A TEDx talk in Germany has caused quiet a ruckus.
In the talk which took place on the 5th of May 2018, a medical student Mirjam Heine at the University of Wurzburg, Germany gave a controversial presentation on the topic: “Why our perception of pedophilia has to change.”
According to Snopes, she was quoted as saying:
Let me very clear here. Abusing children is wrong without any doubt. But a pedophile who doesn’t abuse children has done nothing wrong. I want to quickly summarize where we are at the moment. According to current research, pedophilia is an unchangeable sexual orientation, just like for example heterosexuality.
No one chooses to be a pedophile. No one can cease being one. The difference between pedophilia and other sexual orientations is that living out this sexual orientation will end in a disaster.
TED has released a statement on the incident:
An independently organized TEDx event recently posted, and subsequently removed, a talk from the TEDx YouTube channel that the event organizer titled: “Why our perception of pedophilia has to change.”
After reviewing the talk, we believe it cites research in ways that are open to serious misinterpretation. This led some viewers to interpret the talk as an argument in favor of an illegal and harmful practice. TED would like to make clear that it does not promote pedophilia.
In the TEDx talk, a speaker described pedophilia as a condition some people are born with, and suggested that if we recognize it as such, we can do more to prevent those people from acting on their instincts and harming children. This field of science is developing, and the definition of the condition is just one of many points that are in debate across the global scientific community (and even in standard reference works).
While there is much debate around this field, scholars in the field are united in their wish to keep children from coming to harm — as the speaker makes clear in her own talk, saying “Let me be very clear here. Abusing children is wrong without any doubt.”
TEDx events are organized independently from the main annual TED conference, with some 3,500 events held every year in more than 100 countries. Our nonprofit TED organization does not control TEDx events’ content.
After contacting the local TEDx organizer to understand why the talk had been taken down, we learned that the speaker herself requested it be removed from the internet because she had concerns about her own safety.
Our policy is and always has been to remove speakers’ talks when they request we do so. That is why we support this TEDx organizer’s decision to respect this speaker’s wishes and keep the talk offline.
Original, posted June 19, 2018: An independently organized TEDx event recently posted, and subsequently removed, a talk from the TEDx YouTube channel that the event organizer had titled: “Why our perception of pedophilia has to change.”
We were not aware of this organizer’s actions, but understand now that their decision to remove the talk was at the speaker’s request for her safety.
In our review of the talk in question, we at TED believe it cites research open for serious misinterpretation.
TED does not support or advocate for pedophilia.
We are now reviewing the talk to determine how to move forward.
Until we can review this talk for potential harm to viewers, we are taking down any illegal copies of the talk posted on the Internet.