Adam Lee has a petition to the Leaders of Atheist, Skeptical and Secular Groups: Support Feminism and Diversity in the Secular Community. Please, if you agree with it, take a minute to sign it and share it.
We, the undersigned, are atheists, skeptics and nonbelievers who value free speech and rational thought and who seek to build a strong, thriving movement that can advocate effectively for these values. We’ve chosen to put our names to this petition because we want to respond to a video created by a blogger calling himself Thunderfoot. In this video, Thunderfoot attacks named individuals who’ve been active in promoting diversity and fighting sexism and harassment in our movement. He describes these people as “whiners” and “ultra-PC professional victims” who are “dripp[ing] poison” into the secular community, and urges conference organizers to shun and ignore them.
We hold this and similar complaints from other individuals to be seriously misguided, false in their particulars and harmful to the atheist community as a whole, and we want to set the record straight. We wish to clarify that Thunderfoot and those like him don’t speak for us or represent us, and to state our unequivocal support for the following goals:
We support making the atheist movement more diverse and inclusive.
And (to speak for myself for a moment) we’ve noticed that cyberstalking and harassing and impersonating and smearing a tiny selection of feminist women and a tinier selection of feminist men (aka “manginas”) is not a good way to do that. Why not? Because it puts people off.
We support the people in our community who’ve been the target of bullying, harassment and threats. Outside the conference environment, there are prominent members of the atheist community (including most of the people named in Thunderfoot’s video) who’ve been subjected to a vicious and persistent campaign of online harassment, including obsessive streams of slurs and invective, threatening messages, sexually-tinged taunting, and malicious impersonation on social media, all carried out with the goal of bullying them into silence. We stand shoulder-to-shoulder in support of the people who’ve been harassed in this way, and forcefully and unequivocally condemn those who’ve carried out the harassment. Unless they change their ways and make amends, they have no place within the movement.
To put a stop to this bad behavior once and for all, we need to change the culture of the atheist movement so that sexism isn’t condoned or defended, just as racism and homophobia aren’t condoned or defended. We’re grateful to the leaders of the movement who’ve spoken out against harassment, and we encourage all atheists and skeptics, regardless of their influence or prominence, to do likewise.
Over here! I’ve been subjected to that campaign. A lot. On the one hand, of course, it’s great, because it shows how hugely important I must be, or they wouldn’t pore over my every word. On the other hand, it gets creepy after a year or so.
Adam has a post about this, too.
You may have heard that the video blogger “Thunderf00t”* recently published a video titled “Why ‘Feminism’ is poisoning Atheism“, which he’s been sending to the heads of atheist and skeptical organizations. In this video, he attacks named individuals who’ve been active in promoting diversity and fighting sexism and harassment in our movement, describing them as “whiners” and “ultra-PC professional victims” who are “dripp[ing] poison” into the secular community, and urges conference organizers to shun and ignore them. He’s also claiming that prominent members of the atheist movement who’ve previously spoken out against harassment and misogyny didn’t do so of their own free will, but were coerced into making these statements using nefarious means he declines to specify.
Although I don’t expect that anything will come of this effort, I think it’s important that ignorant and destructive statements like this not go unanswered. Therefore, I thought it would be worthwhile to demonstrate the depth of support within the secular community for measures to increase diversity among our representatives, institute anti-harassment policies at our gatherings, and other moderate and reasonable policies for making everyone feel welcome and broadening our appeal.
That’s why I say if you agree, please sign.