The Top 10 Reasons to Ban Me from Bay Area Science Festival

Two weeks ago, PZ Myers pointed out that Dr. Eliza Sutton of the University of Washington in Seattle was the source of a rumor that PZ had contracted gonnorhea at SkepchickCon last year. Sutton posts on blogs and social media as “Skeptickle” or “Skeptixx,” where she has been open about her profession as a doctor, and has also previously declared her own name.

Obviously, a medical doctor diagnosing hated enemies with an STD is a gross breach of medical ethics, which is why a link to PZ’s post was Tweeted from the Skepchick Twitter feed, which we use occasionally for quick links that aren’t worth full posts.

I found her behavior so abhorrent that I retweeted the @Skepchicks Tweet. Obviously, this inspired someone to start a petition begging the Bay Area Science Festival to ban me from hosting my comedy science panel quiz show Quiz-o-Tron, which happens this Saturday, October 25, at the Castro Theatre. Advance tickets are only $10!

The petitioner Tweeted a link to the cause using the #GamerGate hashtag, which is meant to have something to do with the ethics of games journalism but, as made clear in this instance which has nothing to do with video games or journalism, is really just a flimsy cover for harassing women.

The #GamerGate crowd rushed to sign the petition, because it had something to do with punishing a feminist.

This resulted in some pretty amazing petition responses. With no further ado, I give you the ten best reasons to ban me from the Bay Area Science Festival after I retweeted a tweet that linked to a blog post revealing a horrible thing someone else did:


Hard Core: I don't really know what's going on here, or why a doctor would start a rumor about STDs, but this petition was on #gamergate, so I know what I gotta do.

I’ll be honest, this one might be a joke. However, I left a joke comment and it was immediately deleted, so this is apparently good enough for the petitioner to leave in, and therefore worth noting.


Devin Fabricius: I really don't care what this lady said or did. I do not want to know either. I am here to take a stand against these tactics alone. The ends never justify these means.

Devin isn’t really sure what’s going on, but he knows he doesn’t like it! And that’s why he will not be attending my comedy science quiz show with “Survivor” contestant Yau-Man Chan this Saturday.


Sam Keane: Rebecca Watson has promoted pseudoscientific theories such as

This marks the very first time I have ever mentioned the concept of Health at Every Size on this blog, or anywhere else actually. For the record: I think HAES activists get a lot of stuff right and a lot of stuff wrong. Now that I have weighed in (ha ha!) on this issue, I agree that I should definitely not be able to do my comedy science quiz show this Saturday at the Castro Theatre.


Jason Moore: Watson said red blood cells contain DNA *facepalm*

This never happened, but if it had I think we can all agree that it is the best reason to bar someone from performing a comedy science quiz show starring returning champion Phil Plait, “The Bad Astronomer.”


Robyn Ryan: No tolerance for cowards and slanderers.

I’m not sure if Robyn is referring to me, someone who uses her real name and retweets a fact about someone, or Eliza Sutton, someone who uses a pseudonym and starts rumors that her enemies have STDs. Whichever she meant, she is absolutely furious that Bay Area Science Festival would sell tickets for only $10 to Quiz-o-Tron, which will feature comedians Bonnie Burton, Matt Gubser, and Caitlin Gill.


Morten Elving: Rebecca shows huge amounts of hypocrisy, using tactics (which she claims gave her PTSD), to target women with opinions not equal to her own.

To the best of my knowledge, I have never had PTSD. But, maybe Morten Elving is also a doctor like Eliza Sutton, and is actually very good at diagnosing people he hates with disorders. In that case, getting PTSD from someone retweeting a tweet that has my name in it is definitely a good reason to boycott my comedy science quiz show, featuring new contestant Annalee Newitz, editor of io9!


Jesse Paine: Watson's decision to libel a doctor to her employers and to her large internet following is absolutely despicable. This is not a person who values skeptical enquiries and evidence.

Just as a heads up, “libel” does not generally refer to repeating verbatim what someone else has revealed about themselves, nor does it include retweeting such. But if I did libel a doctor, that would absolutely be a great reason to stop this comedy science quiz show from selling tickets at the low, low price of $10.


Bruno Vinogradoff

I assume Bruno is referring to SJW’s, a new social-justice themed chain restaurant currently opening in Target shopping centers across the country. Though I do not own this chain, I am excited about their menu items, like delicious cheese-stuffed FriendZonis. This is absolutely a great reason to have me barred from hosting Quiz-o-Tron, the world’s best comedy science quiz show on October 25 in San Francisco.


Brian Swann: boxing is unacceptable. Period. Full stop.

Though I have never actually boxed, I was considering taking lessons. I probably wouldn’t have time to do it before hosting Quiz-o-Tron at Bay Area Science Festival, but clearly the threat of violence is still there.


Obo Agboghidi: It's shameful that anyone would do this, to suppress opposing views. This isn't how a civilized socoiety works. If Rebecca wants to attack Dr. Sutton work, then attack her work with better proof. Doxxing should not be tolerated.

Obo is absolutely correct. In retrospect, I should have taken the time to fully examine Dr. Sutton’s important work on e-diagnosing people she hates with gonorrhea. What were her methods? Did she get a blood sample from PZ or any of the Skepchick bloggers? Did she access our medical records? These are the questions I should have asked, instead of retweeting that tweet linking to that blog post that pointed out that she said those things. In order to make up for this oversight on my part, I hereby offer to engage Dr. Sutton in a debate over whether PZ Myers has gonorrhea. She may choose the time, the date, the format, and the moderator.

I’m available any time except for October 25, when I’ll be hosting Quiz-o-Tron at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco as part of Bay Area Science Festival.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

Previous post

Quickies: First species to copulate, baby DNA, and an update to Jack the Ripper identification

Next post

Art For Skepticon


  1. October 21, 2014 at 12:45 pm —

    One day I will actually see a Quiz-O-Tron live, when I have the money to afford plane tickets and hotel and the like. Until then… will it be filmed? I’ll pay to see the video (as long as PayPal isn’t the payment method, because they don’t like me or my money)…

    Also… have fun! Clearly this petition is a failure.

    • October 21, 2014 at 12:53 pm —

      Yes, it will be recorded! I’ll post when it’s up. In the meanwhile, you can check out some highlights from the previous Quiz-o-Tron at Bryant Lake Bowl in Minneapolis!

      • October 21, 2014 at 1:08 pm —

        YAY! I can’t wait to see it!

        And I saw that highlights video. I’m ashamed to admit that it was the first I’d heard of Quiz-O-Tron and… I kinda wanna see that whole show… heh… :D

        I’ve actually watched the highlight reel four times, now, to be honest… it’s hilarious. “That’s a more”… best line in that video! (No, I’m not JUST pandering to your good side… mostly I am, but it was also hilarious :D)

  2. October 21, 2014 at 12:50 pm —

    You shouldn’t lie about such things. I’m planning on heading to Target tonight, and now I have my hopes up about SJW’s. A social justice themed restaurant, what’s not to like? And with your endorsement, it’s bound to have vegetarian options, too.

    • October 21, 2014 at 12:57 pm —

      I imagine ample vegetarian and vegan options, with all food fair-trade and probably sourced from local farmers, climate and season permitting.

      Damn, now I’m hungry.

      • October 21, 2014 at 1:01 pm —

        Yes, but let’s not forget the fried sausage special with #GamerGate man-tear sauce.

        I hear it’s to snark for.

      • October 22, 2014 at 12:44 am —

        If I remember the two-page spread in Misandrist’s Monthly, it does have vegan and vegetarian options, but it’s still mostly about man-eating.

  3. October 21, 2014 at 1:01 pm —

    I think you should be banned from everything forever because you said a mean thing about the brand of pet food that I feed my cats. WELLNESS FOREVER!!

  4. October 21, 2014 at 1:07 pm —

    Rebecca, I desperately need medical science to get working on whatever will allow me to have your sarcastic little babies. You’re just the kitten’s jammies.

  5. October 21, 2014 at 1:39 pm —

    Wasn’t there _something_ about red blood cells and DNA though?

    *traces claim*

    Oh, right you illustrated something about DNA-testing with an image containing red blood cells once. That totally means you shouldn’t be allowed to do this show that’s way too far away from me. In fact I think the US should fly its “perfect scientific accuracy above all”-flag high and deport you to Norway.

    I apologise for thinking you might have forgotten an actual, but trivial. mistake.

    • October 22, 2014 at 12:00 am —

      I could worry about checking that the red blood cells pictured were mammalian (or a very few salamander or fish species) as other vertebrate red blood cells do indeed contain DNA, and that there were no white blood cells (also containing DNA) in the sample from which the picture was taken, but as this comes from GamerGate, I feel absolutely sure the poster fact-checked this first.

      So I’ll skip the fact checking, and go sign that petition. I’ve better things to do with my time, such as to wonder whether “Quiz-o-Tron, the world’s best comedy science quiz show on October 25 in San Francisco” means “Of all the comedy science quiz shows in the world on October 25, Quiz-o-Tron in San Francisco is the best”, or “The October 25 San Francisco edition of Quiz-o-Tron is a quiz show about the world’s best comedy science”, or “Quiz-o-Tron will be asking comedy science questions on the topic of ‘October 25 in San Francisco’, and will do so better than any other ‘October 25 in San Francisco’ quiz show.”

  6. October 21, 2014 at 1:48 pm —

    Glad to hear there will be a video! I really missed having Quiz-o-tron at DragonCon. And I was in (the wrong part of) California a week too early to attend this one.

  7. October 21, 2014 at 1:52 pm —

    Offtopic, but does anybody know of anything cool happening in San Francisco this Saturday, October 25th at around 9:30pm? Ideally something around $10 and, like, sort of in the panel-quiz-show genre?

  8. October 21, 2014 at 2:22 pm —

    I also love the hypocrisy of #1. “Suppressing opposing views is the worst! That’s not how society should work! Let me sign this petition to suppress the views of someone I oppose by cancelling their work!”

  9. October 21, 2014 at 2:26 pm —

    Next time you’re at SJW’s, try an order of Garlic KnotAllMens. They’ll derail your meal straight into deliciousness.

    • October 22, 2014 at 12:47 am —

      I did try the More Flies With Honey. It was pretty good with a bottle of White Knight.

  10. October 21, 2014 at 2:26 pm —

    My favorite is #10 who should have simply written. “baaaa-baaaa”

    • October 22, 2014 at 1:15 am —

      Yeah, #10 is great. I’m pretty sure Rebecca’s right that it’s a joke, though; the location “Basement, CA” is a nice touch.

  11. October 21, 2014 at 2:38 pm —

    Oh dear- I am freakin’ dying over here. So amazing.

  12. October 21, 2014 at 2:43 pm —

    If I could I’d head to SF this weekend just because this post is that awesome.

  13. October 21, 2014 at 3:00 pm —
  14. October 21, 2014 at 3:03 pm —

    Wait, isn’t PZ involved in some lawsuit with Shermer? What happened to that?

    • October 21, 2014 at 4:21 pm —

      Nope. Shermer issued a cease and desist and the let his time run out on actually filing a lawsuit.

  15. October 21, 2014 at 4:22 pm —

    Also, if you think that reporting accurately on what you said is libel, you should probably pay more attention to the things you say.

  16. October 21, 2014 at 4:33 pm —

    Are you having a laugh?

    Wish I could partake in these IRL shenanigans that seem to happen so often on another continent. Cheers and keep it up! =)

  17. October 21, 2014 at 5:04 pm —

    This is excellent.

  18. October 21, 2014 at 6:02 pm —

    Rebecca, I would *totally* be there, but I can’t seem to find out where or when this astounding, once-in-a-lifetime event will occur, nor can I find out who will be there or how much it will cost. (I’ll bet it’s a jaw-droppingly low price, though!)

    Can you help?

  19. October 21, 2014 at 7:05 pm —

    I’ll never understand why you’re such a lightning rod for some people. Anyhoo, I will be there. Wouldn’t miss it.

    • October 22, 2014 at 12:23 am —

      I don’t know, but Rebecca seems very well grounded to me.

  20. October 21, 2014 at 8:21 pm —

    Shit guys. I’ve had the wrong definition of libel all this time.

    When you point out something someone actually said, and link to it, it’s libel.

    When you confuse one woman’s actions/statements with another, and then accuse them of it without actually fact checking, it’s standing up to bullying.

    I finally get it now.

  21. October 21, 2014 at 8:47 pm —

    I’m surprised this one didn’t make the cut:

    Zeeff Gander SAN FRANCISCO, CA 12 days ago Liked 0
    This is real harassment, not the shenanigans they talk about on twitter

    Because retweeting stuff is SO much worse than what happens on twitter.

  22. October 21, 2014 at 9:54 pm —

    I heard about this, and I was afraid some people might cave and actually ban you from Quiz-o-tron. I already bought my tickets, and you are one of the main reasons I want to go. I would be so disappointed if you couldn’t go. You are awesome. Hope to see you at the Bay Area Science Festival!

    I don’t have anything to say about those 10 reasons because for some reason they don’t show up on my computer at work (on Mozilla or Internet Explorer). Ah well, I guess I don’t need to feel shame for humanity anyway.

  23. October 22, 2014 at 12:20 pm —

    What? No joke about how they serve beer in Tumblrs at SJW’s? Also, make sure you go to the one at the corner. If it’s not at an intersection, they only serve bovine by-products.

    Anyway, even if she were his doctor, she shouldn’t even be revealing that shit.

  24. October 22, 2014 at 3:19 pm —

    I’m an unlicensed hack, er, psychologist and I have just diagnosed Dr. Sutton with a special MD version of Tourette’s Syndrome. Please be gentle with her, like an angry tiger, she can lash out at others without warning. Her specious medical diagnoses are a primary symptom.

  25. October 22, 2014 at 11:30 pm —

    Um… Rebecca? I don’t know if you’re still reading this comment, but you seriously need to read the comments over at this Pharyngula thread. My short offering to the thread was terrible (me not funny), but I do think you’ll love anteprepo’s comment.

    • October 22, 2014 at 11:31 pm —

      *ehem* Comment thread. I don’t know if you’re still reading this comment thread

      *grumbles under breath about bad proofreading skills and no editing*

  26. October 23, 2014 at 8:14 am —

    instructions unclear. when, where, and who will be participating in your comedy science panel quiz show?

  27. October 24, 2014 at 5:55 pm —

    I actually live in the Bay Area; however, as much as I adore Rebecca, Phil, and many of the others* at the event, it is also my nephew’s birthday. Priorities. Hope it’s a great show!

    *I’m sure once I am familiar with them that I will adore them, too, but I must have evidence. :)

  28. October 25, 2014 at 3:11 pm —

    I just now saw this from a link from Dr. Nerdlove. It’s hysterical. I hope your quiz thing went awesome.

Leave a reply