I thought everyone could use a little good news for a change »« Alien vs. Wizards, directed by my subconscious

Covering my ass

Well, Famous Skeptic is vaguely threatening to sue me. Since Famous Skeptic is rich and I am poor, and since my two sources are too terrified to openly speak out again him (I wonder why), I have removed the part of my previous post that refers to him so I don’t go bankrupt with legal fees.

I still hope official organizations with the power and resources to look into this will investigate the situation.

EDIT: Ken at Popehat is helping me figure out the legality of this issue.

EDIT 2: I’m speaking with my sources to attempt to prepare a considerably more specific and detailed post, but I’m not sure if they will be willing to make that commitment, even anonymously. I have been offered pro bono legal help and Ken from Popehat is committed to helping me.

Comments

  1. trevorburn says

    I’m no legal eagle, but maybe check out Popehat. They’ve been known to help people looking for pro bono representation.

  2. Jackie, Ms. Paper if ya nasty says

    What a slimy creep.

    I’m sorry, Jen. Thanks for putting it out there.

  3. yazikus says

    Famous Skeptic should be ashamed. Thanks for putting yourself on the line to get this out in the open. I like how the first thing is threatening legal action, not showing evidence that the complaints were false.

  4. Jim Stitzel says

    Why do people have to suck so hard, especially people who really should know better? Seriously, mean people suck.

  5. Pteryxx says

    I like how the first thing is threatening legal action, not showing evidence that the complaints were false.

    Libel lawsuits that actually go forward to the evidence phase, as opposed to threatened lawsuits that immediately silence the allegation, can go very badly for the complainer-of-libel.

    also: Go Ken at Popehat!

  6. kevinsolway says

    Jen McCreight wrote:

    “since my two sources are too terrified to openly speak out again him (I wonder why)”

    Just possibly because they don’t have a strong case, or any case at all, and it won’t stand up in court? Or perhaps events didn’t happen exactly as these people remember them? I can think of many reasons why.

  7. gussnarp says

    I wonder if your ass is sufficiently covered while the comments are still there, or if you ought to delete those as well?

  8. trevorburn says

    @kevisolway Or possibly because they don’t want their names dragged through the mud and end up facing lawsuits themselves?

  9. Kevin Schelley says

    Kevin Solway, please remove your odious self from these boards. You give other Kevin S’s a bad name.

  10. Raucous Indignation says

    I have lurked here at FTB since it’s inception. I’ve followed the revelations of sexism and misogyny in the Atheist/Skeptic community with interest. I hope the turmoil of this small community will be resolved ethically and properly. I hope, even more, that that ethical resolution will then spread throughout our culture and lead to a more egalitarian society. I hope that for myself and my partner, and especially my daughters. I know it must feel hopeless and pointless and demeaning to endure this constant harassment, but I value the ethics of equality. I want my children, both sons and daughters, to grow up in a more safe and fair society.

    Keep fighting the good fight.

  11. Pteryxx says

    Just possibly because they don’t have a strong case, or any case at all, and it won’t stand up in court? Or perhaps events didn’t happen exactly as these people remember them? I can think of many reasons why.

    So can I.

    When I approached them with my accusations they appeared to be compassionate initially. I spent many hours explaining my story over the phone and days submitting evidence. Then they hired an attorney to collect the facts and I had to repeat the process. I provided access to my email account. I also devoted two days to face-to-face discussions about my ordeal. This “fact collector” also collected a lot of hearsay from my harasser, about how I’m a slut and “batshit crazy”. This tactic of the accused is so common it’s known as the “nut and slut” strategy. I soon learned that the attorney was there to protect them, not me.

    http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/mind-guest-blog/2013/08/06/im-sick-of-talking-about-sexual-harassment/

    see also:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/greta/2012/06/19/without-being-called-a-liar

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2012/06/20/why-ididnotreport/

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/lousycanuck/2012/06/02/the-further-hyper-skepticism-stalling-our-conversation/

    But you keep right on riding that false-accusation zebra.

  12. kestra says

    Amazing, Keven Solway @9, how all the possibilities that spring to your mind impugn the motives and integrity of the complainants, rather than the accused.

  13. bovarchist says

    yazukus @5

    Hard to believe there are people calling themselves skeptics who think it’s Krauss’s job to prove the allegations false. It’s put up or shut up time; Jen and her sources chose to shut up. Hmmmm.

  14. says

    Kevinsolway – Do you know why many accusations don’t hold up in court?

    Because reasonable doubt. You see reasonable doubt is a hallmark of our judicial systems. We frankly have nothing better.

    Now the longer a case takes between assault and trial the more likely the case is to not succeed. Why? Evidence goes away, stories change and people forget. As for sexual harassment? Well one person’s claim is an anecdote. Two people though? That is collaborative. The more evidence you collaborate like that the more stronger your case gets.

    It’s how the Catholic Church Child Abuse scandals were tried.

    So few cases ever succeed because forensically speaking there is a window during which time both the accused and the victim can be proven to have had sex with each other. Over time the evidence is destroyed. Now the issue with rape is that it is a traumatic crime and most traumatic crimes particularly psychologically result in the victim not wanting to come forward. Particularly to undergo something as clinical as a forensic exam. The lack of trust and the invasiveness in particular are important points. In addition? There is just the shame of it all.

    So you have people who are raped coming forward later but by then it’s purely accusatory with no evidence that will hold in court. So they walk free. There is nothing we can do about it. Unlike the MRA claim that faux rape cases are everywhere the reality is just that much more tragic.

    I wish Jen’s sources would fight this fight but you cannot expect anyone to face the kind of hate that this would entail. If Jen wishes to fight she will have my monetary support for what it’s worth.

  15. A Hermit says

    bovarchis t@ 16

    Hard to believe there are people who don’t understand that if it comes down to “he said/she said” and he’s rich and famous but she is not she might have to shut up to protect herself from even more harm, even if she’s in the right.

  16. yazikus says

    @bovarchist
    I was going to make a snarky comment about skeptics and spelling. But I won’t. As Jen said

    Since Famous Skeptic is rich and I am poor, and since my two sources are too terrified to openly speak out again him (I wonder why), I have removed the part of my previous post that refers to him so I don’t go bankrupt with legal fees.

    That is why she ‘shut up’, which was the very intention of Famous Skeptics threat. Shutting her up.

  17. A. Noyd says

    Because it’s way more skeptical to leap to a conspiracy theory of women making false accusations about behavior that’s (unfortunately) as common as dirt than it is to believe Krauss might be a predator.

  18. says

    Hard to believe there are people calling themselves skeptics who think it’s Krauss’s job to prove the allegations false. It’s put up or shut up time; Jen and her sources chose to shut up. Hmmmm.

    See, you want to play the skeptic game, you have to actually look at this shit. It’s a sexual harrassment claim, and the culture generally tells women to shut up – even if it’s true – solely to avoid the trouble of dealing with everyone calling you a liar for anything short of video tape of you being raped while you scream “No” while 3 or more character witnesses discuss how you are a saint who never thinks about having sex. Anything less, with a white accused, and you get every little fucker like you doubting what happened. Did you sob no, instead of screaming it? Well, maybe it’s roleplay.

    But to you, the skeptical position is that it must be a lie – even though we know for a fact these claims are silenced even when true. Probably because movement skepticism is fucking useless if you don’t want to play big foot catcher. Keep on doing that, little man.

  19. says

    I hope that Ken at Popehat can help you out with this. To my admittedly layperson’s eye, this threat looks like a SLAPP threat, an attempt at legal intimidation.

  20. says

    Obligatory disclaimer: I am not a lawyer.
    _
    I am confused as to how any lawsuit would work in this situation. At least in US law, If someone wants to sue me for defamation (be it libel or slander), don’t they have to prove damages? That’s separate from showing that the preponderance of the evidence is that the material they object to is not the truth. i.e. “Michael said something mean about me” wouldn’t be legally actionable. “Michael lied about me and I got fired because of it” would be.
    _
    But that doesn’t make threats of a messy lawsuit (vague or otherwise) less of a silencing tactic.
    _
    Good choice getting the expert opinions of Ken and company.

  21. bovarchist says

    @yazukus

    I was going to make a snarky comment about skeptics and spelling. But I won’t.

    That’s pretty smart, considering apostrophe use is beyond you.

  22. kevinsolway says

    Kestra wrote:

    “Amazing, Keven Solway @9, how all the possibilities that spring to your mind impugn the motives and integrity of the complainants”

    I have never impugned the motives or integrity of the complainants. I have suggested that the accusers may not have a strong enough case to stand up to scrutiny, or that their interpretation of events may differ from that of other witnesses. Such happenings are perfectly normal.

    Avicenna wrote:

    “You cannot expect anyone to face the kind of hate that this would entail”

    If the complainants have a strong case, and make their complaints through the proper channels, then I firmly believe they will receive *support*, rather than hate. However, they will definitely receive hate if they make their accusations through social media, such as this blog, resulting in witch-hunts and mob-justice.

    gussnarp wrote:

    “I wonder if your ass is sufficiently covered while the comments are still there, or if you ought to delete those as well?”

    Jen has already posted her accusations on the Internet and it has been read by probably thousands of people. Furthermore she is continuing to host the libelous comments she encouraged . So the damage has already been done.

    I’m sure that was the plan.

  23. Pteryxx says

    If the complainants have a strong case, and make their complaints through the proper channels, then I firmly believe they will receive *support*, rather than hate.

    Your belief is unjustified.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2013/07/29/oh-but-this-is-different/

    For clarity’s sake, I’ll state the hypothesis that those comments represent: Rebecca Watson received backlash/negative feedback as a direct result of saying, “Guys, don’t do that”, referring to propositioning someone in an enclosed space after that someone has just announced they need sleep. Ashley will not receive backlash/negative feedback as a result of filing an effective formal complaint against someone who physically assaulted her. All good?

  24. says

    Indeed Famous Skeptic doesn’t need to prove anything . Hence why the threats in an attempt to silence the accusations off were unnecessary and excessive.

  25. A Hermit says

    If the complainants have a strong case, and make their complaints through the proper channels, then I firmly believe they will receive *support*, rather than hate.

    This just serves to show how naive and gullible some self styled “skeptics” can be…

  26. pHred says

    If the complainants have a strong case, and make their complaints through the proper channels, then I firmly believe they will receive *support*, rather than hate

    Let me clear this up for you … you pretty much 100% wrong. Utterly and completely in the majority of cases. Proper channels exist for protecting the institution most of the time and for limiting liability. You are completely ignorant of the reality of the situation.

  27. Radi says

    Ken at Popehat is awesome, Jen. Wonderful that he’s on the case. Famous Skeptic deserves to have his reputation dragged through the mud for this. Please let your two friends know that they have support in the community from me, for one.

  28. says

    Kevinsolway, do not allude to “witch hunts”. It is utterly stupid. While all real witch hunts were irrational houndings of innocent people, since witches, you know, do not exist, not all – not even majority – of harassment acusations are irrational, since harassers do exist in no trivial ammounts.

  29. says

    FREEZE PEACH!!! Where is Ron Lindsay? He should be intemperately blogging about how sexual harassment/assault victims and their supporters are being told by “shut up” (and not even listen!) by Famous Skeptic.

    Looking at the glass half full, it’s clear Famous Skeptic is aware that others are aware of his past behavior. Let him live in fear that somebody will set him up, on camera, doing something illegal and go public with the footage.

    Kudos Jen, you have my support.

  30. kevinsolway says

    Pteryxx quoted:

    “Rebecca Watson received backlash/negative feedback as a direct result of saying, “Guys, don’t do that”,”

    As I understand it, that is not at all the reason she received backlash. So whoever said that was wrong. The backlash came about for many other reasons. You are believing someone’s biased or totally fabricated version of events.

    A Hermit wrote:

    “This just serves to show how naive and gullible some self styled “skeptics” can be… ”

    Well I would personally strongly support them making complaints through the proper channels, rather than through social media, and I know for a fact that I’m not the only person who feels this way.

    That’s the reality.

  31. Pteryxx says

    Well I would personally strongly support them making complaints through the proper channels, rather than through social media, and I know for a fact that I’m not the only person who feels this way.

    That’s the reality.

    I’m sure the existence in reality of your personal support and other people’s feels will somehow make reporting through proper channels safe, secure, and effective. Perhaps in combination with acupuncture.

  32. A Hermit says

    Well I would personally strongly support them making complaints through the proper channels, rather than through social media, and I know for a fact that I’m not the only person who feels this way.

    That’s the reality.

    The reality, Solway, is that there are plenty of people who will give them nothing but grief and support the harasser no matter what the evidence.

    For example; here’s a famous and respected skeptic, who surely should know better, defending a convicted child rapist…http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/04/01/bill-clinton-katie-couric-woody-allen-jeffrey-epsteins-society-friends-close-ranks.html

    “I don’t feel tarnished in any way by my relationship with Jeffrey; I feel raised by it.”

    “Jeffrey” by the way is a billionaire, so for sex trafficking and raping twelve year olds all he got was five years of weakly enforced house arrest.

    The deck is stacked; you have to be gullible and naive not to know that.

  33. says

    As I understand it, that is not at all the reason she received backlash. So whoever said that was wrong.

    The nature of the backlash against Rebecca Watson is a matter of public record. The videos, blog posts, and such are all still available on the internet for perusal. Anyone curious enough can go back and read what happened, as it happened. And anyone who has done so honestly will confirm that yes, really, all Rebecca Watson did was say “guys, don’t do that”, and yes, really, that was what triggered the backlash against her.

    Protip: “I reject your reality and substitute my own!” was funny when Adam Savage said it, because Adam Savage knows that reality doesn’t work that way. Apparently, kevinsolway does not.

  34. Jackie, Ms. Paper if ya nasty says

    Kevinsolway,
    Go away.
    You’re being a dishonest, sexist, ass. Go bray elsewhere.

  35. kevinsolway says

    A Hermit wrote:

    “plenty of people who will give them nothing but grief and support the harasser no matter what the evidence.”

    Nonsense. What about video evidence, with audio? If there is clear evidence of harassment (i.e, repeated, forced, rejected advances) then there won’t be any serious objection.

    There is no group of people out there who are promoting harassment. A boogie man has been created to give meaning to the lives of empty identities. It is a fantasy.

    Flewellyn wrote:

    “really, all Rebecca Watson did was say “guys, don’t do that”,”

    I’ll let the reader judge the likelihood of that.

  36. R Johnston says

    Mr. Krauss isn’t nearly as bright as his reputation would have one believe if he is unfamiliar with the Streisand effect associated with empty threats of SLAPP suits.

    He’s just made things a whole lot worse for himself. He’ll be known not just as a serial harasser, but also as a bully and an idiot, and he’ll be known as such far and wide.

  37. iknklast says

    Nonsense. What about video evidence, with audio? If there is clear evidence of harassment (i.e, repeated, forced, rejected advances) then there won’t be any serious objection.

    Perhaps you should go back and review the case of the girl who was raped, and the videos were on YouTube. She received nothing but support, right?

    I went through proper channels. The people who were in charge of those proper channels admitted the action that had happened. I was told I should be flattered. Hateful rumors were spread about me.

    I take no position on whether these accusations, whatever they are (I did not read the original post while it was up) are true. I merely state the reality that women live every day. And no, there is no record of my situation, because the records were legally sealed – to protect me.

  38. A Hermit says

    What about video evidence, with audio?

    How likely do you think it is that there is video, with audio? And of course anything less will be dismissed as inadequate…no matter how many women step up and testify there will be those who will dismiss them all as “attention seeking drama queens.”

    You really a clown Solway.

  39. says

    I wonder if Solway was under a rock or something when the Steubenville case happened. An unconscious young woman is sexually assaulted on video by people who describe her mental state as “dead”, and it took Internet outrage to even get the case investigated. During the process, the girl was slut-shamed by the town, and even the media got in on the action of worrying about the poor boys whose lives were ruined.

    “Support” my ass.

    In terms of the matter at hand, there’s a reason that various conventions have established rules regarding the propositioning of attendees by an invited speaker/presenter/personality. There may be limited circumstances in which it’s appropriate, but generally it’s very much not, and puts the sponsor organization in a very difficult position if something were to go wrong. How hard is it, if interest is apparent, to exchange contact info and say “let’s get in touch after the event ends”?

  40. says

    If Famous Skeptic is innocent of the accusations, then he’s not a creep — he’s doing the right thing to clear his name.

    If there is any truth to the claim that Famous Skeptic is a bit of a horndog at meetings, and he surely must know if he is, then Famous Skeptic would be demolishing his own reputation by taking this to a court where the full story of his various escapades would come out.

    It’s a shame, though, that he’s picking as his target a graduate student — he must know how helpless and impoverished they are. It’s like trying to demonstrate how good and strong you are by beating up a kitten.

  41. kevinsolway says

    A Hermit wrote:

    “How likely do you think it is that there is video, with audio?”

    You said “no matter what the evidence”, so it doesn’t matter how likely it is. I was demonstrating that your statement was false.

    “no matter how many women step up and testify there will be those who will dismiss them all as “attention seeking drama queens.” ”

    I listened to Healthyaddict’s story, and I personally found what she said to be believable – despite the fact that I support rights for men – and I think most people would do likewise. My reaction is the reaction that the vast majority of people would have.

  42. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    if it isn’t clear by now, Solway’s only point is “bitches ain’t shit/I’m a misogynist/women lie/men are such poor oppressed victims”.

    Mr. Krauss isn’t nearly as bright as his reputation would have one believe if he is unfamiliar with the Streisand effect associated with empty threats of SLAPP suits.

    Neither is Solway, apparently, so I hope that’s just a pseudonym.

  43. rudbeckia says

    It’s only slander if it’s not true. If Famous Skeptic goes to court and it ends up being he said against she she she she said, one side has multiple lines of evidence and the other, not so much.

  44. colnago80 says

    Hey folks, let’s not use the Famous Skeptic’s name here to be on the safe side. Refer to him as the Famous Skeptic or the Arizona State University physics professor.

    I don’t want to play lawyer here because I am not one but I think that this is an empty threat by the Famous Skeptic. Why, because if he sues Jen for libel, his reputation becomes open season. I strongly suspect that he has much to hide (in particular his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, the issues surrounding his divorce etc.) which would be exposed to the general public during discovery. I would be willing to wager that most trial attorneys would inform him of that and advise him to suck it up and forget it. This is especially true since there is no chance of collecting anything even in the event of a successful outcome.

  45. daniellavine says

    Also, hilarious that you guys still can’t admit Rebecca Watson got a ridiculous amount of backlash for saying “guys don’t do that” in a vlog. A lot of us watched it happen. You can lie your little faces off but it’s not going to convince people who know the facts of that little two-year-long debacle.

  46. PatrickG says

    @ Illuminata:

    if it isn’t clear by now, Solway’s only point is “bitches ain’t shit/I’m a misogynist/women lie/men are such poor oppressed victims”.

    No, no, it’s just that women are being too “feminine” by failing to use that thinky thing. So emotional, those womens. Weininger proved it!

    @ daniellavine: Clearly, everyone is not as “masculine” at dear old Kevin.

    I hadn’t seen him round these parts here in a while, but I’d forgotten what a hoot his website is. Not to mention some of his more priceless gems in comment threads everywhere.

    If people like kevinsolway didn’t exist would just shut the fuck up, it would be necessary to invent them. a much nicer world all around.

  47. kevinsolway says

    daniellavine wrote:

    “Steubenville. Rebuttal?”

    I don’t know anything about it, other than fleeting news reports. I would have to do several hours of research to know anything worthwhile about it, and I have other priorities.

  48. A Hermit says

    You said “no matter what the evidence”, so it doesn’t matter how likely it is. I was demonstrating that your statement was false.

    As others have already pointed out the Steubenville case would seem to confirm my statement.

    And I’m glad to hear you believed Ms. Paramore’s story. There are those who don’t…just visit the comments below her video and you’ll find plenty of examples.

  49. says

    What about video evidence, with audio? If there is clear evidence of harassment (i.e, repeated, forced, rejected advances) then there won’t be any serious objection.

    Seriously? Remember the Steubenville case? You know the one where an unconscious girl was sexually molested, pictures were taken and uploaded to the internet and people still claimed that the boys did nothing wrong. They said she wanted it, despite her being un-fucking-conscious!

    You’re full of shit and whether you intend to or not, you’re providing cover for predators. Welcome to being part of the problem.

  50. A Hermit says

    I don’t know anything about it, other than fleeting news reports. I would have to do several hours of research to know anything worthwhile about it, and I have other priorities.

    Translation; “I’m perfectly prepared to spend time pontificating but can’t be bothered to take five minutes to do even a minimal amount of reading if it might contradict my sexist preconceptions.”

    Bye bye Solway. We’re done.

  51. rowanvt says

    I don’t know anything about it, other than fleeting news reports. I would have to do several hours of research to know anything worthwhile about it, and I have other priorities.

    Other priorities like condesplaining to all us hysterical overemotional women about how no one would ever treat us badly for reporting *actual* harassment or assault.

    Just as the cop didn’t call me a liar to my face when I was stalked at 17 and the guy attempted to break into my house… because I hid in a closet for 3 hours before I could muster up the courage to go to the living room where the phone was.

  52. says

    I would have to do several hours of research to know anything worthwhile about it, and I have other priorities.

    What. The. Fuck.

    You make a completely irresponsible claim; a claim that is both in blatant violation of reality and also provides support for the most disgusting element of society and when people point out an example that proves you wrong, you’re response is: I can’t be bothered.

    You’re scum. I literally do not have the words to describe how much I despise you at this very moment. I’m at the point where I have to be careful not to break my key board while typing.

    You are an active evil in the world. The fact that you exist is making the world a less pleasant place. Your heartlessness revolts me. Your casual disregard for other people is sickening. Your complete indifference towards the truth offends me more than I can say

    From the very core of my being: FUCK! YOU!

  53. PatrickG says

    @ A Hermit:

    Be nice! He has other priorities! It should be noted that it’s taking him superhuman effort to continue returning to FTB, “since its culture is so shockingly immoral that it requires superhuman effort to tolerate it.”

    The strain is clearly too much to engage in any sort of basic cognitive ability, even for such a self-described genius.

  54. seraphymcrash says

    Jen,

    If for some reason this moves forward and you need a legal defense fund I will happily contribute, and I imagine many others will as well. If there’s a narrative that makes people open their wallets, its an underdog being challenged by an overpowered slimeball.

  55. rowanvt says

    I, too, will contribute.

    Famous Skeptic is not making a very good case for himself with this action.

  56. says

    Famous Skeptic should be paying close attention to the matter of the philosopher Colin McGinn, who used blog posts to retaliate against the graduate student who reported him for sexual harassment. Now he’s famous for being the asshole who wrote those flamingly idiotic narcissistic blog posts in order to punish the student who reported him for harassment.

    Before that he had a pretty decent reputation. Now, not so much.

  57. R Johnston says

    Two words everyone should remember: “actual malice.” Any criticism of famous people–i.e. public figures–offered in reasonable good faith is protected speech here in the U.S.A. When it comes to the likes of the famous skeptic, Lawrence Krauss, voicing an accusation based on multiple independently received reports that essentially corroborate each other is protected speech, and Krauss and his lawyers most certainly know that.

    Krauss is threatening a SLAPP suit with no merit, even if he is somehow innocent of what he’s been accused of. That, on its own, is reason enough to condemn him, name him, and shame him.

  58. says

    I would like to point out that the US has a long and storied history of people threatening and following through on lawsuits in order to silence someone. See the Church of Scientology for about a thousand varied examples. To the asshole above in the comments who continues to simply deny that there is a culture of harassment, you are a fucking nitwit. Please just go away and enjoy the fantasy land that you appear to live in.

    Oh and for the record, the whole shit storm around Ms. Watson was indeed due to her simply making the statement “don’t do that” about making advances on a woman you barely know in a closed elevator at 3 in the morning. I generally like to call what she was asking for “common fucking courtesy.” Some fucking delusional “men’s rights” idiot apparently came across this and broadcast it to his own little echo chamber and within a few short hours, Ms. Watson was suddenly cast as enemy number one amongst those lunatics. It really was that simple.

  59. nyarlathotep says

    R Johnston

    “actual malice”

    I thought I remembered something about libel suits. However, my pre-law work seems like forever ago and I wasn’t entirely sure. But yes, if my memory is correct not only would the accusations have to be false, but Famous Skeptic’s lawyers would have to demonstrate that Jen posted the accusations either knowing they were false or with reckless disregard for their veracity.

  60. rudbeckia says

    And the philosopher mentioned earlier? He is shortly to be unemployed, and here’s what he thinks of his future chances of employment:

    “Mr. McGinn though, is worried that his own future in philosophy may be changing for the worse. “I don’t know if I’ll get another job offer,” he says. “I think the answer may be no.””

    http://chronicle.com/article/A-Prominent-Philosophers/140071/

  61. eigenperson says

    I see the Popehat signal got a response in three minutes. That’s gotta be some kind of record.

    Don’t give up.

  62. says

    Geez, are people really not clued in about Kevin Solway? He’s one of a dying breed, the out-and-proud misogynist, although he amusingly attempts to label his belief that women are really less rational than men as “feminism” rather than what it is, which is “male supremacy.”

    http://www.theabsolute.net/ottow/ottoess.html

    He’s not rational, and he’s not arguing in good faith.

  63. PatrickG says

    @SallyStrange:

    He’s not rational, and he’s not arguing in good faith.

    You can say that again. I linked to his site in the other thread as well…. it’s a truly special place. For geniuses. Of which he is one. Therefore, shut up. :)

  64. says

    Just for the record: I’m not claiming that Solway’s lack of rationality is in any way representative of the capacity of men in general to be rational. ;)

  65. PatrickG says

    Naturally not! Men are by default more active, therefore more — hey wait, why are people throwing rotten tomatoes at me?

    MISANDRY!

  66. Stacey C. says

    Ken is amazing you couldn’t ask for better. I hope that you’ll be able to kick the metaphorical crap out of Famous Atheist. Just another voice of support…

  67. Robert B. says

    *reads SallyStrange’s link* Who the hell is Otto Weininger?

    *wikipedias* Holy shit. That’s not even complementarianism. That’s the most naked misogyny I’ve ever seen. He used “feminine” (and “Jewish”) to mean bad. If you think that’s “excellently true” you are a jackass and a dipshit.

    PS – if you like a good slapdown, check out the talk page for Weininger’s wikipedia article under “Misunderstood?” I usually need to come to FtB to see such righteous rebuttals.

  68. thascius says

    Perhaps Famous Skeptic should consider the example of Oscar Wilde who sued for libel in the much more plaintiff friendly UK. Wilde sued the Marquess of Queensberry for calling him “a ponce and a sodomite,” (the latter was completely true), the Marquess defended himself by proving the veracity of his statements and Wilde wound up in jail for 2 years for breaking the anti-homosexual laws. As noted by other posters, should Famous Skeptic actually sue her in a US court and hope to win he will have to prove the charges are false and that the author either knew them to be false or acted with reckless disregard for the truth. Even suits that are ultimately dismissed can suck up a lot of time and money though. I think it’s quite likely the real purpose of threatening a suit was simply to shut her up.

  69. PDX_Greg says

    Well, that didn’t take long. You’ve been “back on the air” for two weeks and are now in need of legal advice.

    With what you are going through with your mother’s health and your grad student stress, I realize this is the last thing you need. I hope Ken @ Popehat is able to take care of your concerns. I don’t think Mr. Famous has a case in the first place, based on everything I’ve read and my limited legal knowledge about libel laws, since you are only stating what you witnessed or what others have told you. PZ has now also seen fit to relay that a trusted source has reported an assault from Famous Skeptic in the comments of his own blog. I am glad to see he is not letting you stand alone in posting this.

    I wish the community didn’t have this problem, but since it is apparent that it does, thanks for having the courage to call it out.

  70. hjhornbeck says

    Count me in for your legal defense fund. We’ve gotta take a stand, if we want to improve this community.

  71. says

    Jen, I’m so sorry all this has been happening to you. I think you were brave for speaking out on behalf of those who were harassed and I admire you for it. If you need any help with legal funds I’ll pitch in. I want to see some of this sexual harassment BS come to an end already! Sending hugs your way!

  72. leftwingfox says

    Chiming in with support, financial and otherwise. This shit has gone on far too long.

  73. Holms says

    The only thing I can offer is the Australian Edition of the support hug. Other than that, I can only say I think your case is strong should it come to actual legal action; but I suspect Infamous Sceptic is just hoping to scare you away.

  74. embertine says

    Count me in, Jen, for help with legal support if needed. While anonymous accusations do make me uncomfortable, I am perfectly aware that they may be the only recourse for those who have been assaulted, given the utterly fucked up approach to such things by the justice system.

    If Famous Skeptic wants all of his skeletons to be dragged out of the closet and into court, then that’s up to him. Good luck with that, O Exalted One.

    I can’t help but be reminded of the various ephebophiles and molesters who have come to light following the Jimmy Savile scandal. All of them vowed to fight to clear their good names. All of them turned out to be guilty and the scope of their transgressions far worse than previously feared. Let’s hope not.. but…

  75. Steven Scherbinski says

    I’m glad you’re back blogging. I missed your point of view on things. It was always refreshing. Thanks for coming back.

    Hopefully Ken will send up the Popehat signal and find you some pro bono help. This seems too important to let someone brush under the rug, just because they have a lot of money.

  76. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    I don’t know anything about it, other than fleeting news reports. I would have to do several hours of research to know anything worthwhile about it, and I have other priorities.

    Steubenville proves me wrong, therefore I’m going to feign ignorance because being a pants-pissing coward is more “manly” than admitting I’m completely wrong.

    piss off kevin.

  77. Dave, ex-Kwisatz Haderach says

    I’ve been mostly a lurker on FTB for a long time. I haven’t commented much because this shit makes me so angry every attempted post devolves into a string of curses. But I have to add my deepest sympathy for everyone who’s had to endure this abusive shit, and sincere respect for everyone who has come forward. I don’t have much money, but since none of it is going anywhere near JREF or CFI, I think a legal fund would be an excellent spot for it.

  78. says

    Jen, I don’t have a lot of money and I cannot use PayPal in any way, but if you need funds for a legal defense, I’ll send you a money order or a check or whatever. I will find a way to contribute, because you deserve it, because you are awesome.

    For the record, though I have no direct/first-hand legal experience, I also don’t think Famous Skeptic has a case, mainly because whether he wins or loses, this can only end badly for him and I have no doubt he knows it. It was a silencing attempt and nothing more.

    You know we have your back, Jen. And we always will.

  79. says

    I don’t think Whatshisface has a real case either. For starters, threats on a blog-comment thread don’t strike me as an “authoritative” statement. A letter making specific threats under an actual lawyer’s letterhead would count. Did you get one of those?

    (Oh, and did he demand you remove his threat from your blog? If so, that would be telling.)

    Also, IIRC no one was actually accusing this guy of a CRIMINAL offense, or even a TORT offense — all I’ve heard (so far) is people talking about how he acted like an asshole at a certain public venue. IF that sort of talk was actionable, we’d have to draft the entire adult population into law schools to deal with all the lawsuits that would result.

    Seriously, if I behave inappropriately toward someone else, that person will more than likely talk about the incident to someone; and if he/she has a blog or FB page, he/she’ll probably mention it there too. I’ve done some embarassing shit from time to time, and I dread the thought of someone popping it up in a conversation; but the idea of threatening certain other people with a lawsuit just to keep that stuff buried is both pathetic and laughable. I may not consider that fair, but it’s something everyone has to expect: people tend to talk about their interactions with other people. I just filed that insight under “D” for “DUH” back in junior high school.

    IANAL, but I really don’t see where this guy has a case.

  80. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Using legal threats and deep pockets to silence people who are telling the truth ought to be a felony.

  81. colnago80 says

    Re PDX_Greg @ #83

    PZ has now also seen fit to relay that a trusted source has reported an assault from Famous Skeptic in the comments of his own blog. I am glad to see he is not letting you stand alone in posting this.

    Let’s be careful here, the Famous Skeptic that PZ was referring to in his post was not the same Famous Skeptic that is the subject of 2 of the posts here. The Famous Skeptic being cited here is not being accused of a criminal act. He’s being accused of unacceptable crass behavior. The Famous Skeptic PZ cites is being accused of the criminal act of forcible rape, which is a crime that could send him to jail for the rest of his life, if tried and convicted.

  82. colnago80 says

    Re Raging Bee @ #97

    Actually, Jen removed all the comments on that thread, including the implied threat of legal action by Famous Skeptic, possibly in response to a suggestion I made.

    As for whether Famous Skeptic has a case, if none to the accusers are willing to come forward and tell their stories in court, he might well have a theoretical case. The problem for him is in discovery, because he is claiming that his reputation may be damaged by these accusations. In that case his reputation then can be examined. In particular, I rather doubt that he would want the issue of his association with a convicted child molester to be examined or the issues involved in his divorce proceedings to be perused. The amount of damage to his reputation that might result from discovery could be far worse then any damage resulting from the accusations by the 6 women in question, which, after all, don’t amount to more then obnoxious advances.

  83. birricxxxforcella says

    Before going off the deep end, can we maybe find out what the “vague threat” of the Famous Skeptic actually consisted of?

    If Famous Skeptic merely complained that he was slandered or libeled, well, that’s not a legal threat. Even if he said it was actionable libel, it still wasn’t one.

    You have a full right to point out what you think about other people’s statements. Doing that does in no way imply you will take action.

  84. colnago80 says

    Re birrixxxforcella @ @101

    The comment apparently posted by Famous Skeptic was expunged, along with all the other comments on that post. I don’t recall the exact wording, although I did respond to it by citing Famous Skeptic’s association with a convicted child molester but certainly Jen was concerned enough to exercise caution. I don’t think non-lawyers likie myself should be in the position of giving Jen legal advice. I would note that the response of Famous Skeptic was sufficient to cause the web host of another commenter on the subject to delete his post so it would appear that taking the implied threat lightly would be an incautious move.

  85. ginger135 says

    To the dozen people with false memories about Elevatorgate, “Guys, don’t do that”, was NOT the reason Watson got so much grief. It was her reaction to the student that vlogged a difference of opinion with Watson that set off the barrage.

    I’m not taking sides here on everything that followed, but false memories about what happened continue to be reinforced and I feel the need to correct the accounts that miss something as important as the key triggering event.

    The initial “Guys don’t do that” was never a problem as it only applied to Watson. She was always welcome to her own perception of the incident. The backlash only began when Watson accused other women of “failing feminism 101″ and being part of the misogyny problem if they saw the elevator event only as a harmless come-on.

    You are welcome to agree with Watson but as is often said, you are welcome to your own opinion, just not your own facts.

  86. says

    The digital archaeology of Elevatorgate gives a different impression, involving “nasty and misogynistic” comments on the video of her WAC talk, and people accusing her of lying in her video’s comments. The idea that, somehow, Rose St. Clair and Stef McGraw’s responses weren’t part of the fallout seems as ahistorical as you’re otherwise suggesting.

    Given the general timbre of YouTube comments, I find it seriously hard to believe that there weren’t nasty, hateful, and misogynistic comments to Rebecca’s “guys don’t do that” video, but I don’t have the time or stomach to scroll through over 14,000 comments to see the date-stamp of the first out-and-out misogyny.

    One point that you are missing, and a significant one, is that many of the responses to Rebecca’s video, then and now, were blissfully unaware of the St. Clair/McGraw situation, and did in fact take issue with the “guys don’t do that”–or more accurately, with the “no man should ever flirt with a woman ever ever ever” that the misogynist brigade heard instead of what Rebecca actually said. Even now, the comments are all about what an ugly, crazy person Rebecca is. How many of those commenters, do you think, know who Stef McGraw is, or care about whether or not anyone’s “failing feminism 101″?

    It seems one’s also entitled to one’s own motivated reasoning.

  87. says

    Whoops, I should have read farther into the archaeology. Specifically this:

    At the end of June 2011, RW presented a talk at the CFI Student Leadership Conference, titled “The Religious Right VS Every Woman On Earth”.
    RW talked about her experience in Dublin. During the presentation, she put up a display of several hateful and highly misogynistic emails/messages that she had since received, noting that unlike her male colleagues in atheism/skepticism, she received messages that wanted to visit rape or other sexual abuse, or death upon her.

    That’s the speech, by the way, where Rebecca calls out Stef McGraw’s comments. But if she hadn’t called out Stef McGraw’s comments yet, then according to you, there couldn’t be any hateful or highly misogynistic e-mails, since those came after she called out Stef McGraw.

    Oh dear, I think we’ve found a paradox! They changed something in the Matrix! Time is unraveling!gnilevarnu si emiT

  88. poxyhowzes says

    Standard Disclaimer: IANAL

    It seems to me that if Famous Skeptic acts skeevy* at cons, then he* might also act skeevy in other of his life situations. Thus a lawsuit on FS’s part might expose other venues and other skeevy interactions that Famous Skeptic might not wish to see uncovered in the full light of day. I suspect a competent Lawyer will mention this to him.

    Especially if Famous Skeptic received any kind of support whatever from his employer to attend Skeptic cons and other events, even including irregular time off, even including an “attaboy”* or two in his employment files, then Famous Skeptic might be “exposing himself”* to a wider field of legal discovery than he might now imagine.

    –pH

    * (1) I have no idea what skeevy means, your honor. It is an adjectival placeholder.
    (2) The use of the masculine is purely a non-PC holdover from my elementary education.

  89. poxyhowzes says

    Jen:

    Thanks for coming back.
    Thanks for returning to all this “stuff,” in which I consider you a wise voice of the community.
    Thanks for taking time to visit your Mom and, thanks for telling us about her progress.
    Thanks for sharing your dreams and your nightmares, and thanks for telling us which is which (!)
    Thanks for telling us a bit about your Ph.D. work and how it’s going.
    Thanks for inventing (re-inventing?) the “Blag Hag Grab Bag,” and especially,
    Thanks for the almost instantaneous “Indiana Version” of the grab bag after your arrival there.

    Jen, Thanks. Just thanks.

    pH

  90. ginger135 says

    @TomFoss – I did not comment on everything that followed, just on the initiating event. And it’s not a paradox anymore than Watson getting up that morning triggered the events because she did so before making the vlog.

    Watson was well within her rights to believe whatever she wanted to about the elevator come-on. But so were St. Clair (my bad, it was her vlog) and McGraw who commented online within their rights to disagree.

    Here’s a transcript and video of the conference: http://aratina.blogspot.com/2011/07/talk-by-watson-at-cfi.html

    Try this version, it includes what your’s left out:
    —–”During her introduction, Watson spent some time reading her hate mail and subsequently included an excerpt from McGraw’s blogpost, asserting that it was a standard ‘parroting of misogynist thought’. She also stated that McGraw was ignorant of Feminism 101 and that it was people like McGraw that were preventing women from coming to events.”—–

    The hate mail Watson cited at that event was not what caused the uproar in the atheist and skeptic communities. People would have been universally on her side at that point. The “Guy’s don’t do that” vlog didn’t impress some but that was also not the problem.

    The comment accusing McGraw who disagreed with Watson was very much the initiating incident. The idea women who weren’t bothered about the elevator come-on weren’t good feminists was the problem. I consider myself very much a feminist. I’m proud to say a guy hitting on me in an elevator at 4 am in a foreign country would not bother me in the least. It’s very easy to say no thank you. The idea men should tiptoe around me and treat me like a fragile little thing is just as much the anti-feminist view, in my opinion. But I don’t fault any women who are not as assertive as I am; they have every right to say, “Guys, don’t do that to me.” Likewise, they should not fault me for seeing the elevator incident as not that big of a deal if it were me on the elevator.

  91. says

    But so were St. Clair (my bad, it was her vlog) and McGraw who commented online within their rights to disagree.

    And Rebecca was within her rights to criticize their opinions. So what?

    The hate mail Watson cited at that event was not what caused the uproar in the atheist and skeptic communities.

    Nor did I say it was. The hate mail was part of the uproar. You said that “the backlash” didn’t begin until after the speech, but the hate mail she cited in that speech is evidence of backlash–hell, the critiques she got from St. Clair and McGraw are as well. The speech she gave at CFI threw fuel on the fire, but it was burning before she got on stage.

    There are other problems with what McGraw said, and your characterization of the matter, but regardless, your “this is where it started” line is arbitrary and counterfactual.

  92. ginger135 says

    Guess that depends on if you call Watson’s everyday backlash ‘the uproar’ or if you are referring to the internal uproar of the skeptical/atheist community that is typically referred to as elevatorgate. The divide in this community is because Watson attacked women who didn’t agree with her perception of the elevator incident.

    It’s very unfortunate because we should (and we could) all be on the same page when it comes to the sexual assaults and harassment issues. Instead a very minor incident, the elevator come-on, has become a divisive line in the sand. If you dare stand on the wrong side everything else about you is sexist misogyny. And on the other side are all the sexist Misandrists.

    We have so many more beliefs in common, it’s a shame this one divides so many. Watson’s accusations against McGraw started the uproar within the community. And a revision of history is not helping heal the community.

  93. says

    Watson’s accusations against McGraw

    Went something along the lines of, “You’re parroting misogynist tropes.”

    Oooh lordy. Yes, that totally justifies a years-long campaign of threats and abuse.

  94. ginger135 says

    So all the treats and abuse which started long before the elevator vlog suddenly became an adopted tactic of half the atheist and skeptic communities? It couldn’t possibly be an unrelated phenomena?

  95. John Phillips, FCD says

    ginger, even if we do have things in common as atheists, I would rather not have you ‘sharing the barricades’ with me as I’m fussy who I associate with.

    Jen, another willing to chip in a few quid if needed.

  96. says

    I have heard rumors of certain female atheists sexually harassing men at certain atheist conventions. I have heard at least 10 cases from friends of mine who wouldn’t lie about such things. These men don’t want to speak in the open about it because they are worried about being labeled x, y , and z, which I will refrain from using the particular words, but I am sure you can guess what some of those labels might be.

    I have heard rumors of men having their ass groped, their genital regions groped, general unsolicited and undesired touchy feel type stuff, talked to in a sexually demeaning manner, and undesired advances.

    You may not think it happens to men, but believe me, it does…

  97. says

    @George Clinton
    I wouldn’t be surprised. Women can be assholes to. So, with that in mind, I’m sure we can count on your support for strong anti-harassment regulations, transparent procedures for reporting, and a policy of zero tolerance for sweeping cases under the rug. Right?

  98. Ichthyic says

    Ginger has a very self-centered view of that history.

    In fact, she is only addressing the one aspect of the fallout, that, correctly, was identified by Watson as a response.

    She conveniently ignores, as is her history, the entire rest of the response that was the direct MRA hysteria.

    sorry Ginger, but you too cannot repaint history.

  99. Ichthyic says

    You may not think it happens to men, but believe me, it does…

    making shit up to try and make a point is particularly assholish of you there, clinton, especially in this circumstance.

  100. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    hence our “hyper skepticism” when notorious trash talkers like the RW (don’t say her name publicly) are trying to rock the boat.

    ONE example. A single one out of a flood of recent reporting of women being harassed, covered by actually respected news outlets. But hey, thanks for telling us what’s really got you upset.

  101. PatrickG says

    @ Gen:

    It’s amusing when they just can’t help themselves, isn’t it? That Watson! I thought “loudmouth hyenas” was a nice touch, too.

    Sadly, I’m one square away from True Skeptic™ Bingo. Maybe in his next comment.

  102. Dani Wells says

    Hi Jen,

    I just finished watching Thunderfail’s video on your blog post. I’m a proud feminist so I think that Thunderass is just mad b/c he can’t get away with his dudebro attitude at conferences. Every video he makes about these issues ALWAYS has Rebecca in it. I think he’s so upset about it b/c Rebecca was the catalyst of change for the atheist community.

    I think women have the right to speak out about men who are harassing them sexually. They have the right to say it loudly and repeatedly so that other women will not fall victim.

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