Well this is one possible reason – Maria Berglund at Skepchick Sweden.
Last year D.J, who was booked as a speaker at the European Skeptics Congress in Stockholm, simply didn’t show up. The group that organized the congress were quite surprised, since he hadn’t contacted us for a cancellation. They managed, at the last minute, to throw in another speaker to take his place.
When I got in contact with him, he sounded quite surprised and claimed that he absolutely had cancelled recently. I then asked him to let us know who he had communicated with, and he promised to do so. He didn’t, however, and when I kept asking him for it he kept telling me that he would get back to me about this when he was by his computer. He never did.
He also promised the Swedish Skeptics to pay us the money for the hotel room, but never did. Both of these facts I double checked a while ago with the current board.
And I’ve heard other stories of that kind, from people who are, like Maria, in a position to know.
This could of course be just misunderstandings and innocent mistakes, but that seemed less likely when I started to hear a bunch of similar stories from other people and organizations – D.J. not showing up, not keeping promises and not paying people money. The biggest problem was not him being a no-show and not paying for a hotel room, the biggest problem was that the boss of JREF seemed to be lying to us and that this appeared to be a pattern.
Exactly; see above.
Here’s one such similar story, from an Australian blogger at TAM Australia in 2010, that I found quite easily by googling.
The next talk was sensational. It was Dr Pamela Gay‘s (AstronomyCast, Slacker Astronomy & SIU faculty), talk on Citizen Science, during which she presented on the wonderful contributions made by amateurs in the field of astronomy…
I found Dr Gay’s talk as enthusiastic and inspiring as ever, as she is truly a gifted and entertaining presenter. Even though Pamela was a late ring-in due to JREF President DJ Grothe‘s late withdrawal from the conference due to an unforeseen scheduling clash, her presentation was one of the highlights for me, and was loudly applauded by an appreciative audience, which seemed to surprise her somewhat.
See it? The JREF President’s late withdrawal from a talk at his own organization’s conference due to an unforeseen scheduling clash??? A what? How could there be such a “scheduling clash”? What engagement could bump that engagement? It would be like Obama withdrawing from the State of the Union to cut the ribbon on a new supermarket in Tulsa. And even if there were such a scheduling clash, how exactly could it be unforeseen?
So, yeah. One possible reason.