Kittens for the Secular Student Alliance! »« Kittens for the Secular Student Alliance!

Holy. Fucking. Shit.

UPDATE: There is an update/ clarification/ correction on this post. It is summarized at the end of this post, and explained in fuller detail here.

I haven’t been getting as involved in the recent “sexual harassment at atheist/ skeptical conferences” discussions as I would like to. This is my last week at my day job, and my time has been both much more limited and much more frazzling even than usual. Thus far, all I’ve said on the topic has been (a) this post, on what is and is not an appropriate community response to widespread second-hand reports about harassment; and (b) this post, on the sexual harassment policy/ code of conduct adopted by a recent polyamory conference, as an example of how an anti-harassment policy can be consistent with a sex-positive environment.

But I just saw this — and limited time or not, I had to speak.

Two women approach me and another conferee. They are pale and trembling. A man with a camera on the end of a telescoping monopod has been attempting to surreptitiously take photos up their skirts. Yes, he was attending TAM. They had taken concerns to conference organizers and got little satisfaction. Hotel security confiscated the camera. I later learned the individual was well-known and had been complained about in previous years, and yet there he was again.

And then this comment on the post from which the above is excerpted:

Though I was less traumatized and more seriously angry I am one of the people to report the upskirt photo thing along with multiple other incidents by the same person the last day at tam last year. We spoke to dj about it during the event, he said we would hear back on what was going to be done and never did. We followed up on it for a number of months and nothing happened so we gave up. Its part of what has very much frustrated me about tam and other such events is that even when we reported harassment we only got lip service on something actually being done. I know dj is busy and I don’t expect him to be the one to take care of things but I do expect there to be some response from the jref more than vacuous head patting.

And then this, from this latter commenter on the same post, in response to a question about whether she reported this incident in TAM’s anonymous post-event survey:

I reported it publicly to the JREF. In paper and in person to the head of security and even spoke to DJ at the event. The other person who I reported the multiple situations that occured with and I have both been trying since last TAM to find out what was going to happen with it and haven’t heard anything back. It’s been nearly a year now and they haven’t responded to us in over 6 months that I know of.

(Via Almost Diamonds.)

There is so much I could say. After I scream and curse and throw things at the wall, that is. There is so much I could say, so much I want to say. But my time and energy are limited… so for now, I’m just going to say two things.

First: In the conversations about sexual harassment at atheist/ skeptical conferences, I have noticed a tremendous amount of goalpost-moving when it comes to the question of reporting. “If you wanted something done about this harassment, why didn’t you tell anyone?” “Actually — I told someone on the JREF staff.” “Well, why didn’t you tell D.J. Grothe about it?” “Actually — I did tell D.J. about it.” “Well, why didn’t you report it in writing?” “Actually — I did report it in writing.” “Well, why didn’t you tell hotel security?” “Actually — I did tell hotel security.” “Well, why didn’t you send a written report in triplicate, to the police, to hotel security, and to D.J. Grothe, using registered mail so there could be a documented paper trail?”

Okay, that last one was sarcastic. I wish I could say the rest of it was.

As Ashley F. Miller pointed out in her excellent piece, Aren’t you making it up? – Why women don’t report harassment: When a woman is harassed and speaks out about it… even when she does everything “right”? Even when she has witnesses who are willing to make public statements; even when a complaint about the harassment gets made when the incident is happening and not later; even when the complaint isn’t being made about a well-known speaker; even when the target of the harassment is a known and respected member of the community with a platform from which to speak? She will still (a) be blamed for not reporting in the exact proper channels, and (b) get called a liar. In fact, the fact that she didn’t report through the exact proper channels (or rather, her critic’s idea of the exact proper channels) will be used to impugn her credibility. “Well, if this really happened, why didn’t you tell anyone?” Repeat goalpost-moving script above.

Second, and much more importantly:

D.J. Grothe, president of JREF and organizer of TAM, was told about these incidents.

D.J. Grothe was told that a male attendee of TAM had been using a camera on the end of a telescoping monopod to surreptitiously take photos up women’s skirts.

And he nevertheless made this statement:

It should be said that there has never been a report filed of sexual harassment at TAM to my knowledge and there have been zero reports of harassment at the TAMs we’ve put on while I’ve been at JREF.

Holy. Fucking. Shit.

I can only think of four possible explanations for this. All of which are entirely unacceptable.

1: Grothe was told that a male attendee of TAM had been using a camera on the end of a telescoping monopod to surreptitiously take photos up women’s skirts (UPDATE: Grothe was told that a male attendee of TAM was persistently harassing women even after having been asked to leave them alone multiple times, and was strongly and reasonably suspected of using a camera on the end of a telescoping monopod to surreptitiously take photos up women’s skirts) — but thinks this incident wasn’t “reported,” because he is defining “report” in the extremely narrow, weaselly, goalpost-moving way described above.

2: Grothe was told that a male attendee of TAM had been using a camera on the end of a telescoping monopod to surreptitiously take photos up women’s skirts (UPDATE: Grothe was told that a male attendee of TAM was persistently harassing women even after having been asked to leave them alone multiple times, and was strongly and reasonably suspected of using a camera on the end of a telescoping monopod to surreptitiously take photos up women’s skirts) — but he didn’t think this qualified as sexual harassment.

3: Grothe was told that a male attendee of TAM had been using a camera on the end of a telescoping monopod to surreptitiously take photos up women’s skirts (UPDATE: Grothe was told that a male attendee of TAM was persistently harassing women even after having been asked to leave them alone multiple times, and was strongly and reasonably suspected of using a camera on the end of a telescoping monopod to surreptitiously take photos up women’s skirts) — and lied about having been told this.

4: Grothe was told that a male attendee of TAM had been using a camera on the end of a telescoping monopod to surreptitiously take photos up women’s skirts (UPDATE: Grothe was told that a male attendee of TAM was persistently harassing women even after having been asked to leave them alone multiple times, and was strongly and reasonably suspected of using a camera on the end of a telescoping monopod to surreptitiously take photos up women’s skirts) — but he didn’t remember it.

I don’t know what to even begin saying about this.

Maybe some of you can say it for me?

Or maybe you feel that you should say it to JREF?

UPDATE: There is an update/ clarification/ correction on this post. It is explained in fuller detail here. Summary: The report made to JREF was not, “a male attendee of TAM had been using a camera on the end of a telescoping monopod to surreptitiously take photos up women’s skirts.” The report made was, “a male attendee of TAM was persistently harassing women even after having been asked to leave them alone multiple times, and was strongly and reasonably suspected of using a camera on the end of a telescoping monopod to surreptitiously take photos up women’s skirts.”

The original Facebook post and comment on this matter led me to believe that it was the former, but it was not — it was the latter.

None of this alters the point of this post. Which is that:

a: in the conversations about sexual harassment, there is a tremendous amount of goalpost-moving when it comes to the question of reporting — such that, no matter how formally or through what official channels the reports are made, it is never seen as good enough;

b (and more relevantly): D.J. Grothe’s claim that there had never, to his knowledge, been a report filed of sexual harassment at TAM, and that there have been zero reports of harassment at the TAMs they’ve put on while he’s been at JREF, is clearly false.

The point of my post is not altered. But the truth matters to me, and it’s important to me to have the facts straight — especially in matters as important and controversial as this one. So I’m posting this update/ clarification/ correction, and have corrected the post accordingly. Please make note of it in future discussions of this topic. Thank you.

SECOND UPDATE: Comments on this post have been largely derailed away from the original points. Anyone wishing to discuss the actual points made in this post may do so in this new dedicated thread: “Holy. Fucking. Shit.”: An Attempt to Discuss the Actual Issue. Any attempts to derail the conversation in that new thread will result in being banned. Thank you.

Comments

  1. says

    I, like you, am left at a loss for words. This is reprehensible.

    I remember seeing comments from what was possibly the upskirt photographer himself in a thread on one of the posts about this. IIRC, he was arguing that he had been unfairly accused of doing just that, and that’s why harassment policies were going to ruin everything for “innocent” guys like him.

  2. says

    I’m pretty sure explanation 1 is correct. If you go with the idea that DJ’s concern is conference attendance, not harassment and that he decided that it’s easier to address the PR problem by spinning than dealing with the actual incidents, and that he’s not very good at it, everything makes sense.

  3. says

    #2 is likely also a factor. He has an absurd goalpost for what’s a big deal since he views this as a distraction rather than part of his job.

  4. Kompani says

    I am so angry at this lack of concern from JREF/TAM that I have sent D.J.Grothe an email, via the JREF website. We are in the 21st century and no one should have to put up with such obnoxious behaviour. JREF/TAM need to get their act together to stop this once and for all, now.

  5. says

    Hug a kitty
    I’m hoping that the neighbour’s one will visit soon for that purpose.
    The most charitable explenation I have is that DJ Grothe has no clue what sexual harassment is* and doesn’t care.
    If shooting the messenger was an olympic discipline other people wouldn’t even bother to show up.

    *Yesterday I learned from DJ’s fanclub that Rebecca Watson has not suffered sexual harassment. It’s just what you get for being a public figure. Like the rape-joke they made at her.

  6. SexyJedi, Master of the Alteration School says

    This is nuts. Why is DJ still president of JREF?

  7. joel says

    Women live in a dangerous world. It is more dangerous to be conceived because they are more likely to be aborted, more dangerous to be born, infanticide is much more likely. More dangerous to be a little girl, more dangerous to enter puberty, more dangerous to walk to school, more dangerous to stay at home, more dangerous to get into an elevator, more dangerous to work on Saturday in an empty building, more dangerous to run out of gas or have a flat tire. more dangerous to live on the ground floor, more dangerous to disagree, more dangerous to say no, more dangerous to be assertive, more dangerous to have sex, more dangerous to travel, to go camping. The list is endless.

    Courage is required to live as a female, lots and lots of courage.

    Some women have the courage to attend male dominated events in spite of the likelyhood of encountering insult, sexual harassment or worse. They should be rewarded.

    One possible reward could be that the men decide to make a convention, not just harassment free but really really safe. Safe enough that women could be themselves, and not even have to think about security or respect. The same lack of concern for security and respect that I enjoy as a male. Could a convention become for women an island of freedom from their usual cares?

    Skeptics, freethinkers, are probably more than others, free to think about ways this could be made to happen. It should be easier for us since our ethics are not so handicapped by tradition and authority.

  8. atheist says

    Does this DJ Grothe character not care about the way this makes his own conference look? Does he not care about the women going to his conference? Someone needs to explain to this guy in no uncertain terms that failing to deal with sexual harrassers at his conference is unacceptable.

  9. says

    Well, we don’t have evidence that DJ has actively been covering up this incident, he could still have simply forgotten. However, at the very least that shows how high on his priority list this issue is – i.e. not very.

    I think at this point, even if TAM would draft the best anti-harassment policy the world has ever seen (so not the one they had last year), it wouldn’t make much of a difference. I don’t think there’s much reason to trust the guy who would be in charge of it anymore.

  10. says

    @atheist in #10:

    Does this DJ Grothe character not care about the way this makes his own conference look?

    Yes he does, the problem is that his proposed solution is to change the messaging and the way people talk about it, not the way he’s dealing with it.

  11. jamessweet says

    I think (4) is probably not quite as implausible or ridiculous as it sounds at first blush, since, as Ace of Sevens speculates in comment #3, he probably doesn’t view this as part of his job.

    If I avoid passing judgment for a moment (and FWIW I’m definitely not saying we should avoid passing judgment; but I think it’s worthwhile to think about things in that way from time to time) then I think all of this is a very good argument why Groethe and the rest of JREF would themselves benefit immensely from a) an official, well-defined, and well-publicized reporting procedure, and b) somebody whose full-time job is to manage these sorts of HR-ish issues. If you have those things, then you don’t wind up in the embarrassing situation of moving the goalposts on what qualified as reporting (because either the incident is already formally documented, or else you can point to exactly how the victim fell short of the formal reporting procedure*); and as an added bonus, then DJ doesn’t have to deal with this shit he is obviously not interested in**.

    * I’m using some relatively Machiavellian language here, but believe me that I understand the many reasons why victims of sexual harassment are often reluctant to report it. My point is not whether a victim has “failed” if (s)he fails to report the incident properly, it is merely that if there is an official procedure that everyone knows about, then you can say, “Sorry, we only document reports that are filed in triplicate with the local police office and hotel security. We’ll look into a more streamlined reporting procedure in the future” instead of the much more embarrassing, “Er, um, I meant to say ‘filed in quadruple’. You need to send a copy to the Vatican too!”

    ** And I don’t particularly blame DJ for that either. I would absolutely not want to do this shit for my job. I really don’t fault DJ for being bad at this; I fault him for the stonewalling and the apparent preference for shooting the messenger over taking positive steps in the future.

  12. says

    Deen
    Of course we don’t know if he’s covering up and lying.
    But do you know what? It doesn’t matter. If he’s just forgotten about it it means that he gives a flying fuck about the victims of sexual harassment and therefore is not to be trusted with handling those matters in any reasonable form.

  13. Erista (aka Eris) says

    What Giliell said, but I’d like to add something.

    Even if DJ had some kind of weird brain disorder that caused him to selectively and repeatedly forget numerous reports of severe sexual harassment, he has still been an absolute raging asshole to the people who are repeating their reports by blaming the victim and goalpost moving.

    I don’t expect DJ to remember every report that was ever made to him, but I do expect him to remember at least some of them, and I expect him to not victim blame and goalpost move on the people who experienced incidents that he has forgotten.

  14. says

    I’m pretty sure upskirting is a crime. Hotel security seized the camera, so there’s evidence. The guy was well known – so, people at the conference know who he is. Have criminal charges been taken out, either by the women he tried to violate, or the hotel staff, or the convention organizers? Or civil proceedings?
    I hope so.

  15. says

    I’m not the only one who is convinced that Grothe is exactly the president that JREF wants in place right now, and he is achieving the goals of JREF in the way that they prefer.

    This is a very libertarian way of dealing with the problem of sexual harassment: encourage women who would be likely to report harassment to not attend. It has the obvious side effect of making the remaining women more likely to be victimized, and to have much less of a present support group when it happens. If that sounds crazy and sociopathic to you, well… look at the evidence so far. The likelihood of covering up or simply forgetting someone using a camera and a telescoping stick to look up women’s skirts by someone who isn’t a sociopath seems really small.

  16. Martha says

    I’m glad to finally see one of these posts without obnoxious comments from the defenders of the status quo. No doubt I’ve spoken too soon, but making it to 14 comments without one of those is rare in this community, from what I can tell.

    If the skeptical community cannot divorce itself from its sexism, it will cease to be relevant. Who wants to listen to a bunch of economically elite, middle-aged white guys congratulate themselves on their superiority for having dumped the superstitions of their childhood? Especially as they demonstrate over and over again an appalling lack of sensitivity for those who do not share their privileged status?

    I’ve been an atheist for most of my life, but I would much rather align myself with religious liberals with a commitment to social justice and equality than to the skeptical movement in its current form. I care a lot more about how people treat one another than I do about what they believe.

  17. says

    Please remember that DJ Grothe is a smart guy and presumably knows how to do his job, and as President of JREF he mainly represents and has to deal with the major funders and the interaction between them and the big stars of skepticism (fancy speakers).

    Everything he’s done/not done in the context of harassment has been not out of ignorance, lack of information, or a personal lack on his part of not wanting a safe environment.

    TAM was a thing. A certain kind of thing. People are demanding that TAM change. But it was what it was because people made it that way, they worked towards that goal, they paid to make it happen, and they don’t want it to change. Asking TAM to be not what it is is like demanding that McDonalds or Burger King become vegan health food restaurants.

    DJ is smart, capable, and doing his job. Any explanations for what has happened should assume that.

  18. RenDP says

    I’m already financially committed to attending TAM as I’ve already purchased airfare and hotel accommodations, so it’s nice to know I should plan to wear pants and sensible shoes, will need to line up a female escort or two, and perhaps should practice up on the old Kung Fu skills I’ve been neglecting as of late, lest I’m caught in an awkward situation. Is it safe to assume JREF will butt out if we take matters into our own hands and beat the hell out of anyone harassing us, since they don’t seem to be too interested in dealing with this? Inquiring minds want to know, and I don’t want to go to jail or anything if I have to deal with things myself.

  19. llewelly says

    Greg Laden | June 15, 2012 at 9:06 am :

    Please remember that DJ Grothe is a smart guy and presumably knows how to do his job …

    In other words, you don’t think incompetence is the explanation. That leaves indifference or malevolence.

  20. penn says

    Four (4) seems to be the most charitable at first blush, but if his memory is so poor and JREF doesn’t actually keep records of harassment reports, then it’s still completely dishonest to claim “that there has never been a report filed of sexual harassment at TAM to my knowledge and there have been zero reports of harassment at the TAMs we’ve put on while I’ve been at JREF.” With the reporting and recording system they have in place it seems obvious that they have no idea how many incidents there have been.

    I’m also very sympathetic to Greg’s argument that this is probably intentional. DJ isn’t stupid. DJ knows what he’s doing when he blames prominent women bloggers and certain blogging networks for the “perceived” harassment problems at TAM. It’s charitable to assume stupid or evil, but I don’t think a good argument can be made for stupid at this point.

  21. d cwilson says

    I later learned the individual was well-known and had been complained about in previous years, and yet there he was again.

    Okay, full stop right there. If this guy is well known, there is zero excuse for not giving his picture to every staff member and hotel security with clear instructions that, under no circumstances should this man be allowed into the convention.

  22. bubba707 says

    What I’m getting from all this is the skeptic movement isn’t much better than a drunken Shriners convention, lacking only dropping water balloons out hotel windows on passers by.

  23. Pteryxx says

    Greg: with all due respect, then DJ has no business complaining that women aren’t attending his event in sufficient numbers. If he wanted everything to stay the same he should never have made that complaint public.

  24. says

    Martha and bubba707, this is not the skeptics movement. TAM is not the movement. JREF is not the movement. D.J. is not the movement.

    I don’t just say that because I identify as a skeptic and think skepticism is hugely important. In the last three weeks, somewhere right around a dozen organizations have announced that they will be adopting solid harassment policies or have put those policies in place. There is nothing about this movement as a whole that is intractable or insensitive to these problems. Focus the blame where it belongs. Don’t give D.J. the cover of “just part of a problem movement”.

  25. dean says

    Greg, he may be able to steer this ship when there are no major issues, but it seems clear that for some reason that leadership ability is greatly diminished, or completely gone, when serious issues arise. Shouldn’t the ability to take control, make hard decisions, and follow through on them during situations like this be as or more important than being able to steer a ship in calm waters?

  26. says

    dean, I think you misunderstand what Greg is saying. He’s saying that DJ has taken control, made hard decisions, and is following through on them… just not in the direction that most of us would prefer.

    The specifics might show a lack of smoothness, but DJ is most likely “navigating the ship” in the direction that the board of directors, influential speakers, and much of the vocal JREF membership want him to. Throwing feminists overboard is a feature, not a bug.

  27. Vall says

    25 bubba
    “What I’m getting from all this is the skeptic movement isn’t much better than a drunken Shriners convention, lacking only dropping water balloons out hotel windows on passers by.

    I think you are confusing TAM with the skeptic movement. I see a thriving and growing FTB collection of awesome blogs, and plenty of conventions other than TAM. They are not the only game in town anymore.

    Others have pointed out in several threads that maybe this is exactly the direction TAM wants to go. Martin Wagner from TAE mentioned several years ago that TAM was moving away from hard skepicism and atheism. I don’t see it as a loss, I see it as improving the whole. Think of it as addition by subtraction.

  28. bubba707 says

    Stephanie, while TAM is the subject of this particular problem, I’ve read and heard very similar complaints about nearly every other skeptics conference and convention. DJ is far from unusual in this issue. Personally I find the kind of behavior that prompted the rise of this issue detestable and inexcusable on any level but the attitudes behind this behavior is pretty much the norm in this society and the skeptics movement only reflects that.

  29. says

    Pteryxx[26] I think his hand was forced.

    Dean[28] I agree, and that is why I suggested a few weeks ago that he resign. A couple of people have mildly agreed with that but most people have either opposed that idea vigorously or said I’ve “gone too far.”

    Improbable Joe [29] … right, which is why I’m considering modifying my stance on this, to suggest that DJ should not resign, but rather, JREF be abandoned as the flagship organisation for skepticism.

    I wouldn’t mind hearing from the main funding sources.

    Regarding the skeptics movement vs. tam, Yes and No to the various comments that have been made above. The Sketpics Movement includes a small but very vigorous faction of misogynist creeps and a much larger faction (I personally think something close to a majority) of clueless ones who are trying to wrestle with elevatorgate and other issues and it’s pretty random as to whether they come down on the right side or not.

    The long term insistence that “skepticism has no politics” has left the skeptics movement utterly unprepared for this. Real live politics are are real. Political denialism. Interesting concept.

  30. says

    So what’s the argument? JREF can’t afford to pay their speakers market value at TAM so they are supplementing the cash with a license to harass women?

  31. Pteryxx says

    bubba707: Skepticamp Ohio handled the sex-card incident correctly. Many conferences willingly adopted policies when this discussion began at the end of May. We’ll see.

  32. bubba707 says

    I really should be more precise than saying the skeptic movement reflects that and say people in the skeptic movement reflect that. I’m still on my first cup of coffee.

  33. says

    Perhaps I am just old fashioned but why did no one else act? Grothe’s actions are public relations based and not safety based. This is understandable (his comments after the fact not the lack action at the time) but not respectable.

    Enough has been said here about his poor conduct. On Grothe, I defer to those above. My problem is with everybody else. Why, in this highly male group, was there no one looking to be the hero? No one ready to rescue? In such a vastly male dominated environment it has been my experience that there is either sexist paternal heroism or sexist machismo.

    I am disappointed that of two evils we chose the latter. A swift and severe punishment for those who violate our participants is what will make people feel safe and make them more safe.
    -Joshua
    http://wnyatheist.org/REASON.php

  34. left0ver1under says

    Is it just me, or does this sound like a mirror image of last year when Jerry Sandusky was arrested? Several people knew about the molestation for a decade and said nothing until it became public, then pretended to be concerned. If they were concerned, why didn’t they speak up?

    If anyone could be compared to McQueary, it’s Grothe. He chose silence when he knew about unsavory acts in order to keep his job, and is now attempting damage control to avoid responsibility.

  35. Frogmistress says

    REASON Podcast, because most people don’t even recognize sexual harassment when it happens around them. Daily occurrences in the lives of women go well below the radar of most men.

    They don’t see it.

    When they do see it, they don’t recognize it for what it is.

    When they recognize it, they make excuses for it (he was drunk).

    Even when they act on it, it gets written in their brains as something else (he was not invited to this party).

  36. says

    Is it just me, or does this sound like a mirror image of last year when Jerry Sandusky was arrested? Several people knew about the molestation for a decade and said nothing until it became public, then pretended to be concerned. If they were concerned, why didn’t they speak up?

    No, it seems like many people were confident that matters had been taken care of.
    Because they fucking reported it or got told it was reported.
    Just like Ashley Miller thought that the harassment she suffered had been reported and documented.

  37. Malachite says

    Have you seen what it says on the JREF website about DJ?

    “Formerly a professional magician, he has special interests in the psychology of belief and processes of deception and self-deception. ”

    *snort*

    Maybe he should apply a little of his expertise to his inability to recall any harrassment & their reports!

  38. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Does this DJ Grothe character not care about the way this makes his own conference look?

    I think its safe to say this is all he cares about. Someone else said that he’s continually acting like a salesman, when he should be acting like a leader. At this point, its pretty clear that he cares infinitely more about the reputation of TAM than about non-penis-bearing attendees. ESPECIALLY after blaming female skeptic bloggers for talking about the problem, causing other women not to attend without a single fucking glimmer of evidence? Now we find out that he’s had well over a year to deal with one major, reported and repeated pervert and he’s done fucking nothing. And then to allow the fucker back in?!?!?!?!?! I don’t buy for one fucking second that he doesn’t remember the upskirt perv. How could you forget something so blatant and egregious?

    I’ve asked before, and now I ask again: how the fuck did Grothe ever earn a rep as being an ally?

    I think Laden is right – Grothe is doing the job JREF wants him to be doing. And every skeptical woman should be paying attention.

  39. dean says

    Improbable Joe, Greg:
    Perhaps I did misread Greg’s most recent post. I did read his “DJ should step down” post and found it compelling. When I read the above it seemed that Greg’s view had shifted and was now that DJG was on a correct course, which didn’t make sense. Apologies for that.

    About this

    …right, which is why I’m considering modifying my stance on this, to suggest that DJ should not resign, but rather, JREF be abandoned as the flagship organisation for skepticism.

    I suggest that with the latest revelations the second part, abandoning JREF…, will be moot: it will be seen as an organization with leadership who, when faced with evidence of serious misconduct at its functions, made a sequence of disastrous decisions seemingly designed public relations rather than remedy at their core. If the leadership remains JREF will have that dredged up (correctly, I think) for years, and the choice of abandoning JREF as the flagship will be made regardless of other intentions.

  40. CT says

    REASON Podcast says:
    June 15, 2012 at 10:19 am
    Perhaps I am just old fashioned but why did no one else act? Grothe’s actions are public relations based and not safety based. This is understandable (his comments after the fact not the lack action at the time) but not respectable.

    Enough has been said here about his poor conduct. On Grothe, I defer to those above. My problem is with everybody else. Why, in this highly male group, was there no one looking to be the hero? No one ready to rescue? In such a vastly male dominated environment it has been my experience that there is either sexist paternal heroism or sexist machismo.

    I’m sorry, I have two teenage boys and this is exactly the behaviour that I repeatedly tell them not to indulge in.

    How exactly are those men who want to do something supposed to know if the creep is going to be violent? Would you want your son to get the shit beat out of him by some misogynistic asshat? There should be authorities to report this shit to who know how to deal with violent assholes. My sons should not have to feel like their only recourse is to “be the hero” when it’s more likely than not to end in violence that could ruin their lives.

    Unless someone is in fact getting the shit beat out of them right in front of you, you should NOT ‘be the hero’. Get off your ass, find the authorities who know how to deal with it and get the fuck out of the way.

    Which gets back on topic to ‘we need a better way to report these things constructively so women feel safe’.

  41. says

    The long term insistence that “skepticism has no politics” has left the skeptics movement utterly unprepared for this. Real live politics are are real. Political denialism. Interesting concept.

    “Skepticism has no politics” sounds like a political statement to me. Specifically, a statement that the status quo is perfectly acceptable to the person saying it, and what they are really doing is resisting political pressure to change things. It is no coincidence that the people who want skepticism to avoid politics and social justice issues are the same people who hold logically indefensible positions on one or both of those subjects.

    I noticed the signs of this going back a couple of years, BTW. TAM 7, in fact, when Hal Bidlack said the thing about avoiding disrespect towards theism. Then there was the “don’t be a dick” thing at TAM 8 seemingly directed at the usual non-accommodationist suspects. TAM at the very least has a tradition of valuing accommodation over conflict, in favor of protecting the people with the weaker and less rational viewpoint. Add in the preponderance of libertarians in JREF, and it makes even more sense.

  42. says

    Interesting that hotel security apparently confiscated the camera and did little else. Assuming that this was a TAM at the South Point that is not all that surprising. There was a cable channel reality show set in the South Point earlier this year where hotel security was prominently featured. One interesting bit was that hotel security there (and I bet at other Vegas casinos as well) does everything they can to avoid calling the police, and that it would look very bad to the management of the hotel if the police come to the property.

  43. Darrell Barker says

    At most nudist ranches the motto and understanding there is: “Don’t do anything you’d have to appologize for”

    Having lived on one for three years I was priviledged to have been a part of throwing out the one and only rules-violator they’ve had. My wife was safest at a nudist ranch, her home with other mentally healthy family nudists, than she was out in the textiled world.

    Not to dismiss or redirect this concerning issue within our movement (all respects and support with our freethinking ladies due) but just saying we humans might seriously consider too how clothing, any and all clothing contributes to the egregious problem of sexual harrassment of women in general.

  44. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    “Skepticism has no politics” sounds like a political statement to me.

    Exactly. Sounds like “I don’t see race/gender/disability/sexual orientation, I just see people” to me. Which, as you said, is a status quo defending statement, attempting to pass as egalitarian.

  45. says

    Not to dismiss or redirect this concerning issue within our movement (all respects and support with our freethinking ladies due) but just saying we humans might seriously consider too how clothing, any and all clothing contributes to the egregious problem of sexual harrassment of women in general.

    Stop. Right. There.
    You’ve just given the perfect example that revealing body-parts doesn’t make people assaulters and rapists. It doesn’t work the other way ’round either.
    Rape and assault are only the fault of the perp, never of the victim

    +++
    Got my kitty-hugs

  46. Emrysmyrddin says

    Um, I don’t think this is as simple as ‘let’s all get naked’. I understand where you’re coming from with trying to break down the idea of nakedness as sexual and promoting a strictly-consent-only-orientated society (I think that’s where you were going??) but I don’t see it as relevant in this, er,case. The clothing’s not to blame, the encultured brain is the problem.

  47. says

    I don’t think nudism is the issue either way, but that anecdote DOES display the power of an explicit policy that is universally disseminated and strictly enforced. In the same way that the dismissal of sexual harassment claims creates a climate for future harassment to take place, people can also create a climate that discourages harassment. There’s an element of power differential to harassment, and placing the full weight of an organization behind the potential victims takes away much of that differential.

  48. says

    Not to dismiss or redirect this concerning issue within our movement (all respects and support with our freethinking ladies due) but just saying we humans might seriously consider too how clothing, any and all clothing contributes to the egregious problem of sexual harrassment of women in general.

    Nudist communities are relevant to this discussion in exactly one way. They realized, very early, that they had a choice. They could be taken over by the people who considered naked women (and to a lesser extent, men) prey, or they could make a stand. They did the latter, very thoroughly, both in their official policies and in their unofficial community standards.

    There is a lesson to be learned there. It has nothing to do with clothing.

  49. Emrysmyrddin says

    #57 What I was trying to say, but better. That’s why she haz the blog and not I ;)

  50. left0ver1under says

    Ace of Sevens (#44):

    @Giliell: The post was comparing JREF leadership to Sandusky, not the women who got harassed.

    Actually, I was comparing the JREF leadership to Paterno, McQueary and Penn State administrators Tim Curley and Gary Schultz. But I think you got the point which Giliell misread the first time.

    In both cases, people knew what was going on and chose to ignore it, hoping it would go away and not cause themselves damage. By being silent, they made it worse, allowed it to happen again, and the damage is far worse than it would have been if they had addressed it the first time.

    And as for shifting blame onto women, it won’t surprise me if there is an attempt to do that.

  51. says

    Having reviewed posts elsewhere, including comments on Greg Laden’s blog, I now think that Greta may have been operating under a couple of misapprehensions about this situation. It appears as if the individual involved was present at the hotel but was not an actual TAM attendee, and that the individual had, in fact, been denied registration privileges at TAM 9 due to concerns about his behavior. Neither D.J nor the JREF have the ability to control the actions of people who just happen to be in the hotel. If this is the case, it seems to me that Greta owes D.J. an apology big time. I wouldn’t hold my breath, though.

  52. says

    #4 – I am so angry at this lack of concern from JREF/TAM that I have sent D.J.Grothe an email, via the JREF website.

    Uh oh!!! That’s going to be ALL OUR FAULT for talking about this! #noisybitchez

  53. says

    @SA: Regardless of whether DJ could have done anything, he claimed that no one had ever reported sexual harassment. Even if this were something outside his control, which I don’t think is in evidence as of yet, it only partially gets him off the hook.

  54. Mriana says

    The sad news is, if a report, including at least one in writing, was made to even security, someone should have investigated it. All too often such reports sit on the back burner until something serious happens and even then any evidence found can be placed on the back burner too, and I am not just talking about rape and rape kits, I’m talking about sexual harassment too.

    I don’t know if it is a human frailty not to face up to sexual harassment and alike, but it seems to happen all too often in a variety of settings, with the victim being blamed or accusations made towards the victim.

    This does NOT excuse it though. I think, part of the problem is, women are go to men for these issues, in part because of no other choice. This is not to say all men are not sympathic toward women, but there is a problem with men siding with other men for various reasons, even peer pressure. It is not to say all women sympathize with other women- they don’t.

    The fact is, more people need to take these things seriously, and actually look into the matter, not push it back and ignore it. We need to take such accusations seriously enough to at least look into it without blame, until there is evidence to either dismiss the accusation or press charges. Women are not objects and we need to make clear what is unacceptable behaviour.

    For example, the elevator man… He had plenty of opportunities to talk to Rebecca in a public setting. He did not need to do it alone, with just the two of them in an elevator, including asking her to his room for “coffee”. He could have done all of that in public. Rebecca is not inaccessible during conventions or at least the is not my experience. She is available to talk to anyone in public areas. The most he should have said to her on the elevator, IMO, if he said anything was comment on her talk and even this, along with questions, can be done in public areas.

    Looking up someone’s skirt [or kilt, for that matter] is totally inappropriate, even in public areas, and something needed to be done to stop it, if it was indeed happening. This is where security should have looked into the matter immediately and did something about it in order to stop it, not sweep it under the rug, esp if they were receiving more than one report. Given that more than one woman complained, it hardly sounds like an accident.

    As human beings, we need to make clear what is unacceptable behaviours and then act when people behave in unacceptable ways. Teasing and flirting in public is one thing, unless the other person is uncomfortable with it, but looking up someone’s skirt or hitting on someone in a private secluded area is another.

    However, it doesn’t hurt for a woman to leave the convention with someone she knows and feels she can trust or has reason to trust them, but I also know that is not always possible. Therefore, I think one, man or a woman, should let someone know where they are going and when they are leaving, leaving an approximate arrival time, with the first person, at home, in case something does happen. In other words, take care of yourself and practice as many safety procedures as possible, because you can’t always trust/rely on someone to help you when you need it, not even security, parents, siblings (if you have any), friends, organizers, or police. Sometimes humans don’t want to face that something bad can happen and therefore deny it happen(s).

    That’s just my opinion for what it’s worth.

  55. Springheel says

    “I can only think of four possible explanations for this. All of which are entirely unacceptable.”

    I have no facts related to this case, but I’m curious about why “DJ is lying” is a possible explanation, but “the person claiming to have told him is lying and/or misremembering” is not?

  56. Ashley F. Miller says

    @SA could you link to where you’re getting this info, I’m curious to see it? But, it doesn’t change the fact that DJ is saying no reports ever happened.

  57. says

    @stephanie zvan, from what I read, Greta is implying that this happened: (a) at Tam, and (b) that it was something under DJ’s “jurisdiction” for lack of a better word. My understanding is that this involved a non-attendee allegedly doing stuff outside the conference area. If so, DJ wasn’t lying about anything and this was something that he honestly had no control over. If you don’t think this would be cause for an apology, or at the very least a retraction, then I dont know what else to say.

  58. Vall says

    I think Springheel answered the question in the first few words of that sentence. “I have no facts related to this case”

  59. says

    Ah, SA, you’re deeply concerned about the potential implications of what Greta said. I see. So am I, in fact, just different ones.

    Also, bullshit. The conference is a paying customer of the hotel. They have rather a lot of leverage in this situation, particularly once they’re made aware of an illegality. They have the power to fix things–if they’re willing to use it.

    And if your best defense of D.J. is that what he said is not technically a lie because he chose his words very, very carefully while misrepresenting the situations, you might not even want to bother.

  60. says

    SA @70, Rob Tarzwell explicitly stated that the person was a TAM attendee in the linked Facebook entry. He could have been mistaken, and if he was we should know about that, but Greta wasn’t implying anything that hadn’t been directly state.

  61. JanaTheVeganPiranha says

    I open up this conversation often, almost invariably to the thundering SHRIEKS of men, demeaning, insulting, and caustic- because I tell them not to EXPECT sex at a conference. That’s it.

    The point is, they DO EXPECT IT, and are incensed that anyone should tell them they do NOT have a right to another person’s body. They want it, and therefore they deserve it. That’s it, and that’s all.

    I will never have sex again, not with anybody, until I can find one man who doesn’t make me want to puke all over myself. Sadly, I am not gay. I’ve tried.

    I will continue to post about this everywhere I can. I will make of myself a target to absorb the hatred and bitterness of male entitlement. I really don’t give a fuck what anyone hurls at me anymore, this shit has to stop.

  62. celticwulf says

    I think SA is trying to combine the two incidents in the facebook profile into one.

    One was an earlier TAM that the facebook post owner is kicking himself for helping keep a TAM registrant from being kicked out for harassing a non-TAM person.

    The second was from last year’s TAM where it WAS a registered TAM participant taking the photos, and reports WERE provided to TAM and hotel security.

    SA, is this where your mistake is happening, or is there a post somewhere that states the camera guy was not a TAM participant?

  63. says

    Has anyone else thought that the JREF seems to be run a lot like the Catholic Church recently?

    If there’s a potential problem of some group of people in the organization being abused, the organization’s reputation comes first.

    The victims (and people who are demanding that attention be paid to the victims) really could stand to pipe down a little; don’t they know how bad they’re making the organization look?

    If denial of the problem becomes untenable in the face of mounting evidence, leadership digs in it’s heels instead of doing an about-face and admitting that there is an issue that needs addressing.

  64. Captaintripps says

    How come no one is asking for James Randi’s statement on all of this? The foundation has his name in it and it’s happening at his conferences and it’s his hand-picked president of his foundation who has both bollixed up the response to this and impugned the seriousness of that foundation’s commitment to being something everyone should be a part of.

    On top of that, even though I have never been there, I have read many reports of how the JREF forums are cesspools of this kind of thing and have been for years.

    When does James Randi get put under the spotlight?

  65. says

    I find it interesting that the creep in question, Dr. Buzzo, has been banned from the JREF forums for three years but NOT (according to other forum users) from attending TAM where he can actually act out his desires. Does the JREF find its forums more worthy of protection than actual women?

  66. says

    @stephane zvan.

    Talk about moving the goalposts!

    Now it doesn’t matter if it was an attendee? Or If DJ didn’t have control. And you say “bullshit” to me?

  67. says

    Improbable Joe writes:

    “I’m not the only one who is convinced that Grothe is exactly the president that JREF wants in place right now, and he is achieving the goals of JREF in the way that they prefer.

    This is a very libertarian way of dealing with the problem of sexual harassment: encourage women who would be likely to report harassment to not attend. It has the obvious side effect of making the remaining women more likely to be victimized, and to have much less of a present support group when it happens. If that sounds crazy and sociopathic to you, well… look at the evidence so far. The likelihood of covering up or simply forgetting someone using a camera and a telescoping stick to look up women’s skirts by someone who isn’t a sociopath seems really small.”

    Joe, your dislike of “libertarians” is noted, as is your wish that skepticism be joined with a specific “social justice” political ideology. For those of us who happen to be skeptics/atheists who don’t share your politics and the politics of much of the rest of Freethoughtblogs, the attempt to use incidents like the one in this post as a stick to drive those with differing politics out of the community comes across as fucked-up and petty. Why do so many people have problems with Freethoughtblogs? Unproductive rhetoric like yours in no small part.

  68. celticwulf says

    @SA

    As I asked above, where exactly does it say this is not an attendee of TAM?

    I haven’t seen it and have been following all the links I can find, so please provide the link so my information can be updated, or you can realize it WAS a attendee…

  69. says

    Oh, SA, do try for some reading comprehension. I said it doesn’t matter whether it was an attendee because D.J. does have control, if he cares to exercise it.

    Also, where exactly has it been said that Buzzo wasn’t an attendee?

  70. Ungodlynews says

    I still don’t get why the alleged perp gets the “He who mustn’t be named” status. I’m not of the lynchmob mindset but if the proof is there, call him on it. People should be warned there is a predator amongst us. If he is innocent, he has the right and ability to defend himself. To me, the “He is too big a name” to report is what makes that kind of person feel safe to continue these acts. Enough cover ups, I say go all Rihanna on his ass.

  71. CT says

    I say go all Rihanna on his ass.

    Most people don’t have Rihanna’s resources. She can afford to surround herself with protection.

  72. Silent Service says

    It’s my first post on Gretta’s blog. Been reading it for months, but finally had to speak up.

    Um. Wow. Um. Crap, do I feel horrible and small right now. I’ve always known that it is just much harder to be a woman in our supposedly modern and civilized world today than a man, but wow. Right now I am terribly embarrassed about having supported JREF in the past, not to mention being male.

    As much as I would love to some day make it to a major atheist or skeptic gathering like TAM, I can honestly say that I will not go to TAM until this type of crap is fixed. And I mean, fixed properly. I mean, DJ tossed out of JREF on his ass for incompetence, and the complaints found and dealt with properly fixed. This is criminally prosecutable stuff, so as far as I’m concerned, DJ is an accessory after the fact to what is a very violent invasion of several people’s privacy. This is sexual assault. Aren’t we supposed to arrest perverts like this monopole using asshole? Aren’t we supposed to protect each other? Apparently, DJ doesn’t think it’s worth the bother, and I have no intention of ever being a part of an organization that brushes this kind of crap under the table.

    We atheists look down on Catholics for not reporting child molesters and covering up sex crimes. What the hell does DJ think his actions are? They are covering up a sex crime. He is doing exactly the thing many of us find most horrific and evil about the RCC. How can anybody not see that?

    I will no longer support TAM or JREF with my donations, they are better served at atheist organizations that actually care about all of their members more than they care about protecting the reputation of themselves and the organization. I don’t have very much to give, but every dime counts and JREF can count me out. I will also advise everybody I know give their support to more worthy charities until this crap is fixed, and I mean really fixed. I’m sorry Gretta, you deserve far better than this blatant dismissal.

  73. kaboobie says

    As a TAM attendee for the first time in 2011, a couple of my friends warned me about drbuzz0 because he was predatory toward women. So I can confirm that his behavior was known about, at least among the general population (these friends had been attending TAM for years).

    A Google search for “drbuzz0″ led me to a JREF forum thread where his identity is discussed, but not his specific behavior. It does appear he was banned from the forum several years ago.

  74. eric says

    SA @81: pedantry or technical correctness is no excuse. If it wasn’t an attendee and happened outside of the conference area, DJ should’ve said “it wasn’t an attendee and it happened outside of the conference area, so we [informed the hotel/whatever] but couldn’t do much else about it.” Or something along those lines. That way the organization is at least explaining to attendees why they appeared to do little about it.

    The response “I’m not aware of any incident” is pretty much a lie of omission. Even if you disagree about this characterization, though, I think the “pedant’s defense” only gets you so far. If DJ develops a reputation of answering harassment issues by being pedantic, giving techincally true but absolutely minimial information, and not more fully informing conference-goers of what he knows and what he did about it, they are going to stay away from TAM jsut as much as if he had lied.

    Think of it this way. Let’s say several people got mugged in one alley behind the hotel. Let’s say the organizer knows this. You would expect him to tell conference attendees to watch out for that alley behind the hotel, yes? Even though the alley is not under his control, yes? If you later found out that the conference organizer knew this and did nothing to address it at the time, that might imact your decision to go to that organization’s next conference. Yes?

  75. kaboobie says

    In case it’s not clear from my post, there is a zero at the end of drbuzz0, not the letter o.

  76. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    Well, we don’t have evidence that DJ has actively been covering up this incident, he could still have simply forgotten.

    That’s one of them “extraordinary claims requiring extraordinary evidence.”

    I mean, how the balls do you “forget” something like that?

  77. Ungodlynews says

    Anyone care to repeat that name here? I haven’t seen it. This just reminds me how priests get away with molesting children. The child is afraid to say the priests name for fear that people won’t believe what happened. No, not Father Jenkins, he is a beloved member of our community! And when reported, the cover up starts, the kid feels worthless, nothing is done and the victimizing continues. Is that how we want this to go down? Are we conceding that people in our community are above the law? I refuse to believe it.

  78. says

    Is Grothe still hiding in his turtle shell? Haven’t seen any statements issued about the new revelations yet.

    @Captaintripps :

    That’s a good point. Where is James Randi, and why doesn’t he seem to care enough to issue public statements about this ongoing train-wreck involving the foundation with his name on it?

  79. says

    SA, you like the straw men and the moving goal posts and all that, don’t you.

    Each of these situations is unique. You can’t take the best possible interpretation of each one and thus make them go away. In fact, since there are victims here, you really need to take the worst possible (truthful, reasonably verified) interpretation of each event and consider that the problem that needs to be solved.

  80. says

    Name very much named on that FB thread. The guy is running for Congress in Connecticut. “Hi, vote for me, I stick a camera up women’s skirts!”

  81. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    Not to dismiss or redirect this concerning issue within our movement (all respects and support with our freethinking ladies due) but just saying we humans might seriously consider too how clothing, any and all clothing contributes to the egregious problem of sexual harrassment of women in general.

    I’m morbidly curious as to how you’d support this assertion, but more concerned about the spurious claim of not redirecting…

  82. kaboobie says

    I just noticed (thanks to Stephanie) that buzz0 showed up on Greg’s blog, denied the allegations, and threatened to sue:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/xblog/2012/05/30/perhaps-it-is-time-that-dj-grothe-resign-as-the-president-of-the-jref/#comment-72101

    Someone I know personally (and may have been one of those who warned me) replies to him down-thread:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/xblog/2012/05/30/perhaps-it-is-time-that-dj-grothe-resign-as-the-president-of-the-jref/#comment-72143

  83. says

    I’ll say this – if this is accurate, this is the most serious and substantial charge against Grothe’s handling of sexual harassment policy at TAM. Quite apart from the previous vague and partisan charges against him that have been a point of contention so far.

  84. says

    Iamcuriousblue, this incident has multiply substantiated. Where’s the “if”? Also, what’s “partisan” about saying:

    People who attend do not feel unsafe or unwelcome, and that bears mentioning at least somewhere in all of these posts about supposed rampant sexual harassment and unnamed lists of certain speakers “victimizing” young women, and the like. So much of that feels to me more like rumor and distasteful locker room banter, often pretty mean-spirited, especially when it is from just one or a few women recounting sexual exploits they’ve had with speakers who are eventually deemed as “skeezy,” and whom they feel should be not allowed to speak at such conferences going forward.

    is unacceptably pre-emptively dismissive of claims of harassment and assault?

  85. says

    Iamcuriousblue, I get that you and people like you are against equality and the general welfare and all that other modern civilization stuff that gets in the way of your “freedom” to dominate other people. I just don’t get why you’d think anyone would take you seriously as a “skeptic” or as a person for holding those views.

  86. says

    Grothe has never stood in good light for me, so his recent actions (or inactions, depending on the case) cease to surprise me. Further, TAM always came across as a sort of Big Boys club, due to the speakers and cost entailed. Learning that such an overt creep was openly complained about, and those complaints were swept under the rug is just appalling to me; Grothe himself need not respond directly, but -someone- from the JREF should have said said and done -something- to ensure the individual in question would be prohibited from being a repeat offender.

    Also, being a more “take matters into my own hands” type of gal, I would have taken the monopod from the creep and shoved it up his ass.

  87. Jinglebells says

    holy fucking shit. WOMEN, NEXT TIME BRING PEPPER SPRAY OR THOSE ELECTRIFYING THING. GRRRRRR

  88. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    holy fucking shit. WOMEN, NEXT TIME BRING PEPPER SPRAY OR THOSE ELECTRIFYING THING. GRRRRRR

    Why should they have to?

  89. Emrysmyrddin says

    Hey, we shouldn’t have the onus put on us to become violent to defend ourselves. I understand your frustration and I share it and the sentiment, Jinglebells, but apart from being accused of assault yourself there is also the risk of escalation of violence from the attacker themselves. In the UK just today a man was stabbed with his own samurai sword while attempting to stop thieves during a housebreaking. There’s a reason that specially trained and visible security at a professional is a good idea, and, really, something to expect.

  90. Cam says

    I just might anyway, if I thought there were going to be a next time. But JREF is dead to me.

  91. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Why do so many people have problems with Freethoughtblogs

    Because, FTB doesn’t allow free range bigots. Well, MOST of the FTB doesn’t.

  92. says

    Because, FTB doesn’t allow free range bigots.

    Well, I’d say we beat pretty hard on free-range bigots. We’re not very easy on the casually thoughtless either a lot of the time either. And we frequently ban people who obstruct discussion.

  93. julian says

    I figured one of Grothe’s supporters would be around to distort the story. The incident didn’t happen and if it did it was beyond Grothe’s control. Or some other gibberish.

    Why do I no longer count myself among he number of libertarians in this country? Because almost invariably they will white wash and misrepresent any social injustice, crime or case of harassment to make it seem like there’s no issue. They are agents of the status quo first, people second.

  94. says

    The libertarian angle keeps getting brought up, so be on the watch for someone to say something along the lines of “you’re only calling us sexist because you don’t like libertarianism” instead of engaging with actual issues. It isn’t our fault that we understand and reject that “philosophy” and its negative implications for everyone who doesn’t already possess privilege and power over other people.

  95. says

    See the recent developments at the Facebook thread Greta links to in her post above (http://tinyurl.com/8x2bfaw). The accused directly answers these accusations, and offers a plausible explanation for a misunderstanding. If true–and his explanation seems pretty convincing to me–this post needs modifying ASAP (and an apology should be issued before this becomes a career-destroying meme).

  96. dean says

    From the post kaboobie linked to:

    This goes back to TAM-7. Since tam has a lot of well known people with whom I want to get my picture, I purchased and brought a clever device called the x-shot. The device can be seen here. It’s a telescopic rod that connects to the tripod mount on a camera. It enables a person to be in the photo without a third party to take it (using the auto-timer)

    Carrying around a pole, even if it telescopes, is easier than asking someone if they would use your camera? If you set the camera’s timer, then hold it out on the pole, how does the focusing occur? (I have several DSLRs but do no have a point-and-shoot, so I could be missing something). I do know people who use these, but the camera is ALWAYS faced away from them, and the live-view screen on the back lets them make a rough composition.

    His explanation seems (to me) to be pure bullshit.

  97. Robert (SeraphymC) says

    It’s well timed, I just went through my company’s harassment training. One of the things that stood out was the fact that our HR department and supervisors are obligated (and are strictly liable if they don’t) to record even “informal” complaints.

    So stuff like “I don’t want to get anyone in trouble, but someone is being inappropriate” has to be documented and followed up on.

    I don’t know how good the company is in practice, but this puts the lie to the whole “well, you didn’t go through proper channels”.

    A good harassment policy considers any honest attempt to be through “proper” channels.

  98. says

    Jason, what part of the post are you wanting changed? The post is about D.J. failing to include or respond to a report to him of sexual harassment.

  99. julian says

    Oh my god, that pissant is actually going to get away with this. He’s already got a piss poor cover story and people gladly willing to take his word over the women who complained about him. I hate skeptics like I hate Republicans.

  100. says

    Dean: He LINKS to photo of himself using the device exactly as he claims he uses it (with Bill Nye). Your personal incredulity/unfamiliarity with the technology is not a convincing argument to the contrary. Aren’t we an evidence-based community? What happened to that? (Maybe he did what is claimed, but no evidence has been offered to the contrary. Until then, shouldn’t we refrain from libelling people?)

  101. julian says

    Maybe he did what is claimed, but no evidence has been offered to the contrary.

    Why is his explanation more probable to you than him taking upskirt shots of women?

  102. julian says

    And he hasn’t offered any evidence of him using the camera as he said he did. You are assuming he is telling the truth and those who complained about him are lying.

  103. says

    The point is that it is a telescoping rod with a camera on the end. When not in use, and especially in a crowd, a reasonable person would collapse the rod and put the camera in their pocket. A reasonable person would not leave their camera on the end of a thin metal stick and walk through a crowd of people with their camera near the floor.

    That’s not an explanation, it is a pretty obvious lie.

  104. Pteryxx says

    Just because camera-on-a-pole has a legitimate use doesn’t rule out a non-legitimate use. That’s a stupid excuse for claiming the women and other witnesses must all have been lying for a year.

  105. Sethra says

    It’s so glorious to watch Teh Menz circling the wagons to defend complete bullshit.

    I’ve read too many threads on this now and I can’t remember where to find it – does anyone remember seeing a post by a man who took a pic of Stephen taking upskirt photos? Since those Lying Wimmenz who reported Stephen obviously can’t be believed, perhaps jasonloxton will listen to a man who reported the same crime.

    Anyone else find it interesting that AT LEAST two women reported the same thing and yet the man’s excuse is the only thing certain men will accept at face value?

    Yeah, that’s skeptical.

  106. says

    Gosh, it’s not like the same piece of technology could be used for two purposes… or that someone would provide themselves with a cover story for disreputable behaviour… Fetch me my clutching pearls! Quick, to the Bat-Fainting-Couch!

  107. CT says

    So, if someone offers a plausible explanation then we immediately have to retract what he’s been reported doing because–

    I guess my logic meter is malfing here.

  108. says

    Sethra:

    Anyone else find it interesting that AT LEAST two women reported the same thing and yet the man’s excuse is the only thing certain men will accept at face value?

    Yeah, that’s skeptical.

    No, that’s you being sarcastic… and dead-on accurate. Funny how every single claim by women about harassment/abuse/assault should be subjected to unreasonable levels of scrutiny, and every excuse that a man gives in defense against a claim should be accepted easily and without too much analysis. But it isn’t sexist or misogynistic to trust men and assume that women are lying or misreading situations… that’s ME being sarcastic, and more and more pissed off as the night goes on.

  109. says

    In unrelated news, I just had a random and completely unexpected flashback to when Matt Nisbet said that DJ Grothe should be the public face of atheism — that Grothe was certainly better suited for the position than that no-good hellraiser PZ Myers.

  110. dean says

    He LINKS to photo of himself using the device exactly as he claims he uses it (with Bill Nye). Your personal incredulity/unfamiliarity with the technology is not a convincing argument to the contrary. Aren’t we an evidence-based community? What happened to that? (Maybe he did what is claimed, but no evidence has been offered to the contrary. Until then, shouldn’t we refrain from libelling people?)

    jason, do try to keep up: are you seriously arguing that doing that is easier than having a third person hold your camera? for his claimed purpose i can assure you it is not. perhaps he only wants pictures when no other people are around?

    Your “evidence-based” comment is humorous at best: why should no credence be given to the reports we have?

  111. Sethra says

    @ Improbable Joe:

    I forgot to turn off my sarcasm function. It’s keeping me going today.

    I wish I could remember where I saw that post. :/

  112. CT says

    Anyone else find it interesting that AT LEAST two women reported the same thing and yet the man’s excuse is the only thing certain men will accept at face value?

    It is pretty weak that if a man offers even a tidbit of excuse that might be construed with eye-scrunching to be true, the wimmenz must go back to their proper places since they could be fibbing and must be fibbing or most likely are because otherwise !!eleventy!!!

  113. says

    “Iamcuriousblue, I get that you and people like you are against equality and the general welfare and all that other modern civilization stuff that gets in the way of your “freedom” to dominate other people. I just don’t get why you’d think anyone would take you seriously as a “skeptic” or as a person for holding those views.”

    Yeah, Joe, you *really* got my number there. Because anybody who prioritizes civil liberties and individual right is clearly all about protecting privilege and dominating the weak. Very objective and well-reasoned argument you’ve made for that position, too. People like you really do the skeptical movement proud.

  114. says

    116: An update noting that he has offered a counter explanation would be sufficient.

    119/120: Because he has photographs (posted in the thread Greta links to above–did you follow it?) that show him using it. He may have ALSO used it for another purpose, but it is also perfectly possible that the witness was mistaken or that he or someone else were pretending to as an off-coloured joke (which would be an issue in itself, but one of considerably less consequence).

    122: “A potential perv” did not “out himself”. He was named on the thread Greta links to in an attempt to shame him. (See NNathan Hinman’s comment.)

    124: It has nothing to do with my sex. My female partner and I are both similarly incredulous at how fast this has gone from a second-hand report to a public shaming. He might be guilty, but these matters are sensitive, and ought to be dealt with as such. I would apply the same standard to either sex; it’s called due process. I am happy to entertain the possibility that he did it, just as I am happy to entertain the possibility that anyone did it, but arguments and evidence need weighing and vetting… that IS skeptical.

  115. Sethra says

    And now the man who started the thread is talking about removing it because it’s “repugnant and disturbing”.

    At least one person was thinking ahead and told him he might be destroying evidence.

  116. says

    “The libertarian angle keeps getting brought up, so be on the watch for someone to say something along the lines of “you’re only calling us sexist because you don’t like libertarianism” instead of engaging with actual issues.”

    Well, it seems to me from where I’m sitting that your perspective comes from a blanket hatred of “libertarians” (whatever that means to you) rather than an actual engagement with said issues. One only look at how often you use political labeling and demonization as a substitute for any substantial argument whatsover.

  117. says

    Stephanie Zvan writes:

    “Iamcuriousblue, this incident has multiply substantiated. Where’s the “if”? Also, what’s “partisan” about saying:

    People who attend do not feel unsafe or unwelcome, and that bears mentioning at least somewhere in all of these posts about supposed rampant sexual harassment and unnamed lists of certain speakers “victimizing” young women, and the like. So much of that feels to me more like rumor and distasteful locker room banter, often pretty mean-spirited, especially when it is from just one or a few women recounting sexual exploits they’ve had with speakers who are eventually deemed as “skeezy,” and whom they feel should be not allowed to speak at such conferences going forward.

    is unacceptably pre-emptively dismissive of claims of harassment and assault?”

    Sorry, but if what Grothe said is “unacceptable”, then I think we have very different standards of what is acceptable to say in one’s own defense.

    I happen to agree with Grothe – a lot of what has been said about him and TAM does amount to locker room banter. Not, mind you, first person accounts of harassment, nor accounts like the one Greta reposts above which report where he hasn’t dealt with reports adequately.

    But third-party bullshit from bloggers like you, Jason Thibault, and others? Claims that he advocates sex trafficking of minors and the rest of it? Good for him for being dismissive of such hateful bullshit, and a big thumbs down for you, Jason, and the rest trying to piggy-back your rhetorical attacks on other people’s claims of harassment.

  118. CT says

    Pteryxx says:
    June 15, 2012 at 5:55 pm
    Think of the poor innocent cameras!

    Maybe the cameras did the upskirting and the pre-congressman was blissfully unaware!! maybe they aren’t innocent! burn all the cameras!

  119. Pteryxx says

    But third-party bullshit from bloggers like you, Jason Thibault, and others? Claims that he advocates sex trafficking of minors and the rest of it?

    And that’s how y’ recognize when someone’s just being a shit-stirrer – when they didn’t bother to notice they’re spreading a long-debunked claim.

  120. CT says

    they’re spreading a long-debunked claim.

    I dunno, was it debunked by a man? because, you know, otherwise it doesn’t count. /sarcasm

  121. Jinglebells says

    I cannot wait for the pig to be brought to justice. WIth enough evidence, of course.

    ” (and an apology should be issued before this becomes a career-destroying meme).” by Jason.

    Just because you read his explanations you think that it is enough to compel the person who wrote this to apologize….? ANd for what?

  122. julian says

    You aren’t entertaining any ideas, jasonloxton. If you’re going to operate under innocent until shown otherwise don’t pretend to be equally skeptical of both sides. You’ve assumed he’s innocent (which will be almost impossible to disprove like in almost every case of sexual harassment) so say so.

    He might be guilty, but these matters are sensitive, and ought to be dealt with as such.

    And now we have the rationale behind Grothe not documenting this incident.

  123. Jinglebells says

    Someone print screen the fb thread, quickly! Or potential evidence will vanish.

  124. Jinglebells says

    “The point is that it is a telescoping rod with a camera on the end. When not in use, and especially in a crowd, a reasonable person would collapse the rod and put the camera in their pocket. A reasonable person would not leave their camera on the end of a thin metal stick and walk through a crowd of people with their camera near the floor.

    That’s not an explanation, it is a pretty obvious lie.” -Improbable Joe

    Righto!

  125. says

    143: The assumption of innocence is the basis of law (and the assumption of the null is the basis of science). Evidence can and should be offered, but it should be done so in the proper forum to protect the identity of the accuser from public release, as much as the accused.

  126. Robert (SeraphymC) says

    Jasonluxton:

    This isn’t a court case or a science lab. We aren’t proving a hypothesis.

    The fact of the matter is that we have differing accounts of what happened. And you’ve reflexively sided on the side that has every reason to lie, and chosen to dismiss the side that has no reason to lie, has multiple accounts, and has a history of suffering this kind of harassment.

    You are promoting a sexist worldview, and defending it with pathetic rationinalizations.

  127. says

    jasonloxton, you clearly don’t understand the issue, or why people are legitimately pissed off.

    Let’s start with an easy one: do you think that the police should have the power to arrest people on suspicion of committing a crime?

  128. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    (Maybe he did what is claimed, but no evidence has been offered to the contrary. Until then, shouldn’t we refrain from libelling people?)

    This sort of typical Gerrymandering of what counts as “evidence” makes a twisted mockery of the entire principles of skepticism. Sadly, it’s sickeningly common. Disgraceful.

  129. says

    Let’s pretend for a minute this is all true. Some idiot buys a telescoping rod so he can take pictures with people since he’s afraid to let some stranger handle his camera for this purpose. Being an idiot, he doesn’t think of what it will look like if he walks around holding the pole at his side, which leaves the camera pointing up near the floor. Some women see this and report it to JREF.

    The reasonable thing for JREF to do would be to ask to look at his last few pictures. If they were clean, tell him to quit being an idiot and find some other way to hold his camera. If they weren’t or he refused, kick him out and ban him.

    Either way, he would not still be walking around like this later and DJ shouldn’t be saying that he never got a harassment complaint. If there turned out to be an innocuous reason, that would change the proper way for JREF to deal with the situation, not mean they don’t have to deal with it at all. (This is assuming that this his story is plausible to begin with, which I don’t think it is.)

  130. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    Until then, shouldn’t we refrain from libelling people?

    And for that matter, why shouldn’t we refrain from libelling the multiple women who independently filed complaints about him attempting to take photos up their skirts, instead? Because they’re women?

  131. says

    Jasonloxton: This is not a court case, for obvious reasons.

    I find it wonderfully enlightening that the word of one man is worth more than the word of at least two women.

    I find it amusing that when people were not naming names, they were accused of blacklisting and witch-hunting and so forth (that is, the women were; in the linked Facebook thread, Ophelia Benson is told that since D.J. didn’t name her specifically as part of the problem, then there shouldn’t be any problem with her going to TAM). Now that names are being named, the same people are accused of “sham[ing].” Exactly what is the correct course of action?

    I find it hilarious that you’re using “the device isn’t made to take upskirt shots” as an argument at all, let alone as an argument for judging one explanation as more parsimonious than another. Q-tips are explicitly not made for cleaning out the insides of people’s ears, and yet many–perhaps even most–Q-tip users do so anyway. Catalogs and drugstores sell “personal massagers” that are universally advertised for being used on shoulders and backs and arms for some reason, and yet are shaped in such a way as to clearly indicate their use in more personal fashions. The dual-deck VCR was never advertised as allowing users to copy movies that they rented from Blockbuster, and yet. That a device has an intended use does not preclude there being off-label uses…and that a device has a generally acceptable advertised use does not preclude there being intended uses of a more illicit or intimate nature.

    But the legalistic language and reasoning has literally no place in this (particular) discussion. The police have not been called; charges have not been filed. What we are discussing here are ways to implement an effective anti-harassment policy and create a culture that discourages harassing behavior, long before anything involving actual lawbreaking actually enters the picture.

    And while you’re stomping around the place demanding apologies in lieu of new “evidence” (anecdotes from men being more believable than anecdotes from women, obviously), perhaps you’d like to direct those same demands toward D.J. Grothe for smearing “well-meaning women skeptics” for “help[ing] create a climate where women — who otherwise wouldn’t — end up feeling unwelcome and unsafe” and dismissing their concerns as “rumor and distasteful locker room banter” about “sexual exploits they’ve had with speakers who are eventually deemed as ‘skeezy.'” You’ll note that he never presented evidence of this, never made an apology for the specific dismissive characterization (nor did he ever apologize to any “women skeptics” besides Rebecca Watson and Ashley Miller, and even then only while doubling down on other mistaken/dismissive statements), and certainly never presented evidence to substantiate his suggestion that this is the reason for the drop in female registrations for TAM 2012.

    Yes, I’m certain you’ll be making that demand any day now. Let me just hold my breath for a moment.

  132. alwaysanswerb says

    Well, I have finally just made it through the thread and comments.

    Greta, great job with this article. Well done to a few commenters too.

    However, I am going to stand up, take a few steps back, and walk away from the Internet now. It’s just too fucking much.

  133. dean says

    jason, I stand by my comment that using that would be more difficult than having another person take the picture. I have asked a fellow photographer who has a similar device: he agrees that it is difficult to use for that reason, despite its design. The comments about it being difficult to focus without seeing the screen still stand. And my opinion stays the same: I think his explanation is bullshit.

    I also point out that, to everyone but you, the statements made by the women still stand. As others have said, it is impossible to understand why you dismiss those out of hand?

  134. CT says

    As others have said, it is impossible to understand why you dismiss those out of hand?

    Somewhere today someone said “it’s not that they don’t understand, it’s that they don’t like the answer”

  135. Sethra says

    For our unskeptic, Jason:

    This is a blog post telling you what a man said.

    Fred Bremmer I provided a picture of the monopod guy to the two traumatized women last year so they could identify him to hotel security. They told me they also reported the incident with him to DJ and to the company that ran the conference for the JREF. They told me the professional conference staff people were the most helpful and understanding about it, but they were frustrated by DJ’s response, or lack of one. As far as I know, the monopod guy was asked to stay away from the women who complained about him, but he was still sitting close to them in the bar later that weekend. When I asked him to move away, he moved his chair, but only AN INCH away. I had to call him out on THAT, and he moved farther away, but stayed in the same general area. These women’s report seems to be missing, or at least significantly downplayed, in the story we’re hearing from DJ about sexual harassment at TAM.

    Now does it count?

  136. Darrell Barker says

    All human beings deserve respect, dignity and an abiding trust in their fellow humankind to keep a safe distance until a mutual agreement is made. All other humans are not welcome at our conventions.

  137. Pteryxx says

    “Mythcommunication” is mostly about men refusing to hear women’s implied “no” when the context is sexual.

    Refusing to believe women’s accounts of harassment is here:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2012/06/08/those-oversensitive-lying-women/

    and here:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/ashleymiller/2012/06/06/arent-you-making-it-up-why-women-dont-report-harassment/

    Victims get accused of lying even when they have multiple eyewitnesses and documentation.

  138. CT says

    Pteryxx says:
    June 15, 2012 at 7:52 pm
    “Mythcommunication” is mostly about men refusing to hear women’s implied “no” when the context is sexual.

    I see that. I think the concept still stands in this case. jasonloxton understands what the women are stating but doesn’t really like where that goes.

  139. says

    He says this goes back to TAM 7, but there are a number of references in the JREF forums in July 2011 to an incident at TAM 9. In other words, to something that had just happened.

  140. says

    …except now I can’t find where I saw him mention TAM 7. I’m pretty sure I did see that, but I couldn’t link it if asked, so please disregard.

  141. Pteryxx says

    CT: Yeah, in both cases it comes down to simple denial. Or the old saying, “bitchez ain’t shit”.

  142. says

    As I said on my comment that apparently didn’t get past moderation (so much for free thought, eh) …

    If this really happened, to women than contra the stereotype that either Greta or Stephanie posted about many women not understanding they’re being harassed as it happens ….

    File a police report!

    That IS “legal process.” Not gossip, innuendo, or he said/she said.

  143. says

    Ahh, and now that I got past moderation this time:

    First, the “false dilemma”:

    DJ could have had other reasons than the four Greta listed. That includes concerns over libel, speaking of legal process. (Also speaking of legal process, if said person is an alleged harasser, there’s the civil suit process as well as the police report/criminal process.)

    Second, I suggest an “alternate conspiracy theory,” given that this is FTB, and things like DragonCon, the Freethought Festival etc. Maybe this is a Gnu attempt to drive D.J. out of the Randi Foundation as part of a putsch. Makes as much sense as anything else.

    Third, given the people driving this, I’m not surprised.

    Fourth, call me back next time FTB does something like this and exceeds its usual level of arrogance.

    Unlike Jason, I shan’t stay around to hear responses to this.

  144. Jinglebells says

    “Unlike Jason, I shan’t stay around to hear responses to this.” socraticgadfly

    Yes, because you did not link your blog. Very smart. lol

  145. julian says

    Anything to get Grothe off the hook, right? Never mind he lied about there being reports of sexual harassment at TAM. Never mind he’s blamed women who have been harassed and spoken up about it for a percieved decline in female attendance. Never mind the complaints from women at TAM he’s ignored. All that stuff doesn’t matter because there’s no such thing as sexual harassment. Just unwanted sexual attention, right?

  146. Pteryxx says

    Maybe this is a Gnu attempt to drive D.J. out of the Randi Foundation as part of a putsch. Makes as much sense as anything else.

    *rolleyes* Right, because Jen just knew that when she made an offhand comment about being informally warned of creepy speakers, that DJ Grothe was going to shoot his mouth off a few days later in a Facebook discussion, blame Rebecca Watson of all people for reducing women’s enrollment at TAM, AND claim zero incidence of sexual harassment on his watch.

    DJ shouldn’t have made sweeping claims to a bunch of skeptics if he didn’t want them debunked. Duh.

  147. Jinglebells says

    I have reason to believe socraticgadfly wants attention when he said he will not be around to see responses to his comments. He meticulously commented using his blogger name. When I checked it it seems like no one reads his entries hmmmmm. Just a thought.

  148. says

    DJ could have had other reasons than the four Greta listed. That includes concerns over libel, speaking of legal process.

    What would be the legal dangers of simply acknowledging that there had been reports of sexual harrassment, instead of saying that there had not?

  149. Martha says

    Stephanie [29]:

    There is nothing about this movement as a whole that is intractable or insensitive to these problems. Focus the blame where it belongs. Don’t give D.J. the cover of “just part of a problem movement”.

    I do blame DJ for his behavior. When I first began reading these posts, I thought he was being clueless and insensitive, but it rapidly became clear to me that this is not a new pattern of behavior for him, that others have tried in good faith to explain the issues to them, and that he has simply decided that this issue is unimportant. His treatment of women who have made reasonable comments about their experiences is abominable. So I don’t excuse him for his unacceptable behavior.

    Nonetheless, I cannot agree with your statement that there is nothing about the movement as a whole that is intractable to these problems. The sheer volume and nastiness of the misogynistic comments left on your blog, and on those of other women in the community who have spoken out, suggests otherwise. I’d even say that community is not merely a reflection of our broader culture, but actually attracts more than its fair share of misogynistic men.

    For every woman like you and Greta, who stays, fights, and takes the horrible flack for saying things that should no longer be controversial in a civilized community, there are probably 100 or more like me who look at the behavior of not just a few individual, but also of their supporters, and say, no, thanks. I’d rather work with people who value their fellow human beings.

  150. julian says

    @TooManyJens

    Well apparently you can sue someone for sharing a story of sexual harassment if you’re implicated in that story.

    It isn’t enough to send women like Watson rape threats and gigs upon gigs of hate mail for talking about instances of sexual harassment, now Grothe’s friends are going to see to it no woman at TAM ever opens her mouth about getting groped or fondled unless they want to risk a law suit.

  151. says

    Maybe this is a Gnu attempt to drive D.J. out of the Randi Foundation as part of a putsch.

    You’ve clearly confused PZ Myers with David Xanatos. Must be the beard.

  152. says

    Jason, you want the OP changed to show the person accused of harassment denied it? Do you think anyone reads about harassment claims and thinks the accused just up and says, “Oops! I guess you got me”?

  153. says

    Hi,
    So I finally am catching up on everything that is going on and felt that I needed to speak up here as well as on the facebook page. I am the “traumatized woman” (though I am trans* genderfluid and use they/them pronouns, despite presenting as female most of the time) that is mentioned in the original post. I personally am the one who saw the camera and reported it to South Point security, I am one of the two people who filed formal, written and verbal complaints of the behavior (and other incidents) to the JREF and DJ at TAM last year.

    What I actually reported and saw with the camera was a man, who I had issues earlier in the event with regards to personal space intrusions, with a camera pointing up on a telescoping rod at his ankle in a crowd of people many of whom were wearing skirts. I have a problem with this but I asked a friend, also a TAM attendee, if she had the same problem with it that I did and since she did we went to call security for the hotel. They came, it took some explanation and convincing but they went and talked to him. Last I saw of the camera after that he still had it so they must have just asked him to keep it above the waist.

    I wouldn’t have reported to the JREF if he hadn’t continued to harass us despite us asking him to leave us alone multiple times and having other people ask him to leave us alone since he wouldn’t listen. Nothing was ever communicated to me on what happened or would happen though apparently my friend was able to get some response (which I just learned earlier today) though it wasn’t particularly satisfactory the fact that they are working to get a better policy is promising.

    I don’t think DJ has handled this well no, BUT I also don’t like some of the comments that are being made that we are lying etc. When you ask someone to leave you alone, you listen. If you don’t that’s harassment. I /never/ said I say him taking pictures with the camera actively – only that it made me uncomfortable because there are a not a lot of reasons I can see to have a camera pointed up at your ankle in a crowd. I don’t care if he has a camera on a stick – just keep it above the waist.

    On another note – it’s not just “non-penis bearing people” who are women. Some women have penises. Some men have vaginas. How about people who are wearing skirts? Genders a bit more complicated than that.

    As for the naming names thing, my intention was never to ruin anyone. As such no, I don’t name names. Do I think something should be done? Yes. Did I want Buzzo’s name to be attached to it? Not particularly. I recognize that we are raised in a culture that says this BS is acceptable and so people will do things like this. It’s not okay and should be dealt with privately. But, as he has come out and publicly said it was him – yes that is who I complained about. Don’t ask me who filed with me, it is her choice if she wants to publicly state she filed with me.

    Cheers,
    Lee (Halley) de Lay

  154. D4M10N says

    Halley,

    Thank you for clearing up what happened. Some of us were eagerly waiting for an eyewitness account before rendering judgment, and your statement helps quite a bit. It takes courage to say what you said and I applaud you for doing so.

    One question. As an eyewitness to events, would you evaluate the following sentence as true or false?

    “D.J. Grothe was told that a male attendee of TAM had been using a camera on the end of a telescoping monopod to surreptitiously take photos up women’s skirts.”

  155. Pteryxx says

    …How would a witness know what DJ was or was not told unless DJ himself was there or directly received a statement?

    Heck, I’m rather glad I posted fast and gracelessly so that the *very first response* wasn’t questioning a witness.

  156. D4M10N says

    In some circles, questioning a witness to an alleged crime is known as due process of law.

  157. Pteryxx says

    And in some circles, it’s re-traumatizing. Do you think this comment thread is a court of law, or that you’re a lawyer bound by the ethics and procedures of court?

  158. hieropants says

    In some circles, questioning a witness to an alleged crime is known as due process of law.

    And that’s just fascinating. What does it have to do with this conversation again?

  159. says

    Of course not, Pteryxx, but I do think it really matters whether Stephan was in fact surreptitiously taking lewd photos. Where I live, that’s up to a year in jail and/or $5,000 fine. As best as I can tell, there is not nearly enough evidence to conclude he is guilty.

    It also matters whether DJ was told that Stephan was doing this, of course. As best as I can tell, there is not nearly enough evidence to suppose that he was, as Greta claimed in the OP.

  160. Pteryxx says

    Well, D4M10N, then it’s a good thing folks are just pressuring DJ to do his freakin’ job and see that the evidence, eyewitness reports, photographs, corroborating communications and all are taken seriously and followed up on, instead of swept under the rug.

    If you want to know what DJ did or did not hear, I suggest you ask HIM. Good luck with that.

  161. says

    The key factual premise in the OP is this one:
    “D.J. Grothe was told that a male attendee of TAM had been using a camera on the end of a telescoping monopod to surreptitiously take photos up women’s skirts.”

    Now, maybe I’m reading Halley wrong, but I’m not getting the sense that this is actually what she reported. What she reported was that Stephan had the camera in the position where he could possibly have been taking pictures, which made her “uncomfortable because there are a not a lot of reasons … to have a camera pointed up at your ankle in a crowd.”

  162. Pteryxx says

    D4M10N, picking apart a sentence on quibbles isn’t going to silence multiple witnesses. It’s a cheap, irrational tactic unworthy of skepticism. Also it’s old hat.

    Refusing to believe women’s accounts of harassment:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2012/06/08/those-oversensitive-lying-women/

    and here:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/ashleymiller/2012/06/06/arent-you-making-it-up-why-women-dont-report-harassment/

    Victims get accused of lying even when they have multiple eyewitnesses and documentation.

    Hyperskepticism used to deny evidence:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/lousycanuck/2012/06/02/the-further-hyper-skepticism-stalling-our-conversation/

    So these trolls, being part of the skeptical community (apparently), used our strengths against us by attacking the claim on its merits, since the claim “I was tipsy in an elevator at 4am and a guy followed me in and asked me to his room” doesn’t meet the high standards of evidence we use in the skeptical community when it comes to extraordinary claims. Never mind that it was a perfectly ordinary claim about someone’s experience with a slightly-offputting person that did not result in any physical harm. Specifically, I characterized this compulsion as hyper-skepticism, along the same lines as 9/11 truthers, birthers, and other conspiracy theorists.

    We’re now seeing the exact same tactic being used again in the wake of a conflagration that Jen McCreight accidentally set off when she casually mentioned at the Women In Secularism CFI conference that female speakers occasionally warn one another of potentially creepy male speakers.

  163. Your Name's not Bruce? says

    From what Lee said above, this guy was harassing even without taking the camera into account. That’s bad enough all by itself. But it gets worse. From what I’ve read on this blog and others this Buzz0 guy actually had a reputation from previous years for doing the up-skirt camera thing. He should not have been let back to gain a reputation in the first place.

    And people show up here saying “If” he did these things…

  164. says

    jasonloxton @113 says:

    See the recent developments at the Facebook thread Greta links to in her post above (http://tinyurl.com/8x2bfaw). The accused directly answers these accusations, and offers a plausible explanation for a misunderstanding. If true–and his explanation seems pretty convincing to me–this post needs modifying ASAP (and an apology should be issued before this becomes a career-destroying meme).

    I wanted to follow up on this, because the question of evidence, and plausible alternative explanations, keeps coming up in this thread.

    IS Buzzo’s alternative explanation actually plausible? Not if you do a bit of research on the guy. I took the liberty of doing so myself. Just Googling “dr buzzo jref” (using a letter ‘o’ rather than a 0 gets more hits) turns up several links to JREF forum entries where Buzzo is talked about by forum regulars as a known harrasser. MANY of them refer to his “upskirt camera on a pole” as common, settled knowledge, including threads from well before this latest discussion happened, and some that predate Elevatorgate.

    Try “dr buzzo upskirt” and you get several posts, on JREF forums and other sites, where he is either talking about upskirt pics in an at least somewhat favorable manner (one thread, here, charmingly features him “considering” the question of whether or not taking upskirt pics of underage cheerleaders at a public school game would be illegal), or actually posting such pictures. It also turns up more of the threads from the JREF forums where other forum members discuss his “upskirt cam” as a known quantity whose factual existence is not controversial. I got hits for that here, here, and here. (The forum in which he actually posted upskirt pictures, I am not going to link, for reasons I would trust are obvious.)

    Assuming that “Dr Buzz0″ on other forums is the same guy, which is not a bad assumption to make (he seems fond of the nickname, and all instances that I found of that name on various fora had the same geographic location in the profile), then what we have here is clear evidence that Buzzo A) has a known interest in upskirt pictures, B) has been found to distribute such pictures, C) has a known habit of justifying and arguing for the legality of taking such pictures, and D) is known to have used his monopod-cam for the purpose of taking such pictures in the past by JREF forum members, to the point where casual and even joking references are made to it.

    I invite you to do the same research I did, to the same depth and with the same effort involved. It is not an onerous task, I did it in about 15 minutes using Google. I even gave you the search terms to use.

    Does this constitute PROOF that he did as described? Not by itself, no. It is, however, strong evidence, and combined with the multiply-corroborated testimony of Lee above, and Rob Tarzwell in the Facebook post linked, it contitutes a preponderance of evidence. Were we a court of law, we would of course not be able to convict on such a basis, but guess what? We are not.

    And the question we are trying to address here is not “Did this happen exactly as reported?”, but “Given that incidents like this have been reported, and apparently known about in JREF circles for several years, are JREF and in particular, is DJ Grothe, doing a proper job of ensuring such harrassments don’t take place or are dealt with properly if they do?” The answer to that question is, clearly not.

    The evidence I’ve pulled up from the JREF forums is not only damning of Buzzo for his behavior, but of Grothe and the JREF leadership for their apparent lack of concern for stopping such behavior. His “innocent explanation” does not wash. Moreover, given the fact that this behavior has been reported and known about for years, Grothe’s explanations of not knowing about it don’t wash either.

    TL;DR version: Plausible? Yeah, right.

  165. says

    Pteryxx,

    Multiple witnesses? I count three. Stephen (Buzzo), Halley (Lee), and another party who remains unidentified and whose privacy I completely respect. If it seems to me that Stephen’s account diverges from Halley’s account, I’m inclined to believe Halley, for reasons I don’t need to go into here.

    That said, the accounts agree on the basic facts. Stephen was carrying around a camera on a monopod, his doing so made some people rather uncomfortable, and was reported as such. As far as I can tell, no one has claimed to have witnessed Stephen was actually “using a camera on the end of a telescoping monopod to surreptitiously take photos up women’s skirts.”

  166. Pteryxx says

    D4M10N: Right, read the OP and follow the Facebook links for more witnesses. “Using a camera on the end of a telescoping monopod to surreptitiously take photos up women’s skirts” is an entirely reasonable conclusion to draw from the accounts as given. You’re suggesting it’s reasonable to expect that waving an upward-facing camera at ankle level in a crowd with people wearing skirts is NOT an attempt to take upskirt photos – and that’s a pretty far-fetched explanation. Even in a court of law, which this is not, guilt would be established beyond a REASONABLE doubt.

  167. says

    First – Please call me Lee, I am not used to people using my full name anymore, I only provide it because many know me as that still. Also, I use they/them pronouns not she/her. Thanks.

    As to if I told DJ, yes I did on the last day of TAM when we filed a written report.

    As to the question of if buzzo was actually taking pictures – I don’t know and frankly don’t care. My report was that he had a camera, facing up, at his ankle on a pole. It made me uncomfortable because the only reason I could think of for that to happen is taking upskirt photos. Do I know he was? No, how could I? I actively avoided him (for all the good that did me) I wasn’t exactly going to get near enough to see and frankly I didn’t want him to have a chance to take the pics if he was going to. I acted to call security because myself and others were uncomfortable with the behavior. Why is that a problem? Given the security people spoke with him and though weren’t entirely helpful didn’t tell us “well, since we don’t have proof he was taking pictures it’s legit” why are you asking me for physical proof? Is my discomfort and not feeling safe in an environment where I should be safe not important?

  168. Pteryxx says

    Also, several commenters over on Pharyngula have said that the *threat* of someone violating their privacy by taking upskirt photos is already distressing and triggering. Taking that into account, simply waving a *fake* camera on a pole at ankle level would constitute harassment and contribute to an unsafe environment.

  169. says

    @ D4M10N: What exactly are you claiming? Is it that an ankle-level camera on a pole is not in itself reason for suspicion? That no one should have even talked to Stephen unless they caught him red-handed somehow? Or are you claiming that DJ may have only been told that someone had an ankle level camera on a pole, but not about the upskirt angle. He didn’t see why it was a big deal because he didn’t make the upskirt inference and didn’t ask. Frankly, that’s not much of a defense. If I’ve misread you, what are you arguing? You seem to be saying that there’s some way the facts can be interpreted where DJ did what he could based on what he knew and that we should give him the benefit of the doubt, but I’m unclear as to what this theory is.

  170. says

    Pteryxx,

    I’ve read the whole FB thread, thanks. Here is a very salient quote therefrom: “I didn’t actively see him take a picture up a skirt. What I saw was a man, with a camera pointed up on a monopod and the ability to take a picture from there. The camera was at his ankle the whole time I saw him. It made me really uncomfortable and I found it completely unacceptable to have a camera in a position like that so I snagged a friend to make sure I wasn’t freaking out for no reason, she agreed with what I saw and we managed to get security called.”

    Now, I’ll admit that Stephen is a sketchy-looking dude, and even a bit of a misogynist, but it’s not obvious to me that carrying around a monopod-mounted camera obviously implies guilt of a serious misdemeanor, and I’m really surprised that this epistemic caution (routine in criminal justice) is being dubbed hyper-skepticism here.

    Maybe he is guilty, maybe not, I’m really quite agnostic on that point. My problem here is that Greta leads off with the highly conclusory statement that “DJ was told that a male attendee of TAM had been using a camera on the end of a telescoping monopod to surreptitiously take photos up women’s skirts” when what the reporting witness has actually claimed was that hotel security was told that a sketchy looking dude might be up to something sketchy.

  171. Pteryxx says

    Yeah, you’re demanding an entirely unreasonable level of proof. Thought experiment for you: What proof WOULD you consider sufficient to substantiate Greta’s sentence in the OP?

  172. says

    I don’t know that DJ was told. Presumably, some people saw Stephen using the monopod for its intended harmless purpose, that is, taking photos of oneself in frame with celebs like PZ: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=2492920234933&set=a.2492910594692.198836.1010604164&type=3&theater

    Maybe after talking to those witnesses, the monopod didn’t seem so much of a threat to privacy as just a nerdy shutterbug tool. I don’t know. Still, I think it’s weird to assume that just because a creeper has a pole that he must be shooting upskirt. Even people as daft as Stephen should expect to get caught doing that in public.

  173. says

    “What proof WOULD you consider sufficient to substantiate Greta’s sentence in the OP?”

    A single witness claiming that they saw him trying to position the camera towards individual skirts might be enough for me. You have to set the auto-timer, then get the camera under someone’s skirt, right? Seems like it would be obvious, as it was in this case: http://www.oklahomacriminallaw.com/Real%20Quash%20Peeping%20Tom.pdf

    Ok, maybe not quite that obvious.

  174. says

    D4m10n if you read that thread, or my post you would see that I did indeed report it to DJ and the JREF. The reason I posted my full name was so that people would know that I am indeed that person over on facebook and wasn’t just some jack-off with a presumed same last name. Now. as to what you were saying – the reason I came on here to clarify is that my report has been skewed a bit and I wanted people to be absolutely clear as to what I saw and what I am claiming. Greta’s statement is the same one that was being bandied about by many people so I wanted to correct it. That Greta hasn’t gotten on or anything is perfectly understandable, it’s a beautiful summer day here in the Pacific Northwest and I am sure Greta has a life.

    Also, as I have said here and over on fb – the monopod incident got reported to security because it was their issue. The reason we reported to the JREF is because the behaviors that were happening by that person were making us feel unsafe. They were asked repeatedly to leave us alone and didn’t, they were told multiple times we didn’t want to talk to them or for them to come near us and it was ignored. The monopod thing is one of many that led to the report. Personally I think it should have happened sooner but frankly given that the report wasn’t particularly taken seriously even then it wouldn’t have made a difference or have been even worse.

    Now, I reported in detail /everything/ that happened directly to me or that made me uncomfortable. My friend did the same. This was a full page (at least) each of incidents. What more do you want? I can’t provide physical evidence because in the cases of verbal harassment there isn’t any. Make a “hostile environment” (yes that is the legal term) is a type of harassment. I didn’t feel safe and felt it was a hostile environment. I know this is a he said they said issue but frankly I expected the JREF to put multiple attendees feelings of safety above what they did – which was to largely ignore us until my friend managed to annoy them into talking about what went on.

    Now I have to deal with y’all skewing my words and essentially (and directly in some cases) accusing me of lying? Bugger off with that. This behavior is the reason this stuff goes on as much as it does. This behavior is the reason that more harassment isn’t reported. This behavior is the reason that instead of enjoying the couple of days before I graduate I am pissed off and online trying to deal with a bunch of bullshit. Sit down and check your privilege. Cis-men by and large don’t deal with nearly the level of harassment that cis-women, trans* and non-binary people have to deal with EVERY DAY. So take what we say seriously or go the fuck away because I am tired of yall not realizing that what you are doing actively harms people around you and yourself.

    (note – cis: your gender identity matches the sex you were assigned at birth. Trans*: your gender identity doesn’t match the sex you were assigned at birth or your body doesn’t match your internal body map.)

  175. says

    Halley,

    I want you to understand that I take your words more seriously than anyone in this thread, and I do not feel like you’ve been treated well wrt to harassment. We should trust what you have to say. I am just trying to clarify one particular factual claim, that Stephen “had been using a camera on the end of a telescoping monopod to surreptitiously take photos up women’s skirts.”

    If you saw that you saw him doing this, I’ll believe you. If you say that he was positioning his camera under skirts, I’ll believe you. Whatever you say that you told JREF respecting this particular issue, I’ll believe you and only you. I’m just trying to put an end to the speculation on this particular point.

  176. Pteryxx says

    If you saw that you saw him doing this, I’ll believe you. If you say that he was positioning his camera under skirts, I’ll believe you.

    I realize I don’t know y’all. I just have to say, the corollary to that statement had better not be “and if you don’t, I *won’t* believe you”.

  177. says

    So you think that’s it’s plausible that DJ was told that there is a guy with a monopod and a camera, said to himself “so what?” and didn’t inquire further? Or, alternatively, he did know the circumstances, but didn’t think it was reasonable to approach the guy unless he was actually seen taking upskirt pictures.

    The first story isn’t very plausible based on what we’ve been told, but even if it were, the reasonable thing would have been to ask why this was a problem if you didn’t get it, not just assume people were being crazy. I’m not sure how anyone was supposed to witness this unless he checked them while someone looked over his shoulder or he used a flash.

  178. says

    A lot of things are plausible, AoS, but I’m mostly concerned with the key factual premise that “D.J. Grothe was told that a male attendee of TAM has been using a camera on the end of a telescoping monopod to surreptitiously take photos up women’s skirts.”

    This is distinctly different from the claim that “D.J. Grothe was told that a male attendee of TAM had been carrying a camera on the end of a telescoping monopod in such a manner as to make some attendees uncomfortable in light of the possibility that he could be surreptitiously taking photos up women’s skirts.”

    I leave it to Halley (Lee) to say which description is more accurate in light of her own firsthand eyewitness experience.

  179. Pteryxx says

    No, they’re not distinctly different claims. If the sentence were “D.J. Grothe was told that a male attendee of TAM has apparently been using a camera on the end of a telescoping monopod to surreptitiously take photos up women’s skirts.” or some such, they’d be completely indistinguishable.

    Also, use the correct frickin’ name and pronoun for the person you’re addressing, as you were told to do. There’s no excuse for disrespecting them that way.

  180. says

    D4m10n – so read what I said? I posted here and elsewhere rather clearly what happened I don’t see why I need to repeat it multiple times.

    I didn’t see him positioning it under skirts, I never said I did. My response was ‘why the hell would anyone have their camera pointing up at ankle height, all I can think of is that they would be taking upskirts, it’s not like it would be hard’ and that potential made me and others really not comfortable so we reported it. It’s not that hard to understand. I get that most cis-men who have heard this don’t immediately see the whole ‘upskirt’ thing and that is why I am saying check your privilege oh ye cis men out there. (note- no, not all don’t immediately get it but so far the majority have been like ‘what’s the problem?’)

    And, as Ptyerxx said – the statement “if you saw x” is usually followed by the idea that if it wasn’t exactly that then obviously I was lying or deluded or wrong. If someone else remembers it different I was lying or deluded or wrong. If the person I am saying I say says something else I am lying, deluded or wrong. You claim that you take me seriously and think I have been treated wrong well guess what – right now, from where I am sitting /you’re/ one of the people treating me wrong. By questioning me on something I have clearly stated, by repeatedly asking me over and over to retell it.

    OH and also – my name is Lee. again. please use it. As I said i only provided my full name because that is what it says on facebook still since that is what my family calls me. Everyone else does not have that privilege. I am not going to take you seriously if you keep insisting on using another name for me. I am not going to take you seriously because you are doing the exact privileged behavior that makes people not want to stand up and report this shit.

  181. says

    Sorry, Lee. We first met on Facebook and that was the name you were using over there.

    I’m not saying that you are lying or deluded or wrong, I’m saying that the characterization in the OP “a male attendee of TAM had been using a camera on the end of a telescoping monopod to surreptitiously take photos up women’s skirts” doesn’t seem to follow from your own account of what happened (which I’ve read several times now) because that characterization assumes that Stephen was in fact taking upskirt photos instead of walking around with a monopod *POSSIBLY* taking photos.

    Now, maybe it’s harassment either way, and no doubt Stephen is a creepy guy, but it still seems to me that Greta went way too far in her initial assumption of Stephen’s guilt. But then maybe I’m just being hyper-skeptical and cis-priviledged here.

  182. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    In some circles, questioning a witness to an alleged crime is known as due process of law.

    Practicing law without a license is illegal.

  183. Pteryxx says

    I’m willing to “assume” that there’s an extremely high correlation between upward-facing cameras held on a pole at ankle height among a crowd of people wearing skirts and actual upskirt photography. I’d even say better than 95%. So yeah, your skepticism is misallocated.

  184. says

    “Why the hell would anyone have their camera pointing up at ankle height?”

    I don’t see any way around that, given the length of the device and the fact that it is designed to point back down the length of the pole, in order to allow for shots like this:

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=2492920234933&set=a.2492910594692.198836.1010604164&type=3&theater

    Probably Stephen should have carried the camera and the monopod separately when not in use, just in case.

  185. says

    That is the exact reason I came to give my account – I don’t doubt that Greta’s account is the story that was told. It’s been a year, shit gets telephoned in that time and distorted so I don’t hold it against Greta. In fact, it’s not as bad of a mischaraterization as it might be but, I don’t want anyone to think I am claiming I saw something happen I didn’t

    I just am really tired of defending myself and what I experienced from people telling me that I should be more skeptical of what happened. >.<

  186. says

    Isn’t the monopod collapsible? Because it doesn’t make much sense if not. And yeah – if it’s not carry them separately or keep it above waist level. Seriously, thinking about the way others will see your behavior is kind of a good thing.

  187. says

    We know that Stephen was openly carrying the monopod and the camera around, taking pictures of himself with celebs like Bill Nye and PZ Myers. We’ve seen the photos of him doing that, and his own testimony corroborates it. That’s background evidence here, along with the testimony from Lee that he was walking around holding the handle end of the monopod allowing the camera to dangle.

    It is possible that either (1) in addition to this overt and legitimate usage, Stephen hoped to take upskirt photos, or (2) Stephen is just lazy and didn’t want to unscrew the camera from the pole as he walked around looking for the next celeb with which to smile and pose.

    Again, maybe I’m too privileged to understand, what with wearing shorts instead of skirts almost all the time, but what is the reason to assume (1) instead of (2) from the outset, as Greta did in the OP?

  188. says

    “Seriously, thinking about the way others will see your behavior is kind of a good thing.”

    Absolutely spot on, Lee. I’m denying that in the least, and (applying that advice to myself) I should note that I’m not trying to question your judgement here. Quite the contrary, I’m trying to say that we should stick more strictly to your version of events rather than subsequent characterizations thereof.

  189. Pteryxx says

    Because it’s a reasonable assumption to make, to anyone not busy JAQ’ing off. You’re just trying to push your distrust of the witnesses onto Greta.

  190. says

    Pteryxx – while I dislike the way that d4m10n is asking their questions I am still glad we are talking about this and coming to an understanding despite the whole word choice thing.

    You need to pay attention too though because it’s also a bit dehumanizing to call me ‘the witness’ when I am on here talking too…

  191. Pteryxx says

    Lee, sorry about that; I should have said “Lee and the other witnesses” to refer to the citations in the OP.

  192. says

    @D4M10N: Yes, both those things are possible, but DJ should have tried to determine which it was (which can be done fairly easily by asking to check the guy’s camera), not just figured that since there’s a plausible innocuous explanation, no further action is warranted. That’s also ignoring that if this were the case, he should have said there was a report of sexual harassment, but it seemed to be mistaken upon review, not that no one has ever reported harassment.

  193. says

    While I get that the difference matters in the severity of the situation that doesn’t mean that someone saying ‘hey this persons behavior is making me really uncomfortable’ should be dismissed. There was more to the report than just that but either way – “hostile environment” includes bs like what was going on both with the other incidents where requests to leave myself and others alone (which were ignored) and the monopod bs. Making people seriously uncomfortable with behavior isn’t okay so why are we debating this again? Oh wait because we can’t make it easy for people to report they have to get interrogated even by people who claim to be ‘on their side’

  194. violet says

    It seems to me that all these questions of what this person was or wasn’t guilty of would have been best addressed by a well-implemented sexual harassment policy at TAM. A policy that had procedures in place for this person’s actions to be investigated at the time they took place rather than mulled over a year or more after by outside parties.

    In my opinion, whether he actually took pictures or not is less relevant than the fact that harassment and potential illegal behavior was reported and not followed up on at all and seemingly forgotten or swept under the rug. Whether the guy actually took upskirt photos is probably not something we can reliably determine beyond a reasonable doubt (for those hung up on legal procedure) but the fact that there was at least one official report that was not properly addressed and investigated is the actual main point here. If the incident had been properly followed up on, we may have a more definitive answer about what exactly he was doing with the camera and not have to put everyone on trial over the Internet, as if a finding of ‘not guilty’ would excuse the fact that JREF did not follow up on a report of alleged harassment.

  195. says

    Whether his explanation is plausible is beside the point. Let’s not get side-tracked. The issue here is DJ. Unless DJ heard his explanation, it’s irrelevant to what DJ should have done. The question is what he knew and what he did.

  196. dysomniak says

    Yeah, whether this guy was actually taking “upskirts” or not is irrelevant to this discussion. If DJ had investigated the complaint and found it to be a misunderstanding he could have said so instead of falsely claiming that there had been no reports of harassment. That’s the important piece here. Harassment was reported, and DJ lied. Or forgot, to give an absurdly charitable interpretation. Either way it speaks volumes. Even if the complainants hadn’t filed written repots, why did he not document the incident himself? Is that not part of TAM’s much vaunted policy? If so it’s not worth the paper it’s printed on.

  197. Eric O says

    JREF is beginning to give me a bit of a Catholic Church vibe. Although I didn’t initially agree with Greg Laden’s suggestion for DJ to step down, I’ve reconsidered after learning about this cover-up.

    DJ’s dishonesty in this matter is unacceptable, and I’m not sure if an apology will cut it at this point. I can’t take JREF seriously as long as it has a president who seems more concerned with the organisation’s reputation than the safety and comfort of its members.

  198. says

    No, Mr. Police Officer, sir, I couldn’t have used my belt to beat my children because I’m wearing it right now. And there’s a picture of me wearing it. That’s what belts are made for!

    So, D4M10N
    Have you ever heard of something called “Occam’s Razor”?
    What have we got?
    A guy who:
    – is known to speak favourably about taking that kind of pictures.
    – was already harassing women
    – held his camera in exactly the right way to take the kind of pictures he’s fond of.

    Now there are two explenations:
    A: He took upskirt pics
    B: He used a terribly complicated and unreliable metod to take pics of himself with famous people (BTW, since you’re so keen on evidence, what’s the evidence that the pic he has was taken in that manner? I’m not saying it wasn’t, because managing to get just one such photo makes him innocent in your book, but what’s your evidence?. Seriously, working with tripods and timers is a pain in the ass, I know what I’m talking about. He then carelessly held the camera in exact such a fashion that it was perfectly positioned to take upskirts pictures.

    Which one of this explenations fits the evidence we have of him better? hich requires less totally unreasonable assumptions?
    And finally:
    How does it DJ Grothe off the hook for claiming that there were no complaints a TAM when women told himboth in person and in written forms? How does that make him look after he told Ashley Miller that she should have written this down?

  199. SkepticAtheist says

    People are calling this guy a creep. Do you people even know the guy??? Why is he a creep? For having a perfectly legal camera extension at a conference where he wanted pictures of himself with well-known skeptics???

    You have no evidence that this man did the terrible things which he was accused of. Because of this dumb blog, now more people have seen this hearsay, and got a bad impression of him.

    Also, you have no evidence that D.J. Grothe did anything wrong, except for more hearsay. The person claimed to still had his camera, even though the rumor was that it was confiscated. So how do you know that this incident was something which D.J. Grothe should have mentioned, if the guy didn’t do use his camera in the way he was accused? How do you know that D.J. Grothe was told about actual upskirt pictures being taken?

    How many more people will FfTB hurt on their never ending witch hunt?

  200. dysomniak says

    And just in case you’re the slightest bit unclear, read the thread again, paying special attention to the part where IT WAS REPORTED IN PERSON AND IN WRITING. It doesn’t matter if it was unfounded, it was still reported which makes Grothe a FUCKING LIAR. No amount of bullshitting or gaslighting is going to change that.

  201. says

    People are calling this guy a creep. Do you people even know the guy??? Why is he a creep? For having a perfectly legal camera extension at a conference where he wanted pictures of himself with well-known skeptics???

    You mean apart of the woman who was harassed by him, who told him to go away and he didn’t, who did tel DJ in person and who did submit a written complain?
    So, let me get this things straight:

    Following women and not leaving them alone when they ask you to is not creepy?

    Saying that there were no reports of harassment when people complained to you in person is not lying?

    Oh, and legal =/= acceptable.
    WBC is legal, but I guess you don’t consider their behaviour acceptable, or do you oppose of people calling the bigots?

  202. Bjarte Foshaug says

    …what we have here is clear evidence that Buzzo A) has a known interest in upskirt pictures, B) has been found to distribute such pictures, C) has a known habit of justifying and arguing for the legality of taking such pictures, and D) is known to have used his monopod-cam for the purpose of taking such pictures in the past by JREF forum members, to the point where casual and even joking references are made to it.

    This is disturbing and gives the lie to anyone who wants to pretend the latest complaints happened in a vacuum.

  203. Gonzo says

    Holy fucking shit, Laden. Way to go with the bullshit excuses!

    Try harder next time. I’m still not convinced Grothe’s not an asshole.

  204. julian says

    but what is the reason to assume (1) instead of (2) from the outset, as Greta did in the OP?

    For starters assuming innocence outside of a courtroom isn’t always a virtue. Just weigh the outcomes. If he’s innocent and you tell him off for the behavior his pride is hurt and he possibly suffers a dip in public opinion. If he’s guilty and you fail to correct him than multiple people will be sexually harassed. With a preponderance of the evidence pointing to the likelihood he was taking upskirt pics (a past history of suspicion of this activity and more than one witness) there no reason to give the benifit of the doubt.

  205. says

    O hai, Internet. I haven’t seen you in a while. What have you been up to?

    Oh my god.

    Okay, so let’s assume that the “I only used it to take pictures of myself” defense is plausible.

    It’s irrelevant.

    The point is if harassment of this type was reported to JREF, the statement is at odds with JREFs claim that there haven’t been any reported harassment incidents.

    That said, after learning WHO the person in question is, the plausibility meter dropped significantly. My very first experience at my very first TAM (8) was wandering into the Del Mar lounge, not knowing a single soul, to witness this person actively harassing a woman. It was literally my first TAM experience. I later saw him inappropriately propositioning and harassing at least two other women. That night.

    So yes, if they exist, he’s unlikely to release any up-skirt shots as evidence (and thank goodness for that!). But reports of him unnecessarily carrying the camera low to the ground coupled with a well-established history of inappropriate sexual advances and harassing behavior lend the accusations a little more credence, I’d say.

  206. ischemgeek says

    @ Emrysmyrddin #106

    Hey, we shouldn’t have the onus put on us to become violent to defend ourselves. I understand your frustration and I share it and the sentiment, Jinglebells, but apart from being accused of assault yourself there is also the risk of escalation of violence from the attacker themselves.

    ^THIS. There’s a damn good reason any good self-defense course spends around three-quarters of its time talking about ways to defuse and/or get away from dangerous situations. Fights are dangerous. Way better to avoid them if you can.

    @ Robert (SeraphymC) #115

    A good harassment policy considers any honest attempt to be through “proper” channels.

    QFFT. Same at my workplace – and I know from being the person someone reported to once that in my department, at least, they’re very strict on it. They didn’t hem and haw and set up hoops for hir to jump through because I wasn’t the ‘right’ person to report to (officially, the reporter – I don’t want to use ‘victim’ because the person in question quite vehemently told me xie hates being referred to with that word – should have gone to my boss), they asked me to get the person in to talk to my boss so my boss could get first hand info. While waiting for that, they talked to a few other people known to be present at the time of the incidents, then when they had enough info to make a decision, they took appropriate action.

    And the reporter thanked us because we were the first people to take a complaint by hir seriously. That was awesome. Though I would’ve been happy just knowing my superiors did something about it – I’ve had too many cases where I was the reporter and was brushed off, ignored, or punished for it so I can imagine how awesome it feels to be taken seriously.

  207. Pteryxx says

    How many more people will FfTB hurt on their never ending witch hunt?

    So you know, SkepticAtheist, after this line I had to go back and read your entire rant again in Rarity’s drama voice. Complete with fainting couch.

  208. CT says

    Pteryxx says:
    June 16, 2012 at 10:48 am
    How many more people will FfTB hurt on their never ending witch hunt?

    So you know, SkepticAtheist, after this line I had to go back and read your entire rant again in Rarity’s drama voice. Complete with fainting couch.

    julian says:
    June 16, 2012 at 10:52 am
    This is… THE. WORST. POSSIBLE. THING.

    *faints*

    quote, cuz pony and lmfao

  209. says

    Giliell wrote: “Since you’re so keen on evidence, what’s the evidence that the pic he has was taken in that manner?”

    He posted a whole series of obviously monopod-mounted photos at his campaign website – http://www.packard2012.org/facepixelphotos/

    Not to mention a few on his Facebook page, to which I’ve already linked at comment 198. Sometimes you can even see his left arm and the monopod in the photo.

    Now, maybe Buzzo is such a devious and clever guy that he took those photos openly and innocently merely as a cover for his actual nefarious purposes, “to surreptitiously take photos up women’s skirts” as Greta puts it. That seems to be the consensus theory here, and maybe that’s what really happened.

    Maybe he’s a creepy douche who harasses women and also a criminal peeping tom. Or, maybe he is a creepy douche who harasses women, but not a criminal peeping tom. I’m not nearly convinced that there is a preponderance of evidence either way, and I don’t think it is particularly skeptical to take sides given the relevant body of evidence so far.

    I know that some people are going to move the goalposts now and say that all that matters is that Buzzo makes women uncomfortable and thus he should not be part of the skeptical community going forward. Maybe he shouldn’t, but that doesn’t exactly make it fair to publicly broadcast as an incontrovertible fact that he gets up to all sorts moral turpitude with his Canon PowerShot A470.

  210. says

    Correction – At 198, “I don’t know that DJ was told” ought to have been “I don’t know *what* DJ was told” and now that’s not quite true, because Lee has explained what they told him.

  211. julian says

    @D4M10N

    I don’t visit or read JREF (the community’s handeling of issues revolving around race an equal representation make me sick) but I’ve seen posted elsewhere that this individual has spoken about having an upskirt fetish in the past. I don’t know if that’s true as I don’t read the forum but that coupled with the suspicious nature of his activity and this not having been the first time he was seen doing this make me doubt his story.

  212. llewelly says

    Two women approach me and another conferee. They are pale and trembling. A man with a camera on the end of a telescoping monopod has been attempting to surreptitiously take photos up their skirts.

    On Greg Laden’s blog, the accused waves his big lawyer about. And explains the device in question was an xshot, not a monopod. At first they both seem to be a pole for a camera, but close inspection reveals a potentially important distinction: The xshot has a handle at the opposite end of the pole from which the camera is situated, and, importantly, a means to activate the camera and take pictures from a vantage point that would otherwise be out of reach. A monopod has the handle near the camera; there’s no handle on the far end of the pole, and it’s designed on the assumption the user’s hands will still be near the camera, so there’s no means to activate the camera or take pictures except by touching the camera buttons normally. That is, an xshot is better suited for upskirt photos than a monopod is.

    Either way – I doubt someone would have made a sexual harassment report unless he was using it in a harassing way.

  213. says

    Julian,

    The closest that I could find to a documented fetish was this post, in which he says that it is “completely reasonable to want to prevent the fear and embarrassment that [pervy filming] would cause” but goes on to make a case for its legality in a typically Randroid fashion. So, yeah, it’s kind of damning but not maybe not quite in the way you were getting at.

  214. llewelly says

    D4M10N
    June 16, 2012 at 1:41 am :

    “Why the hell would anyone have their camera pointing up at ankle height?”

    I don’t see any way around that, given the length of the device and the fact that it is designed to point back down the length of the pole, in order to allow for shots like this:

    It would be trivial to transfer one’s grip to the end near the camera. There’s no handle there, but nothing to prevent holding it there. And it would keep the camera away from feet, table legs, chair legs, and other obstacles that might damage it. Plus, the user would not look like a creep.

  215. llewelly says

    SkepticAtheist says:
    June 16, 2012 at 5:49 am

    People are calling this guy a creep. Do you people even know the guy???

    I’ve known a number of serial sexual harassers. Almost all of their male friends never recognized them for what they were. Knowing someone does not make them innocent or guilty – it only warps your judgement.

  216. says

    Maybe he’s a creepy douche who harasses women and also a criminal peeping tom. Or, maybe he is a creepy douche who harasses women, but not a criminal peeping tom. I’m not nearly convinced that there is a preponderance of evidence either way, and I don’t think it is particularly skeptical to take sides given the relevant body of evidence so far.

    You mean the relevant body of testimonies of his actual victims? Of women who were harassed (see Lee, whose complaint was NOT limited to the camera onna stick), porlob above who saw him?
    Are all those people lying?

  217. pwillow1 says

    llewelly says: The xshot has a handle at the opposite end of the pole from which the camera is situated, and, importantly, a means to activate the camera and take pictures from a vantage point that would otherwise be out of reach.

    Forgive me but I believe that is incorrect. I’ve seen an XShot in person and I refreshed my memory by looking at video reviews of it. There is no way I can see to trigger the shutter from the opposite end of the extension. The camera must be set on a five- or ten-second timer.

    In my mind, that would make it cumbersome to take upskirt photos. However, cameras with video capability can be set running in a continuous mode and videos can be taken.

    I too find it odd, as D4M10N has suggested, that someone would leave this XShot fully extended and with the camera end dangling towards the floor when the camera was not in use. The videos I watched say that it takes about four seconds to fully extend the 30-inch telescope on the XShot. I’d think that most people would compact their XShot when it was not in use and not leave their camera dangling so close to the ground.

  218. says

    llewelly,

    Good point, it probably would be less creepy to carry the X-Shot from the camera end. Less creepy still not to carry one at all. Least creepy of all would be to have actual friends that you trust to take pictures of you. No one here is saying that Stephen isn’t a creepy dude. At least no one here.

  219. says

    The Borg writes – “Are all those people lying?”

    I don’t think you are reading what wrote, Giliell. I was not challenging the claim that Monopod Guy serially harasses women, but rather the claim that he “had been using a camera on the end of a telescoping monopod to surreptitiously take photos up women’s skirts” which might well be the major reason why Rob Tarzwell’s post has garnered so much attention.

  220. says

    I was not challenging the claim that Monopod Guy serially harasses women,

    Yes you did:

    Or, maybe he is a creepy douche who harasses women, but not a criminal peeping tom. I’m not nearly convinced that there is a preponderance of evidence either way,

    Means that you deny that he’s a creepy douche who harasses women. And that after many people came forward to say exactly that.

  221. says

    I’m neither denying or affirming either position here, Giliell, but for the sake of clarity, here they are again:

    1) Buzzo is a creepy douche who harasses women AND he is also a criminal peeping tom.

    -OR-

    2) Buzzo is a creepy douche who harasses women BUT not a criminal peeping tom.

    Notice that both of these statements affirm what Lee (and several others) have corroborated so far, that Buzzo harasses women. I have relatively few doubts on that point.

  222. says

    Notice that both of these statements affirm what Lee (and several others) have corroborated so far, that Buzzo harasses women.

    Yes, and given that you said you’re not convinced of either, it is a possible and plausible interpretation that you’re not convinced that he is a creep who harasses women. But thanks for clarifying that point, at least there we can agree.

  223. dysomniak says

    @D4M10N

    What are you even still harping on? That Greta didn’t sufficeintly qualify the statements in the OP? If you concede that A) harrassment occurred and B) it was reported, then <what is your fucking problem?" That Greta failed to include a "maybe" or "possibly" in the OP? Keep picking those nits buddy.

  224. says

    I suppose it might be nitpicking to point out that there is a significant difference between harassment (which should be dealt with according to an anti-harassment policy) and harassment plus breaking the relevant peeping tom statute, which merits more serious sanctions. It may be the difference between keeping Buzzo out of TAM and putting him in jail.

  225. says

    It may be the difference between keeping Buzzo out of TAM and putting him in jail.

    Oh come on, whom are you kidding?
    Even if everybody here and all over the interwebs agrees that he took the upskirt pics nobody is going to put the creep in jail, so, yes, you’re completely nitpicking.

  226. says

    I’m not kidding anyone. The OP was about how the situation *ought* to have been handled. I maintain that situation (1) ought to have been handled very differently than (2), because in addition to being blacklisted from future events, Buzzo ought to have been prosecuted under the relevant state law.

  227. Pteryxx says

    D4M10N: Then you could have just stated that as your opinion, instead of pushing for court-level standards of evidence in this thread.

  228. says

    @80

    I find it interesting that the creep in question, Dr. Buzzo, has been banned from the JREF forums for three years but NOT (according to other forum users) from attending TAM where he can actually act out his desires. Does the JREF find its forums more worthy of protection than actual women?

    holy shit he did that? dear lord.

    He got banned from the jref forums for repeatedly wishing me (and a few other posters) harm over a dispute about transgender people. Like “I hope you get cancer”, not threats.

    Banning people from TAM over being banned from the forum wouldn’t have worked though, rebecca watson would have been banned from TAM too (she got banned over making a joke sock puppet so it was different, but still).

    The criteria for being banned from the forum was bs anyway- you could be banned for calling someone a name but if you called an entire class of people inferior it would slide. It is a situation set up to ban people who are sick of privileged bs and protect the worst elements of the groups.

  229. says

    People are calling this guy a creep. Do you people even know the guy???

    I know I am just a lowly woman and all, but I can confirm that the majority of people who knew him online thought he was a fucking creep with serious mental health issues. When he entered the bar at the TAM I attended you could see people recognize and avoid him. He didn’t book a hotel room and figured he could get help out from someone to find a place to sleep but no one helped him. I have no idea where he ended up sleeping but he was serially rejected, for whatever reason.

    Then there was his run for office (sentate I think?), he had merchandise for sale with spelling errors all in it.

  230. says

    D4M10N is internet lawyering hard. attorney at LOL eh? How about instead of trying to side track the discussion to be about what hotel security should have done you could talk about what you think dj grothe and tam should have done.

  231. says

    Seems to me, this needs to be reported to the police. Not to the hotel, not to conference organizers. This is like people @ Penn State reporting child sex abuse to campus police and coach Joe Paterno. Call the city police and file a report. A criminal act should not be reported to people who have no authority to uphold the law.

    Harassment is unacceptable no matter where it occurs.

  232. says

    sam thats dandy, except that the women who were photographed are the ones who should make that decision. I would absolutely be in your camp if reporting and prosecuting these things did not frequently humiliate and demoralize the victims, but that is the world we live in. Women who report sexual crimes to cops know how insentive most are. It also makes victims relive the events over and over again.

    Many women I know who reported an incident did so in order to deter the predator from behaving the same way in the future, or to create a trail of evidence to warn others. The widespread publicity of the incidents recently may have accomplished those goals to the victims satisfaction.

  233. says

    Skeptifem suggests we should “talk about what you think dj grothe and tam should have done” but (and maybe I’m being overly lawyerly here) I don’t think we can really do that until we have some idea of what Grothe was told. If Grothe was told “a male attendee of TAM had been using a camera on the end of a telescoping monopod to surreptitiously take photos up women’s skirts” then they should have pursued turned Buzzo over to the cops, but if Grothe was told instead that a male attendee of TAM had been carrying a camera on the end of a telescoping monopod in such a manner that he could possibly be surreptitiously taking photos up women’s skirts, then they should have taken a less stringent course of action, perhaps barring the monopod itself from the event. In other words, Grothe’s response should be proportional to the allegations, assuming they are true.

  234. says

    All that said, I’m not sure how much the serious allegations of the OP matter at this point. Whether Buzzo was using the camera for nefarious purposes or not, we have subsequently seen several people come forward and make it clear that he’s a serial sexual harasser at TAM events. If this fact were sufficiently documented (not here on the internet but on paper) I wouldn’t see anything wrong with JREF barring him from all future events. Is this the sort of process that ought to be in place when someone repeatedly and flagrantly demonstrates disregard and disrespect for fellow conferees?

  235. dysomniak says

    D4M10N:

    I don’t think we can really do that until we have some idea of what Grothe was told.

    We have quite a good idea, you disingenuous little nit. If you don’t know then that’s your malfunction.

  236. says

    You have a good idea, dysomniak?

    Here are two possibilities:

    a) DJ was told “that a male attendee of TAM had been using a camera on the end of a telescoping monopod to surreptitiously take photos up women’s skirts” and that he was also repeatedly foisting unwanted attention on other attendees.

    b) DJ was told “that a male attendee of TAM had been carrying a camera on the end of a telescoping monopod in such a way that he could possibly position himself so as to take photos up women’s skirts, although he had not yet been witnessed doing so” and that he was also repeatedly foisting unwanted attention on other attendees.

    I did not create this ambiguity, it exists because of the tension between Greta’s characterization of what happened and Lee’s eyewitness testimony.

    Now let’s see if you can respond without spitting this time.

  237. says

    Well, yes, those are both possibilities. I just don’t see why the distinction is so important. Even if someone said they saw him taking pictures, you would have to interpret it as said person thought they saw him taking pictures. Both hypothetical reports call for the same action: check into it and kick him out or tell him to stop carrying his camera that way and stop bothering the other attendees, depending what exactly you find out. If they knew who he was, kicking him out straight off would have been justified. I don’t see why the distinction you are making is at all important.

  238. Forbidden Snowflake says

    Both hypothetical reports call for the same action: check into it and kick him out or tell him to stop carrying his camera that way and stop bothering the other attendees, depending what exactly you find out.

    …and not claiming a year later that no complaints have been received.

  239. kerfluffle says

    Lee deLay, I saw Packards notpology and just saw red. That whole ‘nobody can make you feel anything’ is the sort of bullshit that abusers always spew. The guy is a known menace, has been for years. Several people told him that he makes women uncomfortable but he doesn’t care. He’s one of those skeptics that gets off on being right even if it’s just crap he makes up. (Like being harassed is your responsibility and not his actions.)

    I hope you’re too busy with life to be reading this. I just wanted you to know that I believe you.

  240. pwillow1 says

    Over in the FB thread, Packard ALSO made it sound like his behavior is the fault of others.

    Note: Please never offer to buy me a drink. Some people think it’s a nice thing to do for someone they have not seen in a long while. I always feel obligated to take the offer so as not to be rude. You get two shots of vodka in me and you’ll regret it…. Some people have a couple drinks and get really quiet. Well… that’s not me.

    here http://www.facebook.com/notes/rob-tarzwell/tam-rebecca-watson-and-female-safety-two-anecdotes/10150932203392412

    Yes, folks, it’s your responsibility that this guy drinks. You should never, ever offer to buy him one. He has no ability to say “no” or “I’m pacing myself, but I’d love a club soda.” It’s shots of vodka for him and it’s your fault.

  241. says

    NO, D4M10N, that’s actually not what the OP is about. The OP isn’t about what should have happened at TAM X+/-2.
    The OP is about the fact that harassment didn’t only happen, but was also reported in writing and in person and that DJ Grothe later claimed that there never were any reports.
    That when Ashley Miller came forward he said “but why didn’t you tell me?”. When she said that people had told her that matters had been reported he threw up his hands and talked about a missunderstanding and that she should have written a report. And here we have the testimonies of women who clearly told him that they were harassed and who wrote a report.
    It’s about the simple fact that he was lying when he said that.

  242. A Hermit says

    Interesting conversation, but this by Giliell (not in the least like the Borg):

    The OP is about the fact that harassment didn’t only happen, but was also reported in writing and in person and that DJ Grothe later claimed that there never were any reports.

    is what it all boils down to.

    Whether Drbuzz0 actually took pictures in the manner described, (or intended to but didn’t, or thought it was funny to make people think he might or is the victim of a misunderstanding or (as seems more likely) was justifiably suspected of being up to no good because of his history) we have here at least one clear, undeniable case of people feeling uncomfortable and even unsafe because of another TAM attendee’s behaviour and that discomfort being reported, in writing, to DJ Grothe. Something which DJ previously has claimed never happened.

    DJ kind of has to explain that earlier denial now, doesn’t he?

  243. says

    The OP is about the fact that harassment didn’t only happen, but was also reported in writing and in person and that DJ Grothe later claimed that there never were any reports.

    The OP puts forth the claim, at least five times, that a specific KIND of harassment happened, namely, Dr Buzzo was IN FACT caught shooting photos upskirt and DJ was IN FACT told about it. This is such a serious infraction against law and morals that it makes perfect sense to say “Holy. Fucking. Shit.” in light of the fact that DJ claims no harassment was reported.

    After reading through the FB thread, we now know that some form of harassment *DID* actually happen, and was indeed reported, but that doesn’t make the OP any less incorrect or its author less credulous for repeatedly jumping to highly sensationalist conclusions that turned out not to be supported by either eyewitness when they came forward.

    DJ kind of has to explain that earlier denial now, doesn’t he?

    All he has to do is point out that his opponents are willing to believe and disseminate hearsay reports which turn out to be untrue, and the traditional skeptical crowd with side with him on methodological grounds alone.

    I’d rather that this didn’t happen, but Greta is sort of building DJ’s defense for him by creating the impression that the anti-DJ crowd will believe anything that makes him look bad, however badly sourced and researched.

  244. Captaintripps says

    @Stephanie Zvan

    Yeah, I’m really quite less concerned with the “traditional skeptical crowd” after this last year. If they are not convinced they can continue to rail against bigfoot and UFOs while the rest of us take on adult subjects like social justice and medical charlatans.

  245. says

    Being called a concern troll is sort of like being called an anti-semite in that it’s a great way to discredit someone and there is almost nothing that they can do to prove otherwise. It’s a good thing that “harassment includes offensive verbal comments related to gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, religion” but *NOT* character or writing style, because then the concern trolls would be a protected class. I wonder, though, if they could file as a race or maybe ethnicity.

  246. says

    D4M10N, crusader of the interwebs, has an opinion, folks. You all better listen now! Especially the women.

    And if you say mean things about him when he doesn’t listen, well then that means he’s right!

  247. says

    I’ve been promoted from bridge-dwelling concern-troll to crusader of the interwebs? Now that’s what I call upwards mobility. At this rate I’ll be in charge of a my own battalion of flying monkeys by the end of the week.

  248. julian says

    I’d rather that this didn’t happen, but Greta is sort of building DJ’s defense for him by creating the impression that the anti-DJ crowd will believe anything that makes him look bad, however badly sourced and researched.

    Badly sourced? You have at least one complaining witness, a history of suspicious behavior and his own admittance to wishing this activity weren’t illegal. How is that badly sourced? DJ must have had his name and would have been able to learn everything we have in between TAMs so why was no action taken? How is any part of this not Grothe’s failure?

  249. Utakata says

    This is why I like Stephanie Zvan, she makes good calls.

    …I guess the onus of proof is on D4M10N to give account of why he/she hasn’t been double speaking his/her way though their objection to the OP’s comments. Although, I am not sure I want to read another 3 billion post of his/her obfuscation. Just saying.

  250. says

    I think I’ve lost track of the goalposts.

    But it’s nice that you can always find something the feminists did not handle perfectly in your opinion so you can just ignore the actual issues.

    Oh, and being called a concern troll is like being called an anti-semite? Go fuck yourself

    (Sorry if I oversteped your rules there, Greta, feel free to delete it and smack me)

  251. Greta Christina says

    Reminder to everyone about my comment policy: No personal insults aimed at other commenters in the thread. And dial back on the snarky hostile tone. This is not Pharyngula. I expect a basic level of civility in the discussions here. If you can’t have a civil conversation about loaded topics, please don’t comment in my blog. Thank you.

  252. A Hermit says

    D4M10N says:
    The OP is about the fact that harassment didn’t only happen, but was also reported in writing and in person and that DJ Grothe later claimed that there never were any reports.

    The OP puts forth the claim, at least five times, that a specific KIND of harassment happened…

    And nitpicking over the specificity of that claim…even after it’s been acknowledged and corrected, looks like a way of avoiding the real issue.

  253. A Hermit says

    note to self, always preview and check your tags…the second sentence there is part of the quote…

  254. says

    Whether I’ve been nitpicking or not, Greta’s recent correction more than set the record straight. I greatly appreciate her willingness to post that, and I apologize if saying so comes off as tone-trolling or concern-trolling. My major concern (damn there’s that word again) has always been that DJ is held accountable for what *actually* happened, nothing more or less.

  255. dogeared, spotted and foxed says

    D4M10N, can you please explain why DJ deserves the sort of nitpicking benefit of the doubt that has been denied to everyone who has reported harassment?

  256. says

    dogeared,

    Short answer – It’s *not* nitpicking for us to tailor our accusations to strictly established facts. In practice, Greta and Lee have recognized this and acted appropriately and fearlessly to correct the record with respect to Rob’s FB post, and that despite knowing they would take some flack for doing so.

    Longer answer – You say that *everyone* who reported harassment (at TAM) was denied a hearing, and you may well be correct, but that’s a very bold and sweeping claim. I doubt whether even DJ would be in a position to confirm or deny it, since I’ve no idea how well their internal reporting and record-keeping is set up. It’s been less than a month since the so-called harassment policies campaign kicked off, and judging by DJ’s own comments, the folks at JREF aren’t exactly well ahead of the curve on these issues.

    Nevertheless, I think we should each accord each other the benefit of the doubt pretty much of the time, especially those of us who really hope to build up the skeptical/freethought movement. It is possible that everything Lee said was 100% factually accurate (as I believe) but that at the same time DJ was honestly mistaken, and not a “FUCKING LIAR” to quote one of the less nuanced posters above. Human memory is fallible, and that the events of the day will be seared far more brightly into the memory of Buzzo’s victims than into those of the staffers who fielded their concerns. That is merely speculation, of course, but then so are the slurs against DJ.

    I’m as eager as anyone to hear what DJ has to say about this, but I don’t think that name-calling or insults or boycotts are going to speed along positive reforms.

  257. says

    Being called a concern troll is sort of like being called an anti-semite in that it’s a great way to discredit someone and there is almost nothing that they can do to prove otherwise. It’s a good thing that “harassment includes offensive verbal comments related to gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, religion” but *NOT* character or writing style, because then the concern trolls would be a protected class. I wonder, though, if they could file as a race or maybe ethnicity.

    sooo what youre saying is that being attacked for what you are should be in the same league as being attacked for what you’ve actually said?

    que?

  258. says

    I’m saying that certain kinds of false allegations are particularly powerful because they go to mental state and are therefor nearly impossible to disprove. This goes double for allegations of a generally despised moral defect, such as racism or trollhood, which create an immediate emotional reaction in the mind of the reader.

  259. says

    This particular case wouldn’t require mind-reading. It would require a staffer asking to check his camera. Besides, this is about DJ, not Buzzo. If your defense of DJ is that he possibly didn’t willfully disregard a report of harassment, he was just too obtuse to understand it was a report of harassment, that’s A. not very plausible and B. not much of a defense. If this isn’t want you are saying, please clarify.

  260. Wren says

    @D4M10N: You are doing a great job skewering these fools. I love it! Fight the good fight man. Nothing enrages followers of a faith more than having their circle of self affirmation challenged.

    As too the issues: it seems to me that the claim an individual might _have_possibly_ been doing something creepy two years ago is tenuous proof for the claimed epic misogyny of skeptical conferences.

  261. Utakata says

    @Wren

    Which fools is this person skewing? Care to give specific examples? Because I have seen no such thing. Instead, I’ve seen a concern troll not knowing when to quit. And dragging this thread out longer than it needs to be.

    Though granted you may not be the best person to ask, because you seem to be D4M10N’s only adoring fan. And unlikely will give any objective answer on that, outside of troll nuances.

  262. says

    I’m saying that certain kinds of false allegations are particularly powerful because they go to mental state and are therefor nearly impossible to disprove. This goes double for allegations of a generally despised moral defect, such as racism or trollhood, which create an immediate emotional reaction in the mind of the reader.

    Are you in some unique position to say when accusations of racism should be made, or do you think such accusations should never be made (because they are unfair according to you)?

    Lets say you are right though, that such accusations are totally unfair. You implied that it was as problematic as actually experiencing racism or sexism. There is a common misconception that the problem with racism or sexism or homophobia is that the marginalized people are inconvenienced sometimes by the unfair behavior or words of racist/sexist/homophobic people. Your comment fits right in with that concept of oppression. Is there anything inaccurate about this characterization, and why you might think being called a concern troll should be regarded with the same level of…well, concern, as racism?

  263. says

    @D4M10N in #291:

    since I’ve no idea how well their internal reporting and record-keeping is set up

    I think we have enough data by now to suggest that it wasn’t set up well at all. I have no idea how you, at this point in the conversation, can have no idea.

    It is possible that everything Lee said was 100% factually accurate (as I believe) but that at the same time DJ was honestly mistaken, and not a “FUCKING LIAR” to quote one of the less nuanced posters above.

    Doesn’t matter much – if you are mistaken this badly, about something this important to so many in your audience, it shows a level of carelessness that is damn near unforgivable.

  264. says

    Nevertheless, I think we should each accord each other the benefit of the doubt pretty much of the time, especially those of us who really hope to build up the skeptical/freethought movement.

    How much benefit of doubt do people have to grant?
    People granted doubt in the case of Ashley Miller, where he just neglected to enquire why the guy was actually reported, which, in any case, shows a certain level of incompetence. But, yeah, it you have a privileged guy it is totally possible that he never spent one electronic impulse in his brain thinking about that.
    And then we have the stories of Buzzo, his persistent harassment* and the facts that Grothe was told in person and that JREF was given a written report, more than one.
    And all those debates never brought back his memory to that incident? How reasonable is that? To believe that would mean to believe that he needs somebody to tell him his adress before he leaves the office in the evening.

    Oh, and if all of it is just a gigantic missunderstanding and there’s a plausible explenation, why haven’t we heard about it by now?

    *by now many, many people have reported that Buzzo was widely known as a creepy harasser long before that TAM. And was allowed back. Is it reasonable to conclude that everybody except TAM staff knew which is why nobody ever did something about it?

  265. Greta Christina says

    The topic of this thread has been thoroughly derailed, away from the actual points being made in this post and the follow-up. Anyone wishing to discuss the actual points being made in this post and the follow-up may do so in this new thread, “Holy. Fucking. Shit.”: An Attempt to Discuss the Actual Issue, created specifically for that purpose.

    I am, to put it mildly, not happy about this derailment. For a larger context for these derailments, I encourage people to look at two posts: Why “Yes, But” Is the Wrong Response to Misogyny on this blog, and The further hyper-skepticism stalling our conversation at Lousy Canuck. But this derailment seems to be where the community conversation about this is going, I’m not going to shut it down. For now, anyway. I reserve the right to do so at any time.

Trackbacks

  1. […] I sometimes wonder why I do it.  I really do.  I say to myself, “SA (that’s what I call myself in these moments, just plain old SA), you are never going to read Freethought Blogs anymore. Never again. Especially don’t go and read Greta Christina’s Blog.  You will just get worked up.”  But then, well, I succumb to morbid curiosity and find myself wandering over to the Wretched Hive Of Scum And Villainy.   Which I did today.  And what did I see?  Another inane screed trying to stick it to DJ Grothe, TAM, and the JREF. […]

Leave a Reply