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Oct 11 2013

Guest post by DNLee: Tell Someone “No”, Get Called a “Whore”

We’re requested to repost this to amplify its signal, so I’m doing that. DNLee is asked to write for a blog, politely declines, and gets a less than polite response.

DNLee reports:

wachemshe hao hao kwangu mtapoa

I got this wrap cloth from Tanzania. It’s a khanga. It was the first khanga I purchased while I was in Africa for my nearly 3 month stay for field research last year. Everyone giggled when they saw me wear it and then gave a nod to suggest, “Well, okay”. I later learned that it translates to “Give trouble to others, but not me”. I laughed, thinking how appropriate it was. I was never a trouble-starter as a kid and I’m no fan of drama, but I always took this 21st century ghetto proverb most seriously:

Don’t start none. Won’t be none.

For those not familiar with inner city anthropology – it is simply a variation of the Golden Rule. Be nice and respectful to me and I will do the same. Everyone doesn’t live by the Golden Rule it seems. (Click to embiggen.)

The Blog editor of Biology-Online dot org asked me if I would like to blog for them. I asked the conditions. He explained. I said no. He then called me out of my name.

My initial reaction was not civil, I can assure you. I’m far from rah-rah, but the inner South Memphis in me was spoiling for a fight after this unprovoked insult. I felt like Hollywood Cole, pulling my A-line T-shirt off over my head, walking wide leg from corner to corner yelling, “Aww hell nawl!” In my gut I felt so passionately:”Ofek, don’t let me catch you on these streets, homie!”

This is my official response:

It wasn’t just that he called me a whore – he juxtaposed it against my professional being: Are you urban scientist or an urban whore? Completely dismissing me as a scientist, a science communicator (whom he sought for my particular expertise), and someone who could offer something meaningful to his brand. What? Now, I’m so immoral and wrong to inquire about compensation? Plus, it was obvious me that I was supposed to be honored by the request..

After all, Dr. Important Person does it for free so what’s my problem? Listen, I ain’t him and he ain’t me. Folks have reasons – finances, time, energy, aligned missions, whatever – for doing or not doing things. Seriously, all anger aside…this rationalization of working for free and you’ll get exposure is wrong-headed.This is work. I am a professional. Professionals get paid. End of story. Even if I decide to do it pro bono (because I support your mission or I know you, whatevs) – it is still worth something. I’m simply choosing to waive that fee. But the fact is told ol’ boy No; and he got all up in his feelings. So, go sit on a soft internet cushion, Ofek, ’cause you are obviously all butt-hurt over my rejection. And take heed of the advice on my khanga.

You don’t want none of this

Thanks to everyone who helped me focus my righteous anger on these less-celebrated equines. I appreciate your support, words of encouragement, and offers to ride down on his *$$.

23 comments

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  1. 1
    anais

    I’m an artist, and I’ve been asked many times to donate paintings (that I sell through galleries for $3000-$5000) as raffle prizes or to raise money at my children’s school. That’s a week’s work I’d be donating, and I can’t afford that. But at least I wasn’t called a whore for not donating!

    Catherine Deveny talks about this problem in a column at Money Circle:
    http://moneycircle.com/you-can-keep-your-exposure-show-us-the-money/

  2. 2
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    Bwahahahaha! That’s a fantastic response to the idiot. Talk about yer basic “sour grapes’, that guy has it going on. Let him have it, DNLee!

    -
    Ophelia – I think the blog title needs a little punctuation or something…

  3. 3
    Ophelia Benson

    Oops! Quite right, F – I rearranged it.

  4. 4
    PatrickG

    You know, this internet thingie has been around for … a while. You think people would learn to stop being ridiculous assholes in permanent electronic format.

    On the other hand, it does provide opportunity for great posts like these. Silver linings, I suppose.

  5. 5
    Marie-Thérèse O'Loughlin

    Don’t start none. Won’t be none.

    @DNLee

    Nice one. I think you’re at the right spot where that saying has much relevancy.

    I hope you said: ‘OFEKOFF with yerself, will ya” – after he called you ‘a whore’. The cheek of him. Great to see that you took a stand via YT. it serves him right.

  6. 6
    Al Dente

    Ofek, here’s a friendly word of advice: When you ask someone to do something for you and they say “no” your response should be something like: “Thank you and if you change your mind please let us know.” You don’t insult them. That’s guaranteed to ensure they’ll never do you favors.

  7. 7
    A. Noyd

    Wow, I’m sorry that happened. What a stupid, sad fucker that guy is. It’s like he thinks if you’re not going to fall for his scam, you should have a better “excuse” than valuing yourself, your work and your time. And of course there’s the misogyny, because self esteem is extra inexcusable in a woman.

  8. 8
    SallyStrange

    Thanks for signal-boosting this. DNLee is one of my favorite science communicators and promoters on Twitter. She doesn’t deserve to be devalued this way. I note that the “urban” in “urban whore” is a common racist dogwhistle – my local racist bar has a dress code barring “urban wear” which is only enforced when black people wear it.

  9. 9
    leebrimmicombe-wood

    I have been in this situation before, being asked to do stuff for free, and I usually respond by sending them one of my favourite Harlan Ellison rants.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mj5IV23g-fE

    I’m aware that Harlan is a jerk on so many things. But on the issue of getting paid he is right.

  10. 10
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    I’m sorry you had to deal with that asshole, DNLee.

    Ass for Offek-Asshole, has it occured to hir that maybe, just maybe, for Dr. Very Important the priorities are different? That for Dr. Very Important some, what do I know, 20, 30, 50 bucks are actually something they can handwave, that for them it’s so little they don’t even recognise it, while for another person that’s this week’s grocery shopping?
    Some people have privilege shining out of their asses for sure.

  11. 11
    MadHatter

    After reading this on FTB and Skepchick I went and read some of DNLee’s blog and I’m hooked so thank you for boosting this. I also went to the website who asked for a free blog and told them that they have ensured I never read or recommend them.

    I wish I was surprised.

  12. 12
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    That’s simply outrageous. And so unexpected after his first two emails. It appears the professional politeness was just a thin veneer, ready to crack at the first sign of rejection or opposition, which makes it all the more disturbing.

    As for the response, well, it’s early morning and already my day is made, especially by the link to the tweet with the hashtag #holdmyearrings.

  13. 13
    Bernard Bumner

    No comparison to Dr. Very Important is warranted or required. When you ask someone for a favour, it is utterly wrong and perverse to berate them for politely declining. To react abusively should never cross one’s mind.

    If I ask someone for a favour, I certainly don’t ask them to justify why they can’t help me.

  14. 14
    David Marjanović

    And of course there’s the misogyny, because self esteem is extra inexcusable in a woman.

    Yyyyyyyyeah. Would Ofek ever call a man a whore?

    my local racist bar has a dress code barring “urban wear”

    I giggle, because culture shock. Really drives the point home what “urban” means nowadays in the US!

    And so unexpected after his first two emails.

    Quite.

  15. 15
    rnilsson

    Wow. What a PR coup from Ofek! Amazing how effectively (he) torpedoed (his) own little Enterprise.
    Another Streisand devours the dust.
    Although Popehat-Ken may miss the pony references.

  16. 16
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    And now Scientific American climbs into the same hole. Offekoff to the the pair of them.

  17. 17
    jesse

    I had the privilege of meeting DNLee once. She deserves better, and right the hell on for demanding to be compensated.

    And Can I say I LOVE that pic with the coffee cup? That expression is precisely what I would have. Priceless. Go DNLee!

  18. 18
    LC

    I think “OFEK OFF” might be an apt and new part of the internet lexicon. That guy is a turd. And if he doesn’t feel what the power and collective wrath of the internet can do by now, trust me, he soon will.

    You hang in there DNLee, and I’ll tell you, as a professional and published woman, we got your back here.

    Sending OFEK an O’Feck OFF email on your behalf right now. Also will be using Facebook and Twitter to expose his O’FEK’d up AZZ.

  19. 19
    CaitieCat, getaway driver

    I LOVE the pictures included. Just…so much expression in such subtle movements of features. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant.

    Ofek…dude, just, no. Fucking no. This kind of racist/sexist bullshit is over, dude. Two words:

    O. Ver.

    You lose. Goodnight.

  20. 20
    Greg Laden

    Asking a couple of questions about timing and rate here:

    http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2013/10/13/will-sciams-response-to-dn-lees-post-deletion-mean-anything-if-it-happens-monday/

    Should be of interest to scientists!

  21. 21
    GuyThroway

    Ofek’s been fired!! Yay!

    Slow to react but Biology Online’s owners did the right thing in the end.

  22. 22
    graspee

    His reply might have been rude but it wasn’t racist or sexist. You people are just looking for a fight.

  23. 23
    Ophelia Benson

    Really? Calling a woman a whore isn’t sexist?

  1. 24
    Interesting recruiting technique » Pharyngula

    […] Ofek the editor didn’t do that when he went courting DNLee. The only card he played was to say that they got 1.6 million monthly visitors — a respectable number, although I suspect most of their traffic is driven by their forum, which consists largely of people asking for help on their biology homework — and when asked, offered no remuneration at all. The whole exchange was very polite, until DNLee turned him down. […]

  2. 25
    Help Me Out Here, Scientific American » Almost Diamonds

    […] after yanking this post by DNLee with no proactive communication, you tell us it is “not appropriate for this […]

  3. 26
    Questionable Judgment » The Digital Cuttlefish

    […] So she turns down your offer (completely expected) With “thanks but no thanks”, and no more… Just act like professionals do when rejected, And ask if she’s some kind of wh–wait, what? Really? […]

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