Infamous Biologist James Watson, who said black people were inherently less intelligent than white people, is Broke
The infamous biologist James Watson, 86, who said black people were inherently less intelligent than white people is broke, and is auctioning his Nobel Prize Medal in New York on Thursday, 4 December 2014 to raise money.
Francis Wahlgren, the Christie’s auctioneer who is handling the sale, expects the Nobel Prize medal, which Watson won with Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins in 1962 for discovering the double helix structure of DNA, to rake in $3.5m.
Watson’s financial woes started after his controversial and racially-laced remarks in 2007 that black people were inherently less intelligent than white people. In October 2007, Dr James Watson had told the Sunday Times’ Charlotte Hunt-Grubbe in an interview that he was “inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa” because “all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours – whereas all the testing says not really.”
The hullabaloo that followed his controversial and insensitive remarks engendered instance reactions: His sold-out U.K. tour for his then new book called Avoid Boring People: Lessons from a Life in Science was cancelled; his scheduled talk at the Science Museum in London to promote his book was also cancelled and the University of Edinburgh axed Watson from a lecture series in which he was supposed to participate. He was forced to retire from the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on Long Island, New York where Watson was chancellor.
Bruised and mortified, James Watson tendered an unreserved apology for his offensive and unreasonable remarks: “To all those who have drawn the inference from my words that Africa, as a continent, is somehow genetically inferior, I can only apologize unreservedly. That is not what I meant. More importantly from my point of view, there is no scientific basis for such a belief.”
But it was too little too late. Career and finance wise, Watson never recovered and has seen his savings fizzled out. Today he is on his financial knees, with his last penny. His Nobel Prize medal seems the only thing he can readily lay his hands on to raise some money to survive.
The shamed biologist told the Financial Times “Because I was an ‘unperson’ I was fired from the boards of companies, so I have no income, apart from my academic income.”