Rebecca Watson tells it like it is

Here we go again.

She’s exactly right on this, and her account of the Buzzfeed article matches mine: they researched that thing for months, and there was a point in the middle where I was expecting it to come out at any time that the reporter contacted me and told me it was on hold a little longer while they nail down a few more points. This was not some quick hatchet job.

It’s telling, too, that the critics of the article keep circling around the same ad hominems.

I keep seeing the same thing over and over again. We’re not supposed to believe the article because Rebecca Watson is cited in it (as is this mysterious awful person, PZ Meyers). A lot of people also jump on the fact that Melody Hensley is in it.

That really pisses me off — it’s a circular argument. Shitlords on the internet grabbed a picture of Melody from the internet, slapped the words “TRIGGERED” on it, and then used that meme to argue that she has no credibility. I’ve also seen them cite the odious Thunderf00t’s terrible video on her — which really was a cheap hatchet job — that implied that only soldiers ever get PTSD (wrong!) to say that her diagnosis of PTSD was a lie. And now, because she was harassed right off the internet and out of her job, they claim that she experienced no trauma at all, which makes no sense. It’s a contemptible argument.

It also makes me wonder what they think motivates Rebecca Watson and Melody Hensley. Neither of them have gained a thing from speaking out about harassment, other than more harassment, hate mail, death threats, and reputations smeared by assholes, all while the skeptic/atheist movements sail merrily along, changing nothing, pretending that all is well.

Oh, and here’s another comment that confirms what the women have been saying all along. It’s some of the conference organizers who are a significant part of the problem.

I had to point out to this guy that maybe the reason he doesn’t see any criticisms is that his bias is shining out brightly, and it’s quite likely that the women know better than to talk to him — he’ll just deny, deny, deny, and then turn around and call them a Crazy Woman. So he doubled down.

A True Skeptic, that. I guess I’m not who I think I am. And once again, the fact that a mob of jerks hounded Melody into a stressed-out retirement from the movement is used to discredit Melody, rather than the mob.

I’ll also mention that this conference organizer, who had not heard any complaints about his speakers in 7 years, then turned around and claimed that he’d heard from dozens of women that I’d sexually harassed them when I spoke at his conference. That’s the level of dishonesty we’re dealing with here — that’s the amount of disrespect atheist conference organizers deal out to the women attendees. And then they wonder why women and minorities show less interest in organized atheism.


  1. says

    Only atheo-skepti-anything I’ve been to was PZ visiting Seattle a few years ago. My dad, who didn’t know better, had mentioned maybe going to a DickDawk thing on the east side, but had to give it a pass because of the ritzy price of admission. Glad to have not contributed to that crowd in any material way.

    I hope the victims of these creepy cyber mobs are as well as can be. Hopefully, they can feel some sense of pride in having faced hell’s own gibbering shitgibbons in full force, and maintained a human dignity their aggressors can never truly lay claim to.

  2. gijoel says

    I agree with Rebecca that this will stop when they stop when the serious men of Atheism stop getting paid. However there are so many gullible, aggrieved idiots in the world that keep throwing money at these arse clowns.

  3. anchor says

    The temerity involved in demonizing Watson and Hensley, not to mention proclaiming what “liberalism should really stands for” [sic] is quite impressive and strongly resembles that of ultra-far-right conservatives and creationists who likewise don’t give a hoot about facts, truth, integrity and honor.

    Contemptible doesn’t begin to describe their dishonesty.

  4. August Berkshire says

    Recently on my Facebook timeline, while defending Joe Biden’s inappropriate touchy-feeliness towards children, this organizer misrepresented what Rebecca Watson said about her elevator encounter years ago and called her crazy.

  5. says

    “instead of what liberalism should really stand for”
    What exactly is it they think that is? And whatever it is, now it looks bad, so, cool.

  6. Dunc says

    It also makes me wonder what they think motivates Rebecca Watson and Melody Hensley.

    Well, obviously, they’re being paid by George Soros as part of a Jewish – sorry, “cultural Marxist” – plot to undermine Western Civilisation.

  7. A. Noyd says

    @latsot (#8)
    I was wondering that too, but then I realized they probably meant “elevatorgate.” You can only add the “-gate” suffix to so many misogynistic harassment bonanzas before they all start to bleed into one another.

  8. KG says

    Rebecca was responsible for Gamergate? What is that supposed to even mean?

    Well if it wasn’t Hillary…

  9. komarov says

    They include Rebecca Watson as a source (who was responsible for gamergate)

    Others already noticed but this another interesting slip / mixup. The only people actually responsible for the gamergate fiasco were, of course, the loudmouthed* gamergaters. And the person gamergate (mainly) focussed on,rather than being responsible for it, was Anita Sarkeesian. But maybe an outspoken woman fed up with everyday sexims is pretty much interchangeable with any other woman doing the same, so why bother with distinctions? They’re all the same, awful SJWs one and all. (/sarcasm) Any woman speaking out must be discredited, harrassed at attacked at once…

    *To put it very, very mildly

  10. says

    And Rebecca Watson wasn’t even responsible for “ElevatorGate”. She posted nothing but a brief, moderate admonition, and it was all the hysterics who exploded with shrieks about how she accused a nice guy of rape — all lies. Like GamerGate, the real responsibility lies with all the assholes who respond inappropriately.

  11. Oggie. says

    And Rebecca Watson wasn’t even responsible for “ElevatorGate”.

    [snark] But she was, Pzed, she was! Just as Anita Sarkeesian WAS responsible for Gamergate. How dare those women tell us manly manly men that we should, in any way, shape or form, change our behaviour? That would lead to chaos! Chaos, I tell you! Dogs lying down with cats, fire and brimstone, Trump in the White House, Chaos! Chaos, I tell you! [/snark]

    It is really frightening how many people get so enraged (not just enraged, but years-and-years-worth-of-abuse-and-self-justification enraged) at the idea that, to make the world a better place, men need to change. It’s not like men haven’t changed before, right? Compare the expectations of an 11th-century English freeholder with a modern farmer in the US or England — huge difference. And it made the world a better place. Change can be good.

    Part of me wonders how many of these asshats realize that, two hundred years ago, their attitudes towards women would have been radically liberal in most cultural milieus?

  12. says

    Zoe Quinn was the primary target of gamergate not Sarkeesian. Sarkeesian’s preexisting targeting for harassment was extremely quickly drafted into gamergate but Quinn’s asshole of an ex started it.

    Gaters don’t call Sarkeesian’s literally who 1. She’s literally who 2.

    Minor point.

    As Watson even done extensive commentary on video games?

  13. Hj Hornbeck says

    August Berkshire @6:

    Recently on my Facebook timeline, while defending Joe Biden’s inappropriate touchy-feeliness towards children, this organizer misrepresented what Rebecca Watson said about her elevator encounter years ago and called her crazy.

    I’ve heard some background info on that organizer, too, and it supports taking what he says with a grain of salt.

  14. anbheal says

    @8 Latsot (and others, re Gamergate conflation), I see this sooo much among the TeaParty/Fox tribe lately! Three of my friends’ fathers, not senile, will scream at Tiger Woods if they see him teeing off at The Masters, “you weren’t born in America, you damn MUSLIM FRAUD!” I mean, he’s half-black, he’s good-looking and famous, must have a fake birth certificate, right? Saddam Hussein sent the planes into the World Trade Centers. Jane Fonda visits Pyongyang. The Dixie Chicks murdered Vince Foster.

    So sure, Rebecca Watson ruined gaming for everyone, after she aborted Malia’s meth orgy child.

  15. anchor says

    The Washington Post has an article on this very phenomenon of manufacturing bullshit:

    “We studied thousands of anonymous posts about the Parkland attack — and found a conspiracy in the making”, by Craig Timberg

    Sorry, can’t post a direct link at the moment. Search it up. (I keep getting an ‘invitation’ to subscribe that doesn’t show the correct url). Its worth the read, although its depressing as hell.

  16. says

    Another good resource on the “Fake News” phenomenon of taking a single point of truth and constructing a false narrative around it is this talk between Verge journalist Sarah Jeong and data scientist Emily Gorcenski (who, as a Charlottesville native, has also been covering the alt-right violence there on Twitter and elsewhere).

  17. billyjoe says

    I had been an atheist and sceptic for a long time before being exposed to atheist and sceptic organisations. It was through the JREF and, initially, had nothing to do with either atheism or scepticism (except tangentially). The founder of JREF had been in Australia debunking scam artist who were using “magic” tricks and pretending they had special powers. So I googled him and was led to his foundation. It was on the JREF that I first came across Rebecca Watson as a fellow blogger. She won’t remember me of course. The subsequent “elevatorgate” fiasco and the misogynistic attacks by other atheists and sceptics put an end to even considering getting involved with any atheist or sceptic organisations. In a sense, I was saved by Rebecca Watson. To be honest, though, I haven’t kept up with her blogging, but it was nice to see her looking and sounding so calm and self-assured in that video after all she’s been through. The whole “elevatorgate” thing left such a bad taste that I just had to move on.