Y’all know we’re getting sued by Richard Carrier because we thought a woman who accused him of harassment ought to be listened to, and because we had the temerity to question his use of professional meetings as open meat markets, right? We need your help now. He’s demanding over $2 million dollars for damages to his professional reputation (trust us, we know: you can be accused of all kinds of dubious ethical problems and still have a thriving career on the atheist lecture circuit*, unfortunately, so this is kind of a weird complaint), and we’ve had to throw tens of thousands of dollars at a lawyer to defend ourselves.

None of us are exactly wealthy, so this is unsupportable, and we are reaching out to our readers for assistance, with a GoFundMe site for donations.

This lawsuit has all the hallmarks of a SLAPP suit — a lawsuit filed to stifle legitimate criticism and commentary. The named defendants are Skepticon, The Orbit, and Freethought Blogs – as well as individuals Lauren Lane, the lead organizer of Skepticon; Stephanie Zvan, a blogger for The Orbit; PZ Myers, a blogger for Freethought Blogs; and Amy Frank-Skiba, who publicly posted her first-hand allegations against Carrier.

We need your help to keep our voices alive. All the defendants are represented by the same attorney, First Amendment lawyer Marc Randazza. Randazza is providing his services at a significant discount, but we are not asking him to work for free. Plus, there are thousands of dollars in “costs” for the case that don’t include legal bills, and there is no way to discount those. In order to continue fighting this lawsuit, we, the defendants of this case, have put together this campaign to raise money to defray our costs, some of which is outstanding. Donations will be used only for this case. In the event that the funds raised exceed our legal bills, they will be donated to Planned Parenthood .

I’ve been fortunate in the past that the loons who’ve threatened to sue me have tended to collapse at the prospect of defending their absurdities, and their already compromised reputations, in court. This one is sufficiently self-righteous that he’s continued on, to the point where we really need to bring in a professional to fight for us, and a good lawyer is not cheap. Every penny will be deeply appreciated.

*Sadly, the one thing that can cut short your career in atheism is criticizing harassers. Deep down, it’s all very tribal and the one thing you must never do is challenge authority.


  1. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Donated. Might be able to do more later, when the dust settles here.

  2. feministhomemaker says

    Sent you a check for $100 care of Skepticon, who has not yet cashed the check I sent them as well for legal expenses. If they get the check to you I promised another donation to them. Please let me know. Will try to work up courage to give online if my effort did not work. In any case, please contact me for emergency assistance for any reason. I will help.

  3. amitxjoshi says

    PZ, The GoFundMe page says the money will go directly to Stephanie. I don’t know anything about her, except what I read here. Is there a way I can send money to you, and let you figure out how to divide it between all the respondents to the lawsuit?

  4. catbutler says

    I kicked in $50. Glad to help. I don’t say much around these parts, but I try to assist where possible. Also, this kind of shit really irritates me.

  5. says

    No, Stephanie is just administering it all. The money is going straight to our lawyer, she is just the middleperson — we had to designate somebody to be the recipient, and Jason did all the technical work of wrestling with the gofundme platform, while she was willing to be the accountant.

    This is a joint effort, since ALL of us are being targeted by the lawsuit.

  6. mikehuben says

    Is this lawsuit in a venue with anti-SLAPP laws?

    Is there a countersuit on the basis of SLAPP or a chance of a penalty for him because of his SLAPP?

    If there are any winnings from countersuits or penalties, would they go to Planned Parenthood also?

    Nevertheless, I’ve donated $100, which is a tiny fraction of the value I’ve received from reading Pharyngula for the past 10 or more years.

  7. says

    The suit is currently filed in Ohio, which does not have anti-SLAPP laws. Our lawyer is currently trying to get it changed as a first step — Carrier moved to Ohio right about the time he filed the suit, so it seems a little devious.

    We’re not planning a counter-suit yet — I’d prefer to just have it all go away. Any excess would go to PP, but ‘winnings’ are unlikely, since Carrier has also declared that he’s getting by on a poverty-level income.

  8. Rich Woods says

    @AndrewD #9:

    Thrown $50 your way from the UK

    Or, thanks to Brexit, $49…$48…$47… ;-)

  9. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I’ll donate. I wish you luck against this ridiculous and empty lawsuit.

    F’ing defamation laws and our broken modern court system.

  10. gijoel says

    since Carrier has also declared that he’s getting by on a poverty-level income.

    And yet he can scrimp and save for a fancy lawyer. That’s true grit there, fighting for justice. Just like the Drumpf.

    Hope this stupid case bankrupts him. Twenty dollars sent your way.

  11. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The first thing any competent lawyer lawyer will do is run a background check on Carrier, and see if Carrier is really as poor as he pretends. I don’t think he is, but then I don’t believe anything he says at this point in time without third party evidence….

  12. raven says

    I’m in for a few bucks.
    I really don’t like bullies.

    Even in a non-SLAPP suit venue, you can still try to collect court costs and your lawyers fees.
    Especially if it is a frivolous suit and the plaintiff loses badly.

  13. raven says

    I’ll add here that federal courts are backlogged for years.
    Because the congress doesn’t allocate a lot of money to them.

    It can take 2 years minimum for a case to be tried.
    In some jurisdictions, the wait is more like 10 years.

    It probably isn’t a good idea to wait up on this one.

  14. davidc1 says

    Hi ,just donated 10 of your Yankee Dollars ,wish it was more ,but i am as tight as a Duck’s Arse .

  15. brett says

    I’m going to give you $20 as soon as I get home.

    @PZ Myers

    The suit is currently filed in Ohio, which does not have anti-SLAPP laws.

    Shit, that sucks. We need a national Anti-SLAPP law.

  16. blf says

    [USAlienstaini needs] a national Anti-SLAPP law.

    Considering who has just taken over essentially all three branches of the federal dalekcracy, such a law would probably be something like “If you cannot pay and are not the suing party, you loose. If you sue the dalekcracy or anyone who is a member of, or designated by, the dalekcracy (including retrospective designations), you loose. If your are sued but your defense is not approved by the dalekcracy in advance of the lawsuit being filed, you loose. Losers must forfeit all property before paying. Losers who do not pay must be mooslins and are expelled immediately.”

  17. Lofty says

    Donated twenty usd to your site donation account instead, I don’t like my credit card details going out there.

  18. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    So when’s he going to sue himself for damaging his reputation? Because, frankly, every time I’ve seen him react to this stuff, it’s damaged my opinion of him far more than what he was being criticised for.

    Unfortunately, I’m CFO at Hard Up Industries, based in Skinterton, Brokeshire right now, but I’ll throw something your way when I’m next paid, in precisely 7 days (+/- a couple of hours – I’ll probably still be at work this time next week).