Australia

'Break out the popcorn': Jordan Peterson's upcoming Q&A appearance sparks debate

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The ABC has confirmed Jordan Peterson will appear on its Q&A program.

Social media is divided amid news that controversial Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson will appear on the ABC's Q&A program.

On Tuesday, a spokesperson for the ABC confirmed to SBS News that Dr Peterson will feature on the show's 25 February episode. The spokesperson did not reveal who will also appear on the panel.

Dr Peterson is in Australia promoting his self-help book Twelve Rules for Life: an Antidote to Chaos, including a sold-out show at the Sydney Opera House.

Monday's episode of Q&A.
Monday's episode of Q&A.
Twitter - @QandA

He rose to prominence in Canada after opposing Canadian legislation that promoted the use of transgender pronouns.

Railing against feminism, political correctness and hate speech laws, he has built up a cult following in some circles.  

But critics accuse him of transphobia and misogyny, lambasting his claim the "masculine spirit is under assault".

One of his more controversial views is that the gender pay gap is not only about discrimination, but rather mainly due to biological differences between the sexes.

Many took to social media to welcome the Q&A announcement. 

Controversial figure and speaker Dr Jordan Peterson is coming to an Australian screen soon.
Controversial figure and speaker Dr Jordan Peterson is coming to an Australian screen soon.
Getty Images

"The ABC is no match for Peterson," one Facebook user said, with another adding, "I'll be breaking out the popcorn".

But others have slammed the move.

One Twitter user said the decision put the ABC on a path towards "normalising and promoting" the Alt-Right movement.

In March last year, Dr Peterson packed out auditoriums around Australia. During the tour he reportedly tried to secure a place on Q&A, telling The Australian "I would have stayed longer if it would have helped".

As part of his book tour, Dr Peterson is also due to appear in New Zealand where he has attracted a similar level of criticism.

In a statement, NGO Auckland Peace Action said Dr Peterson "threatens everything of value in our society".

"This book, while offering superficially useful life advice to an audience of disaffected white men, promotes a reactionary, misogynistic view of the world utterly in opposition to New Zealand values," the statement said.

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