Heather Heying

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Heying in 2019

Heather E. Heying is an American evolutionary biologist, former professor, and author, who came to national attention following the Evergreen State College protests in 2017. She has been associated with the informal group known as the intellectual dark web[1] and testified at the US Department of Justice forum on Free Speech on College Campuses in 2018.[2]


Until 2017, Heying was a professor of biology at Evergreen State College in Washington State. Her doctoral research focused on the evolutionary ecology and sexual selection of Mantella laevigata, a Madagascan poison frog.[3] In addition to papers in the reproductive evolutionary adaptations of frogs, Heying has also published a popular work describing her graduate student research in Madagascar, Antipode: Seasons with the Extraordinary Wildlife and Culture of Madagascar (2002).[4][5]

Evergreen State College protests[edit]

In July 2017, following a year of student protests at Evergreen State College, which disrupted the campus, including one altercation between protesters and Heying's husband and fellow professor of biology at Evergreen, Bret Weinstein, the pair brought a lawsuit against the college; the $3.85 million suit alleged the college failed to "protect its employees from repeated provocative and corrosive verbal and written hostility based on race, as well as threats of physical violence."[6][7][8][9][10] A settlement was reached in September 2017, in which both Heying and Weinstein resigned, and received $250,000 each.[9]


Following her resignation, Heying has written articles and opinion pieces related to evolution and cultural politics for journals and newspapers such as The New York Times and The Chronicle of Higher Education.[11][12] She co-hosts a weekly podcast, the Darkhorse Podcast, with her husband on his YouTube channel.[13]

Heying was a 2019–2020 James Madison Program Visiting Fellow at Princeton University, a fellowship which continued for the 2020–2021 year.[14][15] With Weinstein, they presented a theory on the evolutionary adaptation of consciousness on 29 April 2020 .[16]

In 2021, Heying and Weinstein's book, A Hunter-Gatherer's Guide to the 21st Century, was published. Reviewing it for The Guardian, 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.[17] Writing for Willamette Week, Nancy Koppelman and Leo Blakeslee said that the book did well at covering basic topics around evolution and biology, but faltered when the authors claim expertise beyond their own fields such as in matters related to politics.[18]


On January 29, 2021, Heying appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher along with Weinstein, presenting the "Lab Leak" hypothesis around the origins of SARS-CoV-2.[19]

Heying has said that she has taken ivermectin to guard against COVID-19 and that she and Weinstein have not been vaccinated "because we have fears [about the side-effects of the COVID-19 vaccines], as we have discussed at length on this podcast." Heying compared the use of ivermectin for this purpose to taking anti-malarial drugs.[20] Whereas all WHO-approved vaccines have shown a high level of safety and efficacy in all populations,[21] there is no good evidence of benefit from ivermectin in preventing or treating COVID-19.[22][23]



  1. ^ Weiss, Bari (8 May 2018). "Meet the Renegades of the Intellectual Dark Web". newyorktimes.com. Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  2. ^ MacDonald, Heather (17 September 2018). "Justice Department Forum on Free Speech in Higher Education". manhattan-institute.org. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  3. ^ Heying, Heather E. (2001). The evolutionary ecology and sexual selection of a Madagascan poison frog (Mantella laevigata) (Thesis). hdl:2027.42/123092.
  4. ^ Heying, Heather E. (3 August 2002). "Excerpt: The lady and the lemur". The Globe and Mail: D6.
  5. ^ "A skillful example of notes from the field: lively, discerning, and full of an ingrained enthusiasm for science". Kirkus Reviews. 1 May 2002. Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  6. ^ Volokh, Eugene (26 May 2017). "'Professor told he's not safe on campus after college protests' at Evergreen State College (Washington)". The Washington Post. Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  7. ^ Weinstein, Bret (30 May 2017). "The Campus Mob Came for Me—and You, Professor, Could Be Next Whites were asked to leave for a 'Day of Absence.' I objected. Then 50 yelling students crashed my class". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  8. ^ Bradford, Richardson (25 May 2017). "Students berate professor who refused to participate in no-whites 'Day of Absence'". Washington Times. Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  9. ^ a b Abspegman (16 September 2017). "Evergreen settles with Weinstein, professor at the center of campus protests". The Olympian. Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  10. ^ Spegman, Abby (16 September 2017). "Evergreen professor at center of protests resigns; college will pay $500,000". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 5 April 2021.
  11. ^ Heying, Heather (30 April 2018). "Nature is Risky. That's Why Students Need It". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  12. ^ Heying, Heather E. (November 2018). "Exposing the Madness of Grievance Studies". The Chronicle of Higher Education. 65.
  13. ^ "Bret Weinstein | DarkHorse Podcast". Apple Podcasts. Retrieved 2020-09-26.
  14. ^ "The James Madison Program announces 2019–20 fellows". Princeton University. 2019-04-12. Retrieved 2020-07-19.
  15. ^ "Current Visiting Fellows | James Madison Program". jmp.princeton.edu.
  16. ^ "Culture vs. Consciousness: A Core Human Tension". princeton.edu. 29 April 2020. Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  17. ^ 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).
  18. ^ Kopelman N, Blakeslee L (20 October 2021). "Book Review: 'A Hunter-Gatherer's Guide to the 21st Century' by Heather Heying and Bret Weinstei". Willamette.
  19. ^ "Bill Maher Talks Mutating Viruses and a Changing Climate on "Real Time"". InsideHook.com. Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  20. ^ Anna Merlan (24 June 2021). "Why Is the Intellectual Dark Web Suddenly Hyping an Unproven COVID Treatment?". Vice.
  21. ^ "Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines". World Health Organization. 31 March 2021. Retrieved 7 May 2022.
  22. ^ Bartoszko JJ, Siemieniuk RA, Kum E, Qasim A, Zeraatkar D, et al. (April 2021). "Prophylaxis against covid-19: living systematic review and network meta-analysis". BMJ (Systematic review). 373: n949. doi:10.1136/bmj.n949. PMC 8073806. PMID 33903131.
  23. ^ Therapeutics and COVID-19: living guideline, 6 July 2021 (Report). World Health Organization (WHO). 2021. hdl:10665/342368. WHO/2019-nCoV/therapeutics/2021.2.

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