His fame was built on work concerning intelligence and personality testing, called psychometrics. He maintained the hereditability of IQ and personality traits and came under fire for that, but also published work validating astrology.
What has him under fire now are papers that explored the idea that personality was a bigger risk factor in various forms of heart disease and cancer than something like smoking. Some concluded that personality factors were six times more likely to increase the risk of lung cancer than smoking was. Unsurprisingly, the tobacco industry was happy to give a grant to a group saying that. There is no evidence he was being bought off, though that is the go-to smear for everyone unpopular, he probably believed it. But he may also have been duped by an associate, Ronald Grossath-Maticek.
Either way, it led to claims that there was a cancer-prone personality, a heart disease-prone personality, a mixture personality and a healthy personality. And psychology being methodologically sketchy anyway, journals published it, because it's impossible to really peer review psychology any more than you can astrology.
The 2000s have been tough for psychology, with some of its greatest leaders turning out to be frauds. It's time to go beyond populist speculation about car grills and personality and that liberals have prettier daughters and everything can be published if it uses surveys of college undergraduates ... if they want to take back their credibility.
As Stephen Fleischfresser, Ph.D, notes in Cosmos, King College London has flagged 26 of their publications as unsound and there may be more to follow.