platform makes it intrinsically and dangerously insane.”
Peterson added that he also plans to write an article on “the technical reasons that Twitter is maddening us all very soon.” He ended the series of posts with, “Bye for now.”
Despite announcing that he would quit the platform, Peterson has proceeded to post more content. He shared in another post that he felt “torn between the responsibility” to “stay informed and provide value to [his] subscribers,” and the observation of the “unacceptably toxic” nature of Twitter.