US President Donald Trump (L) listens to White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Scott Atlas, during a press conference in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House on September 23, 2020 in Washington, DC, to.
Almond Ngan | AFP | Getty Images
On Thursday, dozens of Stanford University doctors and researchers stressed that they will not be silenced after hearing that they may be taking legal action after telling White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Scott Atlas, have criticized.
Earlier this month, Stanford scientists wrote an open letter asking Atlas, a former colleague, to spread what they called "falsehoods and misrepresentations of science." In particular, the authors expressed concern that Atlas opposed the use of masks and other public health measures.
In response, the researchers behind the "Dear Colleague" letter said they had received a legal threat on September 16 from Marc Kasowitz of the Kasowitz Benson Torres law firm, asking the letter writers to withdraw their claims or take legal action. Kasowitz claimed to represent Atlas, who is currently a Senior Fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution.
Atlas has specialized in radiology and neuroradiology rather than infectious diseases in his medical career.
He has made a number of controversial statements in recent months, including to urge the White House to give young people the opportunity to contract the coronavirus in hopes of "herd immunity".
A copy of Kasowitz's letter was posted on Twitter by Michael Fischbach, a Stanford professor. In addition, a Stanford faculty spokesman who wrote the letter shared a copy with CNBC.
Kasowitz & # 39; letter describes the criticism of the Stanford group as "absolutely wrong".
"We therefore request that you immediately issue a press release withdrawing your letter and that you contact any media around the world that reported it to request an immediate correction of the recording," it said.
Fischbach, an associate professor in the Department of Bioengineering, tweeted in response: "I stand by everything we have said."
Following the legal threat, a larger group from Stanford University signed another letter stating that they would not be intimidated or silenced.
"We believe his statements and the advice he has given encourage misunderstandings in mainstream science and undermine critical public health efforts," reads the letter, written by 105 doctors, scientists, and public health experts Faculty members.
"Additionally, we are deeply concerned about the legal threats that Dr. Atlas has made against us to intimidate and silence us amid a pandemic."
The group also sent its own letter in defense of its position from Kaplan Hecker & Fink, addressed to the Atlas legal team.