It could happen at any time. People are still inviting Shermer to give talks at various events, despite his sordid history. He could suddenly show up on your campus! Do not fear, however. One thing we know about the Shermer is that he’s toothless. He’ll bluster and threaten, but he’ll back down, just as he did in his threats to Santa Barbara City College and their campus newspaper, The Channels.
Following threats to pursue legal action against The Channels, Professor Raeanne Napoleon, and City College as a whole, Dr. Michael Shermer announced in an email Saturday that he was dropping his case.
Although we have an excellent case that I was defamed, it is not worth the time and cost pursuing legal recourse for what is (hopefully) an inconsequential incident,Shermer wrote in his final letter regarding the matter. The letter was circulated on campus email by instructor Mark McIntire.
This is what he always does. He tries to silence people who mention the ugly things he has done with legal intimidation, and when that doesn’t work, he wilts. So don’t let it work! Stand strong!
His threats are empty. The Channels did stand strong.
The Channels maintained its position that the article was not libelous, and again decided to ignore the request to remove it from the website. The editors agreed at this point, however, to postpone publishing any more articles related to Shermer.
“It seemed apparent that there was no case of libel here,” said Aidan Anderson, the Editor-in-Chief of The Channels. “Because of that, we didn’t feel it was necessary to respond to the letter at all, let alone fulfill the demands.”
On April 4, Shermer sent a second Cease and Desist to Wallace and Beebe, listing the same demands, but with an extended deadline of 5 p.m. April 12. This time, Anderson responded to the lawyer via email on behalf of Wallace and The Channels.
He wrote that The Channels would not take down the article, and instead invited Shermer to submit a Letter to the Editor. In that letter—which The Channels would publish—Shermer could outline his objections with the article. Shermer never responded.
I guess Shermer’s lawyer agreed. I suspect Shermer’s lawyer has a stack of form letters at hand, ready to go, whenever he gets a phone call: “Who are you mad at today, Michael?”
But also notice that his complaints were effective: “The editors agreed at this point, however, to postpone publishing any more articles related to Shermer.” That’s exactly what he wanted, and he got it.
You should read Shermer’s surrender. It’s pitiful. One of his major complaints is that it was stated that he was investigated by the police, and he quotes his accuser to show…that that was…NOT true?
The newspaper did not fact check the claims nor did they even offer me a chance to respond. That was bad enough, but Napoleon did not simply repeat lies told about me in these blogs, she added a new one:
Although the police did not bring formal charges against him, there have been many witnesses that have publicly corroborated the stories of the victims.
What police? Where? When? Never in my life have I been investigated by the police—or any law enforcement agency—for anything anytime anywhere.
You will not be surprised at his other defense. It was Buzzfeed. Buzzfeed has a solid news division that is quite distinct from their goofy listicles and quizzes section — I think we can guess which one brings in more ad revenue — so it has become de rigeur for the pseudoskeptics to dismiss any uncomfortable facts that the news division brings up by pretending it’s just another bit of clickbait. Read critically, people.
Fact Checking. That’s all it takes to debunk Alternative Facts and Fake News like this, which is why the way The Channels newspaper handled this issue is so inexcusable. There is a reason why no newspaper or print publication or journalistic source of any repute has ever published anything about the allegations against me: they fact check. The author of the BuzzFeed article that launched this whole affair four years ago is a regular contributor to The New York Times and Los Angeles Times. There’s a reason he ended up publishing it on a click-bait site that features such articles as “Butt Facts That Will Surprise You” and “Can We Guess Your Favorite Sex Position?”
Yeah, and the Los Angeles Times still publishes horoscopes, and the New York Times publishes David Brooks (I’ll leave you to decide which is more appalling.)
There’s a reason why I am still a professor at Chapman University, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, a regular public speaker at colleges and universities around the country, and my books are published by one of the most respectable book publishers in the world: they fact checked the allegations against me and dismissed them. Social justice activists whose priorities veer far from the truth-value of claims and allegations have actively tried to get me fired and failed. Why? Fact checking.
That is incorrect. Before I posted any accusations against him, the first thing I did was check the facts — they’re pretty much unassailable. Multiple women stepped forward to complain about his creepy behavior. The reason is not fact checking at all, it’s more like fact ignoring that permits him to get away with it. There are two real reasons he still gets that positive attention:
His chosen domain is the skeptic movement, which you may have noticed has a sexual assault and harassment problem. Major figures in that movement have a history of turning a blind eye to harassment problems. This is the kind of response he gets from skeptic leaders:
“Shermer has been a bad boy on occasion — I do know that,” Randi told me. “I have told him that if I get many more complaints from people I have reason to believe, that I am going to have to limit his attendance at the conference.
“His reply,” Randi continued, “is he had a bit too much to drink and he doesn’t remember. I don’t know — I’ve never been drunk in my life. It’s an unfortunate thing … I haven’t seen him doing that. But I get the word from people in the organization that he has to be under better control. If he had gotten violent, I’d have him out of there immediately. I’ve just heard that he misbehaved himself with the women, which I guess is what men do when they are drunk.”
He only misbehaves himself with women. Well, that’s alright then!
The other reason, the biggest reason, is that he is goddamned litigious. He is litigious as fuck. If you listen to his accusers, he will cheerfully sic a lawyer on you.
I just want you all to know that the power of #1 is fading, as more of these enablers in the movement find themselves out of power. And he’s effectively weakening his main tool, #2, because he threatens but backs down. He has to back down, because if he followed through he’d find himself exposed in the court of public opinion.