Jan 19 2013

Jerry Conlon apologizes

I am, obviously, not going to treat this as a private correspondence. Jerry Conlon isn’t a friend of mine, I never asked him to contact me in any way, he tweeted at me yesterday (and the day before) just to stir the shit aka harass me, so I don’t consider his apology or my reply part of a private correspondence.

Jerry Conlon to me:

I would like to apologize Ophellia for that vile tweet I sent you yesterday. I did not mean it as threat on your person being but as a childish insult agaisnt your appearence.

I understand how you take it as personal threat and I hope in no way did I make you feel unsafe in your own home. That was not my intent and I apologize if I did.

I do not expect you to accept this apology or expect you to. I am not doing it to safe face with fan base either. I feel terrible for the tweet I sent and if it caused you any duress.

My apologies,

My reply:

Well, Mr Conlon, I don’t see why you think it’s ok to insult people for being old and ugly, either. It’s not “childish” – it’s vicious. I don’t suppose you do that to your mother (assuming she’s alive) or other ancient female relatives. I don’t suppose you would enjoy hearing other people doing that to your mother. I don’t even suppose you would do it to anyone face to face.

You did of course make me feel unsafe. I didn’t think you were going to hop on a plane and come here to throw acid on me – but of course it makes me feel unsafe when people are willing to say things like that to me. Hatred and rage escalate. That was what I was saying in the post about acid-throwing yesterday. Yes, I feel unsafe because of the non-stop hatred at the slyme pit and on Twitter. Yes, you made that worse.

Thank you for the partial apology, but I really urge you to stop doing things like telling women you hate how ugly they are.

I mean that. I hope he does. I would like to see everyone stop fostering the hatred and rage. However I don’t for a second think that will happen.


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  1. 1

    Jerry closed his account shortly after threatening Ophelia. I’m sure he realized that he really screwed up. Looks to me like he’s trying to cover his ass.

  2. 2
    Gnumann+, out&proud cultural marxist (just don't ask me about Gramsci)

    Given the nature of the tweet I think this is possibly the best case scenario.

    Especially if it makes him ponder the error of his ways and change (that is a pipe dream though)

  3. 3

    How long before Michael Shermer condemns Ophelia for driving Conlon out of the atheist community?

    I’m only half-kidding.

  4. 4

    Ophelia, your reply is admirably rational and constructive. I’ll allow myself 20 minutes or so in which to believe that this could be the point at which some of the bad actors pull themselves back from the precipice and/or find something else to obsess over. A girl can dream, can’t she?

  5. 5
    Ophelia Benson

    Well, he replied to that, and I think he does intend to do better. At any rate he said he does. That’s a step.

    But all the others? Nah. That’s not going to happen.

  6. 6

    A very good response. It is firm, clear, tells him what he did wrong, educates him about the effects his actions have on others, while acknowledging that he did at least reach out. If he were to learn from anything, it would be this, but I’m too cynical to make any prognostications.

  7. 7
    Tom Foss

    Good on him for apologizing, though I have a hard time imagining what would drive a person to say such asinine, hurtful, violent things in the first place (and then repeatedly, mockingly defend it, before apparently deleting all the evidence).

    But now that the account’s gone, how long will it be before the wingnuttiest of the pitters claims that he was “bullied off Twitter” by the FTBullies? Before they claim that this was all a false-flag operation to make them look bad? Before they claim that this was one of the A+ers sending threats to Ophelia to drum up publicity/sympathy/money?

    I’d like to be less cynical about this, but judging by past events, I don’t see any of those things as being very unlikely. This is going to be rewritten into yet another entry in their alternate history annals of the overreaction and narcissism and censorship of the FTBullies, and Jerry Conlon will be lauded as another in the list of unlikely (and uncritically accepted) heroes of the Slyme Pit.

    Heck, maybe Skeptic Ink will give him a blog.

  8. 8
    Tom Foss

    Oh, oops. I should have read the comments on the previous thread earlier. Looks like my prediction was too late.

  9. 9
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    Well, by apologising he’s clearly a better person than the scum at the Slymepit and their vile gaggle of hangers-on – but that’s not much to brag about, is it? These are people I wouldn’t turn my back on in a crowded room.

    Still, I’m glad that he did apologise and appears to understand exactly why what he said he was problematic.

  10. 10

    The guy is a firefighter and people were telling Ophelia to call the authorities. The guy was just covering his ass.

  11. 11
    Ophelia Benson

    Ya, about that not turning your back in a crowded room – one of them is fundraising in order to attend Women in Secularism 2. Urggh.

  12. 12

    I don’t believe a single word of his apology. I’m only guessing, but I think some of his friends warned him that his threat might get him into trouble and they suggested he cover himself with the apology – he probably didn’t even write it himself..

  13. 13
    Ophelia Benson

    Could be.

  14. 14
    Francisco Bacopa

    I still think you should file a criminal complaint. I would also suggest that you consult a lawyer if you have the money. You could always bleg for it if you don’t. I’d kick in ten bucks.

  15. 15
    Jafafa Hots

    Considering the fact that he left a celebratory parting message to the slymepit, I kinda don’t think he was actually sorry – sounded like he felt he had scored points and “took one for the team.”

    Until “taking one for the team” started to sound like it might have real-world consequences.

  16. 16
    Ophelia Benson

    He did?

    Well shit. I answered his second message too politely then.

  17. 17
    Ophelia Benson

    Could you paste it in, Jafafa? I don’t have the stomach to go there right now. (I hardly ever do have the stomach…but especially not right now.)

  18. 18
    Jafafa Hots

    Oh, no I’m sorry, I didn’t mean he said that explicitly, and I don’t visit the slymepit to dig for crap.

    I meant that that is the vibe I got from the message of his which has already been discussed where he complimented them and wished them farewell, etc. That’s just how it struck me, is all.

    “Celebratory parting message” is my characterization, just how I felt about that message, what the tone felt like to me – remorseless. He didn’t actually say “hooray, I did it!” or anything like that.

  19. 19
    Argle Bargle

    “It was just a joke” is what bullies say when they get caught.

  20. 20

    I just dipped in to look and didn’t see anything specific, but I was a bit amused that there was one comment to the tone of being annoyed that Conlan is being called a pitizen since he only had “about 10 posts” there, insinuating that it was a minimal association at best. However, in one of his posts he said “I read the entire thread over these few weeks and it’s been a trip. Thanks for keeping these fuckwads in check and it’s been pleasure conversing with a few of you over twitter. You’re a solid group of people and all the hyperbolic nonsense I used to read about “The Pit” on FTB is just that…. nonsense. Take care friends”. That sounds like enthusiastic embracing of the pit and its culture to me.

  21. 21
    Bjarte Foshaug

    Notice that the “apology” – at least the part quoted here – doesn’t contain anything about how calling Ophelia ugly – which, btw, she is not – in the first place is a shitty thing to do, only that it was “not [his] intent” to make her “feel unsafe in [her] own home”. Sounds suspiciously like “Sorry you feel that way” to me.

  22. 22
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Classic No-pology: I’m sorry if you totally overreacted for my harmless bit of fun. Seriously, can’t you take a joke?
    Only in nicer words.

  23. 23
    A Hermit

    An apology is a good first step, but unless it;s accompanied by a visible change in behaviour it’s ultimately meaningless.

  24. 24

    There was a comment on FB by Jeremy which saw the acid thowing threat as a mainly tactical error, with Russell assuring us that it wasn’t worth worrying about. I politely queried those positions and the response was instant de-friending. No loss, but it is clear that the chasm is what they want.

  25. 25

    “I didn’t mean it as a threat”? Too bad, it was a threat. Intentions don’t matter.

    Besides, he did mean it. If the response to it hadn’t been disapproving, he wouldn’t have apologized. Because although he may not meant to carry it out personally, he meant to implant the fear that someone would, that the idea was within the realm of possibility.

    Unacceptable and unforgivable.

  26. 26

    That apology sounded about as sincere as a cross between a used car salesperson,an infomercial personality and Lance Frakking Armstrong.

  27. 27
    Jafafa Hots

    Yeah, Carlie – THAT is the one I was talking about. That’s what I call the “celebratory parting message” because He sure doesn’t sound very apologetic.

  28. 28
    Ophelia Benson

    Oh, I see, got it. Well for what it’s worth, his second reply did indicate that he gets it that taunting people for being ugly is also not just fine.

    Yes I saw those comments by Jeremy and Russell. What a pair.

  29. 29

    Jafafa – I think that one I quoted from was his introductory message, not a more recent one; it’s just been quoted again more recently. I saw it quoted in a warm welcome to him from Al Stefanelli (eyeroll), so it might have been quoted again in the last day or so.

  30. 30
    Jafafa Hots

    Carlie, oh, ok, when I first saw it quoted either it was represented as or I misunderstood it to be his last message.

    (Yep, it’s true, I don’t venture onto that website to verify things. I don’t even know the URL, and don’t care to. I know, I know, baaaad skeptic of me, not wading into a cesspool to sample it for myself. ;) I reply on screengrabs from others. They tell me enough to know I don’t wanna tarnish my nice cable modem by running that stuff through it.)

  31. 31

    Your opponents are disgusting, and my stomach is knotting up just reading about it.

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