Thursday, May 12, 2016

Chair of psychiatry at the University of Maryland threatens to sue a journalist who asks about his side business selling supplements

Dr. Bankole Johnson apparently doesn't like people poking around in his extracurricular activities. Here's what happened when New York Magazine journalist Jesse Singal contacted him about his side business hawking tonics for Kolé Life Foods, a supplement company he founded.

On April 7, after I had reached out to Johnson for comment and had been referred to Kolé’s PR staff, I got a call from Kolé’s counsel, Eric Heyer. Heyer informed me that Johnson was “preparing” a defamation lawsuit against me. It wasn’t for anything I had published — this article was still in progress at that point — but rather because I had sent some of Johnson’s colleagues at the School of Medicine emails asking if they wanted to comment, on or off the record, on the claims being made by the chair of their department for his outside venture (none of them got back to me, anyway).

Smart move. Threaten to sue a journalist before he has written anything. I think there's supposed to be a cure for that.

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