As many of you know, Ron Lindsay, CEO of The Center for Inquiry made some opening remarks at Women in Secularism 2 that shocked and offended a large portion of the audience, a majority of the speakers and many feminists and onlookers in the secular community. He also lashed out directly at Rebecca Watson while doing some strange things at the event such as avoiding the fundraiser dinner but taking the time to welcome a known harasser who attended the event. It was a disappointing series of events particularly for those of us directly involved in fundraising for the event and those of us emotionally invested in seeing WiS2 succeed. The actions had such a direct impact that many people, myself included felt they could no-longer support the organization. Rebecca announced a boycott as did Greta Christina. Many other people pulled their support and severed their ties.
Yesterday, Ron Lindsay issued the following apology.
It has been a few weeks since I have said anything in public about the controversy over my remarks at the Women in Secularism 2 conference. As CFI announced via Twitter, this pause was to enable the board to have time to consider the matter. The board has issued its statement. It is now an appropriate time for me to make some remarks.
I am sorry that I caused offense with my talk. I am also sorry I made some people feel unwelcome as a result of my talk. From the letters sent to me and the board, I have a better understanding of the objections to the talk.
I am also sorry that my talk and my actions subjected my colleagues and the organization to which I am devoted to criticism.
Please accept my apologies.
I can’t speak for Rebecca or anyone else from this network as to whether or not this is fully acceptable but I can say that I appreciate this gesture. I think it’s a great place to start from and I hope that we can now open up a dialog with CFI and the people directly affected by Lindsay’s words and actions. I am optimistic that we can move forward from here. I am not saying that this in itself is a complete solution by any means but I am hopeful that we are at a place where the community can potentially work together again. So thank you Ron Lindsay for your apology.
Now we wait and see how this unfolds. One good step would be an announcement from CFI that there will be a WiS3.
*Featured image of Ron Lindsay from his blog linked above.