Krista Cox, chair of the Leadership Council of the Feminist Humanist Alliance, has a few words about what the hiring of David Silverman means. This is a good summary of the Silverman Situation–it’s a rift so deep we’re separating into different continents.
Enter the newly hired executive director of Atheist Alliance International (AAI), a global federation of atheist groups and individuals who endeavor to “make the world a safer place for atheists.” On October 11, 2019, AAI announced that it had created the new ED position and hired former American Atheists president David Silverman. A week and a half later, on his “Firebrand for Good” YouTube page, Silverman declared that we, as a culture, are post-sexism. He went on to state that the gender pay gap is fake, the glass ceiling has been smashed (because it’s “better visually” for companies to hire women now), and that since second-wave feminism won, modern feminists can stop being so angry about inconsequential nonsense.
Silverman’s comments confirmed what I feared about the nontheistic movement, and his hiring both surprised and concerned me.
Silverman’s recent anti-feminist and anti-social justice statements, as well as associations with antagonists of both movements, are legion, but I’ll limit my coverage to just a few. On September 20 he wrote he is “no longer a progressive feminist” and admitted to being “red-pilled,” a reference to a quarantined Reddit forum for Men’s Rights Activists (MRAs) widely known to be anti-feminist and rife with misogyny. In a September 22 podcast episode titled “Feminist Tyranny,” Silverman asserted personally or agreed with the host (MRA-adjacent Sargon of Akkad) on a number of concerning ideas, including that women are using feminism and the #MeToo movement to “secure personal privilege” and that social justice is a “cancerous social movement” that “has to be undone.” Around the same time he did an interview with female MRA Karen Straughan and the men behind Mythcon, the conference that controversially gave platforms to several anti-social-justice atheists; he retweeted an October 11 Wall Street Journal op-ed titled “Social Justice Warriors Won’t Listen, but You Should” that mocked concepts like white fragility and systemic complicity in white supremacy and misogyny; and on October 17 he shared a video suggesting that more rape allegations are false than we think (part of a video series that includes “Feminazi vs. Reality”).
“Bye regressive left,” Silverman tweeted on September 23. “I have a lot of regrets for being in your whiney culty immitation [sic] of feminism.”
A few years ago, Silverman’s supportive words for feminism and social justice convinced me to become a lifetime member of American Atheists. Can I get my money back? (Not really, AA did a good thing in giving Silverman the axe…I would be really pissed if he was still in charge there.)
This is way too familiar, though.
It’s becoming a repeated refrain: man holds himself up as a feminist; man experiences consequences for misogynistic actions; on reflection, man decides social justice warriors are the real problem.
I’d say you could kick me out of the movement if ever I become as hypocritical and repugnant as David Silverman, but it’s not much of a promise since I was de facto expelled already, years ago. I’d say “By regressive right”, except that “regressive” and “right” are synonyms, making it redundant.
Hey, you think they’ll finally let Dave into CPAC?