Dr. Lawrence Krauss, cosmologist and advocate of skepticism, has been accused of sexual harassment by many women from a timeline that spans over a decade. This Buzzfeed News article goes into detail about the allegations.
These accusations occur from a variety of women from different areas across the country. Krauss was accused of things from groping, to making sexist comments to his coworkers, to having one of his female students complain to the university about his inappropriate behavior. The overwhelming consensus appears to be that Krauss is a creep and many women don’t feel comfortable around him.
However, you can see many online comments defending Krauss wherever the Buzzfeed article has been shared. This isn’t surprising as humans, whether they are “skeptics” or not, have biases. In this case, they may not want to admit one of their atheist heroes is a creep. Yet, I wonder if these atheists had the same degree of skepticism from allegations of Catholic priests or Christian Republicans.
I’ve seen people question Buzzfeed as a source. This is a fair question as the website is mostly known for silly quizzes. However, the Buzzfeed News section of the site is pretty solid. I’ve also seen people question the veracity of claims from certain people they don’t like (i.e. Rebecca Watson.). Okay so you don’t like Watson, but she is just one person from many who were saying negative things about Krauss.Again, all these claims come from a variety of places from people who are not connected to each other. It seems extremely unlikely that this is some grand conspiracy theory against Krauss. Given the evidence, it seems to make much more sense to believe the women. It’s not like creepy men are some rare occurrence.
Furthermore, this is not a legal case. No one is calling for jail time for Krauss. They are concerned about his behavior around women. Because of that concern, he was already disinvited from one atheist talk in Phoenix. And now several science organizations have cancelled his upcoming talks as well. His current university is also planning on doing a complete investigation.
I’ve gotten flack for mentioning that atheist spaces have a sexism problem and it’s something we should look into. Yet, this seems like another salient example. It appears that “whisper networks” knew about these claims as well as other prominent atheist figures (like Matt Dillahunty who was going to share the stage with Krauss). But Krauss continued to speak at many atheist events as people ignored the claims. However, if enough people come forward, there seems to be a tipping point where the one’s fame cannot save them.