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Aug 07 2013

Carrie Poppy tells all

I think the cork has been popped, and we can expect more stories to come flooding out now. Karen Stollznow spoke out, and now, Carrie Poppy has sent me her story. Carrie abruptly left the JREF a while back, and would not speak publicly about her reasons for leaving, but now, with Stollznow’s example, she tells all.

I do have her permission to publish this account.

Dear PZ,

Thanks for you recent coverage of Karen Stollznow’s ongoing harassment in her workplace and the assaults she says she endured at skeptical conferences. I have been in close contact with Dr. Stollznow in recent months, and have confirmed and clarified various details with her that I think you will find very relevant to your blog. Dr. Stollznow has given her blessing for me to send these details to you, as well. I am CCing Dr. Stollznow, too.

Most of these details have to do with my former employer, the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF). I left the JREF in November 2012, after only six months there. I quit in protest of a number of ethical issues; foremost was what I perceived as the president, D.J. Grothe’s constant duplicity, dishonesty, and manipulation. I did not believe he had the best interests of the organization or community he “served” at heart. This was difficult for me, as Mr. Grothe and I had been friends prior to my joining the staff. Yet, it was very clear by the time I left that my continuing to work there was being complicit in unethical behavior, including the kind of behavior of which Dr. Stollznow is now on the receiving end. I have not spoken very publicly about my experience at the JREF, for various personal reasons, but one of them was cowardice. I simply didn’t want to have to defend myself, relive the six months of misery I’d already endured, or be branded as on one “side” or another of an ongoing debate. I simply wanted to move on. But as Dr. Stollznow’s story, and others, came to light, I knew I couldn’t keep quiet any longer. Dr. Stollznow’s experience is too much like so many women’s in skepticism.

Here are the most relevant facts:

1. Dr. Stollznow says that she was assaulted at the James Randi Educational Foundation’s (JREF) annual conference, The Amazing Meeting (TAM) on three separate occasions. Dr. Stollznow is a research fellow for the JREF, and is a respected speaker at TAM. The person who she says assaulted her is Ben Radford, another speaker at TAM and a long-time ally of the JREF’s. I am not speaking to the legal validity of these claims, as I have no legal expertise on the matter, but I believe Karen’s account, given the information she’s relayed to me in private, which I won’t recount here.

2. Dr. Stollznow says she made these alleged assaults known to JREF president D.J. Grothe several months ago, but according to Karen, he declined to do anything about the matter.

3. CFI told Dr. Stollznow that they would only be reprimanding their employee for his behavior. Dr. Stollznow let Mr. Grothe know that she felt her harassment and assault were being treated as nothing more than a grievance among friends, and Grothe responded, ” I am happy to learn from you that the CFI has responded to your complaints with the seriousness they deserve.” (see attachment 1).

4. Dr. Stollznow requested that Mr. Grothe assure her that her alleged assailant would not be at future JREF events, for her safety and the safety of others at future events. Mr. Grothe declined to ban the speaker, saying, “there are at present no such plans” to have Mr. Radford speak at a JREF event, more than a year before the next TAM, and well before speaking engagements are secured (see attachment 2).

5. Dr. Stollznow approached the JREF board, asking them to intervene in Mr. Grothe’s bizarre behavior, and make a commitment not to have the speaker in question at future JREF events. Their response: “JREF does not and will not have a blacklist” (see attachment 3).

I wish I could say that I found Dr. Stollznow’s story shocking or unprecedented, but I cannot. In my time at the JREF, I witnessed continuous unethical behavior, much of which I reported to the Board of Directors. I was assured on more than one occasion by James Randi that D.J. Grothe would be fired (I hear Randi denies this now, though he repeatedly promised it to another staff member as well, and that staff member and I represented the entirety of JREF full-time staff other than D.J. and his husband, Thomas), but after several months of waiting and being asked to wait, it became clear that D.J. was not going to be fired. The list of problems that I sent to the board was so long that my pasting it here would be comical at best, but it is relevant to note that although I didn’t list it, Mr. Grothe’s prejudice toward women was one undeniable factor. My predecessor, Sadie Crabtree, had warned me about D.J.’s misogyny and disrespect for women coworkers (she even advised me not to take the position, due to this issue), but I thought myself strong enough to endure it. I underestimated the degree to which such constant mistreatment can beat a person down. As I mentioned, I only lasted six months.

The final straw, for me, was that Mr. Grothe attempted to remove me as a speaker from the Women in Secularism 2 conference, going above my head (and Melody Hensley’s head) to her male boss, Ron Lindsay, and telling him that it would be bad for the JREF’s image if I attended a “feminist conference.” In defending his actions to me, D.J. told me he didn’t trust me to handle the event, saying I would be asked if he was a sexist (an unanswerable question in his mind, apparently) and that I might break down in tears crying about my own sexual assault, if the issue of rape arose. I was given no credit for the fact that I am a professional spokesperson with almost a decade of experience, that I have a successful skeptical podcast, am a published author, and that my personal assault experience makes my opinions on assault more relevant, not less. To him, I was a hysterical woman, nothing more.

I am not going to say more on this on public forums– No doubt, people will press me for evidence and take the side of the organization and individual in power. When it comes to institutional power, the leaders are innocent until proven guilty. What so few realize is the converse of this: the victims are guilty until proven innocent.

I don’t want to send this email. I don’t want to go public with my story. I don’t want to receive the emails or the tweets or the phone calls. But fuck it. It’s the right thing to do.

Thanks for taking the time to read about my experience. And please, let’s all stick by Karen and ask the JREF to (1) install new leadership, and (2) protect their attendees and respect their research fellow by not allowing her alleged assailant to attend future events.

Best,

Carrie

cc: Dr. Karen Stollznow

Attachment 1

From: D.J. Grothe
Date: Fri, Jul 5, 2013 at 2:20 PM
Subject: Re: CFI Investigation
To: Karen Stollznow [email protected]>

Thank you Karen for informing me of this email, but you certainly were under no obligation to do so. I appreciate how difficult the situation must have been for you, and I am happy to learn from you that the CFI has responded to your complaints with the seriousness they deserve. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you personally, or the JREF might assist you in any way.

See you in less than a week in Vegas. And talk soon.. D.J.

On Jul 4, 2013, at 4:59 PM, Karen Stollznow [email protected]> wrote:
> Hi D.J.,
>
> I wanted to update you with the results of CFI’s investigation into my complaints regarding Ben Radford.
>
> Please see attached the letter they sent to me. I think they have trivialized and minimized my complaints and they have also made some factual errors. My complaints go back to 2009, not 2012, and I don’t know what Barry means by “retaliation”. They won’t give me a copy of the report. I will be taking this further.
>
> At any rate, they have admitted that Ben has behaved inappropriately at conferences and harassed me with unwanted correspondence. I think this is info you need to know.
> All the best,
>
> Karen.

Attachment 2

From: D.J. Grothe
Date: Fri, Jul 5, 2013 at 3:27 PM
Subject: Re: CFI Investigation
To: Karen Stollznow [email protected]>

I did read your email carefully, Karen. And I do know that you were unhappy with aspects of CFI’s response, including the inaccuracy on time periods, etc. as you mentioned in your email to me.

And no, you were under no obligation to send me CFI’s letter that they sent to you. Reporting to me developments in general terms, without detailing specifics of CFI’s HR decisions regarding their employee, would have sufficed if you wanted to let me know if matter was resolving, developing, or changing, etc.. And I certainly don’t mind that you shared it, indeed, as I said, I do sincerely appreciate your letting me know of these developments. This is for a number of reasons not the least important of which is because as a conference organizer I certainly do not want to involve speakers who harass or otherwise abuse other speakers or attendees or who engage in other misconduct or disrespect of personal boundaries.

As for incidents happening TAM proper, I know that you never made specific complaints at those times, instead later focusing on seeking CFI action, for the understandable reasons you originally communicated; that CFI is his employer. And that you also discussed these matters regarding Ben Radford with our consultant and with me personally by email. And you did notify us clearly that if Ben Radford were to be on our program, that you would not. As you know, he is not on the program at TAM, and we are very happy that you are.

Actions JREF took after the phone meetings and emails with you include: keeping a detailed record of your communications and concerns on file for future reference (this is important not just in an HR sense, but also if there are other patterns of behavior that would need to be corroborated because of further developments), our consultant on HR matters having phone meetings and emails with you, and also that we clearly reiterated directly to Ben (as well as other past TAM speakers) JREF’s policies regarding misconduct at our public events. This is in addition to JREF’s internal HR policies for its employees that prohibit sexual harassment of any kind in the workplace.

Since Ben Radford is not an employee of the JREF, we cannot reprimand him like his employer could, but we have told him that on our watch he is to have no contact with you whatsoever, should he ever be involved with the JREF in the future (for the record there are at present no such plans). Obviously, this issue is moot as regards this year’s conference for reasons we have discussed a couple of times already.

Again, please let me know if there’s anything further I can do personally, or that JREF can do organizationally, to assist you, or to help you with CFI if you, or as you, pursue the matter further.

See you next week Karen. I really look forward to it. D.J.

Attachment 3

On Jul 5, 2013, at 1:41 PM, Karen Stollznow [email protected]> wrote:

Hey D.J., Of course I had an obligation to send you the letter – several incidents occurred at TAM. You had to be made aware of this so you can protect conference attendees in the future. Now we have a record that you know about this.

I don’t think you read my email carefully though because I’m not happy with CFI’s blase response. As I said, I’m taking this matter further with them.

Karen.




From: Chip Denman
Date: July 24, 2013, 5:17:19 PM MDT
To: Karen Stollznow [email protected]>
Subject: Re: A matter for the attention of the JREF Board

Dear Karen –

Thank you for contacting the board. We hope that Elliot has been helpful to you.

We have discussed the matter with DJ.

JREF does not and will not have a blacklist. Currently the foundation has no plan to invite Radford to TAM or any other JREF function.

We are unsure if you are asking for anything more than this. –Chip

On Sat, Jul 20, 2013 at 4:26 PM, Karen Stollznow [email protected]> wrote:

Dear Board members,

I am a Research Fellow of the JREF and I wish to bring to your attention a situation that reflects poorly on our organization.

In February of this year I drew D.J.’s attention to a very serious matter. At TAM 2010 I was sexually assaulted and harassed by another speaker by the name of Benjamin Radford. I was also sexually harassed by him at TAM 2012. I had attempted to handle this both privately and professionally so as to not embarass the organizations involved. When Mr. Radford’s behavior continued I was then forced to file a formal complaint with his employer (CFI/CSI) to resolve the issue. An investigation was performed and he has since been found guilty. (I can supply evidence to attest to this decision.) D.J. put me in communication with Eliott Canter who has continued to be my JREF contact for this matter. My complaint is that D.J. is well aware of this situation and its severity, yet he continues to demonstrate public support for Mr. Radford on social media. Furthermore, he proudly and publicly advertised taking Mr. Radford out to the “Magic Castle” last night during his visit to L.A.

My request to the Board is that the JREF fulfill the obligation of its anti-sexual harassment policy by making a firm commitment to not invite this predator to any future JREF function. I also ask that D.J. cease his public displays of support for Mr. Radford which act as an endorsement for this man who is currently being disciplined by his employer for his actions.

In light of recent controversies within the skepticism movement it’s important that the gravity of this matter is acknowledged by the Board. The JREF needs to lead by example.

Thank you for your support. Dr. Karen Stollznow.


By the way, you can listen to Carrie Poppy’s podcast, or follow her on twitter.

She also sent along the JREF’s 990 form, in case you’re wondering where your money goes.

271 comments

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  1. 1
    Inaji

    Jesus Christ, what a pit full of bullshit.

    Carrie, I am so sorry you went through all of that, and I thank you for your courage in coming forward with all the details.

  2. 2
    doubtthat

    These stories always operate like a leaking damn, whether the it’s the Catholic Church covering up pedophilia or Lance Armstrong hiding his doping system: there’s a dribble, then a steady flow – “everything’s fine, no worries, nothing to see here, just a bunch of people looking for attention making up a problem where none exists” – but once that first crack appears, the end is inevitable.

    It’s never “good” to learn that these things have happened, but it’s far worse to cover them up, ignore them, and allow it to continue. It will be interesting to see how we move on from this point. I’ve always been perfectly happy with the so-called division, and these latest revelations only reinforce the position holding that there is no common ground with serial abusers, assailants, and their defenders.

  3. 3
    Karen Locke

    Excuse me while I go find my lower jaw. It dropped on the floor somewhere.

  4. 4
    carlie

    I don’t think it’s like a dam leaking, but a total flood break – I assume the first stories to come out, the ones that come the fastest, are going to be the ugliest ones, the ones that are awful and involved and have been weighing on the victims for a long time and are causing most pressure on them.

  5. 5
    Jason Thibeault

    As suspected, DJ was the Mission Creep.

    (cf: the anecdote I related from her speech at WiS2.)

  6. 6
    Kongstad

    First of all, Bravo to Carrie Poppy.

    Her resignation from the JREF has been a source of wonder, and I appreciate why she chose to remain silent on the circumstances, and I have nothing but admiration for her for choosing to go public now, when it will help back up Stolznow.

    But this is explosive shit, to have Randi and DJ Groethe mixed in the affair is going to make stuff go ballistic.

    A big problem is that there apparently are some prominent people in the skeptical movement, who are harassers, but like the catholic church is fond to say, we must expect to find creeps everywhere, but when the top tier leaders in the movement show themselves as covering up, or ignoring issues, then we are in big trouble.

  7. 7
    doubtthat

    @4 carlie

    No doubt. I was considering the leaks to have started prior to Elevatorgate, and the reaction to that situation being the solid stream. This is the full damn burst, or more like the beginning of it.

  8. 8
    UnknownEric the Apostate

    Congratulations, major skepto/atheists organizations, you stink.

  9. 9
    Jason Thibeault

    I’d like to see the evidence that CFI’s investigators found him guilty. That’s a different story than we’re hearing elsewhere.

  10. 10
    PatrickG

    Well then. That’s a lot to process and unpack, but this paragraph for some reason is the one that makes all the berries in the world go pink with rage:

    The final straw, for me, was that Mr. Grothe attempted to remove me as a speaker from the Women in Secularism 2 conference, going above my head (and Melody Hensley’s head) to her male boss, Ron Lindsay, and telling him that it would be bad for the JREF’s image if I attended a “feminist conference.” In defending his actions to me, D.J. told me he didn’t trust me to handle the event, saying I would be asked if he was a sexist (an unanswerable question in his mind, apparently) and that I might break down in tears crying about my own sexual assault, if the issue of rape arose. I was given no credit for the fact that I am a professional spokesperson with almost a decade of experience, that I have a successful skeptical podcast, am a published author, and that my personal assault experience makes my opinions on assault more relevant, not less. To him, I was a hysterical woman, nothing more.

    Christ on a cracker, the fuck, and what I don’t even.

    Before I go restock my therapy bourbon, I just want to salute Carrie Poppy — and Karen Stollznow — for being willing to go public. I wish there was something material I could do to offer support. If there is anything this random person on the internet can do…

  11. 11
    Rawnaeris, Lulu Cthulhu

    Jesus fuck.

    I saw DJ Grothe’s name on several of the SkepticTrack panels for Dragon*Con this year, and couldn’t quite place why his name was leaving a bad taste in my mouth.

    Now I remember, and that sour taste has intensified. Now there is no way I will attend any of those panels in which he will be speaking.

  12. 12
    gussnarp

    The final straw, for me, was that Mr. Grothe attempted to remove me as a speaker from the Women in Secularism 2 conference, going above my head (and Melody Hensley’s head) to her male boss, Ron Lindsay, and telling him that it would be bad for the JREF’s image if I attended a “feminist conference.”

    What. The. Ever. Loving. Fuck!? So as head of the JREF he told the head of a separate organization that it should not allow his employee to speak at their conference because it might make him and his organization look bad somehow? What business has anyone doing something like that?

    The thing that should be learned from all this is that no one is above suspicion just because of their position or who their friends are or what they think of them, and that these organizations need to take action to clean their houses.

    It shouldn’t be necessary for victims to change their behavior because of what others do, but I have to say that it seems like it’s also a very good idea to:
    1.)Keep a paper trail whenever possible, no matter how innocent something seems at first, or how above reproach someone seems.
    2.)If you can afford it in any way, lawyer up before reporting harassment, because the company’s lawyer will not have your interests in mind, but if you can’t – just try to collect as many records as you possibly can.

  13. 13
    tonyinbatavia

    That Carrie held out for as long as she did on the reasons for her leaving made me think she would never tell her story. And I would not have blamed her if she had remained quiet. As much as I wanted to hear it, I understood that it was her story to tell and that I had no right to know the details.

    Having now read her story, I am so glad she told it. My sincerest hope is that her story, along with Karen’s, will finally force our communities to recognize and deal with this scourge.

  14. 14
    gussnarp

    Also interesting: before this post went up I added Carrie to my Twitter feed and Twitter suggested D.J. Grothe as someone else I might like to follow. Um, no thanks, Twitter.

  15. 15
    Inaji

    Jason Thibeault:

    I’d like to see the evidence that CFI’s investigators found him guilty.

    CFI “investigators” seem to be operating on a peculiar definition of guilty.

  16. 16
    nyarlathotep

    This is absolutely nauseating. I can’t summon the words to articulate my feelings towards JREF and D.J. Grothe right now. All I can say is that I’m glad I was never able to support JREF in any way before this information came out.

    Of course, all credit is due to Carrie Poppy right now. I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been for her to come forward with this, and I can’t say whether or not I could bring myself to com forward in her situation.

  17. 17
    maudell

    I guess that’s the employer Carrie referred to in last week’s Oh no, Ross and Carrie…

    Thanks Carrie for going forward with this. We might eventually reach a tipping point where orgs leadership will understand that ignoring sexual harassment is the worse way to deal with it, even if all they care about is their image.

  18. 18
    screechymonkey

    First of all, Bravo to Carrie Poppy.

    Definitely. Not just for coming out with her story now, but for trying so hard to get the JREF to do the right thing in the first place, and then for being willing to make the sacrifice of resigning.

  19. 19
    dalehusband

    It is clear that James Randi has lost control of the James Randi Educational Foundation and it should be forced to change its name as a matter of Truth in Advertising. It should be called the Union of Skeptical Sexists (USS).

    Seriously, why is Randi himself not President of his organization?

  20. 20
    maudell

    Oh, and CFI’s attempt to use the Catholic Church approach is pathetic. Supposedly, they’re remaining silent to protect future victims. How convenient. Incidentally, it also makes absolutely no sense.

  21. 21
    PZ Myers

    Randi is 85 years old. And, by the way, it’s his birthday today. Sorry for the crappy present.

  22. 22
    Tom Foss

    Thanks to Carrie Poppy for sharing this, and for showing me that my opinion of DJ Grothe could indeed go lower. History of misogyny? Never would have guessed. Thinks women are hysterical incompetents? Do tell. Thinks it would look bad for a JREF employee to go to a feminism conference, but not for JREF to promote a sexual predator? Takes me totally by surprise. Fuck that douchebag, and good for Carrie (and Sadie!) for getting out of that environment.

    Being a big fan of Arrested Development, I had a little chuckle at the “Magic Castle” bit. It’s looking like the JREF is associated with lots of Magic Castles. (Some background).

  23. 23
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Can someone tell me what DJ Groethe is good at? What exactly it is that makes him qualified to lead JREF?

  24. 24
    notsont

    I may be mistaken but did not Grothe flat out state that there were never any sexual harassment complaints at any TAM that he was aware of?

  25. 25
    Sili

    that staff member and I represented the entirety of JREF full-time staff other than D.J. and his husband

    Nepotism as well? Lovely.

  26. 26
    Inaji

    Esteleth:

    Can someone tell me what DJ Groethe is good at?

    Sucking up?

    Issuing denials?

    Instituting cover ups?

    Denigrating women?

  27. 27
    Louis

    I knew things were bad. This is beyond that into downright fucking awful. Is this common in non-profits? It screams incompetence not just misogyny. Treating employees this way is begging for lawsuits.

    Louis

  28. 28
    Akira MacKenzie

    Awwwwww shit! Since Grothe’s crap hit the fan a whiles back, I had assumed that Randi had no clue what was going on; he had retired and while he serve caste president emeritus of the foundation, the day-today operation was handled by Grothe and his minions. Now we find out that Randi not only knew about Dr. Stollznow’s harassment, but is now reniging on promised action.

    Great! Another “hero” of modern skepticism is revealed to be an utter asshole.

  29. 29
    aelfric

    First of all, the victims here have every ounce of both my sympathy and my respect for speaking out. This is obviously a problem that has to be dealt with in a unflinching, top down manner. But I have a question, which is probably unanswerable. I am not a con-goer, for skepticism or anything else, for that matter. Is this an issue which is particularly acute in the skeptic/atheist community? Obviously, the problem exists everywhere (and outside of cons as well, as Ms. Stollznow’s story makes clear). But, is this something cons make worse? Or to which the skeptic/atheist community is particularly prone? Both? Again, probably unanswerable, but I wonder.

  30. 30
    Sili

    I was thinking after the first revelation that JREF was not likely to live much longer Randi (nor do I think the RDF will continue for long after Dawkypoo’s death), but now I suspect JREF will fold before Randi does.

    Christ, what an arsehole.

  31. 31
    Pteryxx

    I may be mistaken but did not Grothe flat out state that there were never any sexual harassment complaints at any TAM that he was aware of?

    Yes he did. See May 26, 2012 in the timeline, and May 30 for the disproof of that claim.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/lousycanuck/2012/06/15/harassment-policies-campaign-timeline-of-major-events

  32. 32
    Pteryxx

    *clarification: IIRC, DJ specified ‘on his watch’ at TAM. The original comment requires FB login now.

  33. 33
    Pteryxx

    DJ’s comment reproduced here (bolded by Ashley):

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/ashleymiller/2012/05/30/harassment-at-tam9/

    It is true that harassment issues are much discussed in some quarters of the skeptics and atheist and other allied movements (all generally for the better, to the extent the emotionally charged issues are tempered with evidence) but to my knowledge there has never been a report filed of sexual harassment at TAM and there have been zero reports of harassment at the TAMs we’ve put on while I’ve been at JREF.

  34. 34
    AJ Milne

    I just want to salute Carrie Poppy — and Karen Stollznow — for being willing to go public. I wish there was something material I could do to offer support. If there is anything this random person on the internet can do…

    That.

    And JREF badly needs a house-cleaning, looks like from here. Let’s hope all this shit in the fan gets them going on that.

  35. 35
    screechymonkey

    I may be mistaken but did not Grothe flat out state that there were never any sexual harassment complaints at any TAM that he was aware of?

    He did, and there was at least one example pointed out to him, which he then claimed didn’t count because it wasn’t an “official report.”

    But if I’m understanding Carrie’s account correctly, Grothe wasn’t told of Radford’s alleged TAM assaults until “several months ago.” If I recall correctly, the “no complaints at TAM” declaration was made over a year ago, I think in the leadup to TAM 2012.

    So if I’ve got the timing right, this revelation doesn’t contradict Grothe’s statement.

  36. 36
    notsont

    First of all, the victims here have every ounce of both my sympathy and my respect for speaking out. This is obviously a problem that has to be dealt with in a unflinching, top down manner. But I have a question, which is probably unanswerable. I am not a con-goer, for skepticism or anything else, for that matter. Is this an issue which is particularly acute in the skeptic/atheist community? Obviously, the problem exists everywhere (and outside of cons as well, as Ms. Stollznow’s story makes clear). But, is this something cons make worse? Or to which the skeptic/atheist community is particularly prone? Both? Again, probably unanswerable, but I wonder.

    Its my understanding that many of these cons are treated by many as giant parties, and in many cases some of the men seem to think its a “what happens at cons stays at cons” type of thing. And no its not just Atheist/skeptic cons, many other cons are much worse.

  37. 37
    Tethys

    Kudos to Carrie Poppy for making this public, and for bringing to light the degree to which DJ is a complete piece of shit. I hope she gets a good lawyer.

  38. 38
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    “I am happy to learn from you that the CFI has responded to your complaints with the seriousness they deserve.”

    Grothe, you’re a piece of shit.

  39. 39
    doubtthat

    @28 Akira MacKenzie

    It obviously doesn’t look good, but I’m not sure Randi has the authority to unilaterally fire Grothe. It seems like the Board at JREF gave Grothe quite a bit of support, and if JREF is organized like most modern non-profits, Randi can’t just walk in and dismiss him.

    It would be interesting to hear what he thought about the whole thing. That account is consistent with Randi being as callous and dismissive of the issue as Grothe, thereby contributing to the hostile work environment, but it’s also consistent with Randi being deeply frustrated by what was going on but lacking the power to change anything. Add in Randi’s age, and I would just caution about being too hasty on heaping him in with the rest.

    That being said, no one is immune, and we have already grown to accept a lot of disappointment (Dawkins), so it wouldn’t exactly be shocking.

  40. 40
    Anne C. Hanna

    Esteleth,

    Can someone tell me what DJ Groethe is good at? What exactly it is that makes him qualified to lead JREF?

    He used to be all right as the host of Point of Inquiry, albeit sometimes a bit too much on the accommodationist side for my tastes. I can’t speak to any of his other qualifications, but they hardly seem to matter now, given the utterly nauseating disqualifications that Carrie Poppy has undertaken the burden of revealing.

    I’d always assumed that the reason Grothe handled the TAM sexual harassment issue so badly was that he was initially out of his depth on the subject and then just couldn’t handle being told he was wrong in anything other than the most gentle and deferential tones. But it’s now pretty clear from this bit right here:

    that I might break down in tears crying about my own sexual assault, if the issue of rape arose

    that there was something far more serious awry in his attitudes toward women.

    Incidentally, if anyone wants to support Carrie Poppy in this, Nicole Introvert over on Twitter gave me cause to remember that Carrie Poppy and Ross Blocher’s awesome podcast, Oh No, Ross and Carrie! is always in need of donations to help them do even more amusing investigations of ridiculous claims.

  41. 41
    Stephanie Zvan

    So if I’ve got the timing right, this revelation doesn’t contradict Grothe’s statement.

    Grothe’s statement was flat-out contradicted last summer, when Lee revealed that they and their friend had not only reported “buzz0″ for harassment but also for carrying around his monopod camera at ankle height. Not only did they report, but they followed up about the report multiple times. Grothe’s claim is dead.

  42. 42
    Walton

    That’s awful.

  43. 43
    carlie

    But it’s now pretty clear from this bit right here:

    that I might break down in tears crying about my own sexual assault, if the issue of rape arose

    that there was something far more serious awry in his attitudes toward women.

    Yes, and fractally awry. Not only that would it be bad for her to do so, but that it would look bad on her employer if she did so…

  44. 44
    carlie

    (not to mention the implication that she even might, in fact, do so)

  45. 45
    robertschenck

    Wow, so even James Randi is involved in the cover up. Surprising that so much of this parallels the cover up and continuance of abuse in the churches too.

  46. 46
    Sili

    Anyone know who’s on the board of directors for the JREF?

  47. 47
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Oh for fuck’s sake.

  48. 48
    Anne C. Hanna

    carlie,

    Yes, and fractally awry.

    How is it that fractals can be so pretty and so horrible at the same time? :/

  49. 49
    Muz

    Are half the skeptical hierarchy Bonesmen or Masons or something.
    Shit is bonkers.

  50. 50
    Jason Dick

    On the off chance you read this:

    Carrie and Karen, thank you so much for coming forward with this. That kind of bravery is (unfortunately) necessary to fix this nasty problem of sexism. You didn’t have to do it, but I hope that it will pave the way for fixing this cancer that permeates the skeptical community.

  51. 51
    Ingdigo Jump

    @Muz

    Oh come on the stuff about the Bonesmen and Masons is pure conspiracy theory woo, I read about it in skeptic…al….Oh. my. god

  52. 52
    Scr... Archivist

    I found another person vouching for Karen Stollznow. Someone named Blake Smith had this to say on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DoctorAtlantis/posts/10201849491741769

    Found that via the JREF forum.

  53. 53
    aurberg

    I’ll admit to, initially, having been puzzled and surprised by claims of sexual harassment at skeptic events and to being on the sidelines of any debate about it for a while now. I was probably pretty willfully naive. My attitude at first was to take people’s word that it happened, but a huge part of me still had trouble accepting the truth of it. HUGE thanks to Karen Stollznow and Carrie Poppy for coming forward with this. My hope is that their bravery is met with real lasting change. It’s sobering to realize how completely systematic this vile garbage is.

    I hope that anyone else sitting distantly from this issue is likewise moved.

  54. 54
    A Hermit

    I have so much respect for these women having the courage to stand up and publicly call out these asshats for their weak, hypocritical failure to live up to their public pronouncements. It’ snot enough to say you’re opposed to sexism, you have to actually do something about it, not sweep it under the rug.

    It can’t be easy to speak up knowing that the response from some quarters is going to be disbelief, excuses, avoidance, denial and outright hostility. It’s important for the rest of us to speak up too and let these women, and others like them, know that they are being taken seriously, that they have support and that not all of us are gullible enough to buy the excuses anymore.

  55. 55
    A Hermit

    Also , Tom Foss @ 22…

    I’ve been really enjoying many of your recent comments; your takedown of Finley’s Blockbot nonsense especially, but Damn you! now I’ve got “Final Countdown” stuck in my head …again…

  56. 56
    boskerbonzer

    “Thank you Karen for informing me of this email, but you certainly were under no obligation to do so.” – D.J. Grothe
    Date: Fri, Jul 5, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    “And no, you were under no obligation to send me CFI’s letter that they sent to you. Reporting to me developments in general terms, without detailing specifics of CFI’s HR decisions regarding their employee, would have sufficed if you wanted to let me know if matter was resolving, developing, or changing, etc..” – D.J. Grothe
    Date: Fri, Jul 5, 2013 at 3:27 PM

    WTF? In other words, thanks, but from now on could you just send me your condensed opinion of what’s going on? All this hard evidence is going to make it difficult for me to cover my ass if I don’t take action.

  57. 57
    tigtog

    Is this an issue which is particularly acute in the skeptic/atheist community? Obviously, the problem exists everywhere (and outside of cons as well, as Ms. Stollznow’s story makes clear). But, is this something cons make worse? Or to which the skeptic/atheist community is particularly prone? Both? Again, probably unanswerable, but I wonder.

    There was a terrific article in Wired last month (primarily about Comic Con) which makes it clear that the issue is not particularly/peculiarly acute in the skeptic/atheist community, it’s simply *at least as* acute as it is in other communities, and it’s the general pervasiveness of it in all communities which is being met by hyperskepticism in the skeptic/atheist community long after many other communities have acknowledged the need for well-publicised and robust anti-harassment policies.

    Harassing behaviour is a particular problem at conventions:

    Conventions need anti-harassment policies. Not because convention attendees are disproportionately boorish or creepy–they’re really not–or because of social obliviousness. Rather, the difficulty lies in the very thing that makes conventions conventions: the social phenomena that come into play whenever humans gather in large groups.

    The article goes into quite a bit of detail about the social phenomena in question, but it boils down to this: people who are gathered together in large groups based on a shared interest and who don’t otherwise don’t know each other well are not going to act exactly as they normally do in every day life, and these differences in group behaviour provide the perfect place for harassers (and other malfeasants) to operate without being challenged unless there are specific intervention programs in place that train people to move beyond the natural large-group social phenomena which give the opportunistic exploiters their shield.

    I find it depressingly fascinating that there’s so much denial about it being probably to have more harassment incidents at conventions etc. Everybody knows (don’t they?) that large gatherings of people attract higher numbers of opportunistic exploiters such as pickpockets and grifters than smaller gatherings do – why on earth would they think it would be at all different for serial harassers?

  58. 58
    Stacy

    Carrie Poppy’s integrity, humanity, and courage are fucking awesome.

    Thanks, Carrie.

  59. 59
    Darlene Pineda

    First, both Carrie and Karen have my sympathy and support. I was sexually harassed and assaulted at work, and even though it was reported and eventually went through proper channels and resulted in my boss being fired for his actions, it was brutal on me. Days spent answering questions for HR and going over statements. And then I was instructed to not talk about it, which meant my closest circle of friends–my co-workers–weren’t able to even know, let along offer support. It is demeaning, humiliating, enraging…

    That some people in positions of authority and power seem to think their behavior is fine is bad enough. That others had the ability to stop them and refused? Indefensible. Immoral.

    I will contact both CFI and JREF and let them know that I will not support them in any way and will, in fact, share their duplicitous behavior with everyone I know. They need to clean house, and that process needs to be transparent.

    Carrie and Karen: bravo. You stood up, and in doing so opened the door to more honesty. Thank you for doing so, I do know how hard it is.

  60. 60
    Denverly

    Christ on a pogo stick. I’m an HR manager at my job, and I’m the one who has to investigate sexual harassment claims at my workplace, and I simply cannot fucking understand the complete and total mishandling of these claims. This is like fucking Human Resources 101, for crying out loud. It’s not hard, people. Receive claim, investigate claim, take corrective or punitive action if claim is reasonably found to be true, ensure victim or claimant does not suffer any retaliation for making claim, examine policies to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Fucking HR 101.

    Even if CFI doesn’t do a proper investigation because it’s the right thing to do, you’d think that they would do a proper investigation just because of the civil liability these claims can create. If I mishandled an investigation like this, I’d get fired.

  61. 61
    skeptifem

    nothing like having a stack full of papers that say “it wasn’t a big deal, the slap on the wrist we gave out was appropriate” to show for all the shit you’ve been through. I have a stack of those chilling in a cabinet right now, from an unfortunate event that I won’t be recounting here any time soon….but anyway, I feel carrie’s pain. I am glad she is self assured enough to know that the letters are BULLSHIT and that what happened is real and WRONG.

  62. 62
    b. - Order of Lagomorpha

    @ #27 Louis

    I’ve worked for a few non-profits–small ones, nothing like the size of JREF–and incompetence (and nepotism!) were nothing terribly unusual. It was a way for some ineffectual people to get power (such as it was) over others and “prove” what wonderful people they were. Sexual harassment wasn’t as much of a problem. There were strict rules against it, mandatory training about it and heads rolled (the perpetrators’ heads, not the victim’s) on the one occasion someone complained of it.

    My thanks to Carrie for coming forward with this. It has succeeded in making me so angry I could punch someone. My will had a bequest to the JREF; nothing huge or anything, but it would’ve probably provided a scholarship or three. As soon as I can get an appointment with my attorney, that money will be added to what was already going to Doctors Without Borders. The JREF (sans James Randi, who I will always love for helping make me a skeptic) and CFI can both go fuck themselves either solo or, perhaps, as a team project.

  63. 63
    Denverly

    Bravo to Poppy and Stollznow. You are my heroes for standing up to this and exposing it.

  64. 64
    A Hermit

    Darlene Pineda@59

    …even though it was reported and eventually went through proper channels and resulted in my boss being fired for his actions, it was brutal on me.

    …It is demeaning, humiliating, enraging…

    And this is what the gullible hyper-skeptical harassment deniers refuse to see. They think it should be easy to “just report it!” But even if you get a good result the process is going to be harrowing, and there’s no guarantee there will be any meaningful action taken in the end. I’m not sure I’d have that kind of courage, and those who do have my admiration and respect.

  65. 65
    screechymonkey

    Stephanie Zvan @41:

    Grothe’s statement was flat-out contradicted last summer, when Lee revealed that they and their friend had not only reported “buzz0″ for harassment but also for carrying around his monopod camera at ankle height. Not only did they report, but they followed up about the report multiple times. Grothe’s claim is dead.

    Oh, yes, definitely, and thanks for the reminder about buzz0 — I knew there was another reported incident. I just meant that this isn’t (further) evidence against that (already disproven) claim.

    But it does put it in context, doesn’t it? Anyone who was inclined to give Grothe the benefit of the doubt on that claim (gee, maybe he just “forgot” about those incidents!) ought to reconsider. Seems like there’s always some reason why something “doesn’t count” as harassment for the JREF.

  66. 66
    Anthony K

    This is like fucking Human Resources 101

    Professional skepticism means never having to learn anything besides ‘ghosts don’t exist’.

    If you want to support immunization and fight anti-vaxxers, support public health agencies, not bigfoot hunters and psychic debunkers:

    http://www.cpha.ca/en/programs/immunization.aspx
    http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/im/

  67. 67
    skeptifem

    I’ve worked for a few non-profits–small ones, nothing like the size of JREF–and incompetence (and nepotism!) were nothing terribly unusual. It was a way for some ineffectual people to get power (such as it was) over others and “prove” what wonderful people they were. Sexual harassment wasn’t as much of a problem. There were strict rules against it, mandatory training about it and heads rolled (the perpetrators’ heads, not the victim’s) on the one occasion someone complained of it.

    I worked for the red cross awhile back and it was totally fucked up. Worse than anywhere else I had been before. My family did volunteer work at a few charity thrift stores and they all had some really crazy problems too. I have a hunch that abusive people flock to non-profits because it gives them an appearance of being too good to question (or maybe they assume its easier to find kind people to screw with at these places? who knows).

  68. 68
    nyarlathotep

    I have managed to summon a few words now. Grothe surprised me and angered me during the debacle last year. Now the only feeling I can have towards Grothe is disgust. I HAVE James Randi a pass last year because I knew he was old (now 85 years old) and had retired from JREF. My good will toard Randi has expired as of these revelations. Until James Randi gives an explanation and comes out strongly against all of this, I can only register feelings of disgust towards him as well.i’m young (only 21) but have been following atheism and skepticism for about 7 years. During my teens TAM sounded like a dream and I hoped to one day be able to attend. Now I cannot fathom wanting to be in close proximity to anyone involved in TAM.

    Great fucking job, JREF. You are a disgrace. Until you can get your shit together in a big way, I hope that you and your efforts fail spectacularly.

  69. 69
    freemage

    skeptifem: It wouldn’t surprise me that, much like the abusers who don priestly garb, the harassers and abusers who join these organizations do so precisely because it gives them an initial sheer of respectability–just enough that for any one incident, they can plead for the ‘benefit of the doubt’. And so long as part of that benefit is silence and secrecy, it remains something they can continue to plead for the next time, and the next.

    Name and shame! Name and shame!

  70. 70
    kompani

    This all needs sorting out 100%, no flim flam, people sacked/removed and new constitution written. This needs doing right and doing now.

  71. 71
    Anthony K

    This all needs sorting out 100%, no flim flam, people sacked/removed and new constitution written.

    No flim-flam? These are people who’ve parlayed saying ‘monsters aren’t real’ into a paying gig. Props to them for that, but really, what do you expect them to do? Get real jobs?

  72. 72
    tyro

    on our watch he is to have no contact with you whatsoever, should he ever be involved with the JREF in the future

    He may still be assaulting other women, but we’ve asked him kindly to please stop assaulting you. Problem solved.

    On a personal note, I feel betrayed and upset just reading about how you’ve been treated by JREF & CFI, and I’m just a supporter. It must be awful to be first assaulted and then find that the people & institutions that you’d trusted to help have instead turned against you. I know that Carrie and Karen are going to take a lot of flack for their decisions to speak out, but I and many others are grateful that they’re shining some much needed light on this issue. I dearly hope that it’s not for nothing.

  73. 73
    brive1987

    Even accused killers get to cross examine before judgement.

    That said, it would take a lot to change my opinion based on the side of the story currently in the public domain.

  74. 74
    johncraven

    To be fair, CFI are much smaller organizations. I mean, CFI has branches all over the US but they tend to be self-sustaining and in many cases only really use the logo for support (it’s not like you’re going to be able to find a “how to do astrology” class at a CFI but by the same token there *is*, I’m sure despite the best efforts of Lindsay, a pretty strong group of women in Indy).

    That doesn’t really excuse Lindsay or Grothe for that matter for being an ass. I do think that there is a very human tendency to choose to believe the thing which requires the least adjustment to your overall worldview. In the case of the latest thing, if you believe Radford then you still get to have Radford and his semi-funny delivery, and maybe you’ll be able to reconcile with Stollznow eventually. On the other hand, if you believe Radford is guilty of serial sexual harassment, you can’t ever associate with him again, period, at least not while you still have a conscience.

    It’s the exact same rationale that leads parents to disbelieve that their spouse is diddling their kids, or that the local priest is doing the same. People believe that Karen is lying not necessarily (entirely) because she’s a woman or something (although sure, that’s probably part of it) but because it’s an easier belief to reconcile than Radford being a criminal.

  75. 75
    DBP

    Blake smith does most of the work on monster talk, which is the podcast Karen and Ratford were both on. It’s quite a good listen for the most part. Lots of obscure cryptozoological stuff and great interviews. PZ was on an episode about lovecraft and squid and lab made monsters. Glad Blake Smith is supportive of Karen.

  76. 76
    danarra

    Yeah. Wish I found any of this surprising. Voting with my wallet. JREF and CFI get no further cash from me unless this is genuinely straightened out. Not that I was ever a big contributor anyway, but that’s where I’ll start.

  77. 77
    Al Dente

    Thank you, Dr. Stollznow and Ms. Poppy, for telling your stories. That takes courage, which deserves recognition, so I’m publicly recognizing your courage. I just wish you didn’t have to have undergone the harassment in the first place.

  78. 78
    Jadehawk

    The final straw, for me, was that Mr. Grothe attempted to remove me as a speaker from the Women in Secularism 2 conference, going above my head (and Melody Hensley’s head) to her male boss, Ron Lindsay, and telling him that it would be bad for the JREF’s image if I attended a “feminist conference.” In defending his actions to me, D.J. told me he didn’t trust me to handle the event, saying I would be asked if he was a sexist (an unanswerable question in his mind, apparently) and that I might break down in tears crying about my own sexual assault, if the issue of rape arose. I was given no credit for the fact that I am a professional spokesperson with almost a decade of experience, that I have a successful skeptical podcast, am a published author, and that my personal assault experience makes my opinions on assault more relevant, not less. To him, I was a hysterical woman, nothing more.

    GAAAAHHHH

  79. 79
    Ingdigo Jump

    Even accused killers get to cross examine before judgement.

    Fuck you.

  80. 80
    Jadehawk

    JREF does not and will not have a blacklist.

    because Freeze Peach. *spits*

  81. 81
    johncraven

    GAAAAHHHH

    LOOK LIBTARD WOMENS HAVE SMALELR BRAINS THEREFORE THEY ARE SUBJECT 2 HYSTERIA THI IS A SICENTIFIC FACT LOOK IT UP ON WIKIEPEDIA NO MAYBE CONSERVAPEDIA WIKIPEDIA IS 2 FULL OF CLOWNS

  82. 82
    skeptifem

    What I dont get is… if she had cried talking about her assault…what would be the problem exactly? is anyone unaware that people sometimes cry when they discuss things that hurt them deeply?

    The thing that strikes me about dj grothe is that he is just so fucking confusing. He goes on and on without a point and gets in a huff about the weirdest little things, while ignoring the problems that stare everyone else in the face.

    I wrote about him a lot and I am so glad to see all this coming out now. I knew the truth had to be pretty damn ugly, considering how everyone was acting about it.

  83. 83
    DBP

    Open letter to DJ Groethe:

    Dear DJ Groethe,

    Why do you hate women? Why do you like sexual predators? fuck you.

    -signed
    Fuck you forever

  84. 84
    nyarlathotep

    Read this if you haven’t done so: http://www.morethanmen.org/2013/08/07/dj-and-me/

    Thank you to Stephanie Zvan for expanding the reach of this via Twitter, and especially thanks to Sastra for coming forward with this.

    *vomit*

  85. 85
    SallyStrange

    Another person steps up to the plate to evidence Grothe’s bias against women, his lack of moral character, and his unprofessionalism. http://www.morethanmen.org/2013/08/07/dj-and-me/

  86. 86
    SallyStrange

    @ nyarlathotep – Jinx!

  87. 87
    nyarlathotep

    Lol

  88. 88
    Anthony K

    What I dont get is… if she had cried talking about her assault…what would be the problem exactly? is anyone unaware that people sometimes cry when they discuss things that hurt them deeply?

    Real Skeptics don’t have emotions—except during pon farr, which takes place during the buffet.

  89. 89
    skeptifem

    WOAH HOLY SHIT

    http://www.morethanmen.org/2013/08/07/dj-and-me/

  90. 90
    anteprepro

    I’m sure more people coming out will make the True Skeptics ™ even more Skeptical ™. And they will cry about how the Witch Hunt is now even Witch Huntier! Won’t somebody think about the Skepticism!?

    Even accused killers get to cross examine before judgement.

    This. Is. Not. A. Fucking. Courtroom.

  91. 91
    skeptifem

    damn you guys are fast.

    You know what I am pumped for? the bungled response or resignation. either way dj looks like the piece of shit he is.

    I love how the truth comes out no matter how badly you want to cover it up. Its comforting in a way.

  92. 92
    SallyStrange

    Also, note: the author of the piece at More Than Men is Sasha, not Sastra.

  93. 93
    Ophelia Benson

    Wow.

    I knew the broad outlines of all this, but that doesn’t mean I’m not gobsmacked to see it made public. Gobsmacked but relieved, though – it hasn’t been fun sitting on it while harassers called me every name in the book for, among other things, being a big poopyhead to DJ Grothe.

  94. 94
    aluchko

    I worked for the red cross awhile back and it was totally fucked up. Worse than anywhere else I had been before. My family did volunteer work at a few charity thrift stores and they all had some really crazy problems too. I have a hunch that abusive people flock to non-profits because it gives them an appearance of being too good to question (or maybe they assume its easier to find kind people to screw with at these places? who knows).

    I’m not sure it’s anything that deliberate. There’s a lot of people who work for non-profits because they care about the cause, but there’s also people there for the compensation. Most jobs pay money, working for a non-profit tends to pay with status. That’s going to lead to a culture of protecting their reputation and avoiding scandal (to protect their status), and that’s also going to attract creeps like Radford who can become a minor celebrity by doing some legwork on investigations.

    Maybe the solution is to avoid dedicated employees in top positions. DJ Grothie’s entire professional life is tied up with the CFI and JREF, he has a strong motivation to keep scandals quiet. PZ on the other hand has a strong separate identity, it’s a lot easier for him to hold the CFI and JREF to a higher ethical standard.

  95. 95
    anteprepro

    WOAH HOLY SHIT

    Yeah, seconded.

    I guess PZ and those who similarly chewed out Grothe and Radford were definitely right. It’s a sad way to be vindicated, but this is a sad, pathetic world we live in.

  96. 96
    SallyStrange

    Lawrence Krauss has been named. http://heresyclub.com/2013/08/storytime/

  97. 97
    Amanda Graham

    I’m encouraged by the lack of shitstorm I’ve seen in the blogging world regarding this revelation that a Big Name skeptic is a Really Not Nice Person. The worst I’ve seen is “I want Radford’s side of the story” and “I don’t know enough to have an opinion.” I mean, it’s only been, what, twenty-four hours since Stollznow posted her essay and PZ outed Radford as the scumlord accused party.

    I also find it validating to point out that this is the shit that Certain People have been talking about when they claim that women are harassed at cons, and there should be stronger policies and better enforcement in place. But, you know, hysterical women will cry rape at every little thing. *rolls eyes*

  98. 98
    skeptifem

    I’m not sure it’s anything that deliberate. There’s a lot of people who work for non-profits because they care about the cause, but there’s also people there for the compensation. Most jobs pay money, working for a non-profit tends to pay with status.

    it doesn’t really pay in status or money if you are doing the grunt work, like I did at all the places I named. Most people just fell into their jobs (just like most low paying jobs). I forget how many people at pharyngula are professionals w/college degrees and such.

    sometimes it is absolutely deliberate, however.

  99. 99
    nyarlathotep

    Also, note: the author of the piece at More Than Men is Sasha, not Sastra
    Oh wow, thank you for that. Didn’t even notice my error there.

  100. 100
    aluchko

    Continuing on my last post the JREF (and CFI) boards are really the ones who were in the best position to take the situation seriously. I wondered what there reason was for dropping the ball so badly.

  101. 101
    Anthony K

    I actually first met DJ Grothe about a year before at Dragon*Con in 2010. I had admired his work on Point of Inquiry and when he became president of the JREF I thought it would be a great thing. When I got a chance to meet him that year I was excited. We encountered one another at a Skepchick party (one that had to be moved to the lobby because of noise complaints as soon as it started). He was drunk, but it was a social occasion and I’d had a couple cocktails as well. No big deal. I was fairly surprised though, when DJ turned to me and said that the reason everyone loved the Skepchicks was because they “want pussy”. That seemed to be a rather dismissive and insultingly sexist way to dismiss the work of your professional colleagues (not to mention the people whose booze you were at that moment drinking.

    This fucking meme. What a fucking loser.

  102. 102
    Ingdigo Jump

    @aluchko

    Really? You really wonder what the reason was? It’s a terminal case of “Who gives a fuck”

  103. 103
    Jadehawk

    Lawrence Krauss has been named.

    Don’t know how I feel about the fact that I’m just not being surprised by all these revelations.

  104. 104
    Amanda Graham

    @SallyStrange (#96): Yeah, there’s a tumblr going in response to this which is dedicated to naming and shaming–I think PZ linked to it? Or I read it in the comments. I forget. I’ve been trawling the googles waiting to pounce on any indication that jackasses are supporting Radford, in order to fuel my righteous fury. Anyway, several Big Names have been named on the tumblr as having been inappropriate/creepy/harassy. My only issue with such a system is that it can be grossly misused. Yes, sexual predators need to be outed, but I’m not sure that a 4chan-style parade of names is the way to do it.

    Mind you, I don’t know how the author of the tumblr vettes the accusations. For all I know, they are incredibly responsible and are only accepting credible reports. It does, however, validate my own personal dislike of Michael Shermer (who made some really terrible arguments at this year’s TAM in his Friday talk). So I will accept it’s findings for now :p

  105. 105
    Pteryxx

    The incident Sasha describes could constitute sexual harassment on its own. Of a cis, straight guy. Something which, over the last couple years’ discussion, has been floated in hypothetical terms by both sides.

    It’s like the Tiktaalik of the harassment Deep Rift.

  106. 106
    Anne C. Hanna

    Amanda Graham @104: Read Sally Strange’s link. This is more than just the Tumblr.

  107. 107
    Nathaniel Frein

    The incident Sasha describes could constitute sexual harassment on its own. Of a cis, straight guy. Something which, over the last couple years’ discussion, has been floated in hypothetical terms by both sides.

    I suspect it happens fairly regularly and is brushed off by men who, like Sasha, brush it off uncomfortably. Unlike Sasha, they either haven’t yet, or refuse to, make the connection and step up.

  108. 108
    SallyStrange

    I was recently fired from a job at a non-profit. The reason I was fired was mostly this: my immediate supervisor was a horrible bully. She wasn’t a sexual harasser, she was just a mean-spirited, rank-obsessed authoritarian who viewed it as her right to personally insult and belittle her employees if they ever failed to live up to her exacting but contradictory standards. The thing is, she produced results for the organization. And I think that, in non-profits, especially those with a specific mission of generally making the world a better place, there’s a general assumption that the safeguards against workplace bullying are simply not needed, because the people doing the work are Nice and Their Heart Is In The Right Place. Therefore any issues that come up are just personal and to be worked out between the parties. And a little spat between employees is worth it if you’re making progress towards the organization’s goals. There was also the fact that Bully Boss was capable of throwing an enormous tantrum if anyone criticized her, so there was a fair bit of laziness and cowardice on the part of the higher-ups, who just didn’t want to have to deal with it, certainly not on my short-term, low-paid behalf.

  109. 109
    SallyStrange

    P.S. I just started a new job with a private company. I miss my co-workers and the free-wheeling atmosphere of the social justice non-profit world, but I did note that the workplace agreement I signed today has well-defined parameters for harassment as well as what constitutes a firing offense, and what measures can be taken to deal with both. Nothing like that existed at the old job. What happened to me there couldn’t possibly happen to me at my current workplace.

  110. 110
    Sastra

    Walton #42 wrote:

    That’s awful.

    QFT.

    This is just getting worse and worse …

  111. 111
    anteprepro

    Read Sally Strange’s link. This is more than just the Tumblr.

    Incidentally, Sally Strange’s link was mentioned in that tumblr.

    http://morewillbenamed.tumblr.com/

  112. 112
    anteprepro

    This is just getting worse and worse …

    Only from our perspective. It has already been this bad, we are now just becoming aware of that. As awful as all of this shit is, the fact that it is coming to light now is a step towards improvement. I hope. We have a lot of people to start boycotting, sadly.

  113. 113
    Anne C. Hanna

    Heh, anteprepro, good point. I didn’t actually go check the tumblr myself to see if it was there too. I just felt that it was important to note that unlike the previous mention of Krauss’s name on the tumblr, the link Sally Strange provided was not simply an anonymous allegation — Ed Cara has put his name to it (although he admittedly was not the one who was harassed) — so it seems to me that it ought to be treated as a little more substantive than the other tumblr comments Amanda Graham seemed to be lumping it in with.

  114. 114
    anteprepro

    he link Sally Strange provided was not simply an anonymous allegation

    Ah, I see the distinction now. But, yeah, not all of the allegations on the tumblr are anonymous.

    I think I am really enthused by the idea of that tumblr and hope that it gain some momentum, anonymous or not. This is shit that we need to know in order to pinpoint the more toxic elements in our movement and organizations. It is dirty, thankless work but I hope that the amount of people pitching in will inspire more people to come forward.

  115. 115
    Pteryxx

    Only from our perspective. It has already been this bad, we are now just becoming aware of that.

    WE are, we the general population, we the isolated victims and confused confidants. The major players here HAVE been networking, they’ve had each others’ backs in the good-ol’boy tradition, for YEARS before even Elevatorgate. No wonder so many major players suddenly shat themselves with rage for no obvious reason when we started saying ‘our cons need harassment policies, folks.’

  116. 116
    anteprepro

    No wonder so many major players suddenly shat themselves with rage for no obvious reason when we started saying ‘our cons need harassment policies, folks.’

    It really does explain a lot, doesn’t it. I hope that their constant cheerleaders and obsessive sycophants have the sense to feel ashamed about this shit.

  117. 117
    Lee DeLay

    This saddens me but doesn’t surprise me. I’m the Lee that reported buzz0 and given the response (or lack there of) to that incident and the bs ‘no issues have been reported’ shit that happened after maybe now – with some more well known people coming out like this we can have some change occur.

    Kudos to carry and Karen for speaking up, its so hard to do especially when you’re well known (unlike me)

  118. 118
    evodevo

    CFI will not be getting any more of my money.

  119. 119
    Loqi

    Let the rationalizations, denials, and redefinitions of words begin. Anyone care to start a betting pool on how many times Grothe will say the words “witch hunt?”

    Much respect to Karen Stollznow and Carrie Poppy for going public with this despite knowing they’d get the skeptic community’s equivalent to the “Obama vs whistleblowers” treatment.

  120. 120
    Jadehawk

    No wonder so many major players suddenly shat themselves with rage for no obvious reason when we started saying ‘our cons need harassment policies, folks.’

    QFT

  121. 121
    anteprepro

    Who else feels that we should just burn organized atheism to the ground and piss in the ashes? At least from my perspective, if we are to have an organized atheism at all, it sure as hell shouldn’t look like the shit we have now.

  122. 122
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Are there people who are claiming that all of this is just an attempt to tear down organized secularism? (Sorry, I have not stared into the ‘pit in a while.)

  123. 123
    Anne C. Hanna

    anteprepro,

    But, yeah, not all of the allegations on the tumblr are anonymous.

    Yeah, I don’t mean to imply either that the tumblr is entirely anonymous claims or that the anonymous claims are worthless. It’s just that I can understand why people might legitimately be a bit iffy about accepting anonymous (and potentially highly damaging) claims with somewhat uncertain sourcing, as was the case with the earlier mention of Krauss. Since this is exactly why it’s so important that people like Karen Stollznow, Carrie Poppy, Sasha, Ed Cara, and many others are choosing to break the omerta surrounding these issues, I felt that making the distinction was worthwhile.

    Anyway, carry on. :/

  124. 124
    David Marjanović

    Who else feels that we should just burn organized atheism to the ground and piss in the ashes? At least from my perspective, if we are to have an organized atheism at all, it sure as hell shouldn’t look like the shit we have now.

    Nah. Let’s try to kick out the mission creeps first – all of them. If that turns out not to work, burnination still remains an option…

  125. 125
    David Marjanović

    Sorry, I have not stared into the ‘pit in a while.

    If you stare into the pit for too long, the pit slymes back into you…

  126. 126
    changerofbits

    @115 Exactly, they may not have had full knowledge, but they knew enough to know that this was a problem. Instead of dealing with this head on in an honest way, they pulled a “Pope” and tried to sweep the whole thing under the rug. Guess what DJ, when you fuck up this bad, somebody’s going to call you on it.

  127. 127
    mikeyb

    organized atheism – has there ever been/or should there be such a thing – isn’t that a bit like herding cats….. anyway I get the sentiment.

  128. 128
    anteprepro

    Yeah, I don’t mean to imply either that the tumblr is entirely anonymous claims

    Don’t worry, I understood :)

    Are there people who are claiming that all of this is just an attempt to tear down organized secularism?

    As far as I know, I’m the only one enthusiastically forwarding that particular agenda.
    (I have a touch of the social anxiety, so I might have a bit of bias against organizations, you see)

    Nah. Let’s try to kick out the mission creeps first – all of them. If that turns out not to work, burnination still remains an option…

    If that is actually possible, I endorse it, but I will be pleasantly surprised if it does happen. Powerful people do regularly get to shrug off claims of sexual harassment, after all. It all depends on how well we can hold people’s feet to the fire. And it also depends on whether purging these organizations of creepers turns out to not be virtually identical to destroying the organization. I don’t know where to place my bets for that one.

    organized atheism…– isn’t that a bit like herding cats

    My assessment of that would be: Apparently, yes.

  129. 129
    throwaway

    I’m still reeling from all this. Thanks to those coming forward now exposing it all, and to Stollznow for getting this particularly insightful bout of exposures going. It is necessary. It is also good. Thank you!

  130. 130
    Lofty

    I haz a huuuge sad for all of humanity. Manipulating arseholes suck the life out of good people everywhere.

  131. 131
    Bicarbonate is back

    Can’t remember who it was that recently said, in relation to Manning, Snowden and Assange, that “courage is contagious”. Certainly seems to be the case here. So, more and more people will speak out. In fact, I can see the process working inside me, reminding me of sexual harassment I’ve been through and makes me feel like writing about that (but won’t, because it has nothing to do with the organizations you’re talking about). It also makes me realize, in retrospect, the devastating effects sexual harassment has had on my professional life. Yet, I am also wary of the angry mob effect.

  132. 132
    anteprepro

    In fact, I can see the process working inside me, reminding me of sexual harassment I’ve been through and makes me feel like writing about that (but won’t, because it has nothing to do with the organizations you’re talking about)

    If it is something that you simply don’t want to mention here entirely because you think it is off topic, you could talk about it in The Lounge instead if that is something you want to do and are comfortable with.

    Yet, I am also wary of the angry mob effect.

    I think we liberals are actually a little too wary of the angry mob effect. It means too often that we are willing to let sleeping dogs lie and to glorify apathy and indifference, because it is morally superior to rioting in the streets, vigilante justice, or saying mean words with passion and confidence. It is a strength of liberals that we are leery of extreme behavior and want to operate with caution, lest information be imperfect. But occasionally it is also our greatest weakness when faced with people who are far less scrupulous and are more than willing to take advantage of plausible deniability in order to avoid ever suffering any well-deserved justice.

    It is a sad fact, but basically politics comes down to the sensitive and sensible having their reasonable doubts and kindnesses perpetually exploited by those who are insensitive and/or utterly stupid. I think a lot of our society has that abusive relationship built into it at every level, like a fractal of Underhanded Douchebag backstabbing Kind-Hearted Optimist.

  133. 133
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    For too long there have been two groups of people: those in the know and those on the outside with no clue (or only vague hints of a clue). Finally, it looks as though there’s been enough silence. My deepest respect to Ashley, Karen, and Carrie for speaking out and telling their stories. Looking at the vitriol unleashed at Rebecca, Jen, Amy and Ophelia is enough to deter me from even getting involved in the community/movement(s) much beyond commenting on other people’s blogs–and here they are standing over the parapet. Let’s hope this is just the start of a thorough purge of sexism and sexual harassment from atheist, secularist, and sceptical organizations and events.

  134. 134
    Maria Myrback

    I’m saddened. There is a part of me that is not surprised by some of this. I heard warnings about DJ from a couple of prominent women in the community but my personal dealings with DJ have generally been positive. He’s my friend. I don’t think that Carrie and Karen would lie or be mistaken in their interactions. I used to work with Carrie. She was my direct supervisor when she worked for the JREF and she was a joy to work with. I have been volunteering as the managing blog editor for the JREF for over two years now, for those who may not be aware. So I’ve been working relatively closely with him and the rest of the former staff. Granted once in a while I felt like I was being talked down to but after a discussion, those issues were always resolved positively.

    I wish I knew what to say. I know Carrie said she didn’t want to be bombarded by emails but if she sees this, I want to say thank you to her for coming forward.

  135. 135
    A. Noyd

    nyarlathotep (#84)

    Read this if you haven’t done so: http://www.morethanmen.org/2013/08/07/dj-and-me/

    The thing that gets to me about DJ’s Skepchick comment is that it totally assumes their popularity comes entirely from giving boners to straight dudes, not from having massive appeal among, gosh, I dunno, their target audience—ie. women!? That’s how little regard he has for women. (Though, he seems to have a hideous attitude toward men, too. There’s both the rape “joke” and the idea that dudes couldn’t possibly be interested in women for anything other than pussy access. Ugh.)

    ~*~*~*~*~*~

    SallyStrange (#92)

    Also, note: the author of the piece at More Than Men is Sasha, not Sastra.

    Just imagine all the people going around thinking Sastra is a chubby bearded dude, though.

  136. 136
    FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!)

    I say rage, fucking RAGE! Don’t let anyone try to make you less than human, for some things are worthy of rage. Don’t bite down on those angry words, don’t hold back for fear of being seen as over emotional. Stop playing their game, the calmest one in the room is not fucking right because of it.

    The power of religion has been built on the back of emotional appeals since humans invented the first damn god. It’s more than enough to sustain flat out evil institutions in the face of all their obvious factual and ethical failings.

    Think how strong we could be if everyone who is able to would stop playing straw-Vulcan and used the energy inherent in anger to get shit done. Red, raw rage directed by reason and evidence is a fucking unstoppable monster that the complicit, complacent, privilege soaked shit heads at the top should fear in their every waking moment. And I submit that they do fear it. Why else this insistence on politeness, on decorum, and on the public silence of those making these complaints?

    It’s time to stop playing nice.

    It’s time to start acting angry.

  137. 137
    thinkfree83

    I think that human nature is pretty constant when it comes to organizations covering up for their own. It doesn’t matter if it’s the Catholic Church, Penn State, CFI, or JREF; the organization comes first, and the victims just need to shut up, lest he or she make everyone else look bad. This problem will only increase as the number and visibility of atheists/secularists/skeptics increases. In order for nonbelief to be a real force in the world, effective organizations and institutions will be needed. However, it seems to me like much of what passes for organized atheism is built on personality cults and old boys’ clubs that rival anything I’ve seen in organized religion. Once again, I think it’s human nature to have heroes and to put them on pedestals, but I don’t think that simply being an atheist excuses anyone from thinking they are automatically more moral, more intelligent, more compassionate, etc or from being called out when they make a mistake. The only thing to do at this point is to do a thorough clean sweep of CFI and JREF, and let the heads roll where they must.

  138. 138
    ediblepolygon

    The More Will Be Named Tumblr is now coming up ‘not found’.

  139. 139
    PZ Myers

    Good. I suspect they got inundated with all kinds of stories, most of them spurious.

  140. 140
    Jackie, all dressed in black

    I’m so sorry that you have been treated this way. This isn’t right and it has to stop.
    Thank you for coming forward.

    I don’t know if CFI or the JREF care what my opinion is on the matter, but
    I’m thoroughly disgusted. I am at a loss as to what colorful four letter words to use to adequately describe how much of a failure this is.

  141. 141
    ediblepolygon

    I’m a little bit sad about it. I had high hopes, and it felt really nice to not be afraid to say anything.

  142. 142
    PZ Myers

    Wait…the Lawrence Krauss story? Maybe it’s a little inappropriate, but it’s not clear what the circumstances are, the woman was just annoyed, and the proposition was dropped when rejected. Those long cruises encourage socializing, so I think he just stuck one toe over the boundary and pulled it back quickly. If she’d made it clear before that his advances were unwelcome, though, then it’s a different story.

    Ed even makes it clear that there are various versions of the story floating around, and it’s not clear which one is most accurate. And then he mentions in the vaguest terms that there are “other incidents”. Again, I don’t like the airy, non-specific accusations. Get specific. Stollznow and Poppy are models of how to report serious problems. Let’s hear directly from the targets, rather than these second and third hand stories.

    We have to be careful not to slide from denouncing harassment to denouncing sexual behavior. The former is never OK, the latter is sometimes OK. I’m getting a little concerned that people are going to rush to report mere gossip as fact (another reason I did not like that tumblr.)

  143. 143
    Stephanie Zvan

    PZ, did you read all of Ed’s post? There’s more there than one story, including an older story that Ed was told would have been enough to keep them from inviting Krauss. And even the one story was enough that CFI was informed of the event. We don’t want to blow anything up, but we also have to be very careful not to reduce what we’re told to the most innocuous element.

  144. 144
    skeptifem

    @edible polygon

    there are various anonymous confession websites out there if you need a place to vent. there are so many women coming out with accusations that it may be worth your while to just name names. The backlash is going to be smaller and more spread out- each additional person who adds to it will help those who already came forward.

    best of luck to you

  145. 145
    PZ Myers

    Yes, I read it. This is the whole of the older story:

    I am told of other incidents where the speaker in question – while functioning as a speaker – made people uncomfortable with his sexual advances, including a specific case six years back.

    These are all second or third hand accounts; Cara also wasn’t on that cruise where the first incident occurred. He’s not a primary source for any of it! And he didn’t say what this “specific case” was. This is so tenuous as to be utterly unacceptable.

    Again, I’m not denying the possibility, but this ‘I heard from a friend that they knew someone who was harassed by X’ is simply not good enough. Primary sources, please, or let’s not cloud the air with untestable accusations.

  146. 146
    ediblepolygon

    The up side of it being so targeted was that it would’ve worked to warn people as well. I feel like a jerk for not going public, but there’s so much room in my story to slam me too that I just… can’t. Aaaaand now I’m depressed. ;) Sorry, guys – and kudos to Karen and Carrie for being so strong.

  147. 147
    Stephanie Zvan

    That’s all the detail you get on what happened. It is not the whole of that story. It continues from there:

    I am told of other incidents where the speaker in question – while functioning as a speaker – made people uncomfortable with his sexual advances, including a specific case six years back. I am told by CFI members that there will be a followup with that specific case and that if only Lindsay had been aware of it at the time, this situation might have ended differently. I am told there had been and will be substantial steps taken.

    Emphasis mine. That says that whatever happened was judged by other people to be something that would keep Krauss from being invited again.

    I’m not suggesting anyone jump to do anything based on that, but dismissing the entire post as a waste is an overreation. If it does nothing else, it tells other people targeted by Krauss that they are not alone, that people do know about Krauss. That’s important.

  148. 148
    anteprepro

    PZ, I think your skepticism is getting a tad hyper. But that’s just me.

    I feel like a jerk for not going public, but there’s so much room in my story to slam me too that I just… can’t.

    Don’t feel bad. The onus shouldn’t be on the people who suffered through this shit to come forward and risk even more suffering in the process. You need to do what feels right to you, to do what you are able to do, and to ultimately do what is best for yourself. Not everyone can (or even should) sacrifice their own happiness and well-being further in the name of maybe potentially helping others. Being able to come out about these kind of things is a matter of privilege as much as strength: a matter of having a stable enough of a position in the world that you don’t have much to fear from saying what needs to be said. So, yeah. No need to kick yourself over it, whether or not you are doing so only half-seriously.

  149. 149
    yazikus

    I am told of other incidents where the speaker in question – while functioning as a speaker – made people uncomfortable with his sexual advances, including a specific case six years back.

    I don’t think something like this will merit any consequence. Talking about things like this, however, will allow a greater sphere of people to be knowledgeable about what they are getting into. This isn’t an accusation of sexual harassment. This is an anecdote of, perhaps, sexual impropriety. No criminal charges are being sought (to my knowledge).
    -
    Talking about these issues is key. Let’s do talk! Talk about who is handsy, talk about who is into propositioning conference goers, talk about who crosses lines. Why shouldn’t we?
    -
    I, for one, would love to know.

  150. 150
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    @PZ

    Wait…the Lawrence Krauss story? Maybe it’s a little inappropriate, but it’s not clear what the circumstances are, the woman was just annoyed, and the proposition was dropped when rejected. Those long cruises encourage socializing, so I think he just stuck one toe over the boundary and pulled it back quickly. If she’d made it clear before that his advances were unwelcome, though, then it’s a different story.

    I beg to differ. Assuming for the sake of argument that the incident occurred as reported (also accepting that we have no details of context), I’d say it was more than a little inappropriate, for the following reasons:

    Someone who is an invited speaker for an event should not be using it as an opportunity to scout for attractive strangers* to proposition among the attendees who’ve paid to be there as it’s highly unprofessional. Second, there is a power imbalance there, and someone might feel undue pressure to comply, especially if the attendee is an organizer, activist, aspiring writer or something similar. They might be loathe to rock the boat (no pun intended). In addition, it’s especially troublesome on a cruise where the person can’t leave if they feel uncomfortable and want to avoid contact with that speaker, keeping in mind that a stranger who propositions you for sex might just not want to take no for an answer.

    *I’m being explicit about the “stranger” part, because I think it would be less problematic if the speaker and attendee had established at least an acquaintance or preferably a friendship prior.

    [some of this comment is copied from one I made at B&W]

  151. 151
    Pteryxx

    I’m not suggesting anyone jump to do anything based on that, but dismissing the entire post as a waste is an overreation. If it does nothing else, it tells other people targeted by Krauss that they are not alone, that people do know about Krauss. That’s important.

    It also tells other people who may have been targeted by Krauss that they can probably contact a named person – Ed Cara – who can corroborate some information and possibly direct them to someone in CFI who was handling these reports.

    Besides, what’s going to happen as a result, besides people piling on Ed? We KNOW it’s only one, second- or third- hand report. If and when other folks come forward to fill in the gaps, then we’ll know more. For instance, if anyone from CFI offered clarification. Not that I’m bating my breath or anything.

  152. 152
    Pteryxx

    Aaaaand Jen just corroborated to the best of her ability.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/blaghag/2013/08/the-sexual-harassment-floodgate-has-opened-and-i-add-my-own-trickle/

    I can’t personally make any claims about his behavior since I’ve never really interacted with him. But I can say it’s true that multiple women have independently come to me with similar claims despite not knowing each other, and that is mighty suspicious. I’m not hyperskeptical of the common and mundane – aka, sexual harassment. Regardless, it is disappointing to know CFI has been informed about this multiple times and did not take any action at all, even filing a simple report to keep it on record.

  153. 153
    anteprepro

    Jen also made a comment about the same matter in the other thread:

    I hate to say this, but this is NOT the first time I have heard things about Bill Nye. He was one of the many people I was specifically warned about him before attending TAM. But I don’t feel comfortable sharing specifics because I have to keep my source anonymous and from me it would just be hearsay. The people who actually experience these things are the ones who need to speak out. Sadly, doing so results in constant harassment and rape threats, as we consistently see, so I can’t blame them for keeping quiet…

  154. 154
    Jadehawk

    heh. a pitter had opinions back when Carrie resigned: http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2012/11/anyone-else-reckon/

    he’s by the way still claiming that it was somehow FTB’s fault, because “FTB contributed to the hostile atmosphere around TAM and Carrie”.

    Skepticism™, everyone.

  155. 155
    anteprepro

    Skepticism™, everyone.

    *applause*

    I’m sure for act II, we will discover that all these people coming out about how they were sexually harassed are, in fact, FTBullies who are FTBullying poor defenseless famous Bravesirheroes for the blog hits. I guess we’ll all see after Intermission.

  156. 156
    Jadehawk

    I’m sure for act II, we will discover that all these people coming out about how they were sexually harassed are, in fact, FTBullies who are FTBullying poor defenseless famous Bravesirheroes for the blog hits.

    no, Act II is where we’re all racists because Carrie’s and Karen’s revelations re: CFI/JREF are talked about on FTB and AJ Johnson’s suit against American Atheists isn’t.

    And nevermind that one of the reasons for that is that there hasn’t been any hyperskepticism (that I know of) regarding her claim of racism from the organization that produced that “Slaves, Obey Your Masters” billboard, and so there’s not been any need for a loud fight against the notion that it couldn’t have happened/didn’t happen.

  157. 157
    PZ Myers

    Yeah, I’m feeling a bit skeptical. The case against Krauss is circumstantial, and so far nothing but a lot of hearsay. I think giving much credence to such a poor case detracts from the more solid case we’ve got in the persons of Stollznow and Poppy.

    That could change if someone steps forward with a personal account. Until then….FOCUS.

  158. 158
    Jadehawk

    Yeah, I’m feeling a bit skeptical. The case against Krauss is circumstantial, and so far nothing but a lot of hearsay. I think giving much credence to such a poor case detracts from the more solid case we’ve got in the persons of Stollznow and Poppy.

    while I also hope that one of Krauss’ victims will be able/willing to publicly step forward, I don’t know that that level of skepticism about him is at all warranted, considering: http://freethoughtblogs.com/blaghag/2013/08/the-sexual-harassment-floodgate-has-opened-and-i-add-my-own-trickle/

  159. 159
    Anne C. Hanna

    Jadehawk,

    I’ll admit that I was thinking of the AJ Johnson/American Atheists issue too. But the comparison that occurred to me was more along the lines of a sudden horrified realization that, given what’s been revealed already just on gender-based harassment, it’s quite likely that there’s a huge volume of all kinds of harassment/hostile environment bullshit going on at these predominantly white male atheskeptihumanist organizations, being both silently endured by and secretly perpetrated by people I might have blithely assumed to be above it all.

    For example, explicit racism might be less acceptable in polite society than explicit sexism, but some of the more subtle racism I’ve run across reminds me very much of the subtle sexism that, in hindsight, now looks more like huge red flags marking the people whose names have been named over the past few days. The floodgates may have finally been breached on the sexism issue, but it just makes me wonder what’s being held back by the other dams that haven’t even begun to show cracks yet.

  160. 160
    Eddy Cara

    It is hearsay, and circumstantial. It’s also the only way I think anyone will ever feel comfortable discussing their experiences with Krauss and why I chose to write about it. I personally will not say that inviting a guest back to your cabin for sex while attending as a speaker for that event is definitively harassment. I will say it’s unprofessional and inappropriate, and that the CFI harassment policy would likely agree with me. I would say it would warrant some vetting (or even just a private talk) before inviting the speaker to the exact same sort of venue. The former did not happen until quite some time after the invitation, the latter I believe has never occurred.

    To me, the problem has always been: Given the chance to look further into the background of Krauss upon hearing worries from your own staff that his behavior was cause for worry, why wouldn’t you? And as the link by Jadehawk just provided shows, they in fact did do some background checking, they just chose to keep the invitation safe and sound. I’m only now publicizing what I did precisely because I don’t think they will ever followup with other reports of improper behavior, regardless of what they had told me. Because they certainly didn’t do so with Karen, it seems. I am full aware that what I’ve revealed is not a smoking gun. I’m also aware that it doesn’t need to be, because there’s plenty more to the iceberg that I don’t have as much evidence for as I did for this incident.

  161. 161
    Xanthë, Amy of my threads

    And within an hour of Jen posting that blog, there’s this update:

    Within an hour of posting this, yet another woman I trust confided in me that Krauss sexually assaulted her. Wow.

    At this point, I have no reason to doubt Jen having received an account of an assault by Krauss, as I am willing to trust her, and she obviously trusts her confidant.

  162. 162
    Pteryxx

    quoting Jen for truth here:

    Is any skeptical organization going to actually look into this, or are we going to be stuck at “people confessing to bloggers they trust” as the best we can do? Fuck.

    The only reason any of this is being aired through public grassroots is because the official channels aren’t working or don’t exist. Have a better suggestion? Put words to it!

  163. 163
    Cyranothe2nd, there's no such thing as a moderate ally

    More from Jen:

    Ron Lindsay definitely knew about Laurence Krauss’s history of bad behavior before this most recent cruise because I told him about it at the first Women in Secularism conference. He asked me for names of the worst harassers and promised to keep them confidential, because he wanted to know who he shouldn’t be inviting to events. The first name I told him was Krauss.
    So much for that.

    Boy, Lindsay’s sure coming out of this smelling like a rose. /s

  164. 164
    Jackie, all dressed in black

    anteprepo and Jadehawk,
    Team misogyny still sees victims as bullies and vice versa. Those leopards won’t change their spots, no matter what new information comes to light.

  165. 165
    Cyranothe2nd, there's no such thing as a moderate ally

    Wow, so CFI’s response to this is handwaving as fuck.

    http://www.centerforinquiry.net/pages/cfis_investigation_of_harassment_complaints

    I don’t think I’ve ever read so much that said so little (maybe the response to Secular Women’s concerns re: Lindsey…???). I especially enjoyed this part:

    One thing we will never do is have our decisions dictated by rumor, gossip, or innuendo, whether it’s directed at the accuser or the accused. Such an approach would be improper and unjust for any organization. For an organization dedicated to promoting critical thinking and evidence-based reasoning, it would be a violation of our guiding principles.

    Given that THESE AREN’T VAGUE ACCUSATIONS ON A BLOG BUT ACTUAL ACCUSATIONS YOU INVESTIGATED AND FOUND TO BE TRUE. FFS!

  166. 166
    mikeyb

    Makes me wonder if CFI really stands for Cover Female Intimidators – also wonder what would really get there attention and force change -a lawsuit maybe?

  167. 167
    Jen

    I have had two people I consider friends and trustworthy individuals independently tell me, in explicit detail, their experiences with Krauss. One was sexual harassment and possibly sexual assault depending on your definition, and the other was most certainly sexual assault. I’ve asked both of them if they want to share their stories. I haven’t heard back from the former, and the latter said 100% no. Which I totally understand. These women fear harassment and rape threats, extreme damages to their reputation, possibly losing their jobs and affecting their future employment options… I really can’t blame them.

    I don’t know what else to do or say. I really don’t.

  168. 168
    Demythify

    Must admit….the Krauss revelation, that’s the one that most stings. Me.

    But it’s disappointment, not disillusionment. I’m a skeptic through and through. So I’m not derailed from skepticism because I’m disappointed with jackasses who are also skeptics.

    I’m also an atheist but my skepticism is Idunnomaybeeleventeenmilliontimes more relevant in how I think we should come to decisions in life. Because it provides “methods”, not “ethos”.

    It’s not just this, but I’m more convinced that the term “skeptic” (which I am and can’t understand why everyone else on the planet isn’t) is useless in the real world if it can’t detach itself from “heroes”.

  169. 169
    Jen

    Yeah…just got another no from the former. Again, can’t blame her. If it were me I’d say no too :\

  170. 170
    Catrambi

    I love that Carrie Poppy did this. I’ve been impressed by her for a long time now, and this gives her hero status.

    I’ve seen that some people in the comments have spoken on the rotten situation in many non-profits and charity organizations. I don’t know how to blockquote, but it’s there somewhere.

    I thought I’d add that last year I worked a short spell for Amnesty International in Stockholm, Sweden. During my time theme (less than two months), I was disgusted by the level of sexism and borderline harassment going on among recruiters. On a week long trip with four of my colleagues (all male), it escalated to the point where I had to call main office and report three of them for creating a situation which I perceived as directly hostile.

    I’m happy to say that as far as I can tell, the organization handled it all in a decent manner, although I don’t know the exact consequences since I quit the job just a few days after the incident. My(male) boss was away for the week when it blew up, and had been temporarily replaced by two younger women who suspended at least two of the persons I reported. When my boss came back, as far as I can tell he immediately fired the two, including one who had been an employee for several years.

  171. 171
    Nick Gotts

    First, congratulations to Karen Stollznow and Carrie Poppy for their courage in speaking out. They should know that there are many of us supporting them.

    Not being either American, or much involved with the “skeptic” (*snort*) movement, I’ve had little contact with or knowledge of CFI or JREF (I did subscribe to Skeptical Inquirer for a while many years ago), but I think they are a lost cause – “house-cleaning” is quite inadequate when the building’s full of dry rot and the foundations are subsiding.

    These are people who’ve parlayed saying ‘monsters aren’t real’ into a paying gig. Props to them for that, but really, what do you expect them to do? Get real jobs? – Anthony K.

    Train for the priesthood?

  172. 172
    psanity

    Haven’t caught up yet, but, damn all.

    Louis @27,

    I’d say sexism and harassment are probably not any more uncommon at nonprofits than at other businesses (allowing for mission of the nonprofit), but the degree of organizational self-destructiveness here is astounding. Thing is, a good board will deal summarily with behavior that endangers the organization, and orgs that don’t do that crash and burn. JREF and CFI have deep pockets compared to most educational orgs, but they are in deep and obvious trouble now, because the way these organizations (fail to) deal with harassment and assault by and of their employees is publicly documented.

    For example, anyone who is assaulted by Mr. Radford in the future will have no trouble proving in court that the org knew of the problem and took only the mildest, most ineffectual steps to correct it, and did lots of ass-covering besides. Plus, given Mr. Radford’s now-public history, it seems fairly likely that there is now, or will be, a victim who will sue. So, the board has not exactly been doing a great job of ensuring the health and welfare of the org. I’m very glad CFI’s and JREF’s problems are not mine.

    I already posted more in this vein on Jen’s blog.

    K, now I’ll get back to trying to catch up…

  173. 173
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Carrie, Karen:
    Thank you both.
    Having read of the backlash many women have faced for speaking up about harassment, it is courageous of both of you to do so. I find it appalling and unethical how JREF and CFI have handled these cases of sexual harassment and assault.

    JREF will not blacklist? Why not? If a speaker has sexually harassed and/or assaulted anyone at your conferences, you damn well SHOULD blacklist them. At a bare minimum. Not doing so shows your lack of commitment to fostering an environment that is welcoming to all.

    DJ Groethe is a dismissive, sexist shitbag. Having just read Sasha’s story, I want to puke. Over the years, I have seen many attractive heterosexual men. In discussions with others about such men, I cannot remember how often I have heard “just get them drunk and have your way”. My response has always been “Fuck that. I want them to want to be with me. I want willing participation.”. That was before I came to understand rape culture and bodily autonomy. To even joke about drugging someone let alone raping them is abhorrent. I do not give two shits if DJ was drunk or not. What a disgusting shitstain.

    You, along with Ben Radford, Ron Lindsay, and the board of directors at both JREF & CFI have do not deserve your jobs. The lack of respect for women you display is abyssmal. Your contributions to rational thought and skepticism are noted.

    Now get the fuck out of the way .

  174. 174
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    I don’t think DJ didn’t pay enough attention to Karen’s email. I think when he said he was “happy to learn… that the CFI has responded to [the] complaints with the seriousness they deserve”, he meant exactly what he said. I am inclined to believe that that was a calculated insult intended to convey that he did not take the complaints seriously. To assume he somehow managed to miss the fact that Karen was unhappy with the way her complaints were being dealt with seems overly charitable, to put it lightly.

    I am appalled at the response of the JREF and TAM Organisers; that is simply not good enough. They dismissed her concerns right off the bat and didn’t even have the grace to pretend otherwise. What a bunch of slimy shits.

  175. 175
    =8)-DX

    Stollznow: I think they have trivialized and minimized my complaints and they have also made some factual errors.
     
    Grothe: I appreciate how difficult the situation must have been for you, and I am happy to learn from you that the CFI has responded to your complaints with the seriousness they deserve.

    Reading that my brain had problems accepting that Grothe properly read the e-mail. Or that he had a massive inter-brain-keyboard-fart and that he typed this with glazed over eyes while under mind-control from a misogynist version of Maxwell’s demon (only sexism-non-confirming information goes in, only sexism comes out). Otherwise this is one of the most condescending, patronising, mansplaining, dismissive and downright rude things I’ve read in a long while. It’s the kind of thing they put in films to show “corporation doesn’t give a shit”.

    My admiration and support go out to Poppy and Stollznow for coming out with this. I”m not in a position to support these organisations financially, but these same problems occur worldwide and I’m glad to notice many couragous women making themselves heard.

  176. 176
    Jafafa Hots

    Is Richard Sanderson going to put Ben Radford in his blockbot as a “Woman Abuser?”

  177. 177
    John Phillips, FCD

    Thumper; Atheist mate #174, I must admit that is how I interpreted that remark as well. Though Initially, I thought it was just my occasional cynicism coming to the fore, but the more I learn about DJ Grothe the more I think that we interpreted his meaning correctly.

  178. 178
    Muz

    Imagine what a different scene it might be if Phil Plait hadn’t needed to go make a TV show.

    Anyway

    Scr… Archivist @ #52

    “I found another person vouching for Karen Stollznow. Someone named Blake Smith had this to say on” Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DoctorAtlantis/posts/10201849491741769

    Poor guy. Helluva spot to be in. There’s one point we can take Radford’s word on in this and that’s Smith is the driving force behind Monstertalk. I think he feels too much a small fry and needs some names to bolster things. But he doesn’t really. It can be all him as far as I’m concerned. But hopefully Karen comes back at some point.

  179. 179
    madscientist

    How disappointing. Man, if I were around and DJ made that sort of snide comment he’d be missing a few teeth. Oh well, I’m always happy to give my money to the MSF and the Red Cross instead.

  180. 180
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @John Phillips

    No, I think you and I have interpreted it correctly. There is no way he could have given that email even the most casual of glances and still managed to miss the fact Karen was unhappy with her treatment. It was the main thrust of the email, after all. Perhaps Karen’s response stating that he didn’t read it properly was just politeness, but if anyone genuinely believes that he merely misread it then they are being far too charitable. That is a calculated insult.

  181. 181
    buddhabuck

    @178: It’s possible that Phil Plait’s reputation might have been in the gutter now instead. We don’t know how he would have handled (or did handle) the stuff going on now, and stink spreads.

    I know nothing, I’ve heard nothing, which would implicate Phil any of this mess.

    But I wonder… It is only now (in the past year or two) that stories are starting to come out, are the issues being raised publicly, but the stories coming out What happened during Phil’s tenure at JREF? Were TAMs 6 and 7 harassment-free (or at least, harassment-complaint-free)? How did he handle it?

    I would hope he would handle the current situation better, but really, I have no evidence to go on either way.

  182. 182
    kellym

    The JREF hasn’t blacklisted the Skepchicks? That claim is hard to believe.

  183. 183
    LykeX

    Why the fuck does DJ still have a job? He can’t make a public statement without alienating his long-time supporters. He can’t write an email without belittling people. He can’t go to a party without making a rape “joke”. What pea-brain decided that having this guy as your public face was a good idea?

    I don’t know which is worse; that the people at JREF are too incompetent to get rid of him or that they actively want a person like that in charge.

    Whatever happened to that PR advisor they hired? You know, the one that was supposed to keep DJ from making an ass of himself? I seem to vaguely recall that she quit again. Can anyone supply some details?

  184. 184
    PZ Myers

    While the evidence is hearsay & circumstantial, I do agree entirely that there’s enough of it that a responsible organization would be investigating thoroughly and would be putting safeguards for attendees in place.

    An interesting idea: what if Phil Plait had stayed on? I think it would be better. I think the problem has been worsened by leadership by lawyerly types who are creatures of conflict avoidance — they don’t seem to realize that doing the right thing is a better strategy for these kinds of institutions than pretending that there are no problems anywhere ever. Phil would not make excuses but would squawk and protest.

    Who knows? One reason he may have left after such a brief tenure is that the organization found him uncomfortably unwilling to lie back and let the culture rumble on unchanged.

  185. 185
    rq

    My thanks and endless respect to Poppy, Stollznow and all others coming forward, privately or publicly to speak about their personal experiences. Your courage is an inspiration, but I’m sorry it had to show under such circumstances.
    Just – thank you.

  186. 186
    leebrimmicombe-wood

    There is no way he could have given that email even the most casual of glances and still managed to miss the fact Karen was unhappy with her treatment. It was the main thrust of the email, after all. Perhaps Karen’s response stating that he didn’t read it properly was just politeness, but if anyone genuinely believes that he merely misread it then they are being far too charitable. That is a calculated insult.

    Another plausible explanation is that he was attempting to control the narrative–that this was a variant of gaslighting that reflected best upon JREF.

  187. 187
    PZ Myers

    Yes — a CEO agreeing with a complaint could bounce back and bite him on the butt, so he’s taking care to make all of his outgoing mail paint a picture of harmony and compliance.

  188. 188
    leebrimmicombe-wood

    It’s calculated. And insulting. But not necessarily a calculated insult.

  189. 189
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @leebrimmicombe-wood

    I suppose that’s possible, rather than dismissing the concerns because he didn’t care. But the fact remains that he knew full well Karen was concerned about the way her complaints were being handled, and dismissed those concerns with an airy “Oh, they’re being handled with all the concern they merit”… thus implying they merit no concern. To me though, that statement contains an implied sarcasm which makes me think it was an insult. I could be wrong, but if I was in Karen’s situation and that email was sent to me then that’s how I would have read it.

    Either way, the man’s a disingenuous little shit who lends tacit support to sexual harrassment.

  190. 190
    =8)-DX

    @leebrimmicombe-wood #188
    You’re insinuating no logical implication in that linguistic implicature of yours?

  191. 191
    pneumo

    @PZ: Plait left to work on TV.

    Anyway; If someone needs waffles to go with their suryp, check out on Blake Smith on Facebook.

  192. 192
    rq

    Also, all of DJ’s sign-offs (talk soon, I really look forward to it), considering the emails he’s replying to and the way in which he’s replying, have that civil fuck-you tone to them. A lot of it. It’s enraging, and he’s not even writing to me.

  193. 193
    anchor

    “JREF does not and will not have a blacklist”

    How honorable of them. Especially in supplying the unsolicited implication.

    Seconding jadehawk #80: *spits*

  194. 194
    buddhabuck

    Pneumo@191: TV work was the public reason he left; there may have been other reasons he chose not to emphasize at the time.

    On the other hand, if he were to have left JREF because it was a wretched hive of scum and villainy, would he have willingly handed it over to DJ?

  195. 195
    pHred

    It would be really nice to see *something* change for the better. This kind of thing is so pervasive, so harmful and so buried under the seeming rationality of statements like …

    Again, I’m not denying the possibility, but this ‘I heard from a friend that they knew someone who was harassed by X’ is simply not good enough. Primary sources, please, or let’s not cloud the air with untestable accusations.

    (sorry P.Z.)

    As a female grad student in the sciences it was (and still is) common for female students and even some of the female faculty have quiet conversations in the corner about who to avoid being alone with, always make sure that the door stays open when you talk with Prof. X or Dr. Y, make sure that another grad student is coming along on that field trip or to work with you over the weekend in that lab. And you never bothered to try to tell a male grad student most of the time, much less anyone important because at best you would get this “reasonable doubt” crap. Instead you learn to play dumb and act like you need “help” for something just to have a backup presence sometimes. And this sucks!

    The same pressure is there when you have Big Name Dude as a speaker at your campus or at an event. Your adviser tells you to help BND and make sure that they have everything they need. Then BND starts to make demeaning “jokes” or grabs your ass or something. Who exactly do you tell? Your adviser ? Seriously ? Well why did you go into the greenroom alone with him? What did you do wrong? Surely you are mistaken.

    Sorry – vibrating with rage here. I has taken this long for some women to feel able to come forward and talk about piss-ants like DJ and Ben Radford. How the hell hard is it going to be for someone to put themselves on the line to talk about really BNDs like Krauss ?

  196. 196
    Pteryxx

    buddhabuck: If DJ wasn’t acting badly towards Phil he may not have known. Generally, and in my personal experience, predators who aren’t secure in their position yet take care to show well towards the people who have power over them. That’s how grooming works, after all.

    Besides, three or four years ago before this conversation started to blow up, would anyone who was privy to bad behavior have said anything?

  197. 197
    pHred

    Oh – I also forgot about the really demented “you should feel honored that BND deigned to honor you with his sweaty hands and pay attention to you.”

    spitting does not even begin to cover it.

  198. 198
    Pteryxx

    pHred:

    …make sure that another grad student is coming along on that field trip or to work with you over the weekend in that lab. And you never bothered to try to tell a male grad student most of the time, much less anyone important because at best you would get this “reasonable doubt” crap. Instead you learn to play dumb and act like you need “help” for something just to have a backup presence sometimes. And this sucks!

    …Well, I’m naive. I’ve been that person asked for “help” by female students who obviously were perfectly capable on their own, and I was clueless and sexist enough to assume they were just shy or lacked confidence. They weren’t lacking in any damn thing except the security that I mostly took for granted. Frick this crap is bitter.

  199. 199
    pHred

    Tell me about it. I have never even been able to talk to guys that I went to school with about it afterwords either. I was so much easier to suddenly pretend that I didn’t know how to do something or needed help than to try to do anything about the real problem. Goody – I get to add to the vial meme of girls not being good at science. I need chocolate – this is making me cry.

  200. 200
    Pteryxx

    pHred, I’m sorry. I have no words. For what it’s worth, I’m sorry you had to swallow that crap just to get on with your life, and I’m pissed off and disgusted at these slimeballs who just keep racking up more and more damage to so many people along their merry way.

  201. 201
    Emrysmyrddin

    I agree wholeheartedly with pHred. And the gossip/rumour ‘network’ has stayed ‘gossip/rumour’ because it’s HAD to, to survive. I’ve got to take my own safety over BND’s feels or rep. For example I had work experience lined up at an offshoot of Glaxo when I was 14. On the tour with the rather intensely-focused-on-me BND and my father we encountered a coworker of BND who looked between me’n BND for a few seconds before saying, “Heyy, careful mate!” with what Americans might call a dude-bro grin. As a 14yold about to spend a lot of close-quarters time with BND, do I logically disregard my skeeve-sense because it’s ‘rumour/gossip’ and put myself in that position; or listen to my skeeve-sense, no matter how heartbreaking giving up that work experience was, and avoid all the hassle of a handsy BND? Sometimes there’s no hard evidence – we have to make those kind of decisions all the time. Another reason I went down the humanities track instead of sciences in the end…

  202. 202
    Jafafa Hots

    Regarding my comment about Richard Sanderson’s version of the block bot above, I just received this tweet from him:

    Richard Sanderson ‏@RichSandersen 1h
    @JafafaHots: “is RS going to add Radford to WA-AFBL”. If Laden is added to Block Bot, yes! Deal? Richard

    I don’t know why he’s trying to make a deal with me. I don’t use the block bot, run it, etc.
    Which is why Richard was able to tweet to me.

    Anyway…

  203. 203
    sharkjack

    Karen Stollznow and Carrie Poppy have my heartfelt support, I can’t blame women in the slightest for not speaking out, but I’m glad they did.

    @pHred, as a male grad student that is incredibly saddening. I’m sad to say that if you had confided in me less than half a year ago, I would probably have given you the same ‘ reasonable doubt’ crap. There really is no good way out, same as with the BND, another aspect I’ve never even had to think about as a male student.

    I’ve spent enough time around extremely competent female scientists and students to know just how much nonsense the’girls are bad at science’ meme is. That you’re basically being forced to contribute to it just to get through your day without risking getting harassed or talked down to is making me cry too. I’ll offer *hugs* if you want them, and I would totally understand if you wouldn’t.

  204. 204
    Lance Moody

    Well, in the manner of the comments here, I wonder what we might say about Fred Fisher and his association with the NLG. It makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

  205. 205
    DanDare

    So now what? Do things get cleaned up at JREF and CFI and people start funding them again, or are they irredeemable and something new must arise from the ashes?

  206. 206
    pHred

    Soooo … have you seen this comment over at Jen’s place by one of the people in question …
    Comment #26 lmkr

    This bit …

    4. This type of innuendo is also destructive and offensive to other individuals named in the pieces, and impugns the integrity of an organization that in my view is worthy,
    5. Lies and unsubstantiated claims of harassment hurt and disadvantage many individuals in the broader community who deserve respect and trust.

    ’cause we sure wouldn’t want to impugn a worthy organization or disadvantage any BNDs who are way more important then little old you.

    Thing is, it doesn’t even matter if the allegations about this specific person are true, since these argument are made all the damn time. The organization and the important people deserve respect and trust. Women who try to point these things out are not worthy and don’t deserve respect. That is what these riders imply. It just boggles the mind really.

  207. 207
    Pteryxx

    Lawrence Krauss put a response in Jen’s comments:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/blaghag/2013/08/the-sexual-harassment-floodgate-has-opened-and-i-add-my-own-trickle/#comment-102245

    *assuming of course that’s really LK, etc.

  208. 208
    pHred

    @sharkjack

    Thanks – it does make me feel better to know that you know better now. If that made any sense.

  209. 209
    LykeX

    So, the link naming Krauss is gone. Technical difficulties or has it been pulled?

  210. 210
    =8)-DX

    @pHred

    Just to chime in: thanks for sharing your experience. I’m not sure if I’ve experienced exactly this kind of situation before but many times I’ve wondered at “odd behaviour” and “odd requests” from women that made it look as if they needed help while being otherwise fully capable. While I’ve tried not to evaluate these things negatively, they’ve most often left me baffled.

    I’ll try to see things from a woman’s perspective next time and be aware of these motivations. Offers of support and *hugz* like sharkjack if appropriate and wanted!

  211. 211
    sc_ece3c77c2d114dca8c9bf2650b92a3f4

    Thank you Carrie and Karen! I have dealt with some serious harassment at work and I know how horrible, anxiety provoking, and plain old grating it can be.

    Name and Shame. It is the only way. The more people speak out, the less any one can be a target, (like the idea behind “draw Muhammed day”).

    I am not surprised. I am very disappointed. I also think that any upset over this “splitting” the atheist/skeptic movement is unwarranted- I would be glad to see a split, where the misogynists, harassers, and MRAs go one way, and the rest of us go another. Women are a large part of is movement, and half the population, its about time we get treated with some respect.

    (sorry for the ridiculous user name, I can’t seem to fix it)

  212. 212
    Pteryxx

    The post titled ‘Storytime.’ has been removed by The Heresy Club admin as it was found to be in breach of Guidelines for all of our writers’. More details will be available soon.

  213. 213
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    I could be wrong, but I’d think Krauss would be a little more literate (“rumormongering” as one word sans hyphen; fiancé instead of fiancée; “not only false, but also unjustifiable”?). I have my doubts.

  214. 214
    leebrimmicombe-wood

    You’re insinuating no logical implication in that linguistic implicature of yours?

    I’m suggesting this scenario:

    DJ’s calculated intention may have been to spin this in a manner that covers JREF and gaslights the recipient. (“Can I be sure they didn’t take this seriously when Grothe says they did?”)

    DJ may be sufficiently unempathic and inconsiderate that he does not even consider that what he is saying is an insult. However, we view it as insulting for many good reasons.

    I could be wrong. Maybe he knew what he was doing and was being purposely mendacious and callous. The effect remains the same: the rest of us blinking and going ‘WTF’?

  215. 215
    Diabolics .|.

    not sure if people seen it, but both Ben himself and Karens husband have weighed in on facebook:

  216. 216
    Diabolics .|.

    ups…
    https://t.co/RVRhcxGXsp

  217. 217
    Jen

    The comment claiming to be Krauss had an IP address from Australia, where he is currently speaking. I’m inclined to think it’s him.

  218. 218
    skeptifem

    @edible polygon

    I respect your decision, but I want you to know that you aren’t to blame for whatever you think your part was in what you’ve gone through. It is a normal reaction to feel guilty but those feelings do not reflect reality. Honor the actions you took to get through a difficult situation; you did the best you could at the time and there is no shame in it. There are no real good choices for responding when someone decides to treat you badly, every choice has some kind of risk associated with it.

  219. 219
    Rumtopf

    Cache for The Heresy Club link regarding Krauss that was taken down.

  220. 220
    Emrysmyrddin

    Radford’s sheer front in Blake’s FB thread is astounding.

  221. 221
    Rumtopf

    Agh just got done reading through. Count me as another person who isn’t surprised, given the previous behaviour from Radford, Grothe and Lindsay, but fuck does it make me angry. None of these people are fit to work in the atheism/skeptic community and I would love to know who else was involved in minimising/covering up the issues and keeping them employed, Catholic Church style.

    Thank you, Karen and Carrie, I’m so sorry that this shit happened to you.

  222. 222
    Lance Moody

    Re: IP addresses

    Posting the IP locations of commenters might be considered a breach of privacy…some folks out of town might not want it known. But carry on with the witch hunt otherwise.

  223. 223
    Jackie, all dressed in black

    Lance,
    Posting the continent he is on is a breach of privacy? Really? I bet that info is public as the event he’s speaking at is probably advertised.

    Witch hunt? Fuck you.

  224. 224
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Yes, Lance Moody, because all of this is just a witch hunt. Now if only all of this were taken care of in house.

    Oh, wait a minute…

  225. 225
    skeptifem

    well the jref forum still full of total assholes:

    I’m not going to jump to conclusions but, this looks reminiscent of the satanic panic trials of the 90′s. It’s beginning to look like a witch hunt.

    -randfan, a regular for years
    he got called on how bullshit that is as an analogy but then back peddles into saying that the comparison has some merit and he is really just concerned about a lack of critical thought or an us vs them environment, and mentions how he got burned by believing the duke lacrosse accuser over and over. barf.

    If the incidents happened outside of TAM proper, then there’s no legal or ethical obligation to investigate or enforce what is essentially an interpersonal issue. There are pragmatic reasons for getting involved, but that’s different.

    Is this a difficult concept for you? It seems to be a bright line.

    -some other douche

    they sure as hell have an ethical obligation to make sure women feel safe at the conference. jesus christ.

    “No” still means “yes”, right?

    Just checking; the weekend is coming up, after all.
    __________________

    the central scrutinizer, long time regular

    that is so cool dude, jref allows rape jokes on its forum. har-har-har.

  226. 226
    LykeX

    @Lance Shithead

    …some folks out of town might not want it known

    Then maybe they shouldn’t post it on their publicly accessible schedule. Krauss’ own homepage gives out more specific information than Jen posted.

    There’s no witch hunt here. No breach of privacy. There’s just you, lying your ass off; stupidly and transparently.

  227. 227
    Amira Esk

    The thing that’s really bizarre here is that Grothe should have used the opportunity to have one of the JREF employees speak at the WiS con because of the backlash in the past year. Instead, he made things worse for the JREF. Strange indeed. Randi is getting on in age for sure and I see him pretty often here in South Florida when we sometimes have weekly meetings with a dozen people just hanging out. I don’t think he really understands the scope of this. I have to admit, when all this first broke, I ddin’t support Grothe but I certainly didn’t object to how he handled things (before all this came out). Apologies all around. There are certain things about the Skepchicks that rub me the wrong way but all this shows itself to be a real and dangerous situation and all parties should be called to task. Let’s hope there’s some sort of paper trail and then the story can be fully understood.

    I’m still wondering why the JREF pays for an amazing apartment in downtown Hollywood for Grothe. From what I understand, it’s an office but he lives there. I may be mistaken. Is this common practice for non profits? I have no idea.

  228. 228
    screechymonkey

    skeptifem@225: I was wondering how gross things were over there on the JREF forum, but didn’t have the stomach to go check. Thanks for confirming.

    and mentions how he got burned by believing the duke lacrosse accuser

    Yes, I’m sure his suffering was immense. Good to know it’s all about him.

  229. 229
    Scr... Archivist

    Let’s say that this new round of testimonials about these two particular men is met with a stone wall. Nothing changes organizationally.

    Would the last few days at least cause people to watch these fellows more carefully? Will they be compelled to act perfectly since they know they are are under scrutiny?

    Is that a step forward?

  230. 230
    ediblepolygon

    Hey, no fair quote mining. I’m over there fighting the good fight.

  231. 231
    A. Noyd

    =8-)DX (#175)

    Otherwise this is one of the most condescending, patronising, mansplaining, dismissive and downright rude things I’ve read in a long while.

    I know, right? Reading that, I kept thinking, if someone told DJ, “Fluffy got hit by a car last night while we were away, and spent hours in agony with a crushed pelvis before she finally passed away,” he would respond with, “Glad to hear your dog is doing so well.” Except that, even though what he did say is far, far worse, he’d probably have no trouble understanding that dismissing the tragic death of a pet is not appropriate.

  232. 232
    PatrickG

    Comments from involved parties over at Blake Smith’s place.

    First, Ben Radford:

    It’s unfortunate that Blake didn’t raise these concerns with me privately before making them public, because I might have been able to correct some misunderstandings. It does not surprise me that Blake and others believe some of the stories circulated about me recently, since they have not heard my side of the story. When there is only one version of events available to us, we tend to believe it unless another interpretation or version is presented. It’s just human nature. Unfortunately I am unable to publicly comment on these matters for the time being, which puts me at a distinct disadvantage. Everyone else can have their say, but I am unable to address the lies, rumors, and half-truths circulating.

    The fact is that the only people who have heard my side of the story, including my evidence and arguments, are those who conducted a months-long indepedent investigation, and whose conclusions—whether I agree with them or not—ended the matter several weeks ago. I respect Blake and his opinions, but the simple fact is that he has seen very little of the evidence and information about this matter. Though I am hurt and disappointed by Blake’s post and the way it was handled, I still consider him a friend (sometimes friends make mistakes), and I wish both him and Karen all the best.

    And from Matthew Baxter:

    Ben, I know that it is your job at this point to minimize things. You would never admit to the things that you did. Fine. I get that. The truth is that you were asked to back off for years and you didn’t. You acted like I didn’t even exist in your persistence with Karen. I am her husband and no matter what you think of me, I asked you like a gentleman to back off. I never came out and told you off for your repeated sexually charged contact. I tried to (erroneously) give you the benefit of the doubt. I hoped you would just get bored. You didn’t. You continued. When Karen cut your communication paths off, you started claiming that she was disrespectful to you. Do you really want this fight, Ben? We can back up our side of things. You are in the wrong. Period. No amount of claiming that someone gave you mixed signals will work when we both have copies of the cries for you to STOP. Just admit where you were wrong and apologize. Remember when things actually worked out for awhile? TAM 2011. You behaved and were a real gentleman. We forgave and things were smooth. We had always been willing to be reasonable as long as our wishes were honored. You just couldn’t let it go. You have a problem and need to get some help.

    Sorry for the wall of text. Seemed relevant here.

  233. 233
    PatrickG

    Aaand I see I missed Diabolic’s link, which managed to link the information without giant blockquotes.

    Apologies.

  234. 234
    skeptifem

    I dunno if its worth fighting the people at jref. thats up to you, polygon. but yes there are objectors to the things I posted.

  235. 235
    pHred

    @PatrickG

    No need to apologize – I really appreciate the post because I can’t get at facebook (not that I want to most of the time) from here. I imagine that other people have the same issue. It is totally relevant and I had been wondering what was going on over there.

  236. 236
    Amphigorey

    Wow, that is a load of tripe from Blake Smith. He says that the whole situation is between “Karen, Ben, and Karen’s husband” – as if Radford’s harassment of Stollznow is somehow worse because she has a husband.

    No. This is about the whole skeptic community and how cases of harassment are handled. It’s bigger than the players, because it’s indicative of the whole. Keeping it as a private, personal matter helps those in power, not the victims, and it supports structures that allow harassment to continue.

    This kind of thing needs to be out in the open. It’s the only way we can stop it.

  237. 237
    ediblepolygon

    I have many. many friends on the JREF forums. I, in fact, worked for the JREF for three years.

  238. 238
    PatrickG

    @ pHred:

    Phew, glad my post is now defensible. ;)

    More seriously, I wanted to post something on your earlier recounting of experiences in grad school. I’m still sort of mentally grappling with it, but I did at least want to say how disturbing and distressing your account is. It really makes me reevaluate some of those fieldwork requests where people wondered why they were there — just not enough work to do.

    Like someone upthread, I’m sad to say that back then, I probably wouldn’t have believed it if a fellow student came to me with such worries/allegations. These things just don’t happen at reputable universities! Surely not him! And so on and so forth.

    Thanks, Horde, for the education!

  239. 239
    LykeX

    @ediblepolygon
    So, hypothetically, how would one go about taking over the organization and firing the people currently in charge? Do you know what options are available? Are there board elections or something like that?

  240. 240
    skeptifem

    I have many. many friends on the JREF forums. I, in fact, worked for the JREF for three years.

    yep, I know. and jeff was kind of creepy about it.

  241. 241
    ediblepolygon

    I cannot speak to official JREF proceedings – however, I’ve seen non-profits put that info in their Articles of Incorporation. Not sure if JREF is one of those or not.

  242. 242
    PDX_Greg

    @phRed, 195

    “And you never bothered to try to tell a male grad student most of the time, much less anyone important because at best you would get this “reasonable doubt” crap. Instead you learn to play dumb and act like you need “help” for something just to have a backup presence sometimes. And this sucks!”

    Oh. My. God. This hit me like a lightning bolt. My stomach is churning in disgust with myself. This explains a sequence of encounters I experienced back in my school days (over 30 years ago) when I was the only male student working with two female students (we were a trio of undergrads interning in the summer before our senior year) working on an work-intensive project for a male professor. Being selected for this was a great honor for all three of us. My fellow students were at least as brilliant, hard working, creative, and confidant as I considered myself to be. And they always wanted me to be present whenever they had to work directly with the professor, even though our tasks mostly didn’t seem to call for it. I took this as an ego boost feeding into my self-image of what an important and intelligent guy I must be. I can’t believe how stupidly oblivious I was about this. I had such hero-worship for the professor that it never even crossed my mind that he made them uncomfortable, but playing it back now after holding that door closed for all these years it all makes sense. Sorry D & A, you deserved better than a hero-worshiping ego-centric internship partner from me. The three of us remained friends and kept in touch for over a decade, but neither of them ever felt comfortable enough to knock my rose-colored glasses off of my nose with respect to the professor, even though they did express that they lacked my admiration for him in different ways, although we never talked about it. What a fool I was.

    Bottom line is, I had a life-affirming ego-building work experience with a professor I had always admired. Although they did the same work and received the same academic and work credit, they ended up with another disappointing life lesson. That is as unfair as fuck.

  243. 243
    notsont

    @227

    Apologies all around. There are certain things about the Skepchicks that rub me the wrong way

    You may wish to examine why this is the case, I am not saying this is definitely the case, but for me In the past when people have “just rubbed me wrong” it turned out after I really opened my eyes and examined why I felt the way I did, that the only explanation for my dislike were irrational personal biases, in some cases deep down racism and sexism, we all have it, and it comes out whether we like it or not.

  244. 244
    PZ Myers

    I have now heard directly from someone I trust that she was sexually assaulted by Lawrence Krauss.

    Shit.

  245. 245
    PZ Myers

    #242: I know that feeling. There were a number of Big Names in my field whose work I really liked, and I thought they were good people…and I didn’t notice at the time how the women grad students avoided being anywhere near them. It sunk in slowly, over a number of years.

  246. 246
    sharkjack

    @ 208 pHred: Yes, that makes a lot of sense.

  247. 247
    David Marjanović

    The three of us remained friends and kept in touch for over a decade

    Can you still contact them?

    Shit.

    How many more… Rather an end with horror than horror without end, I guess.

  248. 248
    gillt

    Bottom line is, I had a life-affirming ego-building work experience with a professor I had always admired. Although they did the same work and received the same academic and work credit, they ended up with another disappointing life lesson.

    These “life lessons” do accumulative damage and contribute to less women professors.

  249. 249
    Stephanie Zvan

    I have now heard directly from someone I trust that she was sexually assaulted by Lawrence Krauss.

    Hell of a thing to carry around with you, isn’t it. Someone told me the same thing (maybe even the same story) about a year ago. It’s one of those things that makes me unwilling to walk away from this until we have real progress.

  250. 250
    yazikus

    I have now heard directly from someone I trust that she was sexually assaulted by Lawrence Krauss.

    No wonder he is threatening lawsuits over at Jen’s. He knows what could come to light. I think there is a saying: When you are cleaning your house, you don’t turn off the light, you turn it up.
    -
    Let’s turn up the light.
    -
    I’m sorry for your friend, and all of the others too.

  251. 251
    bartmon

    As a former employee of the JREF I concur with Carrie that DJ does not have the best interests of the Jref in mind and his abilities as a manager are atrocious. I am surprised anyone can work there and not go insane. I have a list of things that went on there when I worked for the JREF and several of them include proof that could likely lead to serious consequences for mr. Grothe. I’ve also put up with a lot of his lies and BS about me as an employee, but I love Randi and for this reason I’ve let it rest, but I will say that I agree with Carrie 100%. Ill also note that employees of the jref usually don’t speak up because they are legally bound to silence. I never took money from them when I tendered my resignation, so I am not bound by NDAs like others are.

    I wish the best for the JREF but unfortunately there are a lot of issues that trace back to the board level. When I left there were three board members, just three, including randi and there were lots of problems that effectively gave one person complete control over the JREF. This person once told me “DJ will never be fired”.

    My suggestion is just to look at what’s actually been accomplished during dj’s tenure. Not much. They’ve had a full-time educational director for years and what’s happened? I don’t blame that employee because the egos and micromanagement involved.

    Anyhow, that’s it for me, I concur with, and support Carrie.

  252. 252
    David Marjanović

    The incident Sasha describes could constitute sexual harassment on its own. Of a cis, straight guy.

    Well, “could” only in the sense that it might be possible to discuss whether it was harassment or only attempted harassment of someone who had too much privilege to be effectively harassed.

    Yes, I am splitting hairs to illustrate the point here.

  253. 253
    David Marjanović

    These “life lessons” do accumulative damage and contribute to less women professors.

    You think that needs to be said?

    he is threatening lawsuits over at Jen’s

    …Oh for fuck’s sake.

    Sue his ass, and then sue the rest of him!

  254. 254
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Lance:
    I guess there is no way anyone could have known Krauss was in Australia…

    and one more thing–this ain’t no damn witch hunt. I swear you pseudoskeptic idiots love using phrases without thinking them through.
    Color me curious, which of your heroes stands accused?

  255. 255
    ediblepolygon

    The Tumblr has been resurrected…. as a parody.

    http://morewillbenamed.tumblr.com/

  256. 256
    Tethys

    ,blockquote>…Oh for fuck’s sake.

    Sue his ass, and then sue the rest of himthem!

    Indeed. Unfortunately, lawyers are expensive.

    One way in which we could actually help is to set-up a victims support fund and get some excellent legal representation.
    The abusers involved have a distinct financial advantage, and I would absolutely love to see that taken away from them.

    A group suit against all of these assholes and the organizations they represent would be highly appropriate at this point.

    Raising a buttload of money for the purpose would also provide some instant public vindication and support for the victims, making it much more likely that others will feel safe enough to go public.

  257. 257
    Tethys

    sorry for borking the tags.

  258. 258
    Pteryxx

    One way in which we could actually help is to set-up a victims support fund and get some excellent legal representation.

    See Jen’s updated post. Ken of Popehat has stepped up.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/blaghag/2013/08/covering-my-ass

  259. 259
    changerofbits

    Looked at JREF’s 990, and I’m no accountant, but it looks like the JREF doesn’t do much other than pay Randi and DJ ($0.5m, including other folks, like the tax accountant), hold TAM ($0.5m) and maintain The Million Dollar Challenge (the money is sitting in the bank in escrow). My calculator from the data in page 10, shows only about $2k going to grants to organizations and individuals, out of $1.2m in expenses. How much money did Skepchick and others raise to send women to TAM? I supposed the JREF could have rolled travel/expenses for sending women to TAM into other line items. The only redeeming thing is that if DJ lives in SoCal(?), his salary is fairly modest.

  260. 260
    LykeX

    I looked at the 990 and I’m not sure if the expense to”conferences, conventions and meetings” covers only TAM or also other activities. Does JREF hold smaller, local meetings, maybe? Lectures, talks, workshops; that sort of thing?

  261. 261
    Tethys

    Thanks pteryxx, I’m glad that Jen has legal advice.

    I want the funds to do more than buy awesome lawyers, I want it to provide monies to any victims who cannot speak up due to it affecting their ability to earn a living.

    How awesome and affirming would it be from the victims POV to see millions donated so they can sue the ass off all of these creeps, and not have to fear any reprisals.

    Money is power. Sad and unfair, but true. : /

  262. 262
    gillt

    You think that needs to be said?

    Unless you’re looking for an argument why are you asking rhetorical questions? It’s the chilling effect of a boys-club atmosphere that is exhausting and stressful and worse, an atmosphere that provides a safe haven for men who don’t know and never learned how to interact with women. I think that extends, in part, to those men who don’t/didn’t notice it going on right under their noses. Maybe that’s being too harsh though. The only reason I’m aware of it is because I live with someone who reports from the trenches daily and blogs like this.

  263. 263
    LykeX

    How much money did Skepchick and others raise to send women to TAM?

    According to this Surly Amy sent 14 women to TAM in 2011. I’m not sure what the cost was then, but the price for 2013 was $475 for early registration. Prices vary, as well as expenses in different years, but off the top of my google, it looks like Surly Amy is single-handedly beating the JREF, despite the fact that her grants go into the coffers of the JREF.

    @Tethys
    It would be interesting to have a standing support group for victims of abuse; to help with legal expenses, advice, assistance with investigations, watchdog against organization that try to sweep things under the rug, etc.
    That would be a real step forward.

  264. 264
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    Like any other abusive asshole, Krauss looks at a sea of potential targets, and picks the one that looks weakest. In this case, he could have threatened anyone and went after the financially-strapped grad student. What a putz, what a fucking shit-weasel.

  265. 265
    John Phillips, FCD

    Improbable Joe #264, QFFT.

  266. 266
    kellym

    According to this Surly Amy sent 14 women to TAM in 2011

    And in 2012, Surly Amy sent 22 women to TAM. I don’t know what Amy paid for each ticket, but if it was $400, then she donated $8800 to the JREF in 2012 alone. In return for Amy’s kindness and generosity, DJ Grothe personally endorsed some of the harassment directed at Amy at that TAM. He hugged and complimented Dr. Harriet Hall for her anti-Skepchick t-shirt that contributed to Amy’s being harassed out of TAM, instead of explaining to Dr. Hall that she was inadvertently (as Dr. Hall claims) contributing to harassment of a woman who 1) didn’t deserve harassment and 2) had sponsored and worked damn hard to support TAM. DJ had a moral obligation to handle the issue professionally, and instead decided to throw in with the harassers.
    DJ set the ball in motion for Amy’s harassment at TAM by falsely blaming Rebecca for declining women’s attendance at TAM. DJ has made it clear that he supports some of the worst online harassers of Skepchicks and other feminists by endorsing the Slymepit on his Twitterfeed about 6 months ago. The guy is a passive-aggressive asshole.

  267. 267
    Scr... Archivist

    Someone named Joe Anderson, who writes that he has known Karen Stollznow for a long time, has a piece in support of her posted to More Than Men: http://www.morethanmen.org/2013/08/12/joe-anderson-shame-on-you-ben/

  268. 268
    Pteryxx

    and he’s a witness to both the ongoing harassment *and* spoke to the investigation that took place but resulted in nothing. Good on him.

  269. 269
    Old At Heart

    @263: Really? Fricking Bronies can get a con with big-name celebrities and speakers for less than fifty bucks per person, and the atheists are charging that much? No wonder none go on by me if those are the pricetags.

    On topic, this is awful. The incident, that is. The revealing is good. You can pour dirt on a wound and hide it, but you need to reveal it to let it heal properly. And this is exactly what to nay-sayers wanted, and look, no (or rather, very few) nay-sayers, too: Evidence, paper trail, attempt to reconcile personally, professionally, and only then greater world exposure… They probably could have skipped a few steps, but I hope in having all this evidence and procedure, it alleviates some of the flack the coming-forwards will wind up getting from worthless dregs. I hope. They’ve gotten enough of that already.

    On the recurring theme of partnered-office-walking… While there were much fewer incidents in my side of things (most profs at that uni insisted whole groups go for any group meeting with them as policy) I still wound up doing the “impromptu patrols”, as I took to calling them (I lived on-campus, so I’d stroll the university, except the back fields after dark because of coyotes), where I’d walk about, encounter someone I only knew very tangentially, and they’d stop their journey to ask me an obscure question on some arcane topic as they walked, so I’d follow to answer, since I was walking anyways… Just wait five minutes outside this or that doorway as they dropped something off or picked up something. By my graduation, about 20% of the school seemed to know me, despite not possibly sharing classes with that many people… Always ready for a chat on anything. I just thought it was a really friendly university. The dean actually commented on my “cheering squad” at graduation, though I’d be hard-pressed to name more than three or four people in the crowd (not fellow graduands) not blood-related.

    But Krauss too, eh? Ugh. Well that sucks. I’ll admire his scientific efforts in an academic standpoint, but I guess I’ll be skipping on his documentaries and books. I know Dawkins can be a privileged and insensitive ass (apologies to all donkeys out there), but he hasn’t assaulted anyone yet, right? Can we at least have one “just flawed not broken” TV-ready atheist?

  270. 270
    John-Henry Beck

    Just a note on conference price tags. There’s quite a range that I’ve seen. TAM is a primary fund raising event for JREF, so it’s pricetag is maybe the highest I’ve heard of. (On a related note, they’re a ‘skeptic’ conference – they avoid the atheism thing for the most part, as I’ve heard.) In contrast, American Atheists seems to be more like $200 for their main annual one, and under $100 for regional cons. And then there’s entirely free ones like Skepticon and Reason Fest. In contrast to that, the local sci-fi/fantasy/gaming/etc con here has been going up and up…I know it passed $20 years ago but I lost track. I’ve heard some others like DragonCon aren’t too cheap either. But they’re dealing with a broader market.
    Well, I think at this point I’m rambling. The main point simply being that there’s a variety of atheist and skeptic cons around with a wide range of costs. And the TAM example being discussed is on the high end.

  271. 271
    nathanaelnerode

    “I was assured on more than one occasion by James Randi that D.J. Grothe would be fired (I hear Randi denies this now, though he repeatedly promised it to another staff member as well, and that staff member and I represented the entirety of JREF full-time staff other than D.J. and his husband, Thomas), but after several months of waiting and being asked to wait, it became clear that D.J. was not going to be fired.”

    Next question is to figure out whether this is because the other two members of the Board of Directors have been stacked by Grothe to remove Randi from power (perfectly likely, don’t underestimate the possibility), whether Randi has been bamboolzed (also perfectly likely) or whether Randi is actually complicit. Why? Different strategies follow. If Randi has been maneuvered out, it may be possible to convince him to throw out JREF and start a new organization.

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