Lands on his feet, like a cat

David Silverman: fired from American Atheists for sexual harassment.

David Silverman: hired by Atheist Alliance International, fired from AAI for sexual harassment.

David Silverman: hired by the Conru Foundation, fired…well, I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Although I think his fans are predicting his future. They know what’s coming.

One has to wonder, though — what the heck is the Conru Foundation?

The Conru Foundation is a nonpartisan think tank focusing on elevating truth and undermining the false narratives that cause needless polarization and threaten modernity.

We seek to reclaim “Social Justice” by producing educational material and events that promote cognitive liberty, freedom of speech and Enlightenment values, as well as directly supporting speakers of truth.

Oh. They’re going to reclaim social justice by promoting Free Speech. This sounds familiar. This is the same rationale we always get from the right-wingers: Free Speech Uber Alles. We can sacrifice all kinds of civil rights as long as we retain the freedom to talk about them.

I still had never heard of them. I looked a little deeper; here’s the bio of the founder, Andrew Conru, who built this foundation with grit and determination and hard work and the highest aspirations.

I was fortunate to be at the right place and time (e.g., Stanford in 1992) when the Internet just started. This gave the opportunity to be the one of first to create interesting things like online shopping carts, centralized ad banner management, online matchmaking, and real-time website customization technologies. Over the years, I started a dozen or so companies with the largest being the Friend Finder Network – a dating social network with over 300M registered members. I also realize that most internet technology is pretty straight forward and success happens often not only by having the right skills but with a bit of luck and timing.

“Online shopping carts”? “centralized ad banner management”? I hate him already. This is another of those capitalists who poisoned the promise of the internet by turning it into yet another vehicle for sucking money out of people’s pockets. The Conru Foundation was only recently founded in 2017, and is just another “think tank” to defend his right to exploit others.

But his biggest success is Adult FriendFinder. I hadn’t heard of this before, but now that I’ve figured out what it is, I’ve probably seen it in way too many pop-up ads. Adult FriendFinder is a porn site. Check it out, if you don’t mind tainting your browser history. It’s full of photos of young women who are supposedly inviting you, horny man, to hook up with them in a quick date…or you can watch them take off their clothes on a webcam. You just have to have a credit card number, and subscribe! You can find out more on Wikipedia.

Adult FriendFinder has been accused of committing systematic billing fraud. According to the complaints filed, the company has a practice of continuing to bill customers even after they have cancelled their service. Former employees of the company have claimed that this is their standard policy and not the result of errors. These employees have stated that the majority of customers do not notice the charges for many months. As of October 2014, hundreds of civil cases have been filed against the company and a criminal indictment was made by the Federal Trade Commission against the company. In 2007, Adult FriendFinder settled with the Federal Trade Commission over allegations that the company had used malware to generate explicit pop-up ads for the service on computers without user consent.

Now there’s nothing wrong with doing porn — although I notice that Andrew Conru’s hot body is not for sale — but I had to laugh. David Silverman has finally found a sponsor who won’t fire him for being an abusive horndog. He’s being paid by a porn impresario!


  1. gijoel says

    Maybe we should start a betting pool to see how long it takes for Silverman to get his arse fired again.

  2. Clovasaurus says

    I’d be willing to bet that he’ll be standing shoulder to shoulder with freezepeach white supremacists soon… because ‘the enemy of my enemy’. Yikes!

  3. PaulBC says

    He lost me in the first paragraph. I don’t think false narratives are fueling social polarization. There are genuine, insurmountable values differences.

  4. Zeppelin says

    Turi1337: Once he’s been fired from everything lucrative he can just start a YouTube channel and directly peddle outrage to the fash. That well never seems to dry up, and he’s already got his martyr narrative set.

  5. microraptor says

    Silverman seems to have finally found a job at somewhere that won’t risk being tarnished by the association.

  6. anthrosciguy says

    He lost me in the first paragraph. I don’t think false narratives are fueling social polarization. There are genuine, insurmountable values differences.

    Even better. The claim that “false narratives are fueling social polarization” is itself a false narrative, and what it does is “fuel social polarization”. It’s self-fulfilling and self-negating at the same time.

  7. pocketnerd says

    This line reveals much:

    While religious extremists frame the world as a struggle between God and Evil and use religious dogman to keep believers in check, we are seeing similar framing of the world today as a struggle between groups with the ‘outgroup’ considered in the worst possible way… each with its own set of questionable narratives.

    I predict a lot of smug centrism whose only real goal is preserving the status quo. “Sure, the U.S. right wing has fallen to lawless authoritarianism, but the left thinks women should have the right to say no to unwanted sexual advances. So who are the REAL nazis here?!”

  8. Susan Montgomery says

    @10 What’s frightening is that there are people who genuinely believe that stuff. People who truly beleive that “liberal” means an extreme, “anything goes” moral relativism where opinion is all that matters.

  9. bcwebb says

    “Full time consultant” with only one employer? Is that a real job or just a way of saying he gets no benefits and part time wages?

  10. unclefrogy says

    water seeks its own level

    maybe he has just signed a retainer contract with that dubious millionaire parasite as a consultant there will be little actual stuff like work, he can just run his mouth and strut around and grab here and there.
    uncle frogy

  11. PaulBC says

    pocketnerd@10 quoting:

    we are seeing similar framing of the world today as a struggle between groups with the ‘outgroup’ considered in the worst possible way… each with its own set of questionable narratives.

    I guess it’s revealing if you go to the effort of translating it to English. (It took a few tries.) I believe what he is saying is that the world is polarized between groups who increasingly demonize each other. Is that it?

    First off, I don’t think this is unusual or new. Often what appears to be peace between groups is enforced silence. The US may have appeared to be a more cohesive society in the 1980s, for instance, (let’s say for the sake of argument) but how much is just that the dominant culture was the only one with a platform? Everyone loved Reagan even if they didn’t agree with him, right? Well I didn’t love Reagan. I thought he was an idiot glad-hander who was destroying the social safety net and almost got us into a nuclear war. But it was hard to have this discussion.

    And this was true to an even greater extreme in the 1950s before the civil rights movement and at the height of the red scare.

    In fact, different groups may have legitimately different interests. I may cherish a 100 year old tree and you may see it as blocking a driveway you’d like to build. Sometimes these issues can be resolved in an orderly way, but not necessarily an amicable one. There are winners and losers. Sometimes it is so tied to values that one side is always going to leave the dispute feeling deeply wronged. Do we side with the billionaire’s mineral claims or the site’s sacred status to indigenous people? I know which side I take, but it doesn’t mean that I’ll convince the other side or that I’ll ever accept a compromise. If I disagree enough, the other side may indeed seem like “demons” to me. How could they kill something that means everything to me?

    So polarization is natural. People simply have different interests. In the best case, these fights can be carried out in words and political action, including demonstrations and civil disobedience. But to deny the existence of genuine conflict and propose some “rational” resolution we’d all see if weren’t such silly liberal moonbats is really just another way of imposing a dominant view. It is violence, just quiet violence.

  12. says

    It’s Conru. I was getting it confused with the cornu, a prefectly common word that refers to branches of the hyoid, the uterus, or brain ventricles. I’m pretty sure Conru has been misspelling his name all of his life.

  13. A Sloth named Sparkles says

    Has the signs of “New Atheists” sliding slowly into the far-right being happening long enough?
    We’re already seeing Sam Harris courting race scientists, Dawkins defending EDL & Wilders and now David Silverman’s inducting into dubious think-tanks like Conru.
    Most frustrating part is their insistence that they’re pure “classical liberals” who are doing this for freezepeach.

  14. wzrd1 says

    Odd, Adult Friend Finder was originally, a meet and skeet site, casual meet-up for sex.
    Was curious, so explored the site, noticed how pretty much all interactions required a paid membership, but my curiosity was aroused initially when a business owner client had a trainload of contacts show up in her saved contact settings that I was transferring.
    Totally, not to my taste. I prefer blundering into people in real life, but for some, time is a premium and small business owners are notorious for lacking much personal time.
    That said, that examination was over 20 years ago, so things could have changed.
    Back then, they weren’t known for cancellation fraud, by billing despite cancelled accounts, which they’re now known for.
    They were also penetrated by the PRC, Russia and even money, other than the usual hacker groups, a bunch of boy scouts and the NSA.
    I can only speak toward knowledge of the first three, I know better than look for the last two. I have enough trouble with the boy scouts having knot tying jamborees with my miscellaneous cables box.

    So, a scumbag that used to be bright, is losing it and trying to sponge/scam money via some creative redefinition of his career, which has obviously stalled, given the new scam.

  15. harryblack says

    I used AFF in 2013 and met a few awesome ladies on it with whom I remain good friends!
    I ditched it when they started requiring payment to send/receive messages and banned a close friend of mine for no stated reason (she was devastated as it had taken her a lot to pluck up the courage to give it a try).

  16. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    I don’t think of Silverman as a cat. I like cats. He’s more like a cockroach–able to survive even a nuclear war. But then I have warmer feelings for cockroaches than I do for Silverman, so that doesn’t work either. Flesh-eating bacteria?

  17. Frederic Bourgault-Christie says

    @5: To be fair, it is part of the problem. And it’s not just individual PRATTs and pieces of pseudoscience that motivate racist, sexist, etc. thought but also broader problems of framing of the issues that are clearly disingenuous or inconsistent methods of framing.

    The problem with folks like David is that characterizing it exclusively as naive ignorance rather than a deeper form of ignorance ultimately invites the question, “Why did some people buy these ideas and some didn’t?” Not to put too fine a point on it, but black communities don’t perceive the world the way that white conservatives do on average. And not all whites, or men, or straight folks, or Christians, are predisposed to believe these lies. So if we’re being honest and actually wanting to diagnose the problem, we have to ask why some people were susceptible, and why those people took bad information and then made immoral decisions even given their ignorance. And David also shows no interest in identifying who spreads false narratives. Asking that might make one ask some questions about powerful people and institutions.

    David’s trajectory, joining the path of folks like Louis CK, makes me wonder if centrist liberalism has a natural predisposition to becoming nasty right-wing ideology. David, whether he recognizes it or not, is putting his stock in with the humanity of conservatives. And when people in marginalized groups reject that framing, and point out that maybe it’s not just ignorance and there needs to be actual respect and compromise extended to them, that choice makes it easy to frame those individuals as the bad guys.

  18. says

    AFF is probably one of the largest spam generators in my mailbox, despite having never used their services. So, another good reason to hate them.