The #CoyneEffect: Is the ME Community Stepping Up or Backing Down?

I revised this blog post to withdraw my support for an advocate whose position I agreed with at the time of the post, but whose recent statements I can no longer support.

In order to fully appreciate this entry, please read “Has the ‘Coyne of the Realm’ been devalued?” If you still have steam afterwards, there is more background information in “Standing Up to Coyne and Against Unfair Treatment of ME Advocates.”

I have received a number of messages from members of the community inquiring about my absence from ME advocacy and about my health. I deeply appreciate the concerns and thoughtfulness.

I posted a series of tweets in reply, which are reproduced below, because the tweets should be read in succession, as each builds on the prior ones. This, obviously, scratches only the surface of the effects on the community of Coyne’s rampage against ME advocates. But I am not well enough to write a blog post fleshing out the topics of my tweets.

I apologize for the incomplete list of those who have been targeted by Coyne, by public or private attacks or threats or by being aggressively blocked on social media. Louise Reed was one of the targets of Coyne’s vicious cyberbullying who is not mentioned below because I didn’t have enough steam to track down her Twitter handle.

For more background on Coyne’s aggression directed towards the ME community at large and a number of its advocates, please see these two posts on this blog:

Has the “Coyne of the Realm” been devalued?

Standing Up to Coyne and Against Unfair Treatment of ME Advocates

Here are my tweets: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13a 13b 14 15 16 17 18

Tolerating, and thereby emboldening, the ruthless abuse and attempted ostracizing of patients and caregivers by an authority figure can ultimately be more destructive than the abuse itself, especially when it leads to an atmosphere of intimidation and to the sidelining of critical voices one disagrees with; those are much needed, even if inconvenient. Allowing a Wallit and Shorter champion to bulldoze his way through our community, with well-honed bullying tactics, is both short-sided and dangerous.

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72 Responses to The #CoyneEffect: Is the ME Community Stepping Up or Backing Down?

  1. Lilly Meehan says:

    Anyone still supporting Coyne needs to understand that he has a history of abuse. What he did to the ME community was not an isolated incident. An assault and battery case by his ex girlfriend against him resulted in Coyne’s arrest and a jury verdict of $165,000 for his ex girlfriend:

    And here you can read what a colleague of his wrote about him:

    “What I suppressed at the time was that James Coyne, whose claims were at the centre of the case 8 years ago, had been arraigned for serious physical abuse of a partner and had a record of intimidation. In fact the correspondence I have suggests the University he had been with before the University of Pennsylvania had moved him on in a manner rather like the Catholic Church moving a priest in trouble on from one setting to another. I can provide all details.

    Many people who had encounters with him, particularly women, thought about and in some cases put in place bodyguards.

    He was later, it would seem, let go by the University of Pennsylvania. It is difficult to penetrate what finally happened as U Penn are concerned to safeguard Dr Coyne’s rights but whatever happened followed well-supported allegations of serious harassment of a research colleague.”…/

    Clearly, there is a pattern of abuse here.

    The ME community needs to answer for its abusive/enabling behavior in supporting Coyne. Any leaders showing support for him are showing a lack of ethics & morals. Any followers are either uninformed/ignorant about his true nature, or they are desperate for help from anyone, even a seriously bad guy.

  2. Thank you, Jeannette. The abuse you suffered from fellow ME advocates after the insults by Coyne was unbelievable to me. It is hard to believe that ME advocates would do this to someone who has done so much for all of us. I am most grateful to you, Jeannette, for all your efforts; and I wish you the best with your health.
    Patricia Carter

  3. Matt says:

    It saddens me that to this date an apology from Coyne has not been forthcoming. I am also disappointed that more advocates have not come out to explicitly condemn Coyne’s behaviour toward you. For my part, I condemned the act on Twitter and ceased participation and publicity of Coyne’s work following my knowledge of the event.

    I would like to encourage people to revisit the event and seriously think about the potential implications of tolerating Coyne’s abusive and unapologetic behaviour.

  4. Gabby Klein says:

    Thank you, Jeannette, for this important blog post and I’m so so sorry that there is even a need for it.

    James Chapman wrote a tweet today stating the following: “Win a UK FOIA court case & #pwme treat you as a hero (Alem #pacetrial) but win a US FOIA court case & suffer public abuse (Jeannette #NIH).” – Not to belittle the great advocacy feat of Alem – which is very much appreciated – but how revealing is it that Jeannette who herself brought on and won a lawsuit against HHS at her financial and health expense, yet a short time later is cast aside – as if none of her advocacy efforts over the years mattered?

    Coyne is an aggressive bully who should be regarded with disdain by our community. Did the community forget that besides his attacks on our key advocates, Coyne actually berated and terrorized the entire community?

    I’m glad that brave advocates like Chapman, Burmeister and others are speaking out for the truth and for calling on this community to stand up for OUR advocates who have stood up for us – time and time again!

  5. John Gabor says:

    I agree Jeannette. What gets me is I know people who unbelievably sided with Coyne and obviously still have not appoligized to you and the others he attacked. It is one thing to make a mistake but totally another to not recognise that mistake with an apology.

    Personally, I think ME patients far to easily get sucked into personality cults. Coyne saw a group of desperate sick people and knew we would be easy pickings for what appears his psychopathic tendencies. From what I have read of him, ME advocates were not his first victims.

    I really do miss you on social media; but understand how much.the whole Coyne affair has worn.on your health, especially after all you have given and risked for ME Advocacy. Would like to say it is safe on social media now. But the cults of personality are still flourishing and patients are stull being played by those only interested in their own benefit.

    Hugs and love to you all,


  6. Ess says:

    Dear Jeannette,
    It is wonderful to see you back and hear your voice !

    Your stellar efforts in the M.E. advocacy community are second to none. I hope that you know there are many many who have your back and always will.

    The Coyne Weekend Reign of Attack was a strategic set-up. A certain type of ‘personality’ scours the landscape—cultivates and grooms relationships—then moves in for the kill . . . Knows who to play, how and when.

    DISgusting and DESpicable behaviour—with a very transparent agenda.

    Thank you for tweeting and taking this opportunity to document the effect this has on your already weakened health. Sending all good wishes to you and your family.
    May the ‘Force’ be with us.

  7. Carrie says:

    Every patient should be horrified by what Coyne (and those who subsequently piled on Jeannette) did.

    There are times in life when you have to stand for what is right. Integrity still matters.

    Instead, we saw “leaders” throw abused patients under the bus, calling for us to move on, which is basically advising us to abandon our wounded friend for the greater good of the masses.

    Others pleaded to sweep the unpleasantness under the rug as if pretending all’s well again actually makes things right.

    Few stood up when a research org that frequently solicits patient donations allowed a blogger they sponsor to leverage their social media to attack Jeannette. He later went on to attack her nearly a dozen times via his sponsored forum. As with Coyne, the posts were later sanitized when the attack backfired and patients publicized his wrongdoing.

    I used to think we were all in this together. Not any more. We were, in the beginning, in kinder times, when there were no stars, no personal agendas, just patients coming together to work toward solutions. I have talked to other long-term patients who feel the same way.

    It is inexcusable to turn the other way when human beings are attacked and abused.

    Coyne’s behavior provided opportunity for everyone to pull together, to support our own, to own our fight.

    Is the community stepping up or backing down? From what I have seen, backing down and swirling the sewer.

    Humanity becomes what we allow. I am ashamed of what was allowed.

    My heart is with you Jeannette. You have done tremendous work for our community. You and your family deserve better.

  8. Sharon says:

    Hi Jeannette,

    Coyne blocked my family’s accounts on Facebook at Twitter. We don’t know him at all and have never engaged with him. We were supportive of you, however, and apparently that angered him. Telling. He means nothing to us but his behavior is unprofessional, to understate the description.

    I’m deeply saddened that you went through so much and am angered by the effect that it’s had on your health. Know that no one in my world has been discouraged by Coyne; a little man with anger issues holds no power among us. Rather, several members of my family and several close friends have been inspired to forceful action by your fierce and effective work.

    Sending deep wishes for your healing and improved health.

  9. johnnydme says:

    Reblogged this on johnnydme and commented:
    To say we “don’t accept abuse” is double-edged sword. It’s easy to say we don’t accept the government’s abuse and the many deplorable policies and active ignorance which have been levied at us. It’s harder to say to someone who made a show of being on our side and in a position of social authority… we don’t accept abuse from you. Both are necessary.

    In short, it’s easy to oppose bullies from faraway, but much harder to stand up to a bully who would sit at the same round table; the second is a truer test of mettle.

    “Humanity becomes what we allow” … I like that. Ultimately, humanity is us.

  10. Rivka says:

    I am (still) in full support of Jeannette. Jeannette: I’m so very very sorry you have taken such a downturn. Being publicly attacked by anyone, most especially a bully, is more than an already weak body can handle. You are a courageous, smart, caring woman. Thank you for all the good work you have done for our community, and for the incredibly brave stances you took — and keep taking — and for being a kind and thoughtful human being. — Rivka

  11. Eileen Holderman says:

    Thank you, Jeannette, for your honest and courageous blogpost. And thank you for standing up for what you believe in and for not allowing others (whether they are from academia, the federal government, or elsewhere) to silence your convictions.

  12. Pingback: The #CoyneEffect: Is the ME Community Stepping Up or Backing Down? | keuninckx

  13. You didn’t deserve the way you were treated Jeannette.
    Please know that there are plenty of people out here who can see this situation for what it really was.
    Tellingly, your abuser knows this too and has left the scene.
    Please keep fighting.
    Best wishes. xx

  14. Utting Wolff says:

    Jeannette, you have always had our (UWS) unwavering support and you know best how many battles I (Claudia) have fought with people whose unacceptable behaviour sickens and continues to shock me. Coyne’s behaviour deserves no pardon, he has never been a stable ally and he has completely disqualified and disgraced himself. We are dealing with misogynistic online hatred that has been condoned by far too many for a perceived greater good that they were (are still?) hoping Coyne will help achieve. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is unforgivable that your major win of a court case goes largely unnoticed while, typically, a man’s success results into instant idolisation (this is not a reflection on Alem’s person!). Alem’s success is brilliant but your hard work and fierce intelligence with which you shine a light on the underbelly of medicine and law, are nothing but heroic. Get better soon, dear friend. Lots of love to you and your beautiful family.

  15. Lilly Meehan says:

    Anyone still supporting Coyne needs to understand that he has a history of abuse. What he did to the ME community was not an isolated incident. An assault and battery case by his ex girlfriend against him resulted in Coyne’s arrest and a jury verdict of $165,000 for his ex girlfriend:

    And here you can read what a colleague of his wrote about him:

    “What I suppressed at the time was that James Coyne, whose claims were at the centre of the case 8 years ago, had been arraigned for serious physical abuse of a partner and had a record of intimidation. In fact the correspondence I have suggests the University he had been with before the University of Pennsylvania had moved him on in a manner rather like the Catholic Church moving a priest in trouble on from one setting to another. I can provide all details.

    Many people who had encounters with him, particularly women, thought about and in some cases put in place bodyguards.

    He was later, it would seem, let go by the University of Pennsylvania. It is difficult to penetrate what finally happened as U Penn are concerned to safeguard Dr Coyne’s rights but whatever happened followed well-supported allegations of serious harassment of a research colleague.”…/

    Clearly, there is a pattern of abuse here.

    The ME community needs to answer for its abusive/enabling behavior in supporting Coyne. Any leaders showing support for him are showing a lack of ethics & morals. Any followers are either uninformed/ignorant about his true nature, or they are desperate for help from anyone, even a seriously bad guy.

  16. Lilly, you are repeating yourself. Did you not get enough attention with the first post? You obviously do not know me.

    Jeannette, you have impeccable timing. I too have been away from doing things for the community, but because I get paid nothing for this activity and as a semi-retired academic, I must do other things to support myself.

    However, since returning from Germany, I’m back to a task that many people in the patient community have asked me to address. Namely, I’m working on a blog post with a set of what I think are compelling reasons why they should be comfortable refusing to enroll their children in the potentially harmful (in so many ways) MAGENTA trial or in withdrawing their children if they have already enrolled them under pressure. It’s a small contribution, but some think it’s valuable. And now you’ve gone ahead iand distracted me from this.

    I was alerted to your blog post by people in the patient community who googling looking for my blog post which I haven’t finished. They were confused and shocked and worried about you.

    I would like to get back to the proper task at hand,


    • Professor Coyne’s self-aggrandizing attempt to reinsert himself into the ME community might be better received if he acknowledged and apologized for his vicious and serious attacks of advocates and the community and the immense damage he has caused. The failure to do so and to exhibit concern for the patients he abused could lead one to doubt the sincerity of his current endeavors.

    • Rivka says:

      Mr. Coyne, you should either apologize to Jeannette or you should not be here. It really is that simple. — Rivka

    • Lilly Meehan says:

      I am sorry it got posted twice. I thought it didn’t go through the first time, so I posted it again. But I am not sure what that has to do with me knowing you.

      It is interesting and revealing maybe that you chose not to address my comment substantively.

    • Sharon says:

      Dr. Coyne continues to bully ME patients even today with this: “Lilly, you are repeating yourself. Did you not get enough attention with the first post? You obviously do not know me.”

      Dr. Coyne: “Knowing” you is irrelevant. You choose to tell the world who you are with your actions. Your deliberate choice to bully extremely ill patients speaks to your character, ethics, professionalism, compassion, and more.

      “And now you’ve gone ahead and distracted me from this.”
      Poor Dr. Coyne. The suffering of ME patients pales in comparison compares to such an inconvenience…

      And to top it off, you conclude your angry message with this: “Best”

      Dr. Coyne, your choice of public words and actions show the world who you are. As such, you discredit your other work.

    • Lilly Meehan says:

      Nice try at painting yourself as a do-gooder, James, but the court records tell a very different story.

      • Victim of James Coyne says:

        Lilly- I never met this man but now I have multiple
        Police departments involved because he’s been harassing me simply because I found it concerning that he was STALKING a student Facebook site and posting angry manifestos that mentioned local people by name. He thinks he’s so smart but he’s a disturbed man. Makes me really question his scholarship. I see that this stalker follows this so he will just invent another bizarro scenario and continue his harassment. This man needs to be prevented from ever interacting with patients, children, or women ever again. Also- he’s got a profile on a DATING APP right now.

    • ISeeThroughYou says:

      Have you thought about just apologizing James Coyne?

      This post is not about MAGENTA, you are using that topic to deflect as an emotional manipulative tool instead of just dealing with the matter at hand & saying ”I’m sorry, I acted wrongly”. its really not that difficult, well for normal people anyway, Emotionally manipulative people would rather pass the blame onto the victim. Just like what you have done.

      You have no right, to start F-ing and Blinding at sick people and using there illness against them as a emotional jibe. I saw what you did that day and I’m absolutely disgusted in your behaviour yet the subtle insults and manipulation still continues. The ME community certainly does not need people like you.

      Best wishes

    • elsvh says:

      Such a revealing response James.
      First You offend Lily Meehan.
      Then it’s nothing but ‘me me me’ … the importance of what You are doing
      & the fact Jeannette’s blog ‘distracted’ you from your important MAGENTA work.

      Nothing About the content of her blog, the fact you attacked a pwme who has soooo much value for all of us, the fact you’re compleletely abnormal raging reactions cost her her health for many months.

      If You TRULY care for ME patients, You would have appologized by now.
      The least You can do for those You abused & offended. And for our community as a whole.

      But something tells me a rather narcissistic person Will not apologize to anyone.
      Instead they find it disturbing they Cannot go on with their very important work noone else can do except them.

      Saying sorry never hurt anyone.
      Give it a try.
      Think outside of your ‘me myself & I’ box.

      Jeannette, You are & always have been a big
      light in our community.
      Everyone who knows what You have done so far
      is soooo Grateful to You & your husband.

      I can only guess that that’s the reason
      James attacked you.
      If this means our community gets divided, then so be it.

      Love & Hugs ,

  17. Rosaria Bonaccorso says:

    Professor Coyne, t
    The damage is done, you are not welcome here!

  18. Well, I am sure rest of patient community will be relieved by my not being deterred by my reception here. Lilly, why should I respond to your post?

    I am having great fun collecting and posting this stuff elsewhere.

    Jeannette, this has been and is still all too about you and your dependency on a response from me. You are best not to need me so much.

    • Ess says:

      Don’t flatter yourself, Mr. Coyne — it is unbecoming.

      • Lindy says:

        Jeannette need you?!! You really are delusional, Coyne! “I am having great fun collecting and posting this stuff elsewhere.” How pathetic is that. You’re having fun at the expense of physically ill people. You are appalling.

  19. Reblogged this on The Other Side Of The Stretcher and commented:
    Thankyou Jeannette!!!!

    “Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life, but define yourself.” – Tim Fields

  20. Ess says:

    Take a hike, Coyne !

  21. Lindy says:

    Professor Coyne, you are a disgrace. I should be shocked that you came on this blog to write your utter nonsense, but I’m not. Your self-belief that you are an important person is misguided, to say the least. To come on Jeannette’s blog and blame her for distracting you from your blog post is beyond the pale.

    You have been incredibly offensive towards Jeannette and many, many others – not only people with M.E. – but are you apologizing? Of course not. Narcissists never do apologize. That’s why I’m not shocked that you had the gall to come on here and write what you did. You are a narcissist – they are charming, at first, and, then, the real nature of the person shows up and it’s far from charming. Your foul-mouthed, nasty attack on Jeannette was beyond disgusting but it showed your true colours.

    The fact that some people with M.E., the few still following you, can’t see through you is unfortunate for them. They’re not safe from your abuse and insults, although they may think they are. One wrong word from someone and you’ll go after that person and they’ll find out that they’ve been fooled by you. They think that you’re helping people with M.E. but you’re not and you haven’t been helping, quite the opposite. No one, including me, who was blocked by you in March. simply because we supported Jeannette, cared that we were blocked. If you thought anyone would be upset that you blocked them, you were wrong. We didn’t want to have anything to do with you after your revolting outburst.

    As others have said, you are not welcome here. Your deplorable, vicious attack on Jeannette and others – you never stop, you were at it again, this week, with a non-M.E. person – makes you a pariah. You think you’re some kind of hero but that is the last thing you are. Jeannette IS a hero to people with M.E. and always has been.

    Go write your blog on MAGENTA and pretend that you’re important enough that it will make a difference and convince your followers that it will.

    I’m sorry that your health has been so badly affected by this person’s attack, Jeannette, but it was to be expected, unfortunately. How could it not be affected by his nauseating rants? Of course it has affected your family, as well, something they definitely did not need. I’m, also, sorry to take up so much room on here but his audacity to show up here and write what he did – I couldn’t let that pass without saying a few (?) words directed at him.

    • Lilan Patri says:

      Dear Jeannette,

      I have been worrying about you, wondering where you have been these many months. I am only just reading the details of what happened. I am so terribly sorry to learn that you have suffered this abuse and that it’s taken its inevitable toll on your health and on your family. I read your blog tonight, and with every Coyne-exchange you posted, I grew more disturbed and startled. I could not believe the virulence! Now, with every comment he makes here, I am more sickened and appalled.

      Your reply to his first comment was spot-on. All your insights have been. I would expect nothing less of you. I am also so grateful to Lindy for calling out the narcissist in the room. Prof. Coyne’s belief in himself as both selfless martyr (to our cause) and put-upon victim (having, in this case, suffered the great crime of being distracted) is textbook. Of course he’s not victim but victimizer, not martyr but tyrant, adept enough at playing his chosen roles that he blinds the willingly blind to his power-hungry machinations and abuse.

      Abuse that has, as far as I am concerned, reached the point of sexual harassment with the comment he posted September 17 at 10:01 a.m.

      It is disgusting.

      Lindy was so right to point out that a narcissist does not apologize. Indeed, a narcissist takes no accountability for himself. He admits to no wrongdoing. He gaslights the past. He punishes people arbitrarily. He cannot admit wrongdoing. He believes his own delusions. He abuses. He points the finger at anyone but himself. There are no amends forthcoming. There never will be. No matter how many speak against him or offer verifiable proof of his abuse.

      I hate that this man impacted your life so cruelly. I hate that he remains in our midst.

      Please know you have my love and friendship.

  22. Jeannette, does it make your husband jealous that you shower so much attention on me?

  23. joe kane says:

    “I am having great fun collecting and posting this stuff elsewhere.”
    – A troll statement so typical of disablist internet trolls, taunting their victims, letting them know how much they’re enjoying making their disabled victim suffer and there’s nothing they can do about it. Enjoy your internet sadism Mr Disabledsplainer.

    Anyway, I’m sure I’m not the only one to have noticed Coyne has yet to actually criticise the psychogenic, psychosomatic pseudo-science which is the fundamental basis of the Wessely school disability denial ideology. He merely tinkers about the edges of basically complaining that it wasn’t a properly put-together and properly conducted experiment. Look out for a similar mealy-mouthed technical-management assessment from Coyne of MAGENTA but leaving unmentioned the unethical and unscientific psychogenic, psychosomatic mumbo-jumbo beloved of him and his British psychogenic rival Wessely.

    Coyne’s fine with limited criticism of individual examples of the British school of psychogenic disability denial in action but none of his criticism is original, they add next to nothing and come nowhere near the over 15 years of academic research and disability activism of PACE by the likes of Angela Kennedy, Ciaran Farrell, Suzy Chapman, Prof Malcolm Hooper & his colleagues here in the UK.

    Coyne’s agenda, whatever it is, obviously involves attacking and bullying anyone who dares criticise the American medical establishment’s psychogenic equivalent of the British PACE trial. Critics of psychogenic explanations of physical illnesses aren’t welcome. He obviously regards them as a threat. Him and his wee online cult troll army are what I call anti-activists’ and ‘anti-‘advocates’ denigrating and erasing the hard-work and activism of others.

    Just remember, Coyne issued a demand if something wasn’t done about Jeannette he was going to withdraw from the “struggle” (stop laughing). Jeanette hasn’t apologised but Coyne’s still here. Some people just don’t know when they’re not wanted –

    Love and solidarity to you and your family as always Jeannette x

  24. Louise Reed says:

    @James Coyne… So you are so concerned for children with ME? So where were you in 2010, when Suzy Chapman (meagenda/dxrevisionwatch) submitted FOI requests about Esther Crawley’s SMILE Trial (A TRIAL OF LIGHTNING PROCESS ON CHILDREN WITH ME) ???

    How come you were so confused about ME research that you presented a power point in Northern Ireland in which you (erroneously) stated that the Smile Trial was the Pace for children?

    Smile was a study on Lightning Process (which you had been reliably informed of).

    It was only due to my urgent messages to you in order to correct you, that your presentation to NI government officials did not include your gross inaccuracies about ME childrens research. It took me 20 minutes to convince you that the Smile Trial had nothing to do with Pace!

    Here is your grossly inaccurate claim that Smile trial is the Pace trial for children.

    It took me ages to convince you that it is the MAGENTA trial that is the Pace for children! Not Smile!

    You should slow down and take heed of facts, Professor Coyne.

    And apologise for your defamation and bullying of ME activists who were on the case decades before you had even heard of ME.

  25. Maureen Goggins says:

    Jeannette, thank you for breaking this down, here and previously. I’m sorry you’ve been targeted by this awful (perhaps jealous?) character who has unsuccessfully attempted to alienate others from you. Wishing you the best.

  26. Rebecca says:

    Jeannette, I’m very sorry that your health is still suffering. I hope you regain ground soon. Give my best to your husband and daughter.

    @ James C Coyne: Someone hacked your account and is posting creepy comments under your name. See above.

  27. jimells says:

    Uggh, I had no idea that Coyne is still attacking advocates. It is truly appalling and infuriating.

    “Jeannette, does it make your husband jealous that you shower so much attention on me?”

    If anyone made a remark like this in person to one of my family members, they would soon be on the business end of a restraining order, at the very least. It is fortunate for Coyne (or whoever made that post) that he is only a Keyboard Rambo. In the real world such insults result in someone picking up their teeth from the sidewalk.

    I am under the impression that universities have codes of conduct that professors must sign onto. Is his university aware of his unethical behavior towards extremely ill patients? Or perhaps they don’t care as long as he brings in the grant money…

    These tactics remind me very much of the FBI COINTELPRO program (which likely never ended; it just has a new name). One of their standard tactics was to insert an undercover agent into the leadership of a targeted organization. The agent would then proceed to accuse other members of disloyalty, or making a grab for power, or even being undercover agents. The informant would spread rumors of sexual infidelity among members, write anonymous letters, and generally create so much havoc that many of the targeted group’s members simply moved on.

    Well I’m not moving on: I’m still sick, and that won’t change until real researchers receive enough money to conduct real research. Coyne is a distraction we don’t need. He is threatening to pick up his marbles and go home? Good. The sooner he is driven back into his cave, the better off all patients will be. What do we need to do to make this happen?

  28. Jill says:

    Jeanette, please know that the love and respect that PwME have for you far outweighs the vile venom spewed by Coyne.

  29. CFS_for_19_years says:

    Coyne, it seems YOU have a need to post the horrible things you do. You are a sick man. Apologize, stop being an ass or go away.
    Jeanette, I’m so sorry you’re dealing with a sick man (Coyne) who needs help and/or restraint.

  30. Ess says:

    Apologies — authentic apologies — are ‘offered’ with understanding and meaning — this would not be the case here — INsincere apologies mean absolutely NOthing. We are dealing with a whole different can of worms here.

  31. Debra Nice says:

    “sorry” “NO” I don’t think so not from Coyne. I think its time he went. I can’t believe! how he as got this far!. I want a good divorce lawer!. I don’t take abuse! #MEpeople he will just keep abusing if not “STOP” . Like he still is.

  32. Tanya Marlow says:

    Just wanted to say hi, Jeannette, and to offer my support to you. So sorry that this is costing you so much. Online abuse and trolling and harassment is awful, no matter how important (or not) the source may be, and so damaging to people who are already depleted from this terrible illness. I’m hoping you can somehow heal well from the emotional and physical impact this all takes. So thankful for you and all the work you’ve done for us as a community.

  33. Thanks to all the legitimate members of the community who have commented on this post. Let me add a few thoughts.

    For an able-bodied mental-health professional of some (although certainly dwindling) standing to aggressively seek the ousting of (respected and accomplished) members from the only community they might have access to—due to their disability—is not only irresponsible and unprofessional; it’s cruel and sadistic. Coyne revels in it. Unlike the average ME patient, I have a solid support system, but I doubt that he took that into account before he sought to isolate me from what he had to assume is my only support network, the ME community. The degree of disregard he has shown for patients is shocking, especially for somebody with his background.

    There are some who say that Coyne’s domestic-abuse past is irrelevant. I couldn’t disagree more. It shows a clear pattern of abuse that has now entered our community and is obviously going to continue, if allowed. In fact, just a few days ago, he made the same threat–about stopping “trolls,” translation: advocates he disagrees with–he did before:

    Remember, the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Even if one doesn’t believe that this always holds water, it certainly does in Coyne’s case. One only has to look at his comments on this blog post. He, a psychologist, is transparently trying to mess with the minds of patients and to inflict more pain on them. It is quite revealing that he is delusional enough to think that I would be seeking an apology from the likes of him. He is so enamored with himself that he fails to recognize that his taunting comments expose him even more. He even feels comfortable to pile on sexual harassment.

    While most are repulsed by Coyne’s actions, some in the community have zero qualms with his abuse as long as they feel he can help ME patients and, presumably, until it’s their turn. Others even blame the abused for defending themselves or bringing it on themselves. For example, a Phoenix Rising moderator suggested I block Coyne from my blog. Unlike for a forum, like Phoenix Rising, blocking is technically impossible for a blog. But that didn’t keep the moderator from blaming me for Coyne’s unwelcome appearance on my blog. Her argument seems to be that I asked for Coyne’s sexual harassment. My transgression in this case was not that my skirt was too short, but that I decided to point out a failing of those in the ME leadership (in some cases, respected professionals) who have continued to engage with, and cover for, Coyne. Meanwhile, the ferocious hostility by those Coyne has incited is ongoing, which was his professed goal. This blog post and my tweets are about those leaders’ role, not about getting an apology from Coyne because he’s simply unredeemable.

    My husband may have put it better on Facebook regarding the resultant chilling effect on legitimate critical dissent:

    “Jeannette was not fishing for support for her personal situation with her post. Her purpose was to provide food for thought for the ME community and how it deals with (1) an authority figure who is a serial abuser of sick ME patients who express critical views of ME-related government agencies and programs and (2) advocates who do not automatically fall in line with those organizations and leaders in the ME community who promote cooperation with these government agencies and who often (directly and indirectly) seek to stifle criticism of these agencies and the various programs they promote or adopt.”

    Most important in all of this is a point Joe Kane made better than I am currently able to. Please read Joe’s comment above because even if you do not feel compelled to take a stand against abuse of patients and caregivers by a healthy outsider—from a mere self preservation perspective, you should be highly concerned about Coyne’s support of those who seek to psychologize ME. I have a feeling that this aspect of Coyne’s presence in our community might prove to be the most consequential one, more so than the ostracizing of accomplished long-term advocates, although the two are certainly connected. With critics out of the way, it’s much easier for Coyne and others to continue to endorse the US counterparts of the British psych cabal, such as Shorter and Walitt

    • Carrie says:

      I take particular exception to the PR moderator’s “she asked for it” defense.

      James Coyne initially attacked Jeannette when she’d had no interaction with him whatsoever.

      His initial strike was, “She practiced her right to freedom of speech and I will not have that!”

      Nobody can effectively defend that kind of crazy.

      The bottom line is, anyone who tries to stop any advocate from standing up for patients’ rights is not working for you.

      Take a look at who James Coyne promotes. Then ask yourself, how has the psych track worked for us so far?

      I ask our community leaders to take a stand against this abuse—particularly those orgs and individuals who continually seek donations from patients to support advocacy. If ever there were a time to speak up on behalf of our cause it is now. There are plenty more patients–and projects–for this man to attack. When are we all going to say “enough!”

  34. Ess says:

    Thank you, Jeannette. Indeed, this is not a ‘surface’ spat. There are huge ramifications for the M.E. community. There are those who have been put in place to destroy the strong advocacy efforts from making strides — to keep the ‘status quo’ — so that the REAL science of M.E. is not allowed to emerge. We see you.

    • Ess says:

      P.S. Coyne’s tweet above dated September 12, 2016 — “I’m only 1, semiretired man, doing what I can to advance cause of #mecfs patients, but need trolling by small minority of patients to stop” — predates your blog post here dated September 15, 2016 — showing that Coyne is still on his mission.

  35. ahimsa_pdx says:

    “Tolerating, and thereby emboldening, the ruthless abuse and attempted ostracizing of patients and caregivers by an authority figure can ultimately be more destructive than the abuse itself…”

    I am so sorry to hear that abuse is still ongoing. There is no excuse for Coyne’s previous verbal abuse, not to mention new taunts in this thread, eg., about Jeannette’s husband being jealous. (Seriously? That’s a pretty sick thing to say)

    I absolutely do not tolerate or support abuse of any kind. Period.

    I posted a message of support on this blog months ago when I read about what Coyne said to Jeannette. I sent out a supportive tweet when I read (long after the fact) what Coyne said to James on Facebook (user batteredoldbook on twitter). I probably missed other abuse. As a patient with ME I have limited energy and brain fog.

    At any rate, here’s my blanket statement that I don’t support or tolerate verbal abuse by anyone. I do not follow Coyne on twitter (I’m not on Facebook). I don’t read his blog and I don’t interact with him in any way.

    Are those actions enough to prove that I don’t tolerate abuse? What more is needed?

    Saying that the ME community tolerates abuse (lumping all patients together) is vague and not very useful for me. Saying exactly what actions you would like patients with ME to do to prove that abuse is not tolerated would be much more helpful for me. We might disagree but then at least I’d know what actions you’re looking for.

    Or maybe I’m missing something obvious? (it would not be the first time)

    Patients are going to disagree on the goals for medical research and whether the NIH is helping/hurting the science around ME. But one can strongly denounce verbal abuse by Coyne while still thinking that the NIH research might be helpful. I’m willing to wait and see whether NIH research turns out to be useful for ME patients (and I could be completely wrong on that! I’m not an expert!) but that does not make me a supporter of Coyne.

    • Thank you for standing up to abuse, ahimsa_pds. I want to apologize if I gave the impression that I was critical of the entire ME community. Although I acknowledged specifically the support of many people, I apparent still left the impression that it was a broader indictment that I had intended. I most definitely want to clear up any doubt about that. Thank you for pointing this out and giving me the opportunity to clarify it.

      • ahimsa_pdx says:

        Thank you for your clarification! It’s very much appreciated. With my foggy brain it’s easy for me to miss things and/or misunderstand.

        I do want to say that I very much appreciate your blog and your voice as a member of the ME community. I feel grateful for so many ME patients who manage to maintain blogs and keep track of important issues. Thank you for your hard work.

        Sending you healing vibes and hugs.

  36. Debra Nice says:

    Well said, to all who are standing up to Coyne abuse, #PwME. We all need to Say! Good bye to this very bad health issues. There is nothing he can do to put this right, anymore. So please can we do something about it?

  37. ahimsa_pdx wrote: “Saying exactly what actions you would like patients with ME to do to prove that abuse is not tolerated would be much more helpful for me”


    I think there are simple things people can do to help address mistreatment within the M.E community.

    Support for the targets of mistreatment needs to be ongoing. This is especially true while the issues remain unresolved. People should not be left isolated and alone.

    Talking about mistreatment within the M.E community and supporting others’ discussions is also very useful. “Likes” help targets of abuse feel listened to, and sharing helps spread the message across the community. Where energy allows; comments or ‘blog posts can achieve even more. The aim is to bring light to the issue and to hold it there.

    Mistreatment can be challenged indirectly. We have seen that some in the M.E community think the targets of abusive language should toughen up and move on. Others claim that mistreatment within M.E isn’t an important issue or that individual mistreatment is somehow outweighed by advantage to the community as a whole. Some even refuse to acknowledge or discuss mistreatment at all. Together these attitudes create a context where further disrespectful behaviour is made more likely and they should be questioned.

    There are, I am certain, many other things that can be done. The aim is to create a safe and healthy community where all voices are respected and heard.

    People with M.E and their advocates shouldn’t accept mistreatment and shouldn’t mistreat others. I hope everyone who agrees will do all they can to help resolve this issue.


  38. jimells says:

    I find the attitude of some of the Phoenix Rising posts to be very troubling. When Sir Simon or Peter White publicly disparage patients, there is no hesitation to grab the torches and pitchforks, as one would expect. For example, while discussing the recent FOI tribunal decision, not one forum post defended witness statements that sociopathic young men would use PACE data to expose the trial participants names.

    When Coyne abuses patients and advocates, in some ways even more offensive than anything written by the UK psychobabblers, it is “just a spat”. Then those same posters find it necessary to repeatedly proclaim just how uninterested they are in the entire subject. It is as if portions of the “patient community” (assuming such a thing actually exists) suffer from Battered Wife Syndrome.

    I suggest that people might want to think about just who benefits from the chaos Coyne has created. He has a big mouth and a big podium – hitting the Ignore button won’t make him go away.

  39. Gabby Klein says:

    This is all about the perversion of power in order to intimidate and silence a group of activists.

    Coyne has a history within and outside of the ME community for being an abusive narcissist. He entered the ME community as an “authority” figure – an academic who will champion for this community that has been continually abused for decades.

    Instead, it turns out that Coyne himself is the abuser. But, make no mistake about it, this is not random abuse. Coyne, very carefully and without any provocation, decided to pick on one of the most vocal advocates who used her excellent skills as an attorney to repeatedly and successfully hold the government health agencies accountable for their 30 years of malfeasance and neglect of millions of ME patients. She singlehandedly sued HHS and NIH in court for their violations of FOIA laws and not only won the case but the judge reprimanded HHS and NIH for their misbehavior in the way they conducted themselves.

    Coyne did not just pick on Jeannette. He also bullied other exceptional advocates like Suzy Chapman and Angela Kennedy who have done invaluable work on PACE and other crucial matters for many years. These advocates, some of which are patients – other carers of patients – have been brave, loyal and successful ME advocates who were not afraid to call the government out for their gross misconduct.

    Coyne’s pick of advocates to abuse is telling and it points to a classic method of intimidation of a group in order to silence that specific voice. This method was honed by Ron Duchin, a research analyst at Mongoven, Biscoe & Duchin Inc. who devised and used specific methods to break up activists’ groups who were fighting for social justice. The famous case being the fight against activists fighting the tobacco industry.

    Duchin’s methods included the use of character assassination to discredit the most vocal activists with the use of exaggerations, lies, trumped up charges in order to marginalize them. This initial method was crucial because with the marginalization of the most vocal and effective activists, the setting was then ripe to engage the others with the aim of getting them to work and comply with the system (make an example of a few – and the others will be intimidated and will fall in line).

    What I find very sad is that members of the ME community have enabled Coyne and even jumped on the bandwagon with him – as if a floodgate had just opened to excuse the behavior of ‘abusing ME advocates’. This has been a very sad time in the history of ME advocacy. The Coyne et al abuse has been either swept under the rug or much worse – condoned and replicated – without much resistance from the community.

    Shockingly, some in the community still champion this victimizer. They still regard his opinion and appeal for his input!

    The silence by many in the ME community and the cooperation by some have enabled this perversion of power to continue and the intimidation and silencing of a group of ME activists.

  40. Pingback: A New Direction | Thoughts About M.E.

  41. admindxrw says:

    And so his agenda against selected advocates continues…

    On 7 December, Coyne published a commentary on his PLOS hosted blog, here:

    To support his critique, he quotes three paragraphs authored by me which appeared within a December 2012 commentary published by Prof Allen Frances on the Psychology Today platform.

    That 2012 commentary also appeared on Huffington Post, on Psychiatric Times and a number of other platforms. It was very well received – garnering over 700 comments and one of a series of three commentaries on DSM-5’s new SSD category that Prof Frances and I collaborated on at the end of 2012. We then went on to collaborate on three journal papers in 2013 around our shared concerns for the new SSD category (BMJ, Aust N Z J Psychiatry and J Nerv Ment Dis).

    It is quite clear in Prof Frances’ commentary that he was quoting, at length, from correspondence with me.

    And yet Coyne has chosen to present these three extracts as though they were the words of Prof Allen Frances – with no attribution to me, as author.

    Prof Frances has now written four times to Coyne requesting that he correct his misattribution. Coyne stubbornly refuses to do so. It appears there is an agenda here.

    Prof Frances has told Coyne that whatever issues he may have with me, they are irrelevant; that he wants this misattribution corrected as much for himself, as for me; that it is clearly the right thing to do.

    Coyne won’t comply. Rather than do what would be expected of him in academic circles, ie correctly identify the author whose texts he is quoting, he is evidently prepared to antagonize the chair of the DSM-IV Task Force. It is clear that his political agenda against me outweighs academic integrity: I have effectively been “erased” from the texts he has selected to illustrate his own analysis.

    Suzy Chapman, Dx Revision Watch

  42. Copy of Formal complaint about Professor James Coyne’s behaviour

    Click to access Formal%20complaint%20about%20Professor%20James%20Coyne’s%20behaviour.pdf

    Signed by:

    Professor Richard Bentall, Professor of Clinical Psychology, University of Sheffield.
    Dr Jacqui Dillon, Chair, Hearing Voices Network England.
    Dr Alec Grant, Independent Scholar in Narrative Mental Health.
    Dr Lucy Johnstone, Consultant Clinical Psychologist.
    Professor Peter Kinderman, Professor of Clinical Psychology, University of Liverpool.
    Dr David Pilgrim, Visiting Professor of Clinical Psychology University of Southampton.
    Dr John Read, Professor of Clinical Psychology, University of East London.
    Dr Akima Thomas, Clinical Director of Women and Girls Network and West London Rape Crisis Centre.
    Jo Watson, UKCP Registered Psychotherapist.

  43. Ess says:

    It is satisfying to see that James Coyne is being further called out on his grossly disgusting, harmful and inappropriate behaviour — Coyne is causing his ‘reputation’ to become well known — and not in a good way.

    Thank you Dx Division Watch for posting this most informative update 🧐

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