Those Meddling Kids


Well, first it was:

It should be said that there has never been a report filed of sexual harassment at TAM to my knowledge and there have been zero reports of harassment at the TAMs we’ve put on while I’ve been at JREF.

Then Ashley became inconvenient. She could be managed, though:

In her blog post and in further comments, Ashley says she didn’t feel like the harassment was worth reporting to JREF staff or hotel staff at the time, nor did she nor anyone else mention it in one of the TAM attendee surveys.

Except that she stayed inconvenient. So it changed:

…no one reported to JREF staff or hotel staff any incident of assault or sexual harassment at our speakers reception last year, and no JREF staff were told about nor knew about any such incident until last week.

And now there is a new inconvenience. [Trigger warning for covert predatory behavior and absolute lack of support for a reporting victim.]

Though I was less traumatized and more seriously angry I am one of the people to report the upskirt photo thing along with multiple other incidents by the same person the last day at tam last year. We spoke to dj about it during the event, he said we would hear back on what was going to be done and never did. We followed up on it for a number of months and nothing happened so we gave up. Its part of what has very much frustrated me about tam and other such events is that even when we reported harassment we only got lip service on something actually being done. I know dj is busy and I don’t expect him to be the one to take care of things but I do expect there to be some response from the jref more than vacuous head patting.

And it is most inconveniently corroborated.

Act II:  TAM 2011

Two women approach me and another conferee.  They are pale and trembling.  A man with a camera on the end of a telescoping monopod has been attempting to surreptitiously take photos up their skirts.[1]  Yes, he was attending TAM.  They had taken concerns to conference organizers and got little satisfaction.  Hotel security confiscated the camera.  I later learned the individual was well-known and had been complained about in previous years, and yet there he was again.

Also, it’s not as though the behavior of this guy wasn’t well known. [ETA: Not just well known, but mentioned before in this sprawling conversation. I didn’t realize this pertained to TAM2011.]

Buzzo’s upskirt cam.
My Opinion: Should have been reported to the JREF, and he should have been banned. Extremely out of line and also criminal. I could see how this would keep women away. One guy like that is too many.

Only it was reported, and followed up on, and discussed in the forum. That leaves me with just two questions:

  1. What will the next description of what was known and unknown be?
  2. What’s really under that mask?

[1] The author of this piece is asking that it be clarified that he did not directly observe the behavior with the camera.

Comments

  1. Pteryxx says

    So much for TAM’s harassment policy in 2011; and as far as I know, DJ still hasn’t said a word about having a policy for 2012.

  2. says

    Jinkies! Another clue!

    Don’t worry, they’ll find something else to manufacture outrage over, to distract from this one too. And you’ll probably get thrown under the bus again. And I’ll still be conveniently ignored.

    It’s not that we think harassment is any different here than at any other Con. It’s that DJ and his supporters are trying to tell us that it is, and not only are they providing no evidence for that, they’re actually getting deluged with evidence of harassment that was both reported and inadequately taken-care-of.

    So… how long til DJ apologizes for calling this “regret” over “sexual exploits”? Bets? Anyone?

  3. Funny Diva says

    Greg,

    Did you forget to close your snark tag there? From where I’m sitting they can’t afford NOT to have one. But then they’d have to be accountable to teh grrrrrlz as well as alienating the MRAs…oh, I think I see what you mean.

    Stephanie,

    I’m so sorry you’re having to spend so much of your energy and time slogging away at this. Thanks for keeping on it.

  4. says

    This is not between the grrrlz and the MRA’s. It’s between the people who fund JREF and the speakers that those funders want on one hand, and civil modern society on the other.

    DJ Grothe is not an idiot. He’s doing what he needs to do.

    Of course, so was the captain of the Titanic, but still.

  5. Funny Diva says

    You’re right, my characterization was stupidly narrow, and a disservice to all the men who also understand why this problem needs to be addressed.

    So I’ll just straight-up ask what the heck you mean by your comment at #3. Why don’t you think they can afford to have an effective anti-harassment policy? Do you think Mr Grothe was hired to captain The Titanic, as it were? IOW, do you think his current “doing what he needs to do” is in the long-term best interests of JREF? IOOW, “what he needs to do” for whom, exactly?

  6. Funny Diva says

    PS, and using grrrlz was meant to be ironic, but could easily be read as minimizing, especially as I’m new as a commenter around here. I apologize for my stupid and facile (mis)characterization.

  7. julian says

    Ok.

    Someone, at TAM, was taking upskirt photos of the women there. Grothe doesn’t fucking remember that?

    I am beyond angry at this point. This is contempt where I’m at. For Grothe. For his defenders. The whole fucking group.

  8. says

    Be careful, julian. I know what you’re like when you’re angry. You’re like me. And you’ve seen what happens when you call someone a name like douchebag. You’ll turn into the next pariah.

    Though it’ll pass rather quickly, because you’re not a woman.

  9. Funny Diva says

    Thanks, Jason,

    That was sort of my interpretation, but, again, from where I sit that’s a seriously f-ed up viewpoint. Because my mind translates it to, oh well…we’ve totes alienated those screechy feminists, so let’s cut our losses and make sure we don’t lose face with our “base” by being seen to back down. And I really don’t see how that’s a workable long-term solution. Because I don’t think that Stephanie and Rebecca and Ophelia and Jen and PZ and you and everyone else who’s been fighting so hard to get this problem addressed (skeptic/atheist movement-wide, not just in relation to TAM) are in any way inclined to let things die down. IMO, JREF is going to have to clean house at some point before they’ll have any hope of getting a “clean slate” from a lot of potential speakers and attendees who matter (or who _should_ bloody well matter).

    Sorry, Greg. I forgot for a moment that you’d been among the first to suggest that DJG might want to step aside. I’m really not trying to flame you or JAQ off.

  10. Funny Diva says

    Jason @ 11

    No bloody kidding. Why do you think I’m trying not to be a name-caller and avoiding the “d-word” like the plague? Irony is clearly not dead yet…but my irony-meter sure is!

  11. carlie says

    My feelings are exactly what julian expressed. Upskirt photos are pretty much immune from “misinterpretation”, right? No way anybody could dismiss that as being a guy who is just “socially awkward”? And yet the guy was thrown out once and allowed to come back, and then DJ still claims he didn’t know of any harassment at all. Unbelievable. Absolutely unbelievable.

  12. karmakin says

    You shouldn’t even NEED an anti-harassment policy to deal with something like upskirt photos. I mean come on now. Maybe I’m wrong, but at least to me this is a 4-alarm all hands on deck call the cops go down to the station and make a statement this guy is banned for life from EVERYTHING type situation.

    This isn’t just dropping the ball. It’s filling it with TNT and blowing it up.

  13. Lyn M, Purveyor of Fine Aphorisms of Death says

    Hi all. First time commenter here.

    I would like to thank Stephanie too. Before the recent unpleasantness involving someone DJ Groethe referred to as a prominent woman skeptic and blogger, it was possible to think that harassment at various cons was not that huge a deal. That harassment was not such a big deal on the net. I have never attended TAM, but saw publicity and thought, well perhaps. Hearing about possible harassment does not deter me, as many are correct, it’s everywhere. What bothers me is the failure, far as I can tell, to follow up to stop it. And indeed it does seem to be a deliberate decision, the motive for which is probably to cater to the perceived views of the founders and current membership. If no one speaks up, that policy will continue.

    TAM does carry a lot of baggage, but there should be an effort to toss the stuff that is not right. Does TAM want to be the home of the MRA and land of the free (but only if you don’t have a vagina)? Is that their goal?

    My impression of the whole of JREF is no. They don’t want to be that, however it is next necessary to do something to effect change. Why this is so startling, causes me pause. What’s happening here? Inaction will also create momentum in TAM. It’s time for them to show everyone where they are headed. I’m hoping that will be to a good place and will garner support from those of us who are now very unsure about further involvement.

  14. echidna says

    Greg Laden,

    I am absolutely appalled that you think it is ok for DJ to sell civilisation down the river for the sake of pacifying speakers. That it is ok for him to have said that there were no reported incidents, when this was not true, and he knew it.

    How does protecting a guy who was taking upskirt pictures pacify the speakers? Why do you even imagine that this might be the right thing to do?

  15. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    I am absolutely appalled that you think it is ok for DJ to sell civilisation down the river for the sake of pacifying speakers.

    I don’t think he’s saying it’s okay (he can of course correct me if I’m wrong); I think he’s identifying a possible motivation for DJ’s behavior. And it’s far from flattering.

  16. karmakin says

    Echidna:I really don’t think Greg is saying it’s OK. He might have just been being snarky.

    Although, speaking for myself I think that’s more or less what is happening, and it’s certainly not OK. I think that things have ratcheted up to a point where putting forward an anti-harassment plan would be seen by a cross-section of people as being “appeasement” or giving people a “victory” and as such they’d oppose it even if normally it’s something they’d be fine with.

    And if this sounds impossible or unlikely to you, then you probably haven’t been following US politics over the last 3 years.

  17. jaranath says

    Echidna, as cipher says, I think you’re misreading Greg. But I confess I don’t fully understand what he’s suggesting. I get the suggestion that DJ has incentives to not take the issue seriously, but I don’t get what those incentives would be.

  18. echidna says

    The line “He’s doing what he needs to do” is accepting DJ’s actions, even while recognising the problem. It’s not ok. Greg Laden has made comments on other threads that also exude a resigned acceptance, and let’s just say it’s not what I expected from him.

    I think that things have ratcheted up to a point where putting forward an anti-harassment plan would be seen by a cross-section of people as being “appeasement” or giving people a “victory” and as such they’d oppose it even if normally it’s something they’d be fine with.
    And if this sounds impossible or unlikely to you, then you probably haven’t been following US politics over the last 3 years.

    It’s true that I’m not in the US anymore, although I do try to follow US politics from a distance. If what you say is true, and I don’t doubt it, then it’s worse than I thought.

  19. echidna says

    OK, I get that Greg is saying that DJ is not stupid, but is operating under constraints that preclude him from doing the right thing. At least, that’s my interpretation of his rather cryptic remarks. I really wish he would be more explicit.

  20. says

    I think the root problem here is that DJ keeps being a salesman when a leader is needed. To his mind, the problem is that attendance is dropping because of allegations of harassment, so we need to fix perceptions.

    He’s upset that people are taking their claims of harassment to the internet instead of through proper channels. He seems to be forgetting that it’s his job to instill confidence that proper channels work and he’s been doing a really shitty job of that. If people don’t think he’s doing enough about harassment, he needs to make sure that he is doing plenty about it and that the public is informed of their efforts. Griping at people that they should trust him more is never going to work, especially when he has little to back it up.

  21. says

    Ace of Sevens @24:

    I think the root problem here is that DJ keeps being a salesman when a leader is needed.

    No, there’s a corollary problem that he has. He’s a terrible communicator. That, combined with the one you mentioned, make a ridiculous feedback loop.

  22. gregorylynn says

    Let me get this straight.

    Some guy is going around trying to take pictures up ladies’ skirts.

    JREF is told.

    JREF lets this guy back in.

    Whiskey Tango the Foxtrot is going on here?

  23. says

    Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. How many more incidents will we find out about?

    [Ace of Sevens]: I think the root problem here is that DJ keeps being a salesman when a leader is needed. To his mind, the problem is that attendance is dropping because of allegations of harassment, so we need to fix perceptions.

    That’s what is implied by what he’s said, sure, but I don’t take that at face value. Even if so, the fact that his actions show far more emphasis on maximizing conference attendance than making TAM a safe space for women is abhorrent.

    [Setar]: I don’t think that Greg is trying to say that DJ’s actions are okay.

    I think he’s trying to say that after this bit of horrible, TAM is unsalvageable and we should just drop it and move on.

    That’s how I read it as well.

  24. echidna says

    kagerato and setar,

    I think he’s trying to say that after this bit of horrible, TAM is unsalvageable and we should just drop it and move on.

    I’m not saying you’re wrong, but I can’t join the dots between any of what Greg said, on this thread or Ophelia’s, and this. Is there a dog-whistle in what he said? What is it that I’m not getting?

  25. says

    So, somebody harassed women and they told DJ in person and he still claims that there was no such incidence.
    That makes him either:
    -a liar and therefore unfit
    -so woefully ignorant in that area (after all this time) that he is unfit.

    On the other hand we learned yesterday that all those things aren’t harassment (see the despicable video. Better, don’t see, but I referenced the conversation) and that nobody ever sexually harassed Rebecca Watson. So, probably DJ thinks that this guy was just a benevolent scout for the latest trends in female underwear.

    I’m wondering if he’s ever going to comment on those reports…

    But yeah, thinking back to that video, DJ probably knows all this and he knows that his biggest fans are raging misogynists (Did you know that Stephanie single-handedly wants to ruin TAM by asking about this year’s policy?) and since the women don’t want to spend money to be in their company anyway, he’s at least going to keep them satisfied.

  26. says

    echidna #28:

    Is there a dog-whistle in what he said? What is it that I’m not getting?

    It’s between the people who fund[/support] JREF and the speakers that those funders want on one hand …

    The people who fund/support JREF appear to have had no problem with DJ Grothe’s misogyny coming out of the woodwork.

    They also have no problem with Penn Jillette, a misogynist libertarian AGW-denialist, as one of the keynote speakers.

    They also appear to have no problem with the hand-waving away or sweeping-under-the-rug of blatant instances of harassment.

    If those aren’t indicators that we should dump TAM…

  27. Marcelo says

    They also have no problem with Penn Jillette, a misogynist libertarian AGW-denialist, as one of the keynote speakers.

    As a fan of him I have to ask for sources

  28. says

    Marcelo: Bullshit!, season 1 episode 13 and season 6 episode 6. Massimo Pigliucci deconstructed the latter, and that article was the second result I got when I put ‘Penn global warming’ into Google.

    Penn and Teller are also well-known for subscribing to the über-privileged political philosophy of libertarianism, which is based on the counter-factual premise that there is no such thing as privilege (especially not class privilege) and never has been.

  29. Emburii says

    Marcelo:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2012/01/02/pennjillette-your-friend-is-wrong/

    …among other discussions on the letter that Penn Jillette retweeted and defended.

    (I actually searched the phrase ‘keep trying to fuck me’ because I remembered it from that particular letter, and fortunately enough the first result was a discussion over at the Lousy Canuck’s of that particular missive with relevant links. I think that says interesting things about the topic all on its own.)

  30. Marcelo says

    Setar: Still searching.

    But so far…

    1) AGW-denialist – there was (kind of) an apology, a horrible one, but still.

    2) libertarian – I always thought of it as “utopic bs” not as a privileged based philosophy. But now that you said it and I googled it, I see your point.

    3) misogynist – Still searching it, but looks like it’s true. In my defense, the things I’m finding now I wasn’t aware of. The regular P&T things (magic shows, Bullshit, Tell a Lie, Foll Us, etc.) didn’t show that to me.

  31. says

    @Marcelo in #35:

    The regular P&T things (magic shows, Bullshit, Tell a Lie, Foll Us, etc.) didn’t show that to me.

    But that’s the thing, isn’t it? It’s never really aimed at you, so why would you be aware? Unless you listen to women and feminists, of course, and take them seriously.

  32. Tyrant of Skepsis says

    Another episode that I found annoying was their episode on the
    Americans with Disabilities Act. Did they do anything more than whine about evil big government messing with American freedom in that episode? It had libertarian bias writ large all over it.

    Marcelo,

    Well, they were definitely guilty of gratuitous display of women as sex objects in some of their shows. You can argue whether having nakid “show girls” dance around in your show as props classifies as misogynist. As a heteromale, I of course enjoy seeing scantily clad women, but the way it was done felt wrong to me when I saw it.

  33. Setar, too lazy to log in on his blackberry says

    Marcelo, Bullshit! itself makes heavy use of what is known as the “male gaze”, which is to say that it reflects everything in the light of a male observer.

    I always thought of it as “utopic bs” not as a privileged based philosophy…

    The privilege is the utopic BS :P because the entire premise is that no privileges exist, especially not class privilege, and.thus we don’t need the government to tale action to balance those privileges with social programs and regulations.

    But you appear to have realized that.

    AGW-denialist – there was (kind of) an apology, a horrible one, but still

    Evidence leaves no room for “but still”, and if you acknowledge that it was horrible then you are implicitly acknowledging that Penn never actually changed his stance to match the evidence. A horrible apology is no different from none at all.

    And the libertarian political philosophy says that even if AGE does happen (though most libertarians deny it) we shouldn’t do anything about it because godmarket will provide.

  34. mikmik says

    Stephani, I don’t know if you saw it, but I was hassling you and being rude back on JT’s site about the manner this came out and was being brought to light.
    Just wanted to complete my amends, apologize to you, and thank you for wading through my BS and insults to explain my errors and illuminate me. This is off topic, but:

    I apologize to you for my ignorance towards you, and you have gained my utmost respect. I learned from you, thank you.

    Mike Laing

  35. karmakin says

    The big problem with the libertarian philosophy as a whole is that it doesn’t view power differentials as a form of their much-hated “force”, which is something that they really should do.

  36. jamessweet says

    You know, your subject line makes me want to advance the hypothesis that all of the sexual harassers at past TAMs were just Ken Ham wearing a mask.

  37. gworroll says

    I could accept that the concerns Greg Laden expressed might be at play here, and it may well turn out that a beefed up anti-harassment policy could do some significant short term damage in speaker recruitment and general attendance.

    But while ignoring short term concerns entirely is a good way to ensure you don’t have a long term to worry about at all, this seems like something where some short term difficulties are justified based on long term benefits.

  38. CT says

    echidna says:
    June 14, 2012 at 11:00 pm
    Greg Laden,

    I am absolutely appalled that you think it is ok for DJ to sell civilisation down the river for the sake of pacifying speakers. That it is ok for him to have said that there were no reported incidents, when this was not true, and he knew it.

    How does protecting a guy who was taking upskirt pictures pacify the speakers? Why do you even imagine that this might be the right thing to do?

    I read Greg Laden’s comment as the literal. They cannot afford it, they don’t have the resources. Maybe he has access to knowledge about that that we don’t — maybe he’s just guessing. I would say, just with my little bit of knowledge, that Vegas is an expensive venue and add in more security and it might tip the con into non-profitability and/or not being able to pay the speakers their desired rates. I know from reading DJ’s comments that he sounds an awful lot like my workplace’s marketing department trying to play something down. JMO tho, nothing in my world that validates that.

  39. says

    Mike, thanks. It’s incredibly common to get defensive when your worldview is challenged. Sticking with it until you sort things out is much more rare. Kudos to you.

  40. MyaR says

    Maybe he has access to knowledge about that that we don’t

    Look up JREF’s 990, which they are required to make publicly available. (It’s their IRS form they are required to submit and make publicly available in order to take tax-deductible donations. Incidentally, it’s also the only place I’ve seen that lists the board members, not that I’ve searched that hard.) I’m not a accountant, but from my read, they got a little under $600,000 in donations that are not dues or service program events (which TAM would be) for 2011.

    You should look up the Form 990 for any charity you’re contemplating giving to that’s not well-known. You can do it on irs.gov, but their search is pretty bad. Googling “look up form 990″ will give you several sites with better interfaces.

  41. Tyrant of Skepsis says

    I would say, just with my little bit of knowledge, that Vegas is an expensive venue and add in more security and it might tip the con into non-profitability

    That sounds extremely bogus. It’s not like you need to hire the national guard with helicopters to enforce an effective anti-harassment policy.

  42. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    LOL of course – where are all the “you hysterical bitchez are driving women away from TAM” now? Here’s a concrete example of unquestionable creepiness and sexual harrassment/assault. Here’s a concret example of TPTB at TAM caring FUCK-ALL about it, except to conscended while doing nothing.

    At first, I assumed it was conspiratorial to think that TAM caters to creepy-ass misogynists, but now . . . . especially with the links to the JREK forums wherein upskirt photos are discussed at length. Are we still going to pretend that what goes on the in forums isn’t a concern for conferences?

    BJ? Douchebomb Emery? Grothe? Any of you want to take a stab at dismissing and denying this?

  43. CT says

    Tyrant of Skepsis says:
    June 15, 2012 at 8:35 am
    That sounds extremely bogus. It’s not like you need to hire the national guard with helicopters to enforce an effective anti-harassment policy.

    Again, I’m just guessing here. From what little bit I know about security, just adding one more person can add a huge amount of overhead. I’m not talking about helicopters either, I’m talking about paying someone the going rate for a three day event which could very well be more than some speakers make at said event.

    Just for clarification, I was trying to express my thoughts about “can’t afford it” comment. I wasn’t saying there shouldn’t be a harassment policy.

  44. says

    That they couldn’t afford the extra people to implement an anti-harassment policy sounds a bit hollow to me. If that were really the case, there would have been several ways for them to solve that. Not only could they choose to pay for it out of their own pockets (either personal or JREF), and just take one for the team, they could also organize a fundraiser, or put out a call for volunteers. The idea that they might lose support of some important backers if they were seen to give in to feminists sounds more plausible.

  45. says

    REQUEST: please read the whole comment before replying.

    I’ve been turned off by Watson for a long time, mostly due to a habit that I feel she has, which is to judge others based on sketchy (or no) evidence, and her apparent occasional forgetfulness that her audience/reach gives her power and opportunities that some of the people she attacks don’t have.

    When the Elevator Guy thing happened, I was initially focused on the intersection of those two perceived tendencies with the story as related by her. I have never otherwise been to TAM or any other skeptic’s gathering nor followed the events there except for that one incident (and I attended the RR, but whatever).

    While I assumed there was sexism (because we are affected by the cultures we grow up in, and because the online community is flooded with it), I didn’t realize that RW’s video about EG was coming out of an environment where harassment was not being addressed or even acknowledged (if this holds true across the community, which I wouldn’t doubt).

    Wow, I feel stupid. ._.

  46. Sethra says

    About Greg Laden’s remarks – this is one of his blog posts on the issue:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/xblog/2012/05/30/perhaps-it-is-time-that-dj-grothe-resign-as-the-president-of-the-jref/

    Combined with his comments on this and other posts, it looks like he thinks DJ knows exactly what he’s doing and is doing it purposefully, but there is zero indication that Greg approves of those actions.

    IMO, from everything that’s crawled out of the corners over the past few days, it seems like DJ’s actions are planned and purposeful and JREF is a sewer. They can keep their mess.

  47. carlie says

    StealthBadger – thank you for saying that. Changing one’s mind is one of the hardest things to do.

  48. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Wow, I feel stupid. ._.

    There’s isn’t any need to feel stupid, unless you don’t keep learning.

    It’s very easy – and very very common – to assume a women is just a hysterical harpy who “judge[s] others based on sketchy (or no) evidence” when you aren’t living in the same sort of world. Which, let’s face it, is true about men and women. We don’t live in the same world.

    The important thing is, now that you know better, what will you do with it?

  49. says

    carlie: I still have some disagreements with how things went down, most specifically how RW classified McGraf as misogynist, how many people identifying themselves as skeptics presumed to know what was going on in EG’s head, etc.

    BUT

    Understanding that the video was coming out of an environment that *wasn’t and isn’t* “safe,” and that saying “RW should have said it plainly rather than attacking EG as doing something he might not have been,” when people HAVE been saying it plainly, provided witnesses, etc. to no effect… it just all makes a lot more sense now. It’s not so much changing my mind, as going “What else could people do but keep hammering at it (harassment) until something gave? No wonder so many people are angry and frustrated!” It takes it from an expectation of rationality to understanding that rationality just wasn’t working, and that peoples actions and words were reflecting frustration and very real anger and fear.

    ._.

  50. says

    Illuminata: Sorry, I’m not going to cop to thinking that she was “just a hysterical harpy,” because I’ve never felt that way about her.

    Given that I’ve been doing videos defending and explaining Feminism for a while now (I need to rework and update my post “A Dudely Introduction to Feminism” and put it on my new blog), I’d say I need to do more of that, work harder on getting guys to act against harassers, and most importantly to examine the context of people’s words, especially if there is a history of people ignoring them.

    tl;dr avoid complacency.

  51. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Sorry, I’m not going to cop to thinking that she was “just a hysterical harpy,” because I’ve never felt that way about her.

    Apologies – I wasn’t intending on trying to pin such a thing on you. That my tendendcy to add snarky hyperbole to my posts. I was trying to say that it’s common for people to disbelieve women and that disbelief tends to go hand-in-hand with sexist beliefs about women.

    Obviously, I failed to distinguish between my snarky hyperbole and what I was actually intending to say to you, so my apologies. That was a fail on my part.

  52. says

    Illuminata: It’s all good. I try to think of snarky hyperbole as a net good. ^.^ Also, I probably reacted with a little too much O.O! because of still feeling stupid, apologies.

    Thanks for your reply.

  53. says

    @Marcelo: On the Penn issue, the gratuitous and exploitative use of nude and seminude women as props in their show is why I won’t show my daughters the Bullshit! series in spite of the *usually* good skepticism.

    Note they allow their libertarian ideology to trump any scientific evidence on issues like second hand smoke or global warming, so I have reservations about their skeptical bonafides anyway.

  54. MadScientist says

    The jerk should have been handed over to the police – the TAM organizers shouldn’t think they can deal with criminal activity on their own. Very disappointing.

  55. echidna says

    Combined with his comments on this and other posts, it looks like he thinks DJ knows exactly what he’s doing and is doing it purposefully, but there is zero indication that Greg approves of those actions.

    Ah, ok, thanks. My bad.

    I saw this: “DJ Grothe is not an idiot. He’s doing what he needs to do.” as a call to accept that Grothe is doing the right thing for his circumstances, [and that we need to accept it], where what Greg really meant was that Grothe is constrained by JREF, which is intentionally creating an environment which is does not hold the values that one would expect of a civil, modern society. (from Greg’s “It’s between the people who fund JREF and the speakers that those funders want on one hand, and civil modern society on the other.”)

    As others have kindly pointed out, but it took me a while (and a sleep) to see. Thanks.

  56. arbor says

    Grothe should be fired and any organization that picks him up should be boycotted.

    TAM and JREF are unsalvagable. It is long past time to move on.

    We all deserve better than this.

  57. koliedrus says

    It’s taken me a few decades to admit to myself that I’ve been an atheist. Actually, it was a slow process. Anyway….

    I just want to make an observation regarding the inflamed emotions over observed sociological infractions.

    There is no way in hell that upskirt-cams at a religious conference would gain this much attention unless it was pointed out by someone outside of the faith-based community. That is unless they looked at reality and compared their knowledge to the tales they’d been told since childhood.

    I’m actually prouder now to express my non-belief knowing that the business about where morality comes from can be clearly heard by the voices of those who point out negative behavior that, honestly, should be obvious but aren’t to many.

    You don’t get that from church groups. You get kitchens and burkas.

    I’m still fresh out of the closet but I’m damned impressed with everyone who is fascinated with the universe and pissed at people who distract us from its beauty by concentrating on crotches.

    Until their is a policy, I’ll not attend an event nor will I bring my children. That breaks my heart. It’s like learning that all of the rides at Disney World are infested with hornets.

    Still, the infestation has been brought to the forefront.

    Props to everyone for helping me shed my veneer of ignorance.

  58. says

    @echidna #66:

    JREF’s values apparently aren’t “the values that one would expect of a civil, modern society”… they are libertarian “values” where people with cultural privilege are allowed to exploit people with less privilege, and the only recourse for women and other less privileged people is to avoid situations where they might be exploited. Those are the “values” that DJ is apparently defending.

  59. echidna says

    Thanks. Libertarianism is not really on my radar, so I didn’t really pick up on the default reading. No wonder some people think health-care is socialist.

  60. says

    Improbably Joe

    JREF’s values apparently aren’t “the values that one would expect of a civil, modern society”… they are libertarian “values” where people with cultural privilege are allowed to exploit people with less privilege, and the only recourse for women and other less privileged people is to avoid situations where they might be exploited. Those are the “values” that DJ is apparently defending.

    Only that we’re apparently not even allowed to do that. Apparently TAM is entitled to our money and attendence.

    Stealth Badger
    Thank you for speaking out.
    A minor thing is that Rebecca did not indeed call Steph McGraw a misogynist. She very clearly spoke about the fact that the prevailance of such misogynistic attitiudes even among the young women in the movement make it harder. And there’s a lot more to this story than you might expect.

  61. julian says

    A minor thing is that Rebecca did not indeed call Steph McGraw a misogynist.

    She said she was repeating old misogynistic tropes which is entirely different. It’s something a lot of well meaning people end up doing for a number of reasons from general ignorance to a certain level of unchecked attitudes. If introspection is going to be part of skepticism we’re going to have to admit this happens and that we’re not exempt because of a degree or label we apply to ourselves.

  62. Emburii says

    Marcelo, not on the Penn Jillette thing but more on your response to it: thank you. You asked for evidence and even paid attention when people provided it, sintead of ignoring the matter for the sake of your own illusions. That’s rare but very much appreciated, thank you for being part of the skeptical movement.

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