• All this weekend our friends at Freethought Blogs are having their yearly online conference. And today at 3pm PST join lil ol’ me, Dr Ray Burks and Lauren Lane from Mad Art Lab (and SkeptiCon) on a panel organized […]

  • ThumbnailYesterday, I was invited to participate in a radio show on KPFK in Los Angeles. The show is a one hour talk show run by a coalition of (brilliant) feminist activists called, Feminist Magazine.

    I am on air for […]

  • Amy Roth commented on the post, Kavin is a Skepchick Now, on the site Skepchick 4 years ago

    Welcome to the team!

  • Our longtime friend and inspiring genius of our galaxy, that badass himself (more accurately known far and wide as the Bad Astronomer) Mr Phil Plait has a brand-spanking new video series just released in […]

  • ThumbnailAs you may know, the wonderful organization Secular Woman gives out some important and meaningful awards each year. And I am lucky enough to be the artist who actually creates the awards for them. That means I […]

    • Those medals are sweet.

    • Alternatively, since I am coming to LA in February, you could just give it to me, instead. I’ve always wanted to be Secular Woman of the Year.

    • Congrats, Rebecca!! <3 you.

    • Congrats Melody, Sarah, Miri, Marian, Muhammed… and Rebecca! All worthy winners.

    • Amy, please let us know if this works.

      We are trying to get speakers for our reboot of the Boston Skeptics Skeptics* in the Pub meetings. If your strategy works, I’ll propose we make an award, named after our founder, to be presented (annually?) to person we deem most worthy (i.e. that we can blackmail or coerce into showing up.) I further propose that the winner of the First Annual Rebecca Watson Kick-Ass Skeptic Award be none other than Rebecca Watson, but she will have to come here to receive it. Otherwise, she’s a buttface.

      [*] not a typo – two Skeptics, no waiting!

      P.S. Congratulations to all the winners!

    • #visitgate
      Draw the battle lines, folks, this rift will be the deepest of them all! >:3
      Uh, unless she turns up or has a really good excuse, that is… then it might fall a little flat.

  • This is your friendly reminder that we have a Los Angeles Women’s Atheist and Agnostic Group (LAWAAG) meeting coming up this TUESDAY January 6th at 7 pm!

    We have a special guest, AB Kovacs. You may remember A […]

  • I don’t have the answer either. But I will say that with great power comes great responsibility. Rolling Stone is a highly circulated and highly read publication amongst young readers. They have the ability to influence how society views a topic. If Rolling Stone did publish a false rape claim (and we don’t even know for sure if that is true) they…[Read more]

  • Rolling Stone magazine just released the following statement that will prove to be devastating to survivors and victims of sexual assault. You think women were scared to report before? Watch how many times this […]

    • What is this new information? What discrepancies have been discovered? Does anyone know?

      • I had a look at the links provided and IIRC accurately the discrepancies were
        1. The date of the assault – that frat claims it had no party that night
        2 No member of that fraternity was employed at the pool as stated
        3 No member matched the description of Jackie’s date
        4 The number of perps changed from 7 to 5.

        You know what? I don’t care. Maybe it happened the week before. Maybe the perp was quietly expelled and is no longer a member. The numbers may initially have included the 2 “bystanders”. There are plenty of simple explanations.

        What is important is that there were at least 2 other victims of that fraternity mentioned in the story. Multiple accusations speak to the general truth of the story. Worse, a long history of cover up was detailed.

        One thing that blows me away is that the student council keeps records of all parties held but records conveniently do not go back to fall 2012. ORLY? In this age of electronic records? Attention to this one detail could go a long way to getting at the truth in cases like this.

        • People seem to forget just how easy it is for human memory to be muddled.

          The biggest thing that jumped out in my mind was the history of cover up.

          • Exactly. They have had 2 years to cover their tracks. Outright lies or half truths would be the simplest explanation.

            I tend to agree with the other John lower down on this occasion – the victim’s story is what it is, not some god’s eye view.

    • Can I start by saying that I agree with you, because I don’t want this comment to come across as a defense of the Rolling Stones.

      Refusing to publish the original story seems to fly directly in the face of the BelieveHer movement, while refusing to retract a story they know isn’t true would seem to be a serious breach of journalistic integrity. They seem caught between a rock and a hard place. So my question is, what should they have done in this situation? I’m genuinely unsure of how to properly navigate this sort of thing.

      • I don’t have the answer either. But I will say that with great power comes great responsibility. Rolling Stone is a highly circulated and highly read publication amongst young readers. They have the ability to influence how society views a topic. If Rolling Stone did publish a false rape claim (and we don’t even know for sure if that is true) they have fed into the myth that more rape claims are false than are true. They now have a responsibility to counter that claim with facts so that ALL WOMEN are not the victims of their bad reporting.

        • Exactly. As a journalist myself, I cringed as I read that letter.

          Rolling Stone is caught between a rock and a hard place, which means there isn’t a good option.

          If they no longer have confidence in their story as they told it, then they have no choice but to retract it. But as Amy correctly points out, the retraction itself will have negative repercussions.

          I’m not sure what the mistake they made actually was, or if it was avoidable, but clearly they shouldn’t have run the story in the shape it was in.

          As far as undoing the damage they’ve caused? I’m not really sure there’s an easy fix for that.

          • “[…] clearly they shouldn’t have run the story in the shape it was in.”

            Are you sure? Again, the Rolling Stone telling this woman that her word wasn’t enough evidence to run this story seems to be exactly what the BelieveHer campaign is fighting against. We can’t tell people to believe victims and then criticize them when it turns out they weren’t told the truth.

            • There is a big difference between believing someone and retelling a story without thorough (or even rudimentary) investigation, at least if you care about your journalistic integrity.

              It seems they did not do due diligence in this case; It’s one thing to protect the accuser by not contacting the accused but they don’t appear to have done anything to corroborate even basic facts in the case.

              It was shoddy reporting and far more than the reputation of Rolling Stone stands to be hurt by this.

            • Yes, they should not have published the story that they did.

              After some further research, it seems the reporter did a pretty haphazard job all around.

              Generally, for journalists one person’s word is actually not enough evidence to run a story. What you do is take that person’s word and then try to independently verify as much of it as you can. I don’t think this is in conflict with the idea that we should believe victims, though. For a journalist, I think, believing a victim means that you take their claims seriously and investigate them earnestly.

              In fact, I think we own that to victims. If we don’t try our best to get the story right, we end up in this type of situation, and that harms everyone.

        • I winced when I read about this before work today. I could already see the MRAs crowing about it and using it as fodder for years to come.

          I’m kind of reminded of another case I read earlier today, about a man who was arrested and lost his job because a sheriff was “absolutely certain” he was a mysterious man appearing in a tape showing the sexual assault of a minor. The simple fact was that the sheriff had never actually verified that it was the man he arrested and no prosecutor looked at the tape for three months, right until his trial began. The end consequence was that this man lost his job (and was unable to get it back) and his house and had a lasting reputation that I’m sure is probably still with him.

          What are the consequences of Rolling Stones’ retraction?
          If the rape claim was true: it’s now confused the issue in the national consciousness. Even if the claims are true and the men of the fraternity are convicted and Rolling Stones retracts the retraction, it will be impossible to disentangle this for years. Worse, the rape victim will have been smeared as a liar for no reason.
          If the rape claim ISN’T true (and nothing else went on): then several people have had their reputations damaged for no reason and we’ll be hearing MRAs caterwauling about it for decades.

          Either way, it’s now part of the MRA conspiracy repertoire. Grand.

    • I do not see any logic in demanding that the ‘accused’ (who were not actually accused) be solicited to ‘tell their side.’ The victim’s report is the victim’s report. Maybe the journalist could or should have expanded the investigation. I think so.

      But it is absolutely crazy to expect a victim’s report to equal some objective gods-eye view of events. If this turns out to be another Duke case, it will be terrible news for future reporters. But current policies for taking, and acting upon, sexual assault reports are absolutely appalling. The demand for reform should not be influenced by individual cases. Whether those are outrages of non-investigation (whether by police or journalists) or ‘happy ending’ stories where the bad guys go to jail.

      Rape is a crime committed by repeat offenders, every report needs intense investigation, not so much of the specific incident, though that is obviously required for prosecution, but of the behavior and track record of the accused. In case after case, offenders with monstrous records have walked because the specific charge wasn’t accepted, largely because the perpetrator’s known history was ignored or suppressed.

    • Rape is a crime… that needs intense investigation by professional criminal investigators, not school students or administrators best qualified to adjudicate accusations of cheating, or a magazine crew whose primary incentive is to sell advertising.

      Rape is a crime… whose victims need counseling by professionals, not from a magazine writer, editor and publisher looking for macabre, shocking and sensational stories that sell advertising.

  • ThumbnailA video based on an article titled, “Playing with privilege: the invisible benefits of gaming while male” and written by Tropes vs Women in Video Games producer, Jonathan McIntosh was released today.

    It’s very […]

    • Here’s the article (for some reason it looks link-y in the writeup but isn’t a link).

    • I never got the ‘women who play vidya want male attention’ stereotype.

      First, there was a long history of assuming gamers (and nerds in general) were unpopular with the ladies; very rarely did a sexually active (male, all nerds in pop culture were male for the longest time) nerd in pop culture exist without the seeming incompatibility of those two traits being remarked upon. (And I can’t remember any of the few exceptions being gamers.)

      Secondly, would you want that kind of attention? They find out you’re a woman, and immediately they ask about your breasts and butt.

  • It’s ok! Thanks for coming back to comment about it.

  • Thanks for letting me know but I worry that this speaks to the larger problem of people making false assumptions about us or others without fact checking and then taking that information as truth and spreading it.

  • Do a lot of people at this point in time not understand how twitter and commenting work? Is that why these lies are so easily spread? Because that tweet doesn’t even have anything to do with the “amazing” atheist.

    Should I do a social media 101 tutorial to explain how harassers use social media and hashtags to target people? Is that needed?

  • Uhhh, no. The comment in the photo was a tweet sent to me.

  • ThumbnailThis post and the video within contains NSFW language and discussion of online harassment and rape and death threats. Because of course it does!

    Can you even believe it? I know, I know, we should be skeptical […]

    • Rocket was the cutest puppy ever! Thank you for the picture. Helps cleanse the palate. Unfuckingbelievable that they are still doing this four years later.

    • Every single time this topic comes up I am just INCREDIBLY BAFFLED at this behavior. What prompts someone to sit down and write such things to a stranger? It’s so crude and stupid and, ya know, I can actually believe that men like that are proudly chuckling to themselves about the things they say., but I still don’t get it.

      I would like to ask them just one question: Is this the kind of person you want to be? Seriously?

      Oh and Hi! Rocket. He’s a cutey.

    • One of the myriad of reasons that the harassment persists is probably that people like Jaclyn Glenn *still* make videos that claim that Rebecca Watson lied (or perhaps misunderstood?) when she said that she was propositioned in the elevator – about three and a half years ago. The last one I know about was posted on Aug 30, ‘14, “Avoiding Awkward & Sticky Situations!“ Untruthful antifeminist videos are going to be made. I don’t expect anyone to try to stop that. What gives the MRA-talking-points videos more power to harm is that organizations like American Atheists promote Glenn’s work, thus ensuring that people who hate feminists, and spread misinformation about us, know they are welcome by a large and influential atheist organization. Of course, Dawkins’ foundation enthusiastically supports Jaclyn Glenn, but that was completely unsurprising. Danielle Muscato’s support of Glenn’s antifeminist work shocked and depressed me greatly. I think that if, sometime in the future, American Atheists stops endorsing the work of people who spread harmful lies, then the harassment of atheist/skeptical women will be reduced.

    • Puppies make everything better.
      I will never understand online hate, I just don’t get it. I guess I can’t think that way.

    • Wow, they’re still attacking Rebecca for, um, telling men there’s an unfortunate implication when they hit on a captive audience at four in the morning? I don’t even think the guy who made that faux pas was this offended by Rebecca’s helpful hint so as not to come off like a total skeez. But then, MRAs can never MYOB, no?

      But young carnivora make everything better.

    • The comment in the picture, is that a retweeted FTB comment directed at The Amazing Atheist? If so there are people on our side who need to cut that out too.

    • Do a lot of people at this point in time not understand how twitter and commenting work? Is that why these lies are so easily spread? Because that tweet doesn’t even have anything to do with the “amazing” atheist.

      Should I do a social media 101 tutorial to explain how harassers use social media and hashtags to target people? Is that needed?

      • I know, that was dumb of me. It’s not so much not understanding social media as my getting names and even non-proper words mixed up really easily.

        • Thanks for letting me know but I worry that this speaks to the larger problem of people making false assumptions about us or others without fact checking and then taking that information as truth and spreading it.

      • Anyway sorry for not making sure I knew what I was reading before commenting. I’m at work and doing online stuff between tasks. Bad habit.

      • Amy, it is certainly not your job to explain to us twitter ignoramuses how it works and what all the various cartoon swear words (“@#&!”) mean and how to figure out who said what to who and whether they are repeating a bit of hate or just reporting or outing a slimoid. That said, I generally find excerpted Twitter conversations impossible to follow. (The Tweet in the picture was easy enough to understand, though.)

        Googling “twitter newbie guide”, I quickly found this, which seems to provide the basic set of definitions. (Not sure about the definition of Direct Messaging, it seems to contradict itself and the later fuller explanation in section 4. This could be a sign the whole page is suspect or poorly edited.)

        To answer your questions, though, I think yes, a lot of people don’t understand how twitter works, but I think the lies are being spread by people who understand twitter and know exactly what they are doing. I do think there are a lot of us bystanders who just see “oh, another twitter storm”, and ignore it. Maybe a few people who try to engage but don’t understand what’s going on. I hope my link (or Google; there’s lots more) helps them. In a just world, you shouldn’t have to do that. Unless you want to do an Ask Surly Amy: “People keep speaking Twitterese around me and I don’t understand. Should I be concerned?”

        P.S. I could try to compress this to 140 characters: “#Notyourjob, but some/many/a lot of us could use some help here”.

      • I don’t know about anyone else around here, but I seem to be the cliched “babe in the wilderness” about how social media work. Twitter, for example, drives me to distraction — I’m often confused about where threads begin or end, and who’s saying what to whom.

        So perhaps a Social Media 101 tutorial is a good idea. It’ll help some of us who just dabble on the edges of social media understand how the harassers abuse systems to get away with their crimes.

    • Wow. That is like a love letter to classical Freudian psychology. It is crazy what people do when their sexual frustration turns to fear and hate.

      • “It is crazy what people do when their sexual frustration turns to fear and hate.”

        It’s not sexual frustration. That much is clear. If you’re starving, it might lead you to steal stuff from a food vendor or break into a grocery store, but it wouldn’t make you write hate mail to the editor of a foodie magazine.

        I don’t see him saying, “why won’t you put out for me?” What he’s complaining about is that “women” dare to think or act in ways that don’t fit in with what he wants. Note the mix of love and hate in the text.

        You might call it “narcissistic frustration”.

    • I really don’t …
      Why do these whining idiots think that they improve the reputation of misogyny by that sort of rant?

      Try some cute baby Tasmanian Devils courtesy of Zooborns

    • Oh sweet holy suffering saints ‘n’ martyrs, David Osorio over at the whiny oppressed Libertarian skeptic site, whose URL I won’t justify with posting, had a piece on ElevatorGate and Dear Muslima just last week. He’s sad sad sad that people take issue with Richard Dawkins (hello, not-understanding-Twitter!!!), and don’t worship every sexist and imperialist thing the great man tweets. But mostly he dwells on Elevators, and how bad feminists are for not enjoying really inappropriate propositions. Almost four years after the fact, he can’t let it go, and accept the fact that a man was a total jerk and a woman mentioned it. Sometimes the mind reels.

    • Well done. It’s a shame I didn’t have the chance to be in the audience.

      I knew the harassment problem was bad. I’m rather chagrined that I didn’t know just how bad the situation is. Honestly, I’m somewhat stunned. I can’t imagine how I’d deal with that sewage pit of hatred.

      Putting this talk together must have been difficult and distressing, and I thank you for taking on such a distasteful task. True, “distasteful” doesn’t cover it, but I’m out of words.

    • There was a truther who changed his mind on a BBC roadtrip that took five conspiracy theorists around places involved in the 911 attacks. His name was Charlie Veitch.

      He said in an interview with Miles Power that he got death threats. People attacked him, attacked his family, tried to hack him…he didn’t get rape threats or gendered slurs of course, having just turned on a movement that held him up as the golden child and not a woman on the internet with an opinion or anything horrible like that, but he said the threats lasted a whole year. Now, he says things are back to normal and 96% of his responses are positive. Unlike women caught in the crosshairs of misogynists. That hatred never seems to end.

    • Any one willing to make a petition demanding the Gov. do something about sexual harassment online? Unless something is done (this point is probably redundant anyways, because people have made it before), there will be no changes regarding policies that both protect against sexual harassment online as well as not infringing on our Constitutional rights.

  • Amy Roth commented on the post, To Uber or Not to Uber?, on the site Skepchick 4 years, 3 months ago

    Ha! That was beautiful!

  • Beautiful photos! And congrats on a great success!

  • Thank you so, so much to everyone who has donated! We are still welcoming people to join our team, if you are in the area. It’s for a great cause and will be a fun and easy walk! :)

  • Thanks for the info Ruth and thanks for being part of the team!

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