Arif Ahmed (right) led the charge for Peterson's reinvitationVarsity

Jordan Peterson was given an “enormous slab of meat” and a rare, first edition copy of Charles Darwin’s 1871 The Descent of Man for giving a talk at Cambridge last term (23/11).

In a recently released YouTube video, Philosophy professor Arif Ahmed thanked Peterson, and said his invitation marked “the close of a disgraceful chapter in the history of this University”.

After presenting Peterson with Darwin’s book on the theory of sexual selection, which can fetch up to nearly £6k per copy, Ahmed quipped that “as well as mental food, you need real food. So in addition, we’ve got an enormous slab of meat.” A reference to Peterson’s claim that a meat-only diet helped cure his depression.

The stunt was greeted by laughter from the packed out Lady Mitchell Hall where Peterson was hosted.

In his closing speech, Ahmed claimed the event as a “victory”.

Peterson had been disinvited from Cambridge in 2019 when photos emerged of him posing next to a man wearing a T-shirt reading: “I am a proud Islamophobe”. But after an intense battle over free speech, Peterson was re-invited in Michaelmas 2021 to attend a series of lectures and seminars.

“For too long”, Ahmed said, “we have laboured under the absurd idea that words are a form of oppression or that speech is a way of perpetuating harm when the opposite is true: words are an instrument of liberation, and speech is an alternative to harm.


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“And it was under those false ideas…that the University cancelled that invitation. Not because of anything he said, not even because of anything he thought, but because of somebody he stood next to”.

But Peterson’s appearance was not without controversy. Following his stint in Cambridge, revelations broke of an alleged network of right-wing academics – supposedly backed by American billionaire and Trump donor, Peter Thiel – who felt the “liberal agenda was going too far”.

The group’s alleged fixer, Thiel’s chief of staff, Charles Vaughan, was said to have lobbied for Peterson to come to Cambridge.

The revelations sparked discontent within the Divinity faculty, leading the self-proclaimed “Divine dissenters” to call on the University to investigate potential “grooming” and “radicalisation” of students within the network, citing accusations they have been recruiting interns to work for Thiel.