Regarding the Accusations Made by Amy Frank

An accusation has recently been published against me that warrants a reply. In its original form on Facebook (of which I only had screen caps that were sent to me), dated on or around 15 June 2016, Amy Frank (as identified by her profile; I have only known her by a different surname until now) wrote:

Parents, and younger people who may graciously volunteer for Camp Quest, a summer camp for kids.

Richard Carrier, the man who sexually harassed me and touched me a year ago [2015–ed.] after speaking at ASU [Arizona State University–ed.] is now an official employee of this organization. Campus Quest [sic–ed.] and the Secular Student Alliance are partners, and fully aware of what transpired last year. I’m not even close to being his only victim, and there are even more victims of other speakers of the SSA.

Want to know why he continues to be involved after being banned from being an SSA speaker? He is dating the wife of the Executive Director of the Secular Student Alliance.

Corrupt people continue to destroy what could be wonderful organizations. I am officially BOYCOTTING the national Secular Student Alliance until their leadership is completely dismantled. Students deserve to have an organization capable of handling sexual harassment and assault, with no conflicts of interest. Not only is abuse fairly common at SSA events, but the organization itself goes out of their way to undermine the reports of its very own members’ trauma.

I’ve held my tongue far too long. No more sweeping this shit under the rug. Time to own the fuck up and face the music. The victims have had enough.

If you’ve been a victim of harassment or assault at any SSA-sponsored event, please feel free to contact me. I will keep your name confidential.

There are a number errors in this comment.

In terms of public facts: I am not an employee of either Camp Quest or the SSA, or any of their affiliates. Nor am I on their boards of directors or speakers’ bureaus. I have rarely even volunteered for them. And “the wife of the Executive Director of the Secular Student Alliance” is a strange way to refer to Amanda Metskas, who is actually the national Executive Director of Camp Quest, which Amy seems to be concerned about. Amanda and I are indeed dating. But she and her husband, August Brunsman, are publicly polyamorous, and also consummate professionals, and recuse themselves from any decisions their respective organizations may have to make regarding me, or any of their partners (even each other).

I am also not aware of “more victims of other speakers of the SSA” or any instance in which the SSA has “undermine[d] the reports of its very own members’ trauma,” much less gone out of their way to. I don’t even see any evidence of this by Amy’s own account (wherein she says I was removed from the SSA speaker’s bureau after her complaint, which sounds like quite the opposite of undermining her report). Though I wouldn’t likely know of any other incidents if there were, I’m not sure how she would know either. To the contrary, in my experience the SSA is hyper-vigilant on policing sexual harassment and they go out of their way to handle those cases with considerable respect for complainants. Nor do I know who she could be referring to when she says she is “not even close to being [my] only victim.” The worst I’ve ever done is still what I reported myself last year in Doing Wrong Right. None of which involved Amy–because I didn’t consider our actual interaction to be at all bad.

Our Interaction

Which brings us to her interaction with me. I did not touch her. Nor did the SSA tell me she had claimed so. And indeed, our interaction was more ambiguous than she makes out. Apart from publicly flattering her abilities as I would anyone as competent, we had one private conversation in which she expressed interest in opening her relationship with her then-boyfriend (or husband?), but noted he wasn’t sure about it yet. In response to that I mentioned that if she ever does, I’d be interested in dating her, and she should feel free to contact me if that happens. She smiled and said she would. That was the extent of our interaction, [which is not sexual harassment, nor what she is describing now]. Amy also mentioned in that conversation that her then-boyfriend reads her private emails and messages. Implying I shouldn’t attempt to contact her. Even though I hadn’t said I would.

That was in April of 2015. A few weeks later I was informed by the SSA that a complaint had been filed, that I had “made sexual advances toward a student after a recent event” and that that “student felt that they had made clear that such advances were unwelcome and felt very uncomfortable,” and that there were witnesses. This did not describe my interaction with Amy at all. So I assumed they meant someone else (whom I did talk about in my Doing Wrong Right article), the only person I had ever interacted with at an SSA event [correction: it was not an SSA event] that could be described that way. I hadn’t ever expressed interest in anyone else who hadn’t already expressed interest in me first, and certainly none of them had indicated our desires didn’t align; nor were there witnesses present to any of my interaction with Amy that could possibly be imagined inappropriate.

It wasn’t until months later that I learned that that person, whom I did wrong, did not file a complaint; but that Amy had. Which left me perplexed. Our interaction did not match what I was being told. I discovered who the actual complainant was when I was later a volunteer driver for an SSA conference she attended (unbeknownst to me) and the SSA asked me to keep my distance from her at her request. That required their telling me who she was. I happily obliged. I didn’t care what her actual reasons were; if someone wants me to avoid them, I will, as far as reasonable, and this was perfectly reasonable to accomplish. But I now knew the complaint against me was not fully honest.

I let that lie. I did not mention any of this to the SSA. I just went along with their assessment and requests. I didn’t want to kick the hornet’s nest of someone already willing to be dishonest (and who, I thought, might be in an abusive relationship that had somehow driven her to this). And since the inaccurate complaint she filed did accurately describe something else I had done that hadn’t been complained about, I figured the cosmic scales of justice were balanced. In outcomes, IMO, all was fair.

I immediately responded to the SSA’s report to me with this (email of 21 April 2015):

Thank you. I did express interest in a student at an after event. And I recognized she did not appreciate that, and I apologized to her at the time. If she does want any further apology, I will definitely provide her one, so do relay that if that’s the case. But I don’t want to bother her by contacting her any further without her consent. I definitely felt bad about it. I thought the interest was mutual and I was very wrong. I won’t be doing that in future.

And I haven’t. Nor had anything comparable happened before.

Outcome

Within a month [correction: a few months] of (what turned out to be) Amy’s complaint I had already agreed to resign from the SSA speaker’s bureau in compliance with the filed complaint and their zero tolerance policy. [And no longer on the bureau, I was no longer subject to that policy.] Their bureau is not an employment contract, but merely a promotional opportunity (individual affiliates can peruse the bureau catalog and get some funding from the SSA to put on an event with anyone on it they choose; beyond that the speakers are not actually affiliated with the SSA in any way [nor do affiliates have to choose speakers from the bureau]). The actual incident that I believe warranted my removal from that list, I described a year ago in Doing Wrong Right. And it involved a wholly unconnected person and happened in a different state.

So the SSA didn’t have to pick sides in a dispute. There wasn’t any dispute. I did not challenge the complaint (believing it to be describing the only actual incident it could possibly have been describing). And they already noted that I had publicly said years ago that if I wanted to have the freedom to date students (and thus express interest in them), and the SSA insisted on that being against policy, “I’d just withdraw from the SSA Speaker’s Bureau.” So we agreed that’s what I should do. And I did. I haven’t been on it for over a year. And I since date or have dated students or former students, without incident.

This is, in fact, the only action the SSA could have taken in this case even for an egregious harrassment incident [correction: an egregious incident they could publicize the facts of only after a proper investigation, which it does not appear she called for at the time]. So it’s not clear what more Amy expected them to do. And it’s certainly not clear what she thinks constitutes the SSA going “out of their way to undermine” her report. Even by her own account they did the opposite.

Aside

One final thing that strikes me as strange in all this is that on June 10, [Facebook posted] (without my noticing, due to moving in to a new place and laboring to make manuscript deadlines) a declaration on my wall that I had started working for Camp Quest West on June 10. This I must assume triggered Amy’s comment (though how she noticed it is another question). I deleted that declaration, as being not even remotely true. But I do not know [how it was posted]. It wasn’t indicated as coming from anyone. [And my having posted it was not listed in my activity log.] I’m told that Facebook sometimes automatically does this if someone else posts that they had worked with you at a place in the past; and I was on two occasions a one-day volunteer instructor at Camp Quest West way back in 2007 and 2009. Of which there are photos. Possibly someone recently labeled one in a way that generated the Facebook announcement. [I have since determined that this is what happened, as a post of June 9 that someone else sent to my wall for approval, and that I approved on June 10, said they were happy to “join the ranks of” me and others, including Camp Quest, tagging them and me. Facebook’s algorithm read that as an employment announcement, so when I approved it, it appears that Facebook automatically generated an employment life event for it.] As Camp Quest and all its affiliates will confirm, I’ve never worked for Camp Quest nor have there ever been any plans that I would. I’m also not doing any volunteer work for them this year. I haven’t in years.

Conclusion

This is a complete account of my knowledge and experience related to this claim. And I don’t find Amy’s comment to be an honest representation of it. Nor, because of that, do I trust her to tell the truth. But as our relevant interaction was private, there isn’t any way to corroborate either of our accounts.

[Update: See new information in comment below.]

[Update: An official investigation will soon be completed in this matter.]

82 comments

  1. YanisethYomani June 15, 2016, 10:14 pm

    And I don’t find Amy’s comment to be an honest representation of it. Nor, because of that, do I trust her to tell the truth. But as our relevant interaction was private, there isn’t any way to corroborate either of our accounts.

    Translation: bitchez be lyin’.

    This is absolutely appalling and you should be ashamed. Your reaction perfectly exemplifies why women don’t feel safe reporting sexual assaults and harassment.

    Never in a million years would have expected this kind of outright misogynistic bullshit to be showcased on FreethoughtBlogs of all places. I feel fucking sick affter reading this.

    Reply
    1. satanaugustine June 17, 2016, 2:36 am

      It’s a “He said, she said” situation. You have no evidence whatsoever about this alleged event. No one should automatically believe a non-evidenced claim no matter what it is. If Amy can provide evidence, she needs to do so. So far she’s made a accusation with which Richard disagrees.

      And he has admitted that he did behave inappropriately with a student at some other event in a different state. He did this without said student making a complaint. Why would he own up to this, but deny the incident Amy is alleging? There is no good reason for this.

      Richard never denigrated women in this post, not even Amy. He just disagreed with her. So your “bitchez be lyin’.” so-called translation seems to be predicated on the notion that if a woman makes a sexual harassment claim then it must be true. No other evidence needed. This is neither how our legal system nor reality works. I cannot declare that I was sexually harassed and expect to be taken at my word alone. I need eye- and ear-witnesses or some other form of evidence before the person I’m accusing can be declared guilty. This is very basic reasoning.

      It would appear that your comment is based on an ulterior motive. One that Richard mentions with regards to your IP address.

      Reply
    2. Sean Hubbard June 19, 2016, 8:23 am

      Are you stupid?

      A man can’t even proclaim his own innocence without your ridiculous claims of misogyny, and him being the reason sexual assault victims aren’t taking seriously.

      Like he has said, nobody can corroborate the claims. So there is no evidence either way, making your attack a mere show of bias towards believing women over men, because YOU are a sexist.

      Reply
  2. Why should we give your side the benefit of doubt when you yourself always side with the SJWs against accused harrassers? Let me guess, special pleading?

    Reply
    1. Because I don’t “always side” against accused harassers. Just the ones that have good corroborating evidence for their behavior being egregious. As you’ll note when you try looking for which “harassers” I’ve sided against, and my account of why I did. I’m not evoking a fallacy of special pleading. You are evoking a fallacy of false equivalence.

      Reply
  3. This Is Me June 16, 2016, 3:05 am

    This is all very confusing, as the accusations don’t match anything I’ve known about you. You’ve never claimed to work for Camp Quest, so that’s my first (and biggest) red flag that something is wrong here. If you’ve never claimed to work for them and they’ve never claimed to have you on staff, and they have no other jurisdiction over you, then why is your supposed “employment” with them such a focal point in the accusations? The entire complaint, according to the original post, is that the organizations are affiliated with you when all parties concerned have denied any affiliation. I mean, she specifically says that it’s not about you being inappropriate, it’s about the organizations’ associations with you but those associations are denied on all sides. If the main point of contention is wrong, then the whole thing is just confusing and strange. The other part of my confusion is that this doesn’t at all describe my experience with you.

    I met you at a conference. We engaged in hours-long conversation covering a wide range of topics. One of those topics was polyamory. Another was human sexuality, specifically how sexuality is regarded and policed in American culture. Even though both of those subjects could have been used as openings to take the conversation in a more personal or flirtatious direction, the topics remained purely academic.

    Later in the evening, after two venue changes and after I became aware of my growing interest in you, I still couldn’t get a good read on you. I wasn’t receiving any clear signals that you might be interested in me, and certainly not any overt advances. So I practiced my philosophy of just putting my interest out there with no attached expectations, in the hopes that it wouldn’t make you uncomfortable. I told you that I was crushing on you, with no expectation that you had to respond or reciprocate. You very shyly admitted the feeling was mutual. But then you still kept the conversation light and academic. I was the one to initiate physical contact, with subtle knees-touching-under-the-table and elbows-touching-along-the-bar. You didn’t pull away, which I regarded as a good sign, but you still didn’t behave in a way that I could clearly and definitively say was “flirting” and definitely not “hitting on” me.

    Much, much later, we finally found ourselves in private where it would have been appropriate for one of us to make a move on the other. I’m not really one for conference hookups, as I prefer more time to vet my prospective partners, so I’m sure I had been giving out some mixed signals. But you asked permission to touch me, first in an intimate but platonic way, to which I agreed. Then you asked permission to kiss me, and I again agreed. Then you asked me to confirm that I was, indeed, into what we were doing, probably because of my earlier ambiguity. I said that I was very much into what we were doing, I just hadn’t yet determined where I wanted things to go from there. So you reiterated to me that my boundaries were important to you and that you didn’t want to do anything to make me uncomfortable, so you asked me (pretty reasonably, IMO) to give you clearer signals so that you wouldn’t misread anything, and even to take a hand at more obvious initiating so that you didn’t come across as an aggressor or overstep your bounds.

    As I learned way after the fact, after we had developed enough rapport for you to feel safe in admitting it, the interest was definitely reciprocated, and you had even been interested in me even before I boldly went up and introduced myself to you. But you had not initiated even an introduction at that point, because it would have been out of the blue, which, as you said, is one of those things that tend to make women at conferences uncomfortable. You wanted to wait until there was a more organic method of meeting me, so that you wouldn’t impose on me. You also confessed to me later that you deliberately did not ask me out during that conversation because it was too soon and, again, you were concerned that I would find it pushy and out of place. You waited for me to indicate that I would be interested in continuing the conversation at a later time, and then you only asked for more conversation, not a date, not a hookup, not my room number. You kept the conversation within the context of the conference and my initial ice-breaker subject, even though you were actually already somewhat interested in me at that point (which I reciprocated, hence the reason for introducing myself to you in the first place).

    This abundance of caution was such a welcome relief from so many other encounters I’ve had! I can only name a handful of others in my rather … abundant experience who have viewed my consent and my space so considerately. In fact, my most successful relationships (present and past) have been with people exhibiting that level of consideration. Your behaviour was the deciding factor on whether or not I was going to give you a chance. I mean, I’ve had lots of good conversations with people, but good conversation alone isn’t enough for me to want to hook up with someone. And every interaction I’ve had with you since that night has been more of the same, even though we’ve now had enough interactions and enough conversations about what kind of relationship we have developed that most people (IME) would start to take some things for granted by now.

    I suppose it’s possible there’s some kind of Jekyll and Hyde thing going on, and I suppose it’s even more possible that you have not been as careful with people’s boundaries in the past and I got the benefit of your learned experience, but the person described in the accusations and the behaviour of the organizations’ staff members just don’t match up with my experience with either. Patterns are important, and especially since part of the accusation includes the claim that you’re a repeat offender, nothing I’ve seen or experienced with either you or the organizations in question have any of the patterns I’m accustomed to seeing from other repeat offenders or organizations with poor histories of dealing with offenders.

    People who habitually harass others tend to be boundary pushers who then rely on manipulating social etiquette to escape accountability. The “but I’m socially awkward / on the spectrum” excuse, for instance, that hurts everyone on the spectrum or with other issues, or the alcohol excuses. They don’t tend to be so incredibly careful and cautious that nothing might ever have come of it had it not been for the other person initiating. That’s kind of the opposite of harassment. They don’t tend to continue to be that cautious even when given a green light from ongoing partners, for another instance. So far I’ve seen none of the patterns of behaviour that I’ve witnessed in people I know to be harassers or abusers, even at later gatherings we have both attended, directed towards other people.

    Things just don’t add up here. And, for the record, I have ended a long-term relationship with someone over his atrocious behaviour towards another of his partners – someone I thought would be a life-long partner at the time. At first, her claims seemed outlandish, but there was a pattern that could be seen with how he treated all of his other partners, just milder. Mild enough that they didn’t stand out until the more extreme claims were made, which is how he was able to keep getting new partners. But once the claim was made, the patterns became obvious. I’m not seeing corroborating patterns here, I’m seeing one report that conflicts with multiple sides. So it just doesn’t make sense.

    Reply
  4. EigenSprocketUK June 16, 2016, 4:12 am

    Can’t see any other comments yet, so…

    So the core of your refutation is that the allegation of touching was not part of the official complaint, and that the official complaint turned out to be about what you thought at the time had been a consensual sexual advance in private, to a student, which would have been against policy. But at the time you thought the complaint was about a different person, different date, different state.

    From your post about the SSA: you were removed by the SSA from their speakers bureau because of a complaint from a person alleging unwelcome sexual advances. You assumed, at the time, this had been someone other than Amy Frank, and “in a different state” and presumably on a different date. You knew and agreed that dating students was against SSA policy – though you would otherwise disagree with that policy and approach.

    You later volunteered as a driver for the SSA and this way came to be officially informed that the complainant of unwelcome sexual advances had actually been Amy Frank and that you should keep your distance. You decided not to mention to the SSA that your previous “resignation” removal from the speakers list had been based on a misunderstanding of person, date, and state. Your account now is that any sexual advance between you and Amy Frank was consensual and took place in the private conversation which ended with the student implying (perhaps this was as strongly as she dared) that you should not try to contact her again.

    …nor were there witnesses present to any [inappropriate] interaction with Amy

    OK, gottit.

    Reply
  5. jimmyfromchicago June 16, 2016, 6:31 am

    Even if we’re to believe you and not believe her, you’re still the creepy middle-aged man who goes to the off-campus bar, hits on the students, and makes everyone uncomfortable. To do this at an event where you’re the invited speaker is unprofessional.

    Reply
    1. If you think ageism and infantilizing adult college students is better, I think we just have different values.

      Meanwhile, I have many successful relationships with college students. And only flirt with them when I’m not working anymore. So your notion that everyone is uncomfortable is clearly incorrect. As is your notion that I do this on the job. In fact, making anyone I’m actually interacting with uncomfortable is not only rare, I actively and continually strive to reduce and ideally eliminate that. The very point of my post on Doing Wrong Right.

      Reply
    2. jimmyfromchicago June 16, 2016, 1:48 pm

      I’m pretty sure you can find a middle ground between infantilizing college students and hitting on them. I don’t believe any fair reading of my comments would interpret them as taking away their agency or implying they couldn’t make their own decisions.

      In your previous post you said that you realized you made at least some people uncomfortable, and there is a way to progress things without anyone becoming uncomfortable. This involves actually trying to discern what the woman you’re talking to wants. Very few twenty-something women want to fuck a 45-year-old man. But you claim to be successful sometimes, so the question is what ratio of women who you squick out to women you’re successful with is acceptable?

      It’s pretty clear from your reaction to this situation that you have a poor handle on when you’re making women uncomfortable.

      I’m confused by your assertion that you don’t do this when working. You said your interaction with Amy Frank took place at an SSA after-event. You’re still OTJ at that point, even if the context has become more social.

      Reply
      1. The ratio should be kept near zero. So far, it is. Except for some rare mistakes I have already publicly discussed, I only express interest in women when they have, or when they’ve made an indication it’s safe to. Consequently, yeses to nos have been dozens to one [in general; I hardly ever ask students out]. And most of the nos have been from women who weren’t bothered by the ask. The goal is to learn how to navigate to a zero in that last count, of those bothered. Which is the goal everyone should comport themselves toward with all populations of women. Their age and your age is completely irrelevant. That you think it is relevant is ageist; that you think young woman can’t make decisions for themselves and don’t want to be given the chance to, is infantilizing them.

        And no, after I’ve done what I was paid to do and am asked to a party, I am no longer OTJ. I have completed the duties I was hired for, and been paid for it, and no one is required to join me or hang out, nor am I required to join them or hang out. If you leave work after punching the clock and join some work buddies at a bar, you are not OTJ. There are some social and power dynamics you should always be attentive to, regardless. And that’s exactly what I’ve talked about before as regards how we should comport ourselves ethically in any informal social setting. It does not preclude any flirting or hooking up or starting a relationship, especially when your business ties are concluded. It just needs to be consensual. And how to make sure all steps in that process are, and thus not making anyone uncomfortable, is exactly what I outline in Doing Wrong Right.

        Reply
    3. jimmyfromchicago June 16, 2016, 3:30 pm

      It’s good news that you’re trying to keep the ratio as close to zero as possible

      Their age and your age is completely irrelevant.

      Really? You’re twice their age. How many times have you been involved with a woman two times your age?

      …that you think young women can’t make decisions for themselves and don’t want to be given the chance to, is infantilizing them.

      Where did I say this?

      Reply
    4. jimmyfromchicago June 19, 2016, 8:48 am

      You don’t seem to want to respond to my questions, but I think I know the answers.

      The answer to my second question is “nowhere.” You were simply straw manning my argument

      The answer to the first question is “zero.” That’s because you do care about age. You could simply say you prefer having sex with younger women. You aren’t the only middle-aged man to find 18-22 years olds attractive, but I don’t think many 45 year olds defend having sex with them in terms of a moral principle like opposition to ageism.

      Your analogy above of speaking-event afterparties to going out with friends after work is inapposite. Obviously different standards apply to people you know well, as you know what would bother them and what would not. A better example would be if you worked at a professional services firm and entertained a client company’s employees at a happy hour reception. Hitting on your cllient’s in-house counsel or tax staff would get you, at best, a stern warning, a last chance, and a place on the shit list—that is, if you weren’t simply terminated after the first time you acted like this. Approaching the interns would be even worse.

      Reply
  6. polishsalami June 16, 2016, 7:12 am

    This explains why I got an incoherent FB message (from someone I suspect to be a Slymepitter) telling me that a “well known SJW atheist” had “raped a student”. One can only imagine what you are being accused of over there now.

    Reply
  7. Update: Amy now says she wants the SSA to have published the accusation. They didn’t have to, because I did. In Doing Wrong Right. Within two months. So the information was actually made public. By me.

    Though it was of unrelated incidents (as I had not in fact done anything as bad as those with Amy; and was thus still mistakenly assuming the complainant was someone else), those match well enough what she would have wanted the public told (assuming she isn’t making this all about her, but really sincerely means what’s good for the movement). I do not see what more she could honestly have wanted done.

    But there is even more to that. Her behavior now contradicts her behavior then. And this has now become crucial information:

    When I was drafting that Doing Wrong article (and at the time still thought the complainant was the other woman, the one I actually had wronged), I asked officers at the SSA to help me make sure privacy was respected and the information was accurate in my account, and we also agreed to seek the permission of the complainant. They did. And in an email of 8 May 2015, the SSA wrote to me (exact quote):

    I heard back from the student and they are ok with this but are concerned that you’re “martyring” yourself and they don’t want you to do that. But they are supportive of this concept if they think it will make the movement better.


    I had offered them to let her vet a draft first, writing them that, “If she wants to read the whole draft piece (the PDF I sent you), she is welcome to,” and that “you can offer that right up front” (email to SSA, 5 May 2015).

    I publish this now because it contradicts her story of somehow having been ignored and the SSA trying to bury this, when in fact we asked her permission to publish it, and I was told she was supportive of that happening (she also evidently did not want to be identified or contribute to the piece; I’m sure I would have been told of either, and would have happily obliged).

    Moreover, her comment relayed back to me tells me she was not an aggrieved victim then, but actually not sure I should even make this public, and that doing so would unfairly “martyr” me. And that she actually didn’t want me to go public with it for that reason, except that she agreed my doing so would benefit the movement. And so I went ahead and did it. This completely contradicts what she’s saying now.

    I suspect this can be supported by internal SSA emails with Amy (unless the SSA was communicating by voice, or wasn’t accurately relaying to me what she said, but I doubt the latter even more than the former). But I have no control over what they can say or release publicly (their lawyers are probably as risk-averse as any; in my experience, lawyers always advise doing nothing). And I was not privy to that side of the communication. All I can do is report what I received. I can verify this in established email records.

    Similarly, I was told then, and witnesses present and involved in helping her file the complaint (even on her comment thread) concur, that she did not say anything about touching or anything of that kind, simply that I had asked her out, and that that was in violation of policy (though evidently she also claimed to have expressed dislike of the advance, which did not occur). Her story now has changed, to the point of surprising and startling the original witnesses (to both our public interaction and the original complaint).

    This is two more items that lead me to distrust her even more. And as both are now supported by documentation, this is no longer he-said/she-said.

    Reply
    1. Wes Sturdevant June 16, 2016, 1:37 pm

      I don’t know the situation having only read part of what is going on. And only hearing your side of whatever happened or didn’t happen I can’t say too much. But if you did do anything wrong that’s for god to decide, oh wait I’m not a theist. LOL Anyway good luck and you are handling this very well. And as far as you ‘off work’ hitting on a student that is of age there is nothing illegal or really ‘wrong’ about it that I see. You are off the job and it isn’t a crime to want to have a relationship, romantic intercourse betwixt the two of you as long as consent is given. If you hit on her and she’s grossed out and turns you down doesn’t make it wrong either, she just walks away disgusted by you. So what, I think you called it ageism above. I see nothing inappropriate about that. Or anything but a man wanting to have sex with a lot of women. LOL Anyway, I just want to let you know that I respect the way you are handling this situation. Good luck that this rubbish goes away quickly.

      Reply
      1. I concur except with one thing, “If you hit on her and she’s grossed out and turns you down doesn’t make it wrong either, she just walks away disgusted by you.” You should have an ethical goal of striving to not produce that scenario. In other words, it’s unethical to disregard the feelings of those you are in social company with, thus causing disgust should be what you want to avoid, not what you should dismiss as unimportant. How to do that is a big part of what my article Doing Wrong Right is about. And if despite trying all that not to, you still do, apologies are warranted, and you should feel that causing that was a failure on your part. I can think of exceptions. But they are exceptional. I think this case, for example, in terms of what actually happened, did not warrant the reaction she is claiming now (which may be why she has had to exaggerate what happened, to make her reaction sound reasonable).

        Reply
    2. @Richard Carrier

      Amy now says she wants the SSA to have published the accusation. They didn’t have to, because I did. In Doing Wrong Right. Within two months. So the information was actually made public. By me.

      […]
      I do not see what more she could honestly have wanted done.

      Yes, it was made publicly available by you, but what she wanted instead (I think) was for SSA to ensure certain people would know that about you. Your blog post isn’t likely to ensure that.

      Or at the very least you should be able to see that if SSA published such info, it probably would reach a different audience than if only you published it, right? Even if it isn’t ensured that everyone would see it. If SSA had a responsibility to inform their own audience, we can still judge them for failing it, even if you told your own audience eventually.

      Reply
  8. blondeintokyo June 16, 2016, 10:41 am

    Hi Richard. We’ve spoken on FB before. I’m also in an open, poly relationship, am the kind of person who’s comfortable with frank discussions of sexuality, and find myself involved in them often.

    I read all the pertinent posts, and have some thoughts to share. Being that I don’t personally know the people involved, I obviously can’t help you come to any definitive conclusions, but I might be able to provide insight.

    As I said, I run in poly circles and often find myself in frank discussions of sexuality, which I’m quite comfortable with. There have been times, however, when my comfort was destroyed by a comment that was meant well, but in my eyes was inappropriate. Let me explain.

    I’ve found that a lot of poly men make the assumption that a poly woman who is comfortable talking about sex is flirting when she is talking about sex. And if she is flirting, that means she would be comfortable being hit on. So yes, to me, poly guys seem to feel a little too free to hit on me even when in my view, we aren’t flirting and there was not even a hint that I would be open to that. I think this stems from a misunderstanding that poly+open+comfortable with sex talk = flirting = interested in having sex…with the people I’m talking to.

    Obviously, this assumption is is not really a huge illogical jump to a radical conclusion, so I don’t think making that leap means the guy is a bad guy. Generally, this IS how some people flirt, so it’s not a totally unreasonable assumption to make; however, the woman may perceive it very differently, depending on how she open she is about sex, how she personally feels about being hit on, as well as how the guy actually hits on her.

    Some women don’t mind sexual come-ons, e.g, “you have sexy legs”, and some women hate it. Some women don’t mind being asked out during raunchy conversations, and consider it par for the course and harmless, but other women would not like it and would feel uncomfortable or even threatened. Again, this is all according to personal preference, past experience, interest, and so on.

    Let me use myself as an example. I hate being hit on during this type of conversation. I find it objectifying and a complete turnoff. However, being that I’m a very straightforward and assertive person, I have no qualms about directly and immediately informing the person that their advances were unwelcome. But while I don’t like being hit on in that way, I also don’t feel threatened and I don’t take strong offense, because a) I’m pretty chill about sexuality; b) I realize that I can’t expect a guy to know my personal preferences and boundaries; and c) I’m a super assertive person who generally has no problem standing up for myself. So, due to that, I’m willing to give the guy the chance to just quickly apologize (Oh..sorry!) and we can just move on from the incident feeling good and continue our raunchy conversation.

    But that’s just me. Another woman might feel being asked on a date in the course of a raunchy conversation to be overtly sexual, intimidating, and offensive – but she also might not want to say anything in the moment. She may even continue the conversation laughing and smiling. You wouldn’t be able to tell how upset she is, because, as you know, women are often socialized to be accommodating to men.

    This means you might have said something truly offensive to this woman, Amy, without even knowing it or remembering it later on. It’s possible that from her perspective, you took advantage of a fun, raunchy conversation to turn it into something else entirely different. To her, it may have even felt like a violation.

    I can’t say where her perception that you touched her came from, except that maybe you did and just don’t remember because to you it was incidental, like a pat on the arm when she told a joke, or a hand on the arm to walk with her to the door. I really don’t want to speculate, since I don’t have that information.

    At any rate, I think you should consider that you may in fact have done something that in your perspective was mild, and in hers was a violation.

    Unfair to you? Yes. But it’s also something that happens quite a lot, I’m sorry to say, because human interaction is very, very, tricky. No two people ever seem to have the exact same perception of the same incident.

    I don’t think you should beat yourself up about it, but you should learn from it and tread much more carefully and much lighter when flirting, particularly when it’s with people you don’t know well, and who aren’t actually non-monogamists. Honestly speaking, and this is gonna piss some people off….my solution to this is to just never talk about sex to people like Amy who are not in the poly/open/non-monogamous lifestyle, and certainly never to ask them out while talking about sex. For example, there is no way I would have a raunchy sex conversation with a random straight, vanilla, non-poly guy whom I had just met, because I KNOW he would take it wrong. And asking him out after a conversation like that? Wow…that would probably make him think I was willing to get down and shag him right there on the bar counter. Which no, ain’t gonna happen.

    Hope this helps. 🙂

    Reply
    1. I appreciate all of that.

      That isn’t what she’s claiming now, though. She is claiming I touched her inappropriately in some fashion. That’s false.

      Her original claim also falsely included the claim that she expressed displeasure. That’s false.

      What remains I concurred with as what I actually did. And it was extremely mild and polite; not raunchy. “If you’d like to date me, let me know” is not the kind of thing you are talking about here. Nor was the context a talk about sex as such. She met me in private just before I went to bed and told me her interests in opening her relationship, in a completely non-raunchy and matter-of-fact way. Then I mentioned my interest and that if it was ever reciprocated and she was at liberty, she was welcome to let me know. [And then I think she implied interest by her informing me that her boyfriend…or perhaps husband I’m told…checks her private email and texts so I shouldn’t communicate with her that way, nor could she communicate with me that way. But I can’t remember now if she told me that before or after.]

      I can’t really see any better way to handle that. If that’s sexual harassment, all expressions of interest are sexual harassment. And that doesn’t work as a social model.

      Reply
  9. I recall how you condemned Michael Shermer based on nothing more than an accusation of sexual misconduct. Now the shoe’s on the other foot. Why shouldn’t you be treated any differently than you, yourself, treated Mr. Shermer?

    Reply
  10. As a Bayesian, can you calculate the odds that at least three of the cishetero male social justice allies who have been published at FtB have been faslely accused of sexual impropriety with female students? I’ve read that such false accusations are exceedingly rare, thus making it reasonable to “listen and believe,” as the kids say.

    Reply
    1. Priors are reversed by strong countermanding likelihood ratios. So one has to look at the evidence to answer that question. And the evidence is available in every case here.

      Reply
  11. Heina G June 16, 2016, 2:39 pm

    I wonder if you have any comments on this scholarly investigation into the matter?

    A BAYESIAN INVESTIGATION OF ALLEGED SEXUAL MISCONDUCT
    Abstract. June 15, 2016 Amy Frank made allegations of ”sexually harass-
    ment” and ”touching” against Dr. Richard Carrier, PhD at an event at Arizona
    State University. In this work we examine the truth of these allegations using
    the only sound method for investigating historical claims, Bayes theorem. We
    conclude the findings will have far-reaching consequences for legal thinking.

    The full document:
    https://www.docdroid.net/xyItgvz/index-copy.pdf.html

    Reply
    1. You aren’t very good at defining hypotheses in your model. You confuse the actual thing that happened (which I agree happened and agreed I should not remain on the bureau for) and the thing she is now claiming happened. Which are not the same thing. The former has a probability of near 100%. Since I’ve actually stated it happened myself. It’s the latter that’s false. But your model doesn’t test the latter. It only tests the former. Which is a rather useless exercise.

      Reply
  12. clydey2times June 16, 2016, 3:11 pm

    There’s no real evidence either way, Richard. It’s mostly your word against hers. I should probably just “listen and believe” Amy, then. That seems like the virtuous thing to do.

    Further to what Damion said, can you confirm that false accusations are vanishingly rare unless the accused is a SJW blogger?

    Reply
  13. Update: Since an independent investigation is now underway, I shall be responding to comments here sparsely at best until it is completed. And remember comments always close on all my posts after six days (that’s not a special rule for this post; it has been the general rule on my blog for awhile).

    Reply
  14. Jonathan C June 16, 2016, 4:19 pm

    Hey Rich, Watch out for women in general. A lot of them have low IQs and often create trouble between and among men in order to feel important and in this day of political correctness us men already have a strike against us! A lot of men have been ruined by lies and false accusations from women and being somewhat of a celebrity nowadays you should be extra careful!

    Reply
  15. blondeintokyo June 16, 2016, 5:32 pm

    I must have misunderstood the circumstances. From her post, it seemed as though she was saying a few people were all talking together, having a raunchy conversation, and then this incident happened later on when you and she were alone.

    I also think that a discussion about maybe opening a relationship might be considered a sexual discussion by certain types of people, especially those who aren’t used to such frank discussions of sexuality that poly people regularly have.

    And people outside of our community quite often misunderstand poly peoples’ intention. To many of them, we are a bunch of perverts who are constantly on the make and have no moral qualms about (sorry) fucking around. It’s quite possible your mild question was interpreted by her in a totally different way than it was meant. I mean, you did ask out a woman who not currently in an open relationship – and that tends to be very offensive to people who aren’t poly.

    I’m thinking this is a case of someone’s poly prejudice going completely out of control. Which doesn’t surprise me at all. It’s happened to me more times than I can count, although since I’m female it’s usually the other way around. That is, guys seem to think that poly women are all “slutty” so anything goes.

    I guess all I can really say is that I hope the investigation clears things up. For what it’s worth, I believe you.

    Reply
    1. Your impression of events is overall correct. Except my conversations were mostly with other people, not so much with her. She was present, but I don’t recall how involved in which conversations. None of that led me to believe she had any interest in me. And had she not found me in private later to talk on her own, it would never have occurred to me.

      Reply
  16. John MacDonald June 16, 2016, 9:24 pm

    This is probably the farthest thing from your mind, but Ehrman mentioned you on his blog:

    1. marcrm68 said:

    The Melchizedek Scroll, 11Q13, deals with apocalyptic ” theories ” by linking previously unrelated scriptures. This scroll talks about “the messenger” in Isaiah, who is linked with a “servant”, who will die to atone for everyone’s sins. And seems to attempt to link this servant with the messiah of Daniel 9 who also dies about the time an end to sin will come. And the day sin is ended will be the great day of atonement, which will absolve all the righteous. And then God and his savior will conquer the devil and his demons….

    Sounds a bit familiar… At least some Jews were expecting a dying messiah…. This seems to be at odds with your theory.

    2. Bart said:

    No, 11Q13 doesn’t refer to a suffering messiah who atones for sins. I’m not sure where you’re getting your information!

    3. marcrm68 said:

    I read this in Dr. Carrier’s book On The Historicity Of Jesus, section 5 of background information…. This isn’t the only argument for a dying messiah idea circulating in Judea at the time. The point is that Paul persecuting Christians because he didn’t believe a man executed by the Romans could be the messiah might not be only possibility…

    I have been reading Paul since this thread started. Besides my interest in what really happened at the beginning, I am touched by his writing about love and compassion. Perhaps this is why he was so successful in his ministry!
    reply

    4. Bart said:

    Yes, if you’ll read the fragment for yourself you’ll see that what he says about it simply isn’t true. That’s the case with every piece of evidence he cites. It’s why there aren’t any experts who agree with him.

    Reply
    1. That’s a non-answer. Reading it yourself can just as easily corroborate my interpretation. Because it actually does say the dying messiah verse in Daniel refers to the messenger in Isaiah. So what’s his argument against that being the case?

      Reply
  17. Patty June 16, 2016, 10:45 pm

    Here’s the issue: The executives of SSA and Camp Quest are both intimately connected to you. I don’t know if this Amy person is telling the truth, but if she is, what chance does she have really? Your Facebook page said you worked at Camp Quest, and as far as I can tell, no one can tag another person for employment. That type of a post can only be generated by the person who owns the Facebook page–yourself. Someone saying their boyfriend checks their emails and texts could also be in response to someone who is making them uncomfortable and doesn’t want to give out their information. What I can discern is that you’re continually involved in drama. I unfriended you on my Facebook page months ago because your girlfriend posted one vile thing after another on your page. The reason I followed you in the first place was because I thought you were a serious scholar although abrasive at times. I was willing to listen to what you had to say even after the horrible things you wrote about Bart Ehrman. I didn’t realize until yesterday that I was still following you on Twitter when this post popped up. Was it about ancient history? No. It was this mess. It’s ridiculous and completely unprofessional to be tangled up in these situations. I refuse to buy any of your books or watch you in a debate.

    Reply
  18. Deb N. June 16, 2016, 11:02 pm

    I’m also rather confused by all of this. I don’t know Amy at all, and I obviously wasn’t there to witness your interactions. I do know you though, Richard, and sexual harassment seems vastly out of character for you based on my own experience. I will grant that I have a bias, seeing as we do have a bit of a relationship, but that relationship wouldn’t exist if you were the kind of person that Amy seems to be claiming you are.

    For anyone reading, I met Richard at a talk he gave at my alma mater. I graduated last year, so I don’t technically fit the category of “college student,” but I definitely fit the age demographic of many of the students that some think it is inappropriate for Richard to flirt with. After his talk, I and several of the other attendees went to a very casual dinner. There was no alcohol involved, just a lot of conversation on a variety of topics, none of which involved sex or anything of a remotely sexual nature if my memory serves me correctly. During the conversation, Richard asked me if I dated, to which I said yes. He then expressed an interest in going out sometime in the next few days. I reciprocated that interest and we went out the following night. Never once during that initial conversation, nor during the ensuing date, did Richard cross any boundaries or do anything that made me uncomfortable. He was extremely respectful and cautious regarding my comfort levels and always asked permission before making any moves or anything of that sort. In fact, after our date, he asked if he could come up to my apartment, which I didn’t want him to as I had work early the next morning (also because my room was a mess and I was rather embarrassed). It was clear that he would have liked to go further that night, but he accepted my answer and did not push any boundaries or pursue the topic further. We’ve since had many conversations, although no more physical interactions due to the geographic distance between us.

    I do feel that it’s important to point out, though, that in conversations with another person who was also at dinner with us after Richard’s talk, they expressed a feeling that he was being very openly flirtatious and coming on to me pretty strongly. I, personally, didn’t feel that way or view it as a negative interaction (the flirting was never aggressive, and I never showed any signs of wanting him to tone it down). The person of whom I’m speaking is a former boyfriend of mine though and has admitted to being biased and rather sensitive towards people flirting with me.

    I’m not saying that it’s impossible for Richard to have been so respectful of me and also to have assaulted Amy a year previously. I’m simply saying that, from my perspective, it seems very unlikely. I’m only here to try to defend his character by sharing my own experience. Maybe I’m being naive, but if these accusations against him do turn out to be true, I’ll be extremely surprised and saddened.

    As it stands now, however, I’m inclined to believe you, Richard. If you had wanted to take advantage of me at some point, the opportunity was certainly there, but you chose to be a decent person and respect me. My hopes are that this situation will be resolved positively somehow, although I have no idea what that would even look like right now.

    Reply
    1. Victim blaming is the act of blaming the victim for their victimization. I’m saying that she wasn’t victimized. Beyond learning of my interest in a possible future date.

      Reply
  19. Heina G June 17, 2016, 8:22 am

    I am very happy that you have offered some peer-review of the paper, undoubtedly this will increase both it’s quality and accuracy.

    The “Methods” section has been amended to include a definition of the hypothesis. The hypothesis is that the allegations made by Amy Frank are true (and otherwise false) and the evidence is her testimony on Facebook.
    https://www.docdroid.net/xyItgvz/index-copy.pdf.html

    Now that the analysis has been made and numbers have been estimated I wonder which numerical values you would specify for the various probabilities?

    Reply
    1. In that case, you’ve incorrectly assigned likelihood ratios. For example, the expectation that I would be removed from the bureau on merely asking her out has the same probability as on her new story. It therefore has a likelihood ratio of 1. It does not increase the probability of her new story.

      Whereas that her story has changed in a year from one more like mine to this entirely new one, has a very low probability on her new account, but is entirely expected on the hypothesis that she subsequently changed her story.

      Reply
  20. Richard,

    If Amy thought you were victim-blaming her, would you accept that you were victim-blaming?

    What if other people thought you were victim-blaming?

    Reply
  21. Srcuffles June 17, 2016, 12:09 pm

    I thought you had to “listen and believe” when it came to women?
    Guess it’s a little bit troubling when it happens to you huh?
    There is a reason it is innocent until proven guilty. I have no sympathy for you because you have sided with these psychopaths doing the whole A+ nonsense.

    Reply
    1. blondeintokyo June 18, 2016, 9:04 pm

      It’s “believe and verify”, actually. Which is why there are blog posts on this – so people can see the evidence. So far, the evidence is looking to be in Richard’s favor. However, the investigation is ongoing, so while we may believe Richard now, we are still waiting for verification.

      Reply
  22. EigenSprocketUK June 17, 2016, 1:39 pm

    Checklist useful for #24 victim blaming:
    Beginning with suggestion that the alleged victim misled you about crucial details like her name and highlighting every possible error or fact in dispute – check.
    Quibbling over irrelevant details like employment status of employees vs volunteers – check.
    Highlighting where the alleged victim has changed details – check.
    Assumption that failure initially to report something which is then later reported then that’s evidence of dishonesty – check.
    Garnering character references from supporters – check.
    Downplaying witting breaches of SSA policy – check
    Pedantic quibbling over on-the-job vs off-the-job for leaders with duty of care for young students – check.
    Expressing dismay that someone you praised as a very competent adult turns out to be too immature to be the subject of an above-board flirt from a person of your standing – check
    Making a show of how you never wanted to make trouble for someone in an abusive relationship by defending yourself, then being reluctantly forced to retaliate with a truckload of trouble – check.
    Skipping over why you never mentioned to the SSA that you had thought you were sacked from the speakers bureau for a separate incident in a completely different state – check.
    Proof by Bayesian somethingorother that it couldn’t possibly have happened – check.
    Ready supply of bystanders requiring exceptional evidence – check.
    Deleting trolling outright but allowing sexist hyperbole #19 to receive only a mild tutting – check.
    Redefining ‘creepy/sleazy’ to be whatever would have been more creepy/sleazy than what you did – check.
    Telling your side of the story in your own framing and implying that failure by the other side to do so shows bad faith – check.
    Writing a long-winded screed in 2015 which stresses the importance of learning from mistakes, then allowing the exact same situation to recur – check.
    .
    This sounds so much like the sort of thing a victim-blamer would do. Someone as wise as you could have followed the oft-useful maxim “guys, don’t do that”.
    But… don’t heed anything I’d suggest because it would be to do the exact opposite of what you’re doing.

    Reply
  23. WarnedYouAboutTheStairsBro June 17, 2016, 4:28 pm

    I looked at the evidence available to everyone else too and it’s not looking too convincing (even a friend who was around was extremely surprised at these vague allegations apparently…).

    You’ve been burnt by the same crowd you’ve been propping up, Richard. Do you understand what people have been telling you, now? Do you understand why some people had problems with your posts on similar figures who could have been fairly described as “sleazy” (like you must seem to some people, no offense) but apparently weren’t the monsters a particular crowd made them out to be?

    I sincerely wish you best of luck, nonetheless, and I hope this doesn’t hurt you in the long run. At least you’ll get rid of a few toxic people which is never bad.

    Reply
    1. WarnedYouAboutTheStairsBro June 17, 2016, 4:31 pm

      >even a friend

      As in, a friend of hers in IM conversations she herself published. Being so holier-than-thou means that even publishing evidence that demolish your narrative counts as evidence that upholds it (“fucking men not accepting my lived experiences”), probably.

      Reply
  24. LeggySioux June 17, 2016, 6:10 pm

    Richard I believe you and I don’t think you’ve done anything wrong here. The only victim here is your reputation.

    The idea that you should be barred from dating young women because of your age is offensive and prudish. These are the same moral scolds who critized your frank discussions of sexual preferences and fesithes not so long ago.

    I have a daughter who is turning 18 in a few months and I would be thrilled for her if she came home after a fun raunchy night out with you as long as everything was consensual. The age of consent is 16 where she lives and she’s mature enough to make her own decisions regarding life and sexuality. I know she would get a kick out of hearing one of your talks and if you two happened to mingle at an after party and hit it off then what’s the problem? Assuming she was into you and you her it’s game on and she would be lucky to have the opportunity to be with an older more experienced lover.

    Reply
  25. rob June 17, 2016, 6:13 pm

    in the koran it says that 2 women witnesses are required because if she “slips” the other may remind her.
    is this what went on in ancient world considering women were busy looking after children and less involved in business transactions?

    Reply
  26. Fin Stollof June 18, 2016, 5:18 am

    First: Camp Quest claims (on Facebook), and you also claim that your involvement with them ended in 2009. Whereas elsewhere on this blog you wrote about acting as a volunteer driver in recent years (after 2009). Can you please comment on that? Did you act as a volunteer driver for Camp Quest after the year 2009 or not? Archives of your blog posts have been saved in case you decide to delete or edit this information after the fact, so do think carefully before trying to pull that stunt.

    Second: contrary to your claims that your employer was automatically updated to show Camp Quest without action on your part, Facebook does NOT edit basic information in its users’ profiles. Either you went in and manually keyed in Camp Quest as your employer, or someone else “tagged” you as having worked there, and you were sent a notification asking if you wanted to update your employer accordingly. In either case, your employer would only be updated following direction action from you. Your suggestion that someone else caused that update without your knowledge is without merit, and not supported by any Facebook policies or features, past or present. Unless you want to claim that your account was hacked, you really ought to own up to having made this update yourself.

    Reply
    1. Volunteer driver for an SSA conference. Not Camp Quest.

      The Facebook Event was generated I now suspect by an algorithm glitch when I approved on June 10 a wall post from [someone on Brian Parra’s show] on June 9 that tagged and mentioned me and Camp Quest at the same time [with the words “join the ranks of”], which FaceBook read as my working there. It’s the only correlating event on my Activity Log, which doesn’t show me posting the life event notice myself. Which is also why I didn’t notice it.

      Reply
  27. MountainLion June 18, 2016, 2:21 pm

    So by your own admission you made advances to students, on more than one occasion, when that was against the policy of the organization. You even acknowledge that you knew it was against their policy.

    Your argument basically boils down to: “But I didn’t do that to *her*; this *other* woman yeah, but not to *her*. This one is lying! I didn’t do anything wrong. All I did was ask her out. And I didn’t touch a hair on her head. Promise!”

    But as you, yourself admit, you did make an advance to Mx. Frank. You should not have told a student that you’d like to date them. That was wrong and you knew full well that it was inappropriate, REGARDLESS of whether you touched Mx. Frank or not.

    Furthermore, touching doesn’t have to be sexual to be unwanted, inappropriate, nonconsensual, or harassment, as some seem to believe.

    .

    .
    From The SSA’s Speakers Bureau Policies & Expectations https://secularstudents.org/speakers/policies

    all Speakers Bureau members must agree to this set of Speakers Bureau
    Policies and Expectations upon joining the SSA Speakers Bureau.

    So you agreed to abide by these rules. You knew what was expected of you, which was not to make advances to students. Yet you chose to ignore this and do it anyway. More than once.

    Speakers must refrain from initiating any and all sexual behavior with students with respect to Speakers Bureau events. If sexual encounters, or any form of unwanted sexual advances, are reported as being initiated by the speaker, then the speaker will be suspended from the Bureau while we investigate the report. We may reinstate the speaker if we determine that no violation has occurred, but we will remove speakers from the Speakers Bureau if we conclude that this expectation has been breached. The only exception to this policy is between speakers and students who have a pre-existing sexual or romantic relationship.

    We maintain a zero-tolerance policy on
    harassment and we expect speakers to
    refrain from any type or form of harassment. We consider this to include continued unwanted behavior directed toward another person. If a case of harassment is reported, the speaker will be suspended from the Bureau while we investigate the report. We may reinstate the speaker if we determine that no violation has occurred, but we will
    remove speakers from the Speakers Bureau if we conclude that this expectation has been breached.

    From the SSA’s statement on Facebook:

    After an internal investigation, Mr. Carrier was removed from our speaker’s [sic] list last year, and no longer has an official or unofficial affiliation with the Secular Student Alliance.

    So the SSA determined that you had breached their policy and removed you from their speakers list. For what Mx. Frank reported.

    You said:

    That was the extent of our interaction that could be described as sexual harassment, and that only at quite a stretch

    Apparently the SSA disagrees. They determined that you acted inappropriately toward Mx. Frank.

    .

    .
    It is very concerning that you, or anyone, should be allowed to continue to participate in SSA events even though you breached their policy against harassment and/or inappropriate sexual behavior. That they continued afterward to allow you to participate anyway, just y’know as long as you aren’t giving a speech, is not ok. That is not the way to create a safe environment, let alone one that is welcoming to women and female people.

    Additionally, the fact that you are dating the spouse of the director of the SSA means that there *is* significant potential for there to be a conflict of interest.

    Reply
  28. WarnedYouAboutTheStairsBro June 18, 2016, 5:39 pm

    To the above, I also want to add that the trolling by slymepitters and friends on here is pretty fucking silly and the witch hunt they’re starting to engage in (based on the flimsiest of evidence; at least wait for something else to come out and stop acting like loonies) is the mirror image of similar ones by SJWs.

    Feeling schadenfreude at Carrier because he’s been found guilty in the SJW court and he supported some of their nonsense in the past (though, my disagreements with him aside, I’ll have to add he’s been much fairer to ‘previous targets’ than most similar in my view) is one thing, this sort of bullshit though…

    At least the SJWs are being consistent: purge the sleazy “harassers”, even if on “our side”. For fucking shame.

    Reply
    1. Corypheus June 18, 2016, 10:08 pm

      The goal of all totalitarian ideologies is to outlaw everything, so they, as the enforcers, get to choose who to punish. “Zero tolerance” is always the tool of the oppressor (for example, even though black and white people’s use of drugs is similar, more black people are in jail for drug offenses).

      Reply
  29. Richard Stokes June 18, 2016, 6:41 pm

    I’d like to make a general comment: I am concerned by this encroaching culture of ‘microagression”. Even mild actions or words can sometimes cause major offence to others. But is this a form of hypersensitivity on the part of the person allegedly wronged?

    I recommend reading Mamet’s play ‘Oleanna’ which explores an alleged incident between teacher and student. David Williamson, an Australian playwright also explored a similar theme in ‘Brilliant Lies’.

    Both plays were written in the early 90s.

    Another Australian writer Helen Garner wrote ‘First Stone’ in 1995 which analysed the sexual misconduct case brought against a Melbourne academic. Garner was critical of younger feminists and their prudish reactions to what she described as minor sexist incidents.

    Perceived ‘microagression’ has also dramatically affected Julian Assange’s career. The case against Assange appears to be based as much on destructive female jealousy as on the constructive desire for sexual justice.

    Reply
  30. “The worst I’ve ever done is still what I reported myself last year in Doing Wrong Right.”

    When and where was that, exactly? Have any SSA groups hosted you since that event?

    Reply
    1. SSA groups aren’t bound by the policy in question. That only applies as a requirement to be on the national organization’s bureau. Which the affiliates don’t have to use. Not to be a speaker. Hence.

      Which should be a relief to most people. The policy is unrealistically strict in general application.

      Reply
  31. MindBoggled June 19, 2016, 4:16 pm

    Richard,
    You Tweeted:

    “Wasn’t banned. Removed from bureau. Speakers don’t have to be on bureau, & when not, don’t have to abide by the stricter policy.”
    https://twitter.com/RichardCCarrier/status/744552132905418752

    Let me get this straight. One or more complaints were lodged against you and SSA investigated. In response they removed you from the Speakers’ Bureau presumably because they found you to be in violation of applicable policies. Correct me if I’ve gone wrong so far.

    All that said you are still allowed to speak at SSA events but you just no longer are bound by the policies you have violated? Is that about right?

    In effect you got caught with your hand in the cookie jar and SSA’s reaction is to remove your restrictions or prohibition on getting into the cookie jar? They’ll happily invite you back into the kitchen only now you can dip into that cookie jar at will without violating any policies?

    Are you effing kidding with this or what? This is a joke right? Both you and SSA feel that’s an appropriate response? This is what you consider to be ethical? This is what SSA considers to be a responsive action? Unbelievable.

    Reply
    1. Only one complaint. For violating the one policy that only has to be followed to be on the speaker’s bureau, not to be a speaker. Speakers are covered by other policies, but not that one. It’s only a requirement to be boosted by the SSA national with promotion and funding for local affiliates. I have written before on why I don’t think that overly strict policy is one any organization should have. And most orgs agree (which is why no such policy exists in most other orgs). But the SSA national doesn’t have to promote speakers or fund speakers for local affiliates. So that they only apply that overly strict policy to that one activity is their prerogative. One then has the freedom to decide whether they want the perks in exchange for submitting to greater restrictions, or not. And affiliates have the same choice of whom to bring in as a speaker.

      Reply
  32. I have a question about oral tradition and transmission.

    Let’s say that I know somebody well. I have been accossiated with this person closely, and I know much of stuff about his life. Now, if we say that 30 years later I have to remember something about this person, would it be fair to say that I can remember lots of broad facts and many different details about this person’s life.

    In a same way Gospels, even if written decates after, write down what people who were accosiated with Jesus said he did. It could be that some details get mixed and memories blurred, but I think it is fair to say that a lots of broad details and some spesific facts were remembered correctly. Shouldn’t this imply that Gospels could transfer historical tradition?

    Now, writing this I can see that there are lots of ”possibiliter” arguments used here. But put that aside, what kind of other flaws can you find in this kind of reasoning?

    Reply
    1. In a same way Gospels, even if written decades after, write down what people who were associated with Jesus said he did.

      That’s actually never said in the Gospels themselves nor established by any known facts. So we actually don’t know that they wrote down anything anyone who would have known Jesus said.

      Shouldn’t this imply that Gospels could transfer historical tradition?

      Possibiliter fallacy (Proving History, index): possible does not get you to probable.

      Reply
  33. Paul K. June 20, 2016, 9:58 am

    > The worst I’ve ever done is still what I reported myself last year in Doing Wrong Right. None of which involved Amy–because I didn’t consider our actual interaction to be at all bad.

    > Amy now says she wants the SSA to have published the accusation. They didn’t have to, because I did. In Doing Wrong Right. Within two months. So the information was actually made public. By me.

    I don’t get it. Did DWR involve Amy or not?

    Reply
    1. Advice for passing GRE’s or SATs in future: reading comprehension requires reading each sentence that follows another sentence.

      So the information was actually made public. By me.

      Though it was of unrelated incidents (as I had not in fact done anything as bad as those with Amy; and was thus still mistakenly assuming the complainant was someone else), those match well enough what she would have wanted the public told (assuming she isn’t making this all about her, but really sincerely means what’s good for the movement). I do not see what more she could honestly have wanted done.

      Reply

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