She wields a Broadsword of Brutal Honesty +5.
The recent decision by Atheist Alliance International (AAI) to hire the former leader of American Atheists, David Silverman, to its executive director position is yet another indication that this business-as-usual rehab strategy also applies to movement atheism, which can be just as corrupt, cronyistic, and swaggeringly hostile to women as corporate America. Last year, Silverman was fired from American Atheists after allegations of sexual misconduct and financial impropriety were made against him. The claims leveled against Silverman by two female accusers were extensively detailed by BuzzFeed‘s Peter Aldhous, whose 2018 article notes that one of the women was reluctant to use her full name “because of concerns about hostility experienced by other women who have made allegations of sexual misconduct against prominent atheists.”
As I wrote in a September 2018 piece for RD, Silverman was one of several male atheist leaders who’d been accused of sexual misconduct. According to The Friendly Atheist blog, AAI reached out to Silverman via a friendship with a board member, then created a paid executive director position expressly for him. Must be nice. While women of color in all sectors are routinely shut out of entry level, middle, and executive management positions, white males get carte blanche, have positions of authority created for and handed to them; then receive multiple breaks and opportunities for redemption when they screw up.
Is AAI paying attention? Their choice of a shiny* new paladin just alienated a leading light of the black atheist community, and got decapitated for his trouble. This is probably the biggest PR screw-up an atheist org has committed in ages.
*It’s only shiny because of the thick layer of slime around his armor.