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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25720 Posts

Posted - 08/06/2013 :  19:27:47  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
So Dr. Karen Stollznow wrote a Scientific American MIND blog post in which she discussed the years of workplace sexual harassment she'd received and the response of the company she was working for:
Sometimes an organization under-reacts to the claims. This was my experience. Following “Elevatorgate”, the company introduced a “zero tolerance policy for hostile and harassing conduct”. When I approached them with my accusations they appeared to be compassionate initially. I spent many hours explaining my story over the phone and days submitting evidence. Then they hired an attorney to collect the facts and I had to repeat the process. I provided access to my email account. I also devoted two days to face-to-face discussions about my ordeal. This “fact collector” also collected a lot of hearsay from my harasser, about how I’m a slut and “batshit crazy”. This tactic of the accused is so common it’s known as the “nut and slut” strategy. I soon learned that the attorney was there to protect them, not me.

Five months after I lodged my complaint I received a letter that was riddled with legalese but acknowledged the guilt of this individual. They had found evidence of “inappropriate communications” and “inappropriate” conduct at conferences. However, they greatly reduced the severity of my claims. When I asked for clarification and a copy of the report they treated me like a nuisance. In response to my unanswered phone calls they sent a second letter that refused to allow me to view the report because they couldn’t release it to “the public”. They assured me they were disciplining the harasser but this turned out to be a mere slap on the wrist. He was suspended, while he was on vacation overseas. They offered no apology, that would be an admission of guilt, but they thanked me for bringing this serious matter to their attention. Then they asked me to not discuss this with anyone. This confidentiality served me at first; I wanted to retain my dignity and remain professional. Then I realized that they are trying to silence me, and this silence only keeps up appearances for them and protects the harasser.

The situation has disadvantaged me greatly. I have lost a project I once worked on, I have had to disclose highly personal information to colleagues, and I don’t think that I’ll be offered work anymore from this company. Perhaps that’s for the best considering the way they have treated me. I have since discovered that this company has a history of sexual harassment claims. They also have a track record of disciplining these harassers lightly, and then closing ranks like good ol’ boys. Another colleague assured me this was better than their previous custom of simply ignoring claims of sexual harassment.
(Please read the whole thing.)

PZ Myers posted about the above, and was surprised at the response:
Something strange happened after I posted this. People started emailing me. They all said the same thing: they knew exactly who the harasser was, and they named him, and eerily, they all named exactly the same name, and they were all 100% on the money.
And then I saw Stephanie Zvan post about it (and much more: read all that post, too!), and her post included a Tweet from someone else who said the same thing:
FYI, Karen Stollznow’s sexual harasser is Ben Radford. Someone had to say it.
My bold. And that makes the company the Center for Inquiry.

Greta Christina finds this "serious as a heart attack" and says "CFI needs to do the right thing, stat." Perhaps her re-found goodwill towards CFI is going to evaporate again.

Ophelia Benson also confirms that she knew who the harasser was before his name went public.

What Dr. Stollznow says about CFI's response to her can explain the CFI board's tepid reaction to Ronald Lindsay's WIS2 speech. So now I guess we again enter "wait-and-see mode" to learn if CFI will do anything serious about the obviously deeply entrenched institutional problem they have.

Unfortunately, for me, cynicism is setting in, and I'm betting that they will do nothing publicly other than again regret that there has been a controversy.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13293 Posts

Posted - 08/06/2013 :  20:39:54   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It was going to come out. I'm annoyed that it was Myers who named the name. I pretty much think it was disrespectful to Karen Stollznow after writing such a thoughtful blog post, unless he had her permission. And nothing in his blog indicates that he did. It would have been much better if Radford had been named by someone not so contemptuous of the skeptical community. It was bound to come out after that post. But dang.

Anyhow, here comes the shitstorm.

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13293 Posts

Posted - 08/06/2013 :  21:07:32   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
By the way. I doubt that the CFI will try to sit this one out. I don't see how they can. Karen Stollznow writes for them and is pretty big stuff. Blake Smith, also a co-host of Monster Talk, has already issued a statement that can be summarized as how conflicted he is (they are both very good friends of his) but he believes Stollznow.

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13293 Posts

Posted - 08/06/2013 :  21:17:13   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Okay... It seems Myers didn't do the outing and it was by Stollznow's permission. So I am corrected.

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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25720 Posts

Posted - 08/06/2013 :  21:43:58   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Kil

By the way. I doubt that the CFI will try to sit this one out. I don't see how they can. Karen Stollznow writes for them and is pretty big stuff.
And Dr. Stollznow wrote in the SciAm piece:
I have lost a project I once worked on... and I don’t think that I’ll be offered work anymore from this company.
She doesn't seem to think she writes for CFI any longer.
Blake Smith, also a co-host of Monster Talk, has already issued a statement that can be summarized as how conflicted he is (they are both very good friends of his) but he believes Stollznow.
Got a link?

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13293 Posts

Posted - 08/06/2013 :  22:03:52   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
https://www.facebook.com/groups/monstertalkgroupmail/permalink/652247001460791/?notif_t=group_activity

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25720 Posts

Posted - 08/06/2013 :  22:10:10   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
And the JREF's pretty much in the same boat as CFI. Carrie Poppy tweeted that Dr. Stollznow reported three assaults by Radford at a TAM, and that JREF's response was that they won't blacklist anyone. Oh, they declined to invite him to TAM 2013, but they won't permanently disinvite him for three fucking assaults.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25720 Posts

Posted - 08/06/2013 :  22:15:23   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Wouldn't you know it? Facebook is refusing to load for me at all. Guess I'll try your link again tomorrow.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25720 Posts

Posted - 08/07/2013 :  09:54:22   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Radford has a pattern of behavior. But nevermind that, Ron Lindsay told us all 19 months ago, Radford probably "abhors sexism."

Rebecca Watson points out a new Tumblr, called More Will Be Named, which besides Radford, now includes an utterly creepy line from Michael Shermer at TAM9, and the following from someone anonymous:
As a conference organizer, I know lots of names that I avoid having on our playbill because I know them to be inappropriate with attendees. It has always pained me to think that if I say something about it, it will be considered a fault of mine and not theirs. Here are the names of people that I will not, under any circumstances, have at my conference: Michael Shermer, Lawrence Krauss, Jacob Fortin, Bill Nye, and Sean Faircloth. Slimeball central.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13293 Posts

Posted - 08/07/2013 :  10:12:33   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Lawrence Krauss defended a friend that he felt was being treated unfairly. Right or wrong for doing that, I have seen no accusation that Krauss has ever engaged in sexual abuse. Bill Nye? So we are just going to throw out names now without some kind of reason?

I worry that this will turn into a witch hunt. People need to be very careful about the accusations they make. And especially skeptics do.

Also, in matters of criminality, the word "alleged" still applies. It doesn't really matter how strongly we believe something to be true. And if any group outside of the criminal justice system should get the reason why that is, it's skeptics.

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25720 Posts

Posted - 08/07/2013 :  16:28:31   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Kil

Lawrence Krauss defended a friend that he felt was being treated unfairly. Right or wrong for doing that, I have seen no accusation that Krauss has ever engaged in sexual abuse. Bill Nye? So we are just going to throw out names now without some kind of reason?
So "I know them to be inappropriate with attendees" isn't a kind of reason? It also doesn't say "sexual abuse."

Ed Cara has now offered accusations that Krauss has been inappropriate with attendees of skeptic functions. Jason Thibeault comments there, "Every time I’ve been privy to the list of names of who-to-avoid in that informal network of hush-hush chatter, Krauss’ name was one of the first offered."
I worry that this will turn into a witch hunt. People need to be very careful about the accusations they make. And especially skeptics do.
Indeed, that's being discussed on the Tumblr now. However, "so-and-so is a sexist pig" is certainly not an extraordinary claim. It's not on the level of "I ate lunch today," either, but somewhere in the middle. There's no evidence that the levels of sexism and harassment within the skeptical movement are anything different from the levels in any other field. There's no evidence that it differs in intensity or prevalence amongst "celebrity" skeptics than amongst celebrities in other fields.

We certainly want skeptics to be better at this stuff, but we have no reason to think they are. So your response to accusations of harassment among skeptics ought to be no different from your reaction to similar accusations among, say, Congresspeople, CEOs or film stars.
Also, in matters of criminality, the word "alleged" still applies.
Nobody's talking about things that are necessarily illegal, but "alleged" still applies. Allegedly, DJ Grothe was a complete asshole one night. Nothing illegal about it.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25720 Posts

Posted - 08/07/2013 :  16:44:31   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Carrie Poppy has now released more details about the interactions between Stollznow and JREF (I was unaware that Stollznow is a JREF fellow), and some of the crap that DJ Grothe threw at her (Poppy).

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25720 Posts

Posted - 08/07/2013 :  17:23:57   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The announcement from CFI is better than I thought it would be, at least in terms of asserting the correct "our responsibilities are not to bloggers and rumor-mongers," but falls flat when CFI asserts that it has taken "appropriate corrective action" if that corrective action is to suspend a harasser while he's already on vacation.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25720 Posts

Posted - 08/07/2013 :  17:29:18   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Radford is now denying that the investigation Stollznow wrote about found evidence that he harassed her. So why was he suspended?

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25720 Posts

Posted - 08/07/2013 :  17:40:54   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Stephanie Zvan on anonymous accusations:
So if you’re reading the Tumblr and that’s all the information you have, for fuck’s sake, don’t take any of it as the last word. It’s exactly the opposite.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25720 Posts

Posted - 08/07/2013 :  21:12:19   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
And the Tumblr is gone. Forever? Don't know. Do know that the last post to it was about Dave Silverman (president of American Atheists) touching and kissing an intern at the last SSA convention.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
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