Judith Newman, Psychologist Dr Dean Parker and Amazon Reviews

Over the last two days, I have covered a number of issues with the book, “To Siri With Love” and Judith Newman its New York based author. There are a number of concerns with the book, which mostly deals with her son Gus Newman and which are set out elsewhere, in my first article as well as by third party authors [1], [2] and [3]. Now it has been revealed that Newman has enlisted her friends in writing positive reviews and reporting negative ones to have them deleted, apparently contrary to Amazon rules.

AmazonLogo

Amazon – has a detailed “Anti-Manipulation Policy for Customer Reviews” and a zero tolerance approach.

After the controversy erupted, a whistleblower approached a disability rights website, “International Badass Activists” with alleged screenshots of discussions  (archive) between Newman and her friends.

In the discussion, Newman seems to engage in getting her friends to write reviews and asking them to report adverse reviews.

It seems that to some extent her concerns are legitimate. As a customer I expect reviewers to have read the book and it is reasonable and proportionate that Amazon restrict reviews to purchasers. Whilst that will exclude some people who might have read the book elsewhere, it will certainly exclude abusive reviews by people who have not even read the book.

DeanParkerVerified

One of the screenshots shows and individual claiming to be a clinical psychologist. This concerned me.

I decided to see if I could verify the comments. One thing that concerned me was this screenshot. A person called Dean Parker claimed that they were a clinical psychologist and had used that title in representations to Amazon. I decided to see if the allegations were true.

Tracing Dr Parker did not take long. He is a New York State licensed psychologist, number 008022. (confirmed here). I asked him if the statement was accurate. He responded (amongst other things), “[…] She gave permission for my commentary on the page […]”. So the context appears to be correct.

At no time during our correspondence did he deny that the screenshot was real, although he did at one point threaten that he has no less than two licensed attorneys he is related to willing to sue me. The reason I was concerned though, was the content of the book he was endorsing and the appropriateness of a licensed professional doing so.

The book has been criticised because of its profound intrusiveness and exploitative content. The book details a number of deeply personal issues from her son’s life from his potty training to a great deal of explicitly sexual material. Disturbingly Newman talks of her sons repetitive play with wooden escalators and compares it to her re-reading of the novel “Lolita”, a story of paedophile obsession and abuse.

Newman talks about one son’s fears he had a disorder of the penis, discussing his penis and foreskin in detail. She goes on to talk about the pornography Gus likes as well as the pornography her other son was looking at when he was 7 years old. Finally she discusses the issue of obtaining medical power of attorney over Gus and having him sterilised. The leaked conversations show that she admitted she did not have proper informed consent.

As a result, as my previous article set out, numerous activists and reviewers (after non-purchasers have weeded it out) have described the book as emotionally abusive and exploitative. Activists have organised a #BoycottToSiri tag on Twitter.

Many people might feel uncomfortable about a “Clinical Psychologist” who is willing to help promote a book with this content. Indeed, Parker describes it as a, “wonderful take on raising an autistic child”. Those who disagree might not feel comfortable about themselves or a loved one being his patient. Ever.

More importantly, Amazon has strict rules about review manipulation. Removing reviews by non-purchasers seems legitimate but organising mass reporting (at least one person reported every single adverse review) and getting a Facebook group of your friends to post positive reviews seems a little extreme.

It seems only fair to let Amazon know. They have policies that might apply, specifically the, “Anti-Manipulation Policy for Customer Reviews” and “Offensive Products” rules. If they are unhappy with the situation they can delist the product, effectively taking it off sale. The Offensive Products page appears only to be guidelines, but some people might want to talk about the book’s demeaning content and also its apparent intrusiveness as there are categories for “hate speech” and also material recorded without consent.

Readers may want to send polite complaints to Amazon. The product is listed here. Polite courteous emails can be sent to the CEO of Amazon, jeff@amazon.com as well as to cis@amazon.com and community-help@amazon.com.

An effective email will need to identify the product, explain the problem and ask for a resolution. Calling Amazon or its staff names will not help. Politeness and volume of emails will. Something like this template might help.

****************************************

To – jeff@amazon.com; cis@amazon.com; community-help@amazon.com
Subject – Product Concern

Dear Amazon,

I am writing to express concern about a product listed. I believe that there may have been breaches of the review manipulation rules and it may be an offensive product and therefore prohibited. The product listing is here – https://www.amazon.com/Siri-Love-Autistic-Kindness-Machines/dp/0062413627/

The book demeans the author’s disabled son (and indeed is intrusive regarding her non-disabled son). Here are four articles expressing concern from 4 separate publishers and authors –

https://www.romper.com/p/people-want-to-boycott-to-siri-with-love-saying-it-invades-the-privacy-of-a-boy-with-autism-6768968
https://internationalbadassactivists.org/2017/12/09/people-on-the-autism-spectrum-are-boycotting-to-siri-with-love-yahoo/
http://talesbytheunexpected.be/books/book-analysis-to-siri-with-love-by-judith-newman/
https://matthewhopkinsnews.com/?p=5579

In addition, the author’s Facebook conversations have been leaked showing she asked a group containing over 100 people to report adverse reviews for the purpose of having them removed, and asking friends to write positive reviews. This may breach the rules on review manipulation. The articles are here –

https://internationalbadassactivists.org/2017/12/28/autistics-and-autisticculture-mocked-by-judith-newman-friends-twitter-screens-working-on-transcribing-1-time-boycotttosiri/
https://matthewhopkinsnews.com/?p=5649

Can you please investigate this and consider imposing sanctions such as removing this deeply distressing and demeaning book from sale on your platform?

Yours faithfully,

****************************************

Together, perhaps we can make a difference.

Share Button
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Equality, Free Speech, Human Rights, Judith Newman, Mental Capacity, Samuel Collingwood Smith, Twitter by Samuel Collingwood Smith. Bookmark the permalink.

About Samuel Collingwood Smith

Samuel Collingwood Smith was born in the north of England, but his family moved south early in his life and spent most of his early years in Welwyn Garden City before attending Queen Mary, University of London, where he studied Economics. Smith was employed as a Labour Party fundraiser in the 2001 General Election, and as a Labour Party Organiser in the 2005 General Election. In 2005 Smith was elected as a Borough Councillor for Haldens Ward on Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council and served for 3 years until 2008. In 2009 Smith changed sides to the Conservative party citing division within Labour ranks, Labour broken promises and Conservative improvements to local services. In 2012 Smith started to study a Graduate Diploma in Law, passing in 2014. Smith then moved on to studying a Master's Degree in Law combined with an LPC, receiving an LL.M LPC (with Commendation) in January 2017. During his study, Smith assisted several individuals in high profile court cases as a McKenzie Friend - in one case being praised by Parliamentary petition for his charitable work and legal skills. Smith is also the author of this blog, Matthew Hopkins News, that deals with case law around Family and Mental Capacity issues. The blog also opposes online drama and abuse and criticises extreme-left politicians.

2 thoughts on “Judith Newman, Psychologist Dr Dean Parker and Amazon Reviews

  1. Clinical psychologists are not often the best at thinking critically about child development and adolescent development.

    If you want to know more about what I expect of students and clinicians in this field [and the closely related field of lifespan development], read Jean Mercer’s five-parter on Critical thinking in child development [2009].

    http://childmyths.blogspot.com/2009/04/critical-thinking-and-mastery-of-child.html
    http://childmyths.blogspot.com/2009/04/critical-thinking-and-mastery-of-child_18.html
    http://childmyths.blogspot.com/2009/04/critical-thinking-and-child-development.html
    http://childmyths.blogspot.com/2009/04/critical-thinking-and-mastery-of-child_2194.html
    http://childmyths.blogspot.com/2009/04/critical-thinking-and-mastery-of-child_5921.html
    http://childmyths.blogspot.com/2009/04/critical-thinking-and-mastery-of-child_6541.html
    http://childmyths.blogspot.com/2009/04/critical-thinking-and-mastery-of-child_9284.html

    And I know that in the American system there is often a conflict between what is “appropriate” and what is “best” especially when it comes to education and habilitation. A big thing which happened in 2017 was “beyond de minimis”.

    “More importantly, Amazon has strict rules about review manipulation. Removing reviews by non-purchasers seems legitimate but organising mass reporting (at least one person reported every single adverse review) and getting a Facebook group of your friends to post positive reviews seems a little extreme.

    It seems only fair to let Amazon know. They have policies that might apply, specifically the, “Anti-Manipulation Policy for Customer Reviews” and “Offensive Products” rules. If they are unhappy with the situation they can delist the product, effectively taking it off sale. The Offensive Products page appears only to be guidelines, but some people might want to talk about the book’s demeaning content and also its apparent intrusiveness as there are categories for “hate speech” and also material recorded without consent.

    Readers may want to send polite complaints to Amazon. The product is listed here. Polite courteous emails can be sent to the CEO of Amazon, jeff@amazon.com as well as to cis@amazon.com and community-help@amazon.com.

    An effective email will need to identify the product, explain the problem and ask for a resolution. Calling Amazon or its staff names will not help. Politeness and volume of emails will. Something like this template might help.”

    And thank you for being a good McKenzie friend to people who need it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *