A doctor from the University of Guelph who has been outspoken about his concerns over COVID-19 vaccines claims he has been on the receiving end of workplace harassment after voicing his opinion.
Dr. Byram Bridle, an associate professor of viral immunology, recently spoke at a press conference in Ottawa hosted by independent MP Derek Sloan. Sloan, who was controversially removed from the Conservative Party in January, held a summit allowing medical experts the opportunity to raise concerns over censorship of dissenting opinions.
That press conference has now been seen more than 470,000 times on YouTube.
Dr. Bridle, the first speaker at the event, spoke about the “very public smear campaign” he claims is being run against him.
“I'm experiencing harassment — lots of harassment — in the workplace,” Dr. Bridle said. While the University of Guelph administration has been supportive of his right to share his opinion and of his right to academic freedom, Dr. Bridle revealed much the harassment he spoke of is coming from colleagues, both on social media and in person.
“One of the members of the Ontario COVID-19 science advisory committee, they were actually the first ones to post a link to the slanderous website and they have fanned the flames of this smear campaign quite strongly since then,” Dr. Bridle revealed.
Dr. Bridle appeared to be referring to University of Toronto professor of epidemiology David Fisman, who on May 29 tweeted his opinion regarding some of Dr. Bridle's claims and pointed readers to a website using Bridle's name.
Fisman was previously criticized by Ontario Premier Doug Ford for his paid work on behalf of the province's teachers' union, while simultaneously serving on the Ontario Science Advisory Table.
Dr. Bridle explained how the issues went beyond disagreements over COVID vaccines, but that “they even went so far as to release confidential medical information about my parents.”
“This is an egregious act. This is a practicing physician,” Dr. Bridle said.
On May 31, Fisman tweeted that a “friend” had told him that an interview broadcast on Toronto-based Global News affiliate caused Bridle's parents to cancel their vaccine appointments.
The University of Guelph told local news outlet GuelphToday that it is standing behind Dr. Bridle, despite the controversy his claims have generated.
“This overarching commitment and mission aligns with the right of individual faculty to express their own opinions or to pursue curiosity-driven research, even when it may be perceived or believed to be controversial and at odds with the common understanding,” the statement released to GuelphToday said.
“Universities must continue to be places that value differing viewpoints, champion free speech, and promote inquiry and academic freedom. We do expect that all researchers adhere to the highest levels of scholastic integrity and comply with applicable laws and regulations.”