A CAMPAIGN has been launched to sack a Hampshire 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.

In a statement to the Daily Echo, Professor Anderson, who has been reprimanded by the University of Winchester following his speech, said he believed sex should only take place between consenting adults.

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.”

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

He boasted about sleeping around on cruise ships and bragged of 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 group describe themselves as “a natural family group” and have in the past campaigned against gay marriage.

Daily Echo:

Protesters Peter McIlvenna, Dr Lisa Nolland and Alan Craig

The group 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.”

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

Mr Craig told the Daily Echo that the group were determined to enrol people from all walks of life in Hampshire in their the bid to oust the professor following the remarks and that 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.

They 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.

Daily Echo:

The University of Winchester

The academic, originally from the USA, is also to come under the spotlight next 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 Daily Echo 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 his native USA to come out as gay.

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