An enlightening piece titled Will Misogyny Bring Down The Atheist Movement? was recently published on buzzfeed by Mark Oppenheimer. It is a long read that exposes the sexist, misogynistic behaviour of some well-known male Atheists leaders. I guess they are referred to as Atheist leaders because they are well paid to speak at atheists events, coveted by the media and well, some of them have written popular books, but as an atheist and feminist, I wouldn’t think of many of these creeps as ‘leaders’ in any way.
The article particularly focused on the many allegations of sexual harassment surrounding Michael Shermer. It also exposes the indefensible thought process of those in power who have protected and shielded him from the consequences of his questionable actions towards women at Atheist conventions.
James Randy was quoted in the article as saying-
“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.”
For FSM’s sake, could someone please tell this old man Randi that RAPE is also violent behaviour?
“Misbehaved himself with women” in this case refers to allegations of sexually preying on vulnerable women at atheist conventions, allegedly having sex with women who could not give consent because they are drunk and you damn well know they are drunk and making a habit of leading them to your hotel room to have your randy way with them. This is not just mere misbehaving, it is sexual harassment. It is sexual assault. It is rape.
When as a leader, you hear such complaints about someone you pay to speak at your conferences, you don’t just dismiss it as “boys will be boys”. You are expected to take decisive, concrete action. Michael Shermer should be ashamed and so should his defenders.
And James Randi, founder and chair of JREF should hide his head in shame for making such a lousy, sexist, misogyny ridden statement.
Treating women as sexual objects at atheist conventions, using your atheist leadership status to prey on young female atheists, sexually rubbing your crotch while asking a young female atheist personal questions at a convention is damn creepy, but unfortunately not so uncommon. Sickening to say the least! When will those supposed atheists leaders stop excusing misogyny in the Atheist movement?
The write-up is long but it is a must read. It makes me sad because it reminds me of all the harassment atheist feminist bloggers have been subjected to and still subjected to by misogynists who also happens to be atheists. This piece, for me, brings to fore once again why we needed and still need Atheism+.