David Futrelle is on the Vacula story, in a post titled Why is the Secular Coalition for America giving Justin Vacula — online bully, A Voice for Men contributor — a leadership position? Why indeed.
Watson is hardly the only skeptic to face vicious misogynist harassment for the crime of blogging while feminist. Last month, Jen McCreight of Blag Hag announced that near constant harassment from online bullies was wearing her down to such a degree that she felt it necessary to shut down her blog – hopefully only temporarily.
McCreight’s harassers and their enablers were delighted in this “victory,” taking to Twitter to give McCreight some final kicks on the way out the door. “Good riddance, #jennifurret , you simple minded dolt,” wrote @skepticaljoe. “I couldn’t be happier,” added @SUICIDEBOMBS. “Eat shit you rape-faking scum.”
One of the celebrators that day was an atheist activist named Justin Vacula, who joked that “Jen’s allegedly finished blogging…and this time it’s not her boyfriend who kicked her off the internet.”
Not a friendly joke, not a hahaha we’re all in this together joke, not a between-colleagues joke. Not really a joke at all; more of a jeer. A bullying taunting giggling jeer. (I hear a voice from the audience crying out that Jen has a “big platform” while Justin has a “small platform” and therefore Justin can’t be the bully. Oh really; is that a fact. Well in that case why wasn’t “Dear Muslima” a case of bullying, given the relative platforms? Why wasn’t “irresponsible messaging coming from a small number of prominent and well-meaning women skeptics” a case of bullying, given the relative platforms? I would love to know.)
So here’s the latest twist:
Justin Vacula has just been given a leadership position in the Pennsylvania chapter of the Secular Coalition for America, a lobbying group for secular Americans whose advisory board includes such big names as Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins, Susan Jacoby, Wendy Kaminer, Steven Pinker, Salman Rushdie and Julia Sweeney.
It’s an astonishing choice. In addition to gloating that bullies had led McCreight to shut down her blog, Vacula has harassed atheist blogger and activist Surly Amy, including writing a post on A Voice for Men (yes, that A Voice for Men) cataloging all the sordid details of his supposed case against her. At one point he even posted her address, and a photo of her apartment building, on a site devoted to hating on feminist atheist bloggers.
Yes but. They’re in a hurry. They want to have lots of state chapters. What kind of chapters doesn’t seem to be part of the equation.