I can tell you why: it’s because he bullies people, is litigious, and does his best to make life miserable for anyone who squeaks. I publicized a woman’s first person account of how he took advantage of her at a conference — she was terrified that he’d go after her and he did — and he responded by encouraging conference organizers to blackball me, and threw a lawsuit at me (he later backed down, since it was just going to be a parade of witnesses describing his deplorable behavior).
That turns out to be a common reaction on his part.
Shermer spoke at a west coast college lately, and one faculty member objected, sharing articles others had written about his behavior to the college’s in-house e-mail list. Shermer went ballistic. He sent a long, angry email to the professor; had another person who writes for his magazine contact them; made legal threats; defamed them (confirmed by a lawyer); sent multiple aggressive emails to the campus email list; blustered as he does, and eventually backed down on his threats of a lawsuit, after compelling my correspondent to hire a lawyer to deal with all the sabre-rattling. A portion of their email to me:
Shermer was a recent campus speaker at my college and after I shared articles about the allegations against him, I received legal threats from him (among other things in a 10 paragraph long email), intimidation from someone that writes for his magazine, I had to retain a lawyer, all while my college administration knew it all has been happening and stayed quiet (and then sent a late night email saying “let’s not get distracted…” after the campus faculty and staff generated a 8k gofundme account so I could afford a lawyer, but I’ve digressed…). This Saturday Shermer sent his second all-campus horrible email defaming me for the second time and said even though he has a “really good case against me” (he doesn’t) he’s decided to not sue me (when really his lawyers probably told him there is no case after my lawyer responded twice). There’s a million more details that I’m leaving out for now.
Now doesn’t that sound familiar? It’s what he did to me, except, at least, he didn’t spam my campus email server with his diatribes. This is how he always reacts, rushing to silence others’ free speech.
Somehow, though, those alt-right/right wing crusaders for “FREE SPEECH” never get around to criticizing their libertarian hero. I don’t know why, other than that it’s entirely clear that they’re actually interested in suppressing some free speech…just not their own. Another email from my correspondent:
I guess he’s shut down now, as he sent a second letter to my campus (that was sent all campus for the second time by a problematic adjunct faculty member who is acting like Shermer’s lap dog), but what bugs me is he gets to do this over and over again to people. He sent me two cease desists from his attorneys. Luckily my attorney shut it down both times. I knew he had no case from her go, as all I did was share articles written years ago with my campus.
His first letter that went all-campus (literally everyone I work with!) was 10 paragraphs of vitriol where he threatened to have a restraining order against me and his wife was going to be on “the look out for me”. He defamed me in it (actually defamed me, as confirmed by my lawyer).
Why does Scientific American employ such an asshole? As you know best, he’s been accused of this stuff multiple times by multiple people and even had a title ix investigation on him at Chapman….and he’s uses heavy handed letters to silence people. I was hoping someone would write an article about his tactics. Is that not interesting in the wake of the me too movement to see how people like him operate to silence people? Perhaps you have grown tired of him, but maybe you know someone in your circle that wants to pursue this further? After living through his reign of bullshit of a month, there’s a level of Justice I haven’t felt by him getting the last word on my campus AGAIN with his nonsense with “I’ve decided not to sue.” (When he had no case).
I’ve also read some of the responses of his defenders on campus. Some are shocked and regretful — they’ve been using his articles in classes for years and never heard about any of this (Why haven’t they? Because Shermer launches lawyers at anyone who mentions it). Others flat out lied, saying that all of the accusations against him had been formally debunked. That is flatly untrue.
My correspondent was willing to publicly identify themselves, and it was my decision to keep them anonymous for now — although, at least, there’s enough information in this post that Shermer could figure out who his accuser is. Maybe. It could be there are so many of them he can’t be sure. But they did ask that I include one additional comment — they aren’t going to back down from his bullying behavior.
These horrible attacks by Shermer are intentionally hurtful and you can add mine to the voices objecting to this treatment.
I also have to repeat their question. Why does Scientific American employ such an asshole? It’s not as if he’s even producing competent articles, as has been noted yet again recently.
Disappointing that @sciam is contributing to our era's ever-frequent disrespect of expertise by publishing this ill-informed & confused @michaelshermer column on moral philosophy. (1/12) https://t.co/ETDQoHGF5s
— Daily Nous (@DailyNousEditor) April 17, 2018