He Said, She Said, He Sues: The Ongoing Saga of Ben Radford & Karen Stollznow
Last year, we reported that paranormal investigator and former Skepchick contributor Dr. Karen Stollznow wrote an editorial for Scientific American in which she describes sexual harassment at the hands of a colleague who the Internet promptly identified as Ben Radford. Radford claimed innocence, though he had been mildly punished by his employer, Center for Inquiry, after they hired an outside firm to investigate the matter.
The CEO of CFI, lawyer Ron Lindsay, wrote to Scientific American claiming that Stollznow’s post was “extremely damaging to the reputation of the organization” because, according to Lindsay and in contrast to Stollznow’s post, CFI already had a harassment policy in 2011, they didn’t suspend Radford while he was on vacation, and they didn’t have a track record of disciplining harassers lightly. (He doesn’t dispute that harassment occurred.) Scientific American removed the post.
Radford then launched a lawsuit against Stollznow claiming that she defamed him. This lawsuit was not publicized by either party at first, though Radford penned at least one article on the horrors of false allegations. Ron Lindsay again stepped in, but this time to repudiate Radford’s nondisclosure of his conflict of interest [EDIT: my mistake, in my memory I was conflating Lindsay’s post with this one from Orac. Lindsay criticizes Radford for sloppiness.]
Last week, Radford posted an unsigned apology and retraction from Stollznow on his Facebook, which Stollznow claims she never agreed to. Now, Stollznow has resolved to fight the defamation suit: she says that Radford attempted to bully her into signing the retraction and settling out of court because she couldn’t afford legal counsel, but now she’s raising money via IndieGoGo. As of this writing, she’s raised more than $23,000 of her $30,000 goal and the page has only been up for a few hours.
So there you have it – an update on all the juicy drama/horrific things happening to real people in the skeptic community. Whether you believe Radford or Stollznow, I think we can all agree that there’s no such thing as a Bigfoot, and isn’t that really all that matters? (No.)
Featured image of Karen Stollznow shot by our own Surly Amy.