Professor Joan Meier, a key figure in the film, identifies herself in writing as among those “who start with an advocate’s perspective,” and distinguishes herself from those who start from a “neutral” perspective. She also describes some of her own proposals as “radical.” This calls into question the film’s balance and objectivity, especially where no fathers’ group is represented.
In a separate investigation, Lundy Bancroft, another major figure in the film, is found to have boasted that he was fired by the Massachusetts family courts as a domestic violence educator because of his extreme views. Again, this calls into question the film’s balance and objectivity, especially where no fathers’ group is represented.
The grown daughter of Amy Neustein, an author whose research is repeatedly pointed to by Professor Meier and other figures connected with the film has written a detailed repudiation of her mother’s persistent and flagrant charges that Ms. Orbach was sexually molested as a child by Neustein’s ex-husband.
The two publications by Bancroft frequently cited by those connected with the film both state, “The project also makes no claim regarding the statistical significance, ability to generalize to a larger population, or the overall extent of the reported problems either in Massachusetts or elsewhere.” Yet the film uses these publications to create the impression that the problem of abusive fathers gaining custody is all pervasive.
Professor Meier repeatedly points for validation to a 2003 article in an alternative newspaper which resulted in $1 million jury verdict for libel against the publisher. Not only is an alternative newspaper an inappropriate citation for a scholarly work, but the article itself is simply a participant in the round-robin citations of the same pool of authors.
Meier, J. S. (2002). “Domestic Violence, Child Custody and Child Protection: Understanding Judicial Resistance and Imagining the Solutions.” American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy and the Law, 11, 657-731.
In this article of 74 pages, Prof. Meier self-identifies herself as among those “who start with an advocate’s perspective” (p. 664), as distinguished from those who start from a “neutral” perspective. She also describes some of her own proposals as “radical.”
The article is densely footnoted, but most citations are to secondary and tertiary sources rather than original data sources. Almost all other citations are to individual case histories, newspaper articles, opinion pieces and court decisions about individual cases. Sources of this sort are generally inappropriate for a scholarly article that alleges broad societal patterns.