Bret Weinstein

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Bret Weinstein
Bret Weinstein in 2018.png
Weinstein in 2018
Bret Samuel Weinstein

(1969-02-21) February 21, 1969 (age 50)
ResidencePortland, Oregon, U.S.
Alma mater
OccupationBiologist, vlogger, professor, public speaker
Spouse(s)Heather Heying
RelativesEric Weinstein (brother)
Weinstein holding a TEDx talk at the Evergreen State College in 2012

Bret Samuel Weinstein[needs IPA] (born February 21, 1969)[1] is an American biologist and evolutionary theorist who came to national attention during the 2017 Evergreen State College Protests.


Weinstein began his undergraduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania. As a freshman, Weinstein wrote a letter to the school newspaper condemning sexual harassment of strippers at a Zeta Beta Tau fraternity party.[2] After experiencing harassment for the letter, Weinstein transferred to the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he completed his undergraduate degree.[3] In 2009, Weinstein received his doctorate from the University of Michigan.[citation needed]

Academic career[edit]

Weinstein was a professor of Biology at Evergreen State College in Washington. In 2002, he published The Reserve-Capacity Hypothesis, which proposed that the telomeric differences between humans and laboratory mice have led scientists to underestimate the risks new drugs pose to humans in the form of heart disease, liver dysfunction, and related organ failure.[4][5]


Weinstein was the focus of a campus protest at Evergreen State College, where he taught biology. His involvement began when he wrote a letter to Evergreen faculty in March of 2017. His letter objected to a change in the College's decades-old tradition of observing a "Day of Absence" during which students and faculty of a minority race would stay home from campus to highlight their contributions to the College.[6] The announced change would flip the traditional event, asking white students and faculty to stay home. Weinstein said this established a dangerous precedent. Weinstein's letter opposed and criticized the change.

In May 2017, student protests—focusing in large part on the comments made by Weinstein—disrupted the campus and called for a number of changes to the college. The incident led to protests, allegations of racism and intolerance, and threats, bringing national attention to Evergreen and sparking further debate about free speech on college campuses.[7]

In a lawsuit brought against the school by Weinstein and his wife Heather Heying, Weinstein said the college's president did not ask law enforcement to quell protesters.[8][9] Weinstein also said campus police told him that they could not protect him and encouraged him to stay off campus. Weinstein then held his biology class in a public park.[10][11] In September of 2017, a settlement was reached. Weinstein and his wife resigned and received $500,000 after having sought $3.8 million in damages. [7]


Following his resignation from Evergreen, Weinstein became a public proponent of free speech and a critic of grievance studies, non-biological gender identity, intersectionality, and what he sees as the excesses of the far left. He appeared on Sam Harris' podcast[12], Joe Rogan's podcast multiple times, and he moderated a debate between Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris.[13] He has started his own YouTube channel. Weinstein's brother, Eric Weinstein, coined the term the "Intellectual Dark Web", and described Bret as a member. The term refers to a group of academics and media personalities who publish outside of mainstream media.[14][15][16][17]

Political views[edit]

Weinstein describes himself as a political progressive and "left-libertarian".[18] He appeared before the U.S. House Oversight Committee on May 22, 2018, to discuss free speech on college campuses.[19][20]

Personal life[edit]

Weinstein is of Jewish ancestry.[21] He is married to Heather Heying, an evolutionary biologist who also worked at Evergreen. Heying resigned from the college with Weinstein, having taken a similar position to the controversy.[7] His brother Eric Weinstein is the managing director of Thiel Capital.[14][15][16]


  • Weinstein, Bret S. (January 2009). "Evolutionary Trade-Offs: Emergent Constraints and Their Adaptive Consequences" (PDF). University of Michigan.
  • Lahti, David C.; Weinstein, Bret S. (January 2005). "The better angels of our nature: Group stability and the evolution of moral tension". Evolution & Human Behavior. 26 (1): 47–63. doi:10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2004.09.004.
  • Weinstein, Bret S; Ciszek, Deborah (2002). "The reserve-capacity hypothesis: Evolutionary origins and modern implications of the trade-off between tumor-suppression and tissue-repair". Experimental Gerontology. 37 (5): 615–27. doi:10.1016/S0531-5565(02)00012-8. PMID 11909679.


  1. ^ "Birth of Bret Weinstein". California Birth Index. Retrieved June 12, 2019.
  2. ^ Bartlett, Tom (2017-06-05). "The Professor Who Roiled Evergreen State Is No Stranger to Campus Controversy". The Chronicle of Higher Education. ISSN 0009-5982. Retrieved 2019-05-08.
  3. ^ The Rubin Report (30 May 2017), LIVE with Bret Weinstein: Evergreen State College Racism Controversy, retrieved 5 July 2018
  4. ^ Weinstein, Bret S; Ciszek, Deborah (2002). "The reserve-capacity hypothesis: Evolutionary origins and modern implications of the trade-off between tumor-suppression and tissue-repair". Experimental Gerontology. 37 (5): 615–27. doi:10.1016/S0531-5565(02)00012-8. PMID 11909679.
  5. ^ Zimmerman, Michael (19 March 2012). "Unseen Dangers in Laboratory Protocols". Huffington Post.
  6. ^ Svrluga, Susan; Heim, Joe (June 1, 2017). "Threat shuts down college embroiled in racial dispute". Washington Post.
  7. ^ a b c "Evergreen settles with Weinstein, professor at the center of campus protests". The Olympian.
  8. ^ name="InsideHigherEd-20170530">Jaschik, Scott. (May 30, 2017)."Who Defines What Is Racist?", Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved June 3, 2017.
  9. ^ Richardson, Bradford (May 25, 2017). "Students berate professor who refused to participate in no-whites 'Day of Absence'", The Washington Times. Retrieved June 3, 2017.
  10. ^ Weinstein, Bret (30 May 2017). "The Campus Mob Came for Me—and You, Professor, Could Be Next" – via
  11. ^ "Professor told he's not safe on campus after college protests". King5.
  12. ^ Harris, Sam. "#109 - BIOLOGY AND CULTURE A Conversation with Bret Weinstein play audio Play Episode Download Back iTunes". Making Sense. Sam Harris. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  13. ^ Ruffolo, Michael. "Sam Harris and Jordan Peterson waste a lot of time, then talk about God for 20 minutes". National Observer. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  14. ^ a b Weiss, Bari (8 May 2018). "Opinion | Meet the Renegades of the Intellectual Dark Web". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 July 2018.
  15. ^ a b Verbruggen, Robert (9 May 2018). "Re: The 'Intellectual Dark Web'". National Review. Retrieved 6 July 2018.
  16. ^ a b Murray, Douglas (21 February 2018). "Inside the intellectual dark web". Spectator Life. Retrieved 6 July 2018.
  17. ^ Bonazzo, John (August 5, 2018). "NY Times 'Intellectual Dark Web' Story Savaged on Twitter—Even by Paper's Staffers". The New York Observer. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  18. ^ Episode 970: Bret Weinstein. The Joe Rogan Experience. 2 June 2017.
  19. ^ Vazquez, Joey (23 May 2018). "Congressional hearing explores freedom of speech crisis on college campuses". Washington Examiner.
  20. ^ "Hearing – Challenges to the Freedom of Speech on College Campuses: Part II". United States House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. 22 May 2018.
  21. ^ Frommer, Rachel (June 13, 2017). "Embattled Evergreen State Professor Accused of Hiding Racism Behind His Judaism". Algemeiner Journal. Retrieved February 1, 2019.

External links[edit]