OraLee Branch, a malaria researcher who began work as an assistant professor at NYU in 2008, has sued the university’s School of Medicine for discrimination.

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According to Branch’s suit, her work began to suffer after department chair and microbiologist Claudio Basilico allegedly began making sexist comments, including saying he wouldn’t weigh-in on a grant dispute because he didn’t want to “come between cat-fighting women,” (a rich assertion when so many men scientists have historically-unchecked egos) and that “women do not belong in science.”

The NY Daily News reports:

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During this same conversation, “He took a long drag of his cigarette and blew the smoke directly into her face. With aggressive tone and body language, he told her she was just a ‘girl’ who was ‘naïve and delusional’ if she thought she could succeed in science,” the lawsuit further claims.

According to the Daily News, Branch complained about the behavior in February 2012 and was fired in June 2013, which she alleges is directly related to her complaining. In a statement provided to the newspaper, the School of Medicine called the lawsuit “completely meritless.”

If true, Branch’s experience is yet another addition to the centuries-long tradition of treating women like shit in scientific fields.

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Basilico has not responded to Jezebel’s request for comment.


Image via Leonard Zhukovsky/Shutterstock.