A CAMPAIGN has been launched to sack a Winchester University professor for expressing what it is claimed are extreme views on child abuse and sexuality.

The call to remove controversial academic and gay rights campaigner Eric Anderson from his post comes after he made remarks about the damage caused by paedophiles during a speech delivered at Oxford University.

The 47-year-old professor of masculinity, sexuality and sport told a gay and lesbian audience: “The damage that’s caused by child molestation is socially constructed by the Western world.”

In a statement to the Hampshire Chronicle, Professor Anderson, who has been reprimanded by the university, said he believed sex should only take place between consenting adults.

He warned the audience his talk would include graphic sexual references and explained how he liked to have sex with youths aged between 16 and 18.

He boasted about sleeping around on cruise ships and notching up at least 1,000 sexual partners before vowing to double the number before his death.

Now pressure group Because Children Matter is calling for the professor to be dismissed from his job, which he has held since 2011.

The organisation, formerly known as Gay Marriage No Thanks, describes itself as “a natural family group”.

It questioned whether the professor’s comments made him morally fit to lecture at an institution whose mission is to “educate, to advance knowledge and to serve the public good”.

Because Children Matter chairman Alan Craig said: “The attitude, behaviour and views of Professor Anderson are totally against all that Winchester University – or any university of excellence – stands for.

“The people of Winchester deserve to know the truth about Professor Anderson’s extreme views, given the public profile that he has pursued and the position of trust that he has in the university in educating and influencing students.”

Hampshire Chronicle:

Protesters Peter McIlvenna, Dr Lisa Nolland and Alan Craig

Members handed out flyers to shoppers in Winchester High Street calling for the professor’s removal.

Mr Craig told the Chronicle that the group was determined to enrol people from all walks of life in its bid to oust the professor following the remarks. He said a series of protests were in the pipeline.

The group has already written to the university vice-chancellor and board of governors – which includes the Bishop of Winchester – calling for Professor Anderson to be removed.

Members have also contacted key university stakeholders, including head teachers of feeder secondary schools and sixth-form colleges, education chiefs at Winchester City Council and Hampshire County Council, and the city’s MP Steve Brine.

The university said the academic has been already been “reprimanded” for his Oxford speech.

But it said it did not disclose details of “any disciplinary measures” taken against staff.

A statement did say, however, that the university would not tolerate any targeting of its members of staff on the grounds of their sexual orientation.

It read: “The university strongly values intellectual freedom and its appropriate expression, and the university believes that Professor Anderson’s comments to Oxford’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender society in 2011 were not appropriate, and he was reprimanded shortly after.

“Professor Eric Anderson is an internationally renowned gay scholar who publishes widely on sexualities, masculinities, sport and relationships.”

Hampshire Chronicle:

The University of Winchester

The academic, originally from the USA, will again under the spotlight on Monday when he will be confronted by anti-gay marriage campaigner David Skinner, 70, in Winchester County Court.

Mr Skinner is alleging he assaulted him at the end of a lecture given at Bournemouth University.

Meanwhile Professor Anderson has launched a counter-claim against him for alleged harassment.

Professor Anderson told the Chronicle that he felt the campaigners were taking his comments out of context, as they were made during a lecture to gay and lesbian Oxford university students in 2011.

He said that during his talk, Why Gay Sex Is Better than Straight Sex, he had been “deliberately and provocatively challenging” conventional views on sexuality.

“Statements I made during the course of that lecture were reported without context and it is the use of these quotes, as well as references to other aspects of my life and research, that are being used by some individuals to conduct a sustained campaign against me.

“I am a gay man engaged in sociological research on sexualities. A foundational principle of sociology is that virtually everything is, or has within it, elements of social construction.

“The notion that concepts of childhood and child abuse have changed over time and are understood differently in different cultures is neither new nor controversial.

“I believe that sex should only occur between consenting adults.

“In 2011 I signed a letter supporting academic research into paedophilia, which I believe is essential in order to keep children safe.

"I reiterate that I believe sex should only occur between consenting adults, and academically recognising that social matters are complex is not to endorse the abuse of children. Instead, we must understand how social matters operate if we are to protect children.”

Mr Anderson has written extensively on homophobia, including his own experience becoming the first sports coach in America to come out as gay.

He has also appeared on TV to speak up for gay marriage.