Richard Dawkins has waded into the row over Sir Tim Hunt’s controversial comments on women in laboratories.

Sir Tim provoked a backlash on social media after he reportedly said the “trouble with girls” in laboratories was that “you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticise them they cry”.

He was forced to apologise and resign from his position at University College London.

But Dawkins has said the reaction to Tim Hunt’s comments was “disproportionate” and that the 72-year-old Nobel laureate was the victim of “a feeding frenzy of mob-rule self-righteousness”.

In a letter to the Times, the outspoken professor wrote: “Along with many others, I didn’t like Sir Tim Hunt’s joke, but ‘disproportionate’ would be a huge underestimate of the baying witch-hunt that it unleashed among our academic thought police: nothing less than a feeding frenzy of mob-rule self-righteousness.”

Others to come to Sir Tim’s defence have included London mayor Boris Johnson, who called for his reinstatement, and television physicist Professor Brian Cox, who said the remarks had been “very ill-advised” but that the response – which also saw him give up a position at the Royal Society – had been “disproportionate”.

And of course, it wouldn’t be a row without Katie Hopkins giving her two pence worth:

Some agree:

Others don’t:

And according to one Twitter user, we might be missing the point altogether: