Eight Nobel prize-winners have condemned a “lynch mob” who they claim hounded disgraced scientist Sir Tim Hunt from his job, according to the Times.
Hunt faced a huge backlash for saying that the "trouble with girls" involved in science is that they fall in love easily and cry when criticised.
He held the role of honorary professor with the UCL Faculty of Life Sciences but the university confirmed he resigned - although he claimed that he never had a chance to explain the comments properly.
But The Times said that they contacted a number of other Nobel laureates, who sprang to Hunt’s defence.
Sir Andre Geim, of the University of Manchester, who shared the Nobel prize for physics in 2010, claimed that the scientist had been “crucified” by ideological fanatics.
According to The Times, he added: “So much for the freedom of expression by the very people who should be guardians of academic freedom.”
Jack Szostak, of Harvard University, a Nobel prize-winning medical biologist, said that he found it “frightening to see how one stupid comment can ignite a global firestorm of criticism”.
Others, including medical academic Randy Schekman, physicist Sir Anthony Leggett and chemist Avram Hershko also criticised UCL’s treatment of Hunt.
Last week Hunt told the Observer that he felt felt there had been an “enormous rush to judgment” in the way UCL dealt with him.
He said: “At no point did they ask me for an explanation for what I said or to put it in context.
“They just said I had to go. There has been an enormous rush to judgment in dealing with me.”
Hunt also found himself with an unlikely ally in the form of Katie Hopkins.
Upon hearing about his resignation, she tweeted: “Sir Tim Hunt resigns from UCL. Bloody hell. Public shaming has reached in proportions. ISIS in another guise. ‘Conform or get out’.”