Don’t you worry your pretty little head about Lawrence Krauss

He’ll be fine. Amidst a flurry of protestations that he did nothing wrong, he has announced his departure from academia.

In a statement, Krauss said he submitted a request to retire as an ASU professor at the end of the academic year, which is May 16, 2019. The university accepted the request and closed the review process, Krauss said.ASU confirmed it has accepted Krauss’ request to retire.

Isn’t that neat? He gets to retire with his pension, and no further investigation will occur, and he gets to claim vindication, because no accusations will be examined. Everyone who wants to keep him going on the ol’ lecture circuit can now claim that he was found innocent by default.

If you’d asked me before what the most likely outcome would be, this is it. The system is set up this way to protect everyone from their actions in a nice sheltering womb.

Well, “everyone” being a privileged elite who are guaranteed to never suffer any consequences. It’s great.

Look for Lawrence Krauss to be headlining atheist/skeptical conferences all over the country next year, as if nothing had happened!


  1. says


    The point is now that he has de-facto, lost his job, lost his medical health insurance, lost credibility within the atheist community, lost academic credentials and in effect he has lost everything that he has worked for. Despite the crassness of his offence and the long term psychological damage that he has laid upon his victims, I can feel sorry for both him and his victims. They are all victims either directly or indirectly of the pervasive macho entitled culture that is abroad. However, and be that as it may, it is all small fry compared with the reign of the lying groper in chief.

    Chris Phillips

  2. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Chris #1, Kraus hasn’t lost his medical care. According to his bio, he will be 65 and on Medicare (part A is automatic enrollment at 65, part B requires his enrollment) so he’s simply switching coverage like many of us retired folks did. Most of us find Medicare better than private health insurance.

  3. =8)-DX says

    @Chris Phillips #1

    Early retirement! What a punishment! See you in a year or two and we can compare notes about how many atheist conferences he’s attended, his income from cushy speaking gigs and how often he is quoted by journalists or appears on television. In three or more years I’m sure we’ll have even more notes to compare about poor victim Krauss!

  4. drken says

    You beat me to it PZ. Given that Sam Harris defended his behavior with “they would have liked it if he was more attractive”, I’m pretty sure the celebrity atheists will won’t miss a beat in welcoming him back (as if he ever really left). It’s complaining about harassment that gets you ejected from the good graces of Atheism, not participating in it.

  5. says

    Given that Sam Harris defended his behavior with “they would have liked it if he was more attractive”

    Krauss has behaved reprehensibly, but I’m seriously doubting this is an accurate statement. Do you have some sort of link or reference?

  6. feministhomemaker says

    FFRF severed ties with Lawrence Krauss back in March of this year. So that is cause for a bit less cynicism. Gives me some hope! My request today of them was uninformed! My cynicism got checked! He won’t be able to count on speaking at their annual conventions. Won’t see his photo promoted in their newsletter anymore either! Take heart!

  7. drken says

    @MNR #8:

    I distinctly remember him saying it, but I can’t find the quote anywhere. So, I’m going to retract that. All I can find is the usual statements of support for #MeToo, clarified with caveats about false accusations and going “overboard” about “minor” offenses.

  8. methuseus says

    @drken #7 & 10:

    Whether he said it or not, what difference would that make? Maybe the women would have been more receptive if he were more attractive. It would still be taking advantage of his power in most cases. Also, if the women didn’t complain (though they have complained about more attractive men as well) there would have been no issue anyway. I don’t understand people who do say things about attractiveness making abuse of power, etc. okay.

  9. =8)-DX says

    @Mikkel Nif Rasmussen #8 (& @drken #10)
    It was a general statement by Harris, not specific to Krauss (although it strongly seems like that’s what he’s implying), in his podcast bashing Buzzfeed. link to the YouTube version of it here and link to the [8:00] mark.

    Sam Harris: “It stretches all the way to cases where had the guy been desirable to the woman his behavior would have totally passed as flattery and successful flirting…but because he was undesirable it was viewed as unwanted attention and in some cases is being classes as a kind of assault, or a kind of harassment.”

    Harris also doubles down on standard rape culture apologetics with “man in bushes”, “regret after sex isn’t rape” and “words have meaning” nonsense, he makes it pretty clear what he thinks the approach to the Krauss situation should be (including hoping he does a mea culpa).
    You’re welcome.

  10. Saad says

    Seemed like a pretty par for the course statement for Harris to make but good to hear it directly from the horse’s mouth.

  11. says

    So Sam is describing extremes on the spectrum of unwanted attention and misunderstood signals, with what is basically bad flirting on one end of the extreme, and rape at the other, and somehow he’s doing rape apologetics and making excuses for Krauss? Sorry, no.
    He specifically says “I think it’s extremely important to set out the ends of the contiuum here… which stretches from true criminality and rape by people who should spend decades in prison” and then goes on to mention extremes on the other end of that spectrum. Nothing there in any way indicates he thinks Krauss was just an ugly flirter. And if that’s what counts as rape culture apologetics to you, then the concept has lost it’s meaning.

  12. Saad says

    There goes Sam being misinterpreted again!

    So Sam is describing extremes on the spectrum of unwanted attention and misunderstood signals, with what is basically bad flirting on one end of the extreme, and rape at the other, and somehow he’s doing rape apologetics and making excuses for Krauss?

    It’s not directly rape apologetics but he’s setting a strawman of sorts to distort the idea behind #metoo. This point of his about distinguishing between Harvey Weinsteins and unwanted attention or misconduct does not even need to be made. He then goes on to say how scary it is that single people won’t know how to behave and workplaces are now dangerous for single people. That’s not directly rape apologia but it sure is a misogynistic interpretation of women speaking up against misconduct.

    His point about if the guy was attractive it would have been okay is also bullshit. A woman has the full right to be okay with one man touching her back but not another man doing it. This is not men being oppressed.

    But I love how he complains about his anti-Muslim and racist statements were seen as anti-Muslim and racist in there too. The guy just can’t admit he was wrong and apologize.

  13. drken says

    Thanks =8-DX, I knew I heard him say something like that, it’s nice to know I wasn’t imagining it.

    @Mikkel, #14:
    What Sam Harris is doing is his usual debate tactic. He says something that seems pretty obvious (in this case, sometimes a guy you’re not interested in will flirt with you, but that’s not rape), but does it in a context where he’s indirectly straw-manning the opposition. Then, when somebody calls him on it, he denounces them as putting words in his mouth. Nobody is arguing that having somebody flirt with you that you’re not attracted to is rape, or even harassment (unless you’ve told them not to). So, why bring that up? Because, plenty of people are arguing that feminists think that, despite the lack of actual feminists making that argument. His statement is a dog-whistle to them. Why? because you can’t be a harassment apologist anymore, but you can shut down those who advocate against it by convincing men that anything they do can be harassment and there’s no way to tell what that is.

  14. =8)-DX says

    @Mikkel Nif Rasmussen #14

    Yeah, no. I can explain why it’s rape culture. You see the essential element that Sam is sidestepping is consent. For example:

    “had the guy been desirable to the woman his behavior would have totally passed as flattery and successful flirting…”

    What behaviour is this? Flattery and flirting are say making a compliment about a person’s appearance or a funny joke or innuendo during conversation in an appropriate setting, when the other person is responding positively to you and look like they want to have that kind of conversation (rather than say being left alone).

    “but because he was undesirable it was viewed as unwanted attention”

    So what Sam’s done is he’s made a causal connection between “unwanted attention” and “was undesirable”. But of course this goes both ways. Being attractive to someone doesn’t mean any and all attention from you will be wanted. On the contrary, apart from baseline attraction, unwanted attention is itself unattractive and makes a person undesirable. “Successful flirting” is about both participants correctly evaluating what kind of conversation the other person would enjoy. But he goes on:

    “and in some cases is being classed as a kind of assault, or a kind of harassment.”

    Conversation isn’t assault by any stretch. So he’s talking about unwanted touching, or if harassment that’s defined as continuing with a behaviour even after it’s obviously unwanted. In Sam’s model of human interaction, if you’re sexy and attractive, you should be able to get away with saying or doing whatever you want to people. No. If instead you consider what’s important is consent, you’ll recognise that you don’t touch people who haven’t made it clear they want to be touched, you don’t continue with a conversation if you think the other person might be uncomfortable with it and if you’re not sure of any of those things, you ask, or apologise if you get things wrong.

    Sam’s model of “it’d have been ok if he was sexy” is directly and specifically relevant to Krauss. Case in point the unwanted groping Cristina Rad described was in a bar situation after a con where various fans of Krauss had been greeting and taking photos with him. Krauss assumed since young fans were gushing about him (and as he described himself in his half-apology, often hugging and touching him without asking), that they found him attractive and that a little hand-on-thigh shouldn’t be a problem. The same with the time he grabbed that woman’s boob without asking.

    The problem wasn’t that Krauss wasn’t sexy enough! Many of the women he did this to thought him amazing, charming, elegant, yes even hot! The problem was he didn’t look for consent, because he assumed women being friendly to him meant they found him attractive, meaning he was entitled to do this to women because of his celebrity status.

    I’ll leave Sam’s other rape culture apologetics for another day, suffice to say that the “man in bushes is worst rape” myth is wrong and setting up simplistic hierarchies of harm is just ignorant.

  15. says

    Ah, I love the argumentum ad Insert Sexy Guy of Choice here.
    At it core it says that wo.en don’t get to decide whether they want something or not. If they are ok with ut because guy A is hot, or their relationship with guy B is close then they must be ok with guy C doing the same.
    Of course, it works the other way around, too: if women accuse a conventionally hot or desirable of harassment or assault, they claim that he could have every woman, so why would he assault one?