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Bret Weinstein

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Bret Weinstein
Bret Weinstein 2018 02 (cropped).jpg
Weinstein in 2018
Bret Samuel Weinstein

(1969-02-21) February 21, 1969 (age 53)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
EducationUniversity of Pennsylvania
University of California, Santa Cruz (BA)
University of Michigan (MA, PhD)
OccupationBiologist, podcaster
Spouse(s)Heather Heying
RelativesEric Weinstein (brother)
Scientific career
ThesisEvolutionary Trade-Offs: Emergent Constraints and Their Adaptive Consequences (2009)
Doctoral advisorRichard D. Alexander[1][2]
Weinstein holding a TEDx talk at Evergreen State College in 2012

Bret Samuel Weinstein (/ˈwnstn/; born February 21, 1969) is an American podcaster and author. He served as a professor of biology at Evergreen State College, but resigned in the aftermath of the 2017 Evergreen State College protests, which brought him to national attention. Along with his brother Eric Weinstein, he is among the people referred to collectively as the intellectual dark web.[3][4] Weinstein has been criticized for making false statements about COVID-19 treatments and vaccines.[5][6]


Weinstein, a native of Southern California,[7] began his undergraduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania. As a freshman, he wrote a letter to the school newspaper that condemned sexual harassment of strippers at a Zeta Beta Tau fraternity party.[8] After experiencing harassment for the letter, he transferred to the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he completed his undergraduate degree in 1993.[9] Weinstein received a doctorate from the University of Michigan in 2009.[2][10]


Evergreen State College

Until 2017, Weinstein was a professor of biology at Evergreen State College in Washington State. 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 that new drugs pose to humans in the form of heart disease, liver dysfunction, and related organ failure.[11][12][13]

Evergreen State College Day of Absence

In March 2017, Weinstein wrote a letter to Evergreen faculty in which he objected to a change in the college's decades-old tradition of observing a "Day of Absence", during which ethnic minority students and faculty would voluntarily stay away from campus to highlight their contributions to the college.[14] The change to the event asked white participants to stay off campus, to attend a program on race issues, while the on-campus program was designated for people of color.[15] Weinstein wrote that the change established a dangerous precedent:

There is a huge difference between a group or coalition deciding to voluntarily absent themselves from a shared space in order to highlight their vital and underappreciated roles.... and a group encouraging another group to go away. The first is a forceful call to consciousness, which is, of course, crippling to the logic of oppression. The second is a show of force, and an act of oppression in and of itself.

— Bret Weinstein, in a message to event organizer, Rashida Love[16]

The event organizers responded that participation was voluntary and that the event did not imply that all white people should leave.[17] The Washington Post reported that racial tensions had been simmering at Evergreen throughout 2017.[14]

In May 2017, student protests disrupted the campus and called for a number of changes to the college. The protests involved allegations of racism, intolerance and threats; brought national attention to Evergreen; and sparked further debate about free speech on college campuses.[18] During the protests, protesters entered one of Weinstein's classes (which he had held in a public park) and confronted him, loudly accusing him of racism, demanding that he resign, and forcing the class to break up.[19][20] Weinstein was advised by the Chief of Campus Police to temporarily stay away from campus for his safety.[21]

Weinstein and his wife, Heather Heying, brought a lawsuit against the school, alleging that the college's president had not asked campus police to quell student protesters.[22][23] Weinstein also said that campus police had told him that they could not protect him, and that they had encouraged him to stay off campus. Instead, Weinstein held his biology class that day in a public park.[24][25] A settlement was reached in September 2017 in which Weinstein and Heying resigned and received $250,000 each, after having sought $3.8 million in damages.[18]

Post-Evergreen activities

Following his resignation from Evergreen, he appeared on the podcasts of Sam Harris[26] and Joe Rogan on many occasions. He moderated two debates between Harris and Jordan Peterson.[27] He appeared in the documentary No Safe Spaces, which documents the Evergreen incidents.[28] Weinstein's brother Eric coined the term "intellectual dark web" and described Bret as a member. The term refers to a group of academics and media personalities who publish and debate outside the mainstream media.[29][30][31][32]

In June 2019, Weinstein began the DarkHorse Podcast on his YouTube channel, which is usually co-hosted with his wife Heather.[33] Their first guest was Andy Ngo,[34] and guests have also included Glenn Loury, Douglas Murray, Sam Harris, John Wood Jr., Thomas Chatterton Williams and Coleman Hughes, with topics often centered on current events, science, and culture.[35]

Weinstein was a 2019–2020 James Madison Program Visiting Fellow at Princeton University, which continued for the 2020–2021 year.[36][37]

In 2021, Weinstein and Heying's book, A Hunter-Gatherer's Guide to the 21st Century, was published. The book reached the New York Times Best Seller list for October 3, 2021, at #3 for Combined Print & E-Book Nonfiction and #4 for Hardcover Nonfiction.[38] The hardcover listing was marked with a dagger, indicating that some retailers had reported receiving bulk orders.[39] Reviewing the book for The Guardian, psychologist Stuart J. Ritchie wrote that the authors "lazily repeat false information from other pop-science books", and that overall the book was characterized by an annoying, know-it-all attitude.[40]

Personal life and views

Weinstein is married to Heather Heying, an evolutionary biologist who also worked at Evergreen. Heying resigned from the college along with Weinstein and took a similar position during the Day of Absence controversy.[18][clarification needed]

Weinstein describes himself as politically liberal, progressive,[41][42] and left-libertarian.[43] He appeared before the U.S. House Oversight Committee on May 22, 2018, to discuss freedom of speech on college campuses.[44][45] In 2020, he announced Unity 2020, a plan to nominate for the upcoming US presidential elections a pair of suitable candidates, each associated with one of both major political parties, to govern as a team.[46][47][48]

Weinstein has lived in Portland, Oregon since 2018.[34]


During the COVID-19 pandemic, Weinstein made several public appearances advocating the use of the antiparasitic drug ivermectin to prevent or treat the disease and downplaying the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines. David Gorski, in Science-Based Medicine, described Weinstein as a prominent "COVID-19 contrarian and spreader of disinformation", and "one of the foremost purveyors of COVID-19 disinformation", citing his appearances on Joe Rogan and Bill Maher.[5][34] Sam Harris criticised Weinstein's advocacy, stating that he "consider[s] it dangerous".[34] Eric Topol, professor of molecular medicine, described Weinstein's position on mRNA vaccines as "totally irresponsible. It's reckless. It's sick. It's predatory. It's really sad."[34]

Weinstein has made erroneous claims that ivermectin can prevent or treat COVID-19,[5][49][50][51] claims for which there is no good evidence.[52][53][54] Weinstein hosted ivermectin advocate Pierre Kory on his DarkHorse podcast to discuss the drug,[55][6] and promoted ivermectin on other podcast and television news appearances.[56][57] Weinstein took ivermectin during a livestream video and said both he and his wife had not been vaccinated because of their fears concerning COVID-19 vaccines.[58] YouTube demonetized the couple's channels in response to their claims about ivermectin. Afterward, Weinstein and Heying moved their subsequent broadcasts to the alternative/fringe video sharing platform Odysee.[55] In August 2021, Weinstein said he had misstated that a study had shown a 100% effective ivermectin protocol for the prevention of COVID.[52][59] Weinstein considers himself a supporter of vaccines in general; he believes mRNA vaccines have promise despite what he claims are "some clear design flaws".[41] Weinstein has falsely claimed that the spike protein produced by or contained within COVID-19 vaccines is "very dangerous" and "cytotoxic".[60][61][62]


  • Heying, Heather; Weinstein, Bret (2021), A Hunter-Gatherer's Guide to the 21st Century: Evolution and the Challenges of Modern Life, Portfolio, p. 320, ISBN 978-0593086889
  • 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): 615–627. doi:10.1016/S0531-5565(02)00012-8. PMID 11909679. S2CID 12912742.


  1. ^ Weinstein, Bret S. (2009). Deep Blue, University of Michigan Library. (September 3, 2009). "Evolutionary Trade-Offs: Emergent Constraints and Their Adaptive Consequences". Retrieved February 26, 2020 (Thesis). hdl:2027.42/63672?show=full. Retrieved 2020-05-12.
  2. ^ a b Bret Weinstein| Retrieved February 26, 2020
  3. ^ French, David A. (May 11, 2018). "Critics Miss the Point of the 'Intellectual Dark Web'". National Review. Retrieved June 25, 2019.
  4. ^ Sommer, Will (10 October 2018). "Intellectual Dark Web Frays After Jordan Peterson Tweets Critically About Brett Kavanaugh". Daily Beast. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  5. ^ a b c Gorski DH (21 June 2021). "Ivermectin is the new hydroxychloroquine, take 2". Science-Based Medicine.
  6. ^ a b Gonzalez, Oscar (July 9, 2021). "Can ivermectin be used to treat COVID-19? What you should know". CNET. Archived from the original on August 6, 2021.
  7. ^ Herzog, Katie (May 23, 2018). "After Evergreen". The Stranger.
  8. ^ Bartlett, Tom (June 5, 2017). "The Professor Who Roiled Evergreen State Is No Stranger to Campus Controversy". The Chronicle of Higher Education. ISSN 0009-5982. Retrieved 2019-05-08.
  9. ^ The Rubin Report (May 30, 2017), LIVE with Bret Weinstein: Evergreen State College Racism Controversy, retrieved 5 July 2018
  10. ^ Graduate Alumni Directory | U-M LSA Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB). Retrieved February 26, 2020
  11. ^ 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. S2CID 12912742.
  12. ^ Zimmerman, Michael (19 March 2012). "Unseen Dangers in Laboratory Protocols". Huffington Post.
  13. ^ Weinstein, Eric (19 February 2020). Episode 19: The Prediction and the DISC. The Portal.
  14. ^ a b Svrluga, Susan; Heim, Joe (June 1, 2017). "Threat shuts down college embroiled in racial dispute". The Washington Post.
  15. ^ Correspondence Between Bret Weinstein and Rashida Love, 2017, retrieved November 6, 2019
  16. ^ Murray, Douglas (2019). The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity. London: Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 128. ISBN 978-1-63557-998-7.
  17. ^ Hartocollis, Anemona (June 16, 2017), "A Campus Argument Goes Viral. Now the College Is Under Siege.", The New York Times
  18. ^ a b c "Evergreen settles with Weinstein, professor at the center of campus protests". The Olympian.
  19. ^ Pemberton, Lisa (2017-09-23). "A school year of events that led to chaos at The Evergreen State College". The Olympian. Retrieved 2020-07-19.
  20. ^ Tan, Anjelica (Jun 15, 2019). "Oberlin College case shows how universities are losing their way". TheHill. Retrieved May 12, 2020.
  21. ^ Mikkelsen, Drew (May 27, 2017). "Professor told he's not safe on campus after college protests". King 5 News. Archived from the original on June 23, 2017. Retrieved 21 September 2021.
  22. ^ Jaschik, Scott. (May 30, 2017)."Who Defines What Is Racist?", Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved June 3, 2017.
  23. ^ 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.
  24. ^ Weinstein, Bret (30 May 2017). "The Campus Mob Came for Me—and You, Professor, Could Be Next". Wall Street Journal – via
  25. ^ Volokh, Eugene (May 26, 2017). "Opinion: 'Professor told he's not safe on campus after college protests' at Evergreen State College (Washington)". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 29, 2021.
  26. ^ 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.
  27. ^ Ruffolo, Michael (2018-06-26). "Sam Harris and Jordan Peterson waste a lot of time, then talk about God for 20 minutes". National Observer. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  28. ^ Fund, John (November 3, 2019). "In No Safe Spaces, an Odd Couple Teams Up to Fight Free-Speech Bans". National Review.
  29. ^ Weiss, Bari (8 May 2018). "Opinion | Meet the Renegades of the Intellectual Dark Web". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 July 2018.
  30. ^ Verbruggen, Robert (9 May 2018). "Re: The 'Intellectual Dark Web'". National Review. Retrieved 6 July 2018.
  31. ^ Murray, Douglas (21 February 2018). "Inside the intellectual dark web". Spectator Life. Archived from the original on 27 March 2019. Retrieved 6 July 2018.
  32. ^ 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.
  33. ^ @bretweinstein (July 11, 2019). "After many days of heel-dragging by Apple, Bret Weinstein's DarkHorse Podcast is now finally available on iTunes! Ngo and Boyce episodes are up, with lots more coming. Link below. If searching elsewhere, 'DarkHorse' is one word and 'Bret' has one 't'" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  34. ^ a b c d e Anthony Effinger (15 September 2021). "A Progressive Biologist From Portland Is One of the Nation's Leading Advocates for Ivermectin". Willamette Week. Retrieved 15 September 2021.
  35. ^ "Bret Weinstein | DarkHorse Podcast". Apple Podcasts. Retrieved 2020-09-26.
  36. ^ "The James Madison Program announces 2019–20 fellows". Princeton University. 2019-04-12. Retrieved 2020-07-19.
  37. ^ "Current Visiting Fellows | James Madison Program".
  38. ^ "Best Sellers: Combined Print & E-Book Nonfiction". New York Times. 3 October 2021. Archived from the original on 29 September 2021.
  39. ^ "Best Sellers: Hardcover Nonfiction". New York Times. 3 October 2021. Archived from the original on 26 September 2021.
  40. ^ Stuart J. Ritchie (26 September 2021). "A Hunter-Gatherer's Guide to the 21st Century review – self-help laced with pseudoscience". The Guardian (Book review).
  41. ^ a b Sharir, Moran (July 16, 2021). "'There's an undercurrent on the American left that regards Jews as suspect'". Haaretz.
  42. ^ Weinstein, Bret (August 17, 2018). "The Phenomenon of Left and Right". The Jewish Journal.
  43. ^ Episode 970: Bret Weinstein. The Joe Rogan Experience. 2 June 2017.
  44. ^ Vazquez, Joey (23 May 2018). "Congressional hearing explores freedom of speech crisis on college campuses". Washington Examiner.
  45. ^ "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. Archived from the original on 22 December 2018. Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  46. ^ Bitton, Matt (30 July 2020). "The Unity 2020 Ticket: An Interview with Bret Weinstein". National Review.
  47. ^ "Articles of Unity 2020: A Plan to Save Our Republic". Unity2020. Retrieved 16 July 2020.
  48. ^ "Bret Weinstein breaks down Dark Horse Duo plan to save republic". The Hill. 30 June 2020.
  49. ^ Chen, Keenan (June 24, 2021). "False claims about Ivermectin as a proven Covid-19 treatment". Retrieved 2021-07-18.
  50. ^ Piper, Kelsey (2021-09-17). "The dubious rise of ivermectin as a Covid-19 treatment, explained". Vox. Retrieved 2021-09-22.
  51. ^ "Doctors dismayed by patients who fear coronavirus vaccines but clamor for unproven ivermectin". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2021-09-22.
  52. ^ a b Paolo W (2 August 2021). "Ivermectin is the new hydroxychloroquine, take 4: Bret Weinstein misrepresents meta-analyses". Science-Based Medicine.
  53. ^ Bartoszko, Jessica J; Siemieniuk, Reed A C; Kum, Elena; et al. (2021-04-26). "Prophylaxis against covid-19: living systematic review and network meta-analysis". BMJ. 373 (n949): n949. doi:10.1136/bmj.n949. PMC 8073806. PMID 33903131.
  54. ^ World Health Organization (2021). Therapeutics and COVID-19: living guideline, 6 July 2021 (Report). World Health Organization (WHO). hdl:10665/342368. WHO/2019-nCoV/therapeutics/2021.2.
  55. ^ a b Merlan, Anna (1 July 2021). "The Ivermectin Advocates' War Has Just Begun". Vice. Retrieved 2021-07-01.
  56. ^ Bolies, Corbin (2021-07-16). "Tucker Carlson Hyped These Fringe COVID Theories. The Science Just Fell Apart". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 2021-07-22.
  57. ^ Gertz, Matt (July 16, 2021). "A big study supporting ivermectin, Fox's latest miracle COVID treatment, was just retracted". Media Matters for America. Retrieved 2021-07-27.
  58. ^ Merlan, Anna (24 June 2021). "Why Is the Intellectual Dark Web Suddenly Hyping an Unproven COVID Treatment?". Vice.
  59. ^ Bret Weinstein, Heather Heying (August 28, 2021). "Bret and Heather 94th DarkHorse Podcast Livestream: Is it Later Than We Think?". YouTube (Podcast). YouTube. Event occurs at 29:55. ...because it reported 100% success at preventing COVID in those who were treated, it does have some impact on the question "is there a prophylactic protocol that would be so highly effective?" and we have to assume the answer is "no" until we see evidence otherwise... Initially when I spoke of this study I described it as a suggesting there was an Ivermectin protocol that was 100% effective, that was never implied by the study, because the study was a combination of Ivermectin and Carrageenan… And now at this point I would says, no weight should be given to the study at all.
  60. ^ "PolitiFact - No sign that the COVID-19 vaccines' spike protein is toxic or 'cytotoxic'". Politifact. 2021. Retrieved 2021-07-11.
  61. ^ "Fact Check-COVID-19 vaccines are not 'cytotoxic'". Reuters. 2021-06-18. Retrieved 2021-07-11.
  62. ^ "What do we know about the toxicity of spike proteins made from COVID-19 vaccines?". Retrieved 28 August 2021. False claims about the toxicity of spike proteins from COVID-19 vaccination often misinterpret studies, and fail to take into account how spike proteins from COVID-19 vaccination behave differently than the spike proteins from natural COVID-19 infection.

External links