Oh good god. Another one.
Read this, from last year: This happened, by Monica Byrne.
When you do the first thing you’ll see is the update today, naming the guy in question.
UPDATE, 10/14/13: The man is Bora Zivkovic, Blogs Editor for Scientific American. There’s no reason for me anymore not to name him publicly, which I’d long wanted to do anyway. Reading about this incident is what reminded me (independent of whether or not he had anything to do with that post’s original deletion, which I don’t know).
So you know what’s coming.
A month ago I met with a prominent science editor and blogger. He’d friended me on Facebook, and given his high profile, I was delighted, thinking he was interested in my writing.
But guess what, it turned out he was interested in getting in her pants. Silly women, always thinking people are interested in their writing.
He began describing his own experience of going to a strip club. Then he described himself as “a very sexual person.” Then he told me about his wife’s sexual and mental health history. Then he began telling me about his dissatisfaction with his current sex life with his wife. Then he reminded me that he was “a very sexual person.” Then he told me, in an awful lot of detail, about how he almost had an affair with a younger woman he’d been seeing at conferences—how they’d met, how it escalated, how “close they’d come.”
Fabulous! She’s there to talk about writing and science and blogs, and he’s there to talk about what a sexual person he is.
Afterwards, on reflection, she wrote to him.
Since meeting, I’ve felt a lot of reluctance about pitching to you, and I wanted to let you know why. I felt very uncomfortable during our meeting last week. The talk veered towards sex because you led it there—first describing yourself as a “very sexual person,” and then going on to describe your wife’s sexual history (which I can’t imagine she’d want me to know), the state of your present sex life, and the near-affair you had with a younger woman. I thought all of these topics were incredibly inappropriate to discuss with someone you’d just met, especially one who was interested in working together in a professional capacity and had initiated the meeting as such. Why didn’t I say anything in the moment? Because I wanted to write for [redacted], and you held power insofar as whether or not that would happen (and still do). I was particularly upset that, despite other indications that you’re aware of the difficulties women face in terms of harassment, that you didn’t seem to be aware that your behavior towards me was part of that same problem. So I’m letting you know.
That’s the part that makes me furious – she wanted to write for SciAm blogs and he held the power and he used it to get what he wanted regardless of how painful that would be for her. “Oh, write for the blog? Hahahaha no, honey, I just want to fuck you.”
Guys, don’t do that.
Don’t do that.
He apologized, sort of.
I did appreciate the note, to some degree. Especially the clear admission that he did something wrong.
But, surprise, this is far from the first time I’ve been on the receiving end of sexual harassment from an older man in a position of power, and in my experience, offenders are often serial offenders. Apparently abject apologies, and claims that “you’re the only one,” “these are special circumstances” or “this is the only time this has happened,” have often proven hollow after further investigation. Recently there’ve been blowups in the spec lit community, the atheist community, and now the theatre community over behavior like this. In many cases, it seems clear that the harasser in question is a known serial harasser, long tolerated by his community because of his status or reputation.
Yeah. Can we stop doing that soon?