Stanislaw, Streisand and Spartacus

In response to a critical Quackometer post regarding the Burzynski Clinic, Andy Lewis received an email from ‘Marc Stephens’, claiming to represent the clinic and asking that he remove the post.

This was of particular interest to me, since I had written a very similar post myself just two days later.

Although Stephens does not appear to be a lawyer and, to put it mildly, does not come across in the most professional way, he did say:

This correspondence constitutes a demand that you immediately cease and desist in your actions defaming and libeling my clients.

This would have been enough to persuade many people to take down the post – as presumably happened in this case*.

Andy’s actual response was rather different. He decided to go the Ratbags route, left the post online and published his email exchange with Stephens in full (here and here).

I am hugely impressed and relieved by this as I’m not sure I would have had the guts to do this myself, had Stephens approached me first. But I certainly would now.

(EDIT 28/11/11 It has now come to light  that Rhys Morgan – a prominent UK blogger who is still in high school, had also received intimidating emails. Details of these are here.)

The likelihood of Stephens contacting me now seems to be getting ever smaller. Critical Burzynski posts are popping up all over the internet almost faster than I can read them.

Despite his confident assertion that Quackwatch, Ratbags, and the rest of you Skeptics days are numbered, surely Mr Stephens will not be able to deal with us all individually?

You will find a growing list of new Burzynski posts here), where anarchic teapot points out the perils of unleashing the Streisand Effect.

Here is a list of my own:

  1. Ducks are nuthin’ but trouble anarchic teapot, Short and Spiky,  24/11/11
  2. Burzynski Clinic Threatens Blogger jdc325, Stuff and Nonsense, 24/11/11
  3. The Burzynski Clinic Guy Chapman, Guy Chapman’s Blahg, 24/11/11
  4. Not Everyone Cares About Cancer On the MEND, 24/11/11
  5. Threats from the Burzynski Clinic Kulvinder Singh Matharu, Matharu’s Rants and Raves, 24/11/11
  6. Burzynski Clinic Issues Legal Threats Against Bloggers The Twenty-First Floor, 24/11/11
  7. The Burzynski clinic has ever so many trials Jo Brodie, Stuff that occurs to me, 24/11/11
  8. Burzynski Clinic Quackery Richer Ramblings, 24/11/11
  9. Burzynski Clinic Bullies Bloggers with Legal Threats (Major update) idoubtit, Doubtful Newsblog, 24/11/11
  10. A letter to the Observer Tannice, Skepticos, 25/11/11
  11. The weird world of US ethics regulation Professor Dorothy Bishop, BishopBlog, 25/11/11
  12. The Burzynski Clinic Adam Jacobs, Dianthus Medical, 25/11/11
  13. Stanislaw, Streisand and Spartacus, Josephine Jones,25/11/11
  14. Dear Observer …………… Nucella, 25/11/11
  15. Skeptic News: Burzynski Petition Keir Liddle, The Twenty-First Floor, 25/11/11
  16. A little dose of hemp will cure everything PZ Myers, Pharyngula, 25/11/11
  17. Taking the piss Anthony Cox, Black Triangle 25/11/11
  18. Hope or false hope? Kat Arney, Science Update blog, Cancer Research UK, 25/11/11
  19. A P.R. flack from the Burzynski Clinic threatens a skeptical blogger Orac, Respectful Insolence, 25/11/11
  20. Is the Burzynski Clinic threatening critics? White Coat Underground, 25/11/11
  21. Evidence? Burzynski don’t need no stinkin’ evidence writerJames, Cubik’s Rube, 25/11/11
  22. A PR Flack for Cancer Quack Attempts to Bully Skeptic Blogger. Ridicule Ensues I Speak of Dreams, 25/11/11
  23. #Burzynski tweets from 18 November onwards Jo Brodie, chirpstory 25/11/11
  24. #Burzynski tweets minus the RTs – streamlined version Jo Brodie, chirpstory 25/11/11
  25. A Reply from The Observer. Nucella, 25/11/11
  26. On The Burzynski Clinic Issuing Legal Threats Against Bloggers – Support The Streisand Effect Kylie Sturgess, Token Skeptic, 26/11/11
  27. The cruelty of the Burzynski Clinic must be stopped. Come on, Marc Stephens, make my day Professor David Colquhoun, DC’s Improbable Science, 26/11/11
  28. Big business in Texas Zeno, Zeno’s Blog, 26/11/11
  29. Another frothy threat from Burzynski’s alleged representative. Lot’s of RED ARROWS. Andy Lewis,, 26/11/11
  30. Is Marc Stephens Really A Representative Of Burzynski? beatis, Anaximperator blog, 26/11/11
  31. Ein Blogger, Krebs und Radiohead merdeister,, 26/11/11
  32. Stanislaw Burzynski’s public record RJB, Skeptical Humanities 26/11/11
  33. Merchant of Hope. The Demon Haunted World, 26/11/11
  34. Burzynski bastardry continues/But wait, there’s more!/And even more …  Peter Bowditch, The Millenium Project, 26/11/11
  35. But wait, there’s more! (the ‘Red Arrows’ email in full) Peter Bowditch, The Millenium Project, 26/11/11
  36. Response to the Accusations of Marc Stephens The Twenty-First Floor, 26/11/11
  37. LETZTE WARNUNG: Denken Sie an Frau und Kind, enfernen Sie den Blogeintrag EsoWatch, 27/11/11
  38. The ones Burzynski doesn’t boast about anarchic teapot, Short and Spiky, 27/11/11
  39. False hope and real living Dr Margaret McCartney, Margaret McCartney’s blog, 27/11/11
  40. Quack, quack…. The Jobbing Doctor, 27/11/11
  41. Weekly round-up w/e 27/11/11 Birmingham Skeptics, 27/11/11
  42. Bloggers react as leading quackbuster is threatened with libel over exposé of charlatan cancer claims Richard Wilson, Richard Wilson’s blog, 27/11/11
  43. Some libel silliness David Allen Green, Jack of Kent, 27/11/11
  44. Emails regarding the Burzynski Clinic not published in The Observer Josephine Jones, 27/11/11
  45. I am Spartacus (allegedly) #Burzynski Kevin Bradshaw, I Blog Every Day, 27/11/11
  46. Analysing Burzynski Adam Cuerden, The Twenty-First Floor, 27/11/11
  47. Stanislaw Burzynski: Bad medicine, a bad movie, and bad P.R. David Gorski, Science-Based Medicine, 28/11/11 (also here)
  48. Beware the Cancer Quack  Unity, Ministry of Truth, 28/11/11 (also here)
  49. Marc Stephens issues more threats on behalf of the Burzynski Clinic Orac, Respectful Insolence, 28/11/11
  50. Dear Observer Part 2…………… Nucella, 28/11/11
  51. Threats from The Burzynski Clinic Rhys Morgan, 28/11/11
  52. The Burzynski Clinic Threatens 17 Year Old Blogger Andy Lewis, The Quackometer, 28/11/11
  53. Could the Burzynski clinic fall foul of UK law? Keir Liddle, The Twenty-First Floor, 28/11/11
  54. Won’t Shut Up About #Burzynski? Photograph A TEENAGER’S HOUSE To Silence Them Atheist Feed 28/11/11
  55. Antineoplastons Dr. Robert, Skeptical Health, 28/11/11
  56. A (very brief) Reply From The Observer. Nucella, 28/11/11
  57. Burzynski Cancer Clinic Charges Plenty for Entry to Trial of Quack Treatment and Threatens Children and Families of Critical Bloggers Christian Munthe, Philosophical Comment, 28/11/11
  58. Antineoplastons – taking the piss once again Mike Fowler, Theoretically Speaking, a nature network blog,, 28/11/11
  59. Mehr von Burzynskis freundlichem Fürsprecher merdeister, 28/11/11
  60. Do Burzynski and dodgy behaviour go hand in hand? anarchic teapot, Short and Spiky, 28/11/11
  61. Burzynski Clinic? Meet the Streisand Effect Scott Gavura, Skeptic North, 28/11/11
  62. Burzynski Clinic: the domain of scoundrels and quacks PZ Myers, Pharyngula, 28/11/11
  63. Dr Burzynski’s crooked antineoplastons Sceptical Letter Writer, 28/11/11
  64. Burzynski clinic Doctor Zorro, 28/11/11
  65. Burzynski and Streisand: Still Dancing thinking is real, 28/11/11
  66. Sceptics show support as cancer clinic threatens teenager Padraig Reidy, Free Speech blog, Index on Censorship, 28/11/11
  67. Burzynski clinic’s quackery Dave Gamble Skeptical Science, 28/11/11
  68. Burzynski noodlemaz, Purely a figment of your imagination, 28/11/11
  69. Representative from Burzynski Clinic sends aggressive legal threats to skeptics who question “antineoplaston” cancer therapy Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing, 28/11/11
  70. Streisand that clinic Ophelia Benson, Butterflies & Wheels, 28/11/11
  71. Clinical Trials for Sale Majikthyse, 28/11/11
  72. Up both of yours, Marc Stephens and Stanislaw Burzynski Skepticat, 28/11/11
  73. Is the Burzynski Clinic Full of Quacks? Laurence A. Moran, Sandwalk, 28/11/11
  74. Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression Kevin Bradshaw, I Blog Every Day, 28/11/11
  75. Threats from The Burzynski Clinic Tony, Coffee Loving Skeptic, 28/11/11
  76. Bloggers Bullied by Burzynski Mark Jones, Good Grief Linus, 28/11/11
  77. “Alternative” cancer clinic threatens to sue high school blogger Phil Plait, Discover Magazine, 28/11/11
  78. The Burzynski Clinic – Another Crank Tries to Intimidate a Blogger Steven Novella, NeuroLogica Blog, 28/11/11 (also here)
  79. Krebs-Scharlatan will Blogger mundtot machen Christian Kahle, WinFuture, 28/11/11 (Google translation)
  80. Belligerent Burzynski rep gets on the wrong side of Rhys Morgan Richard Wilson, Richard Wilson’s blog, 28/11/11
  81. Qui est Stanislaw Burzynski? La terrasse du café, 28/11/11
  82. Who the hell does Marc Stephens think he is? skepticcullen, 28/11/11
  83. Stanislaw Burzynski: can he do what he claims? White Coat Underground, 28/11/11
  84. Texas Medical Board vs Burzynski Vaughan Jones, Ministry of Truth, 28/11/11
  85. wee wee woo waa and the heart string tug jobs Gordie, Ferfuxache, 28/11/11
  86. Boing Boing’s Cory Doctorow Weighs In On Burzynski Clinic’s Marc Stephens Kylie, Sturgess, Token Skeptic, 29/11/11
  87. Burzynski Lawyer Distances Clinic From Threats to Bloggers Martin Robbins, Google+, 29/11/11
  88. The Scientific Method Geoff Coupe, Geoff Coupe’s blog, 29/11/11
  89. For Burzynski, Cancer Is Big Business Dis-Integrated Medicine, 29/11/11
  90. Burzynski The Movie: Hitting you over the head with pseudoscience, just like Burzynski the man Orac, Respectful Insolence, 29/11/11
  91. Skeptics News: Burzynski update Keir Liddle, The Twenty-First Floor, 29/11/11
  92. Burzynski und die Jagd nach Barbara Streisand EsoWatch, 29/11/11
  93. Burzynski Clinic Quackery Update Richer Ramblings, 29/11/11
  94. If it quacks like a troll it’s probably a quack-o-troll Gladly, The Cross-Eyed Bear, 29/11/11
  95. Burzynski Clinic – no evidence, just intimidation Ed Brown, Really, Ed Brown, 29/11/11
  96. The Great Burzynski Caper codenix, 29/11/11
  97. Las amenazas de la clínica Burzynski Angela, escéptica, 29/11/11
  98. Would you kick a dying man? Birmingham Skeptics, 29/11/11
  99. Statement on libel threats to critics of The Burzynski Clinic Sense about Science, 29/11/11
  100. Burzynski blogs: My Master List Josephine Jones, 29/11/11
  101. Stanislaw Burzynski – Another Bullying Quack Skeptico, 29/11/11
  102. Skeptic Park 4: Featuring Rhys Morgan #Burzynski Crispian Jago, Science, Reason and Critical Thinking, 29/11/11
  103. Burzynski Fanatic Threatens Bloggers ‘Round the World, Craig Malisow, Houston Press Blogs, 29/11/11
  104. Why Burzynski matters Ophelia Benson, Butterflies & Wheels, 29/11/11
  105. The Burzynski Cancer Treatment Derek Lowe, In The Pipeline, 29/11/11
  106. Burzynski: naturals not in it Keir Liddle, The Twenty-First Floor, 29/11/11
  107. ‘Alternative Medicine’ Clinic Attempts To Silence Critics Asmodae, Slashdot, 29/11/11

If you know of any new and relevant articles not listed above, then please let me know and I will add them. A comment (or pingback) below should do the trick.**


UPDATE 26/11/11

The Observer have confirmed that they are carrying out further research into this story and the clinic and may print this letter.

UPDATE 27/11/11

The Observer have now published the letter mentioned above in an edited form. Details of the editing (and of the emails they have not yet answered) are here.

*UPDATE 27/11/11

The Tales of the Genomic Repairman post, which had been taken down following a ‘cease and desist’ request from a ‘representative’ of the Burzynski clinic is now back online.

**UPDATE 29/11/11

Since the Guardian have now reported this story, I feel the time is right to stop adding new links. You are of course welcome to post links to new articles in comments below.

UPDATE 04/12/11

The Observer readers’ editor has written this column.


103 responses to “Stanislaw, Streisand and Spartacus

  1. Well, obviously M. Stephens has no idea about freedom of opinion and one of the off-limits. It’s called: Hate speech.

    I don’t know where you’re from, but in the U.S. hate speech is protected under First Amendment protections of free speech, and we’re kind of proud of that (but not of our numerous hate speakers).

  2. Pingback: The Burzynski Clinic disavows Marc Stephens but not the legal intimidation of bloggers who criticize its therapy | My Blog

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  5. For any interested there is a documentary defending the clinic and this guy’s theories on the Documentary Channel;
    The film appears to have won a 2010 film festival as well

  6. offline today???

  7. Thanks for 21stF Twitter link. I don’t do Twitter but at least it answered the question. I do occasionally fall for the correlation-causation paranoid conclusion.

  8. Pingback: Bruzynski clinic and antineoplastons – False hope is worse than no hope. « Dubitabam Rationale

  9. Pingback: Stanislaw Burzinsky: Cancer, Lawsuits and Intimidation « the II-I- blog

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  16. I’ve written something… I’ve been dealing with my own High Court libel case so have been slow on the uptake. But I’m here to offer my support…

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  27. Pingback: The Burzynski Clinic disavows Marc Stephens but not the legal intimidation of bloggers who criticize its therapy – Respectful Insolence

  28. Hey, Buzynski is still alive and kicking and swindling !!! And guess what else? Dr Buzynski getting honored by the Catholic Church in 2013″… So claims Kiran Schmidt… and he’s posting ‘real’ documents signed by Cardinal Sodano. That’s right!! “and his work honored by the Catholic Church by being initiated as :
    “Commander of the Knight-order of St.Gregory the Great!!!

    see ‘the quackiest of quacksters’..

    Thanks, keep posting!

  29. Thanks JJ,
    Very informative blog, it’s nice to know people who are taking the time and effort to expose and combat( with truth) this quackery. These quacks, beside
    misleading and harming naïve, sick, gullible and desperate people, are an insult to our reason and modern society. Keep posting!!
    You may want to check this Kiran Schmidt out. He’s a quack, for sure.
    Maybe small potatoes next to Buzynski. But, it’s funny how Schmidt has associations with Buzynski, his new age quack health businesses(information and energy medicine , what is that all about?) , quack faith healer ‘john of god’ of Brazil( who Oprah promoted and made famous/infamous) and now Schmidt ties them all together in a neat little package and claims the Catholic Church recognizes and honors them. These wackos are too much. Still, it seems people go for it, hook line and sinker.

  30. Pingback: Interesting Links, November 2011 | An Eclectic Mind

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  35. Pingback: The Burzynski Clinic disavows Marc Stephens but not the legal intimidation of bloggers who criticize its therapy - Respectful Insolence

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