American Atheists Sued by Former Employee

Ed Clint has the scoop on how American Atheists is being sued by one of their former employees and does a nice job of putting this lawsuit in a broader context.

The suit alleges that [A.J.] Johnson was “forced to listen to various racial jokes and was subjected to unprovoked, unwarranted, vicious and persistent verbal attacks on everything, including her competence.” It claims “unfounded complaints” against her competence and that this was in spite of excellent performance, citing “dramatically” increased donations which it was her job to solicit. It also indicates that Johnson, the sole African-American employee of American Atheists at the time, was “forced to support” a billboard stating “Slaves obey your masters” which she expressly disapproved of.

Obviously, this is only one side of the lawsuit, AA’s official response has not been made publicly available yet, and AA President Dave Silverman couldn’t say more about the lawsuit when I asked earlier today. While everyone’s bound to speculate on what’s happening, keep in mind that, at least for now, these are only allegations.

I also asked if American Atheists would issue a public statement, fully expecting a formal version of “We can’t comment on this for the time being, but we’ll have more to say soon.”

I wasn’t even close.

They responded tonight and they held very little back:

As President of American Atheists I can assure you that Ms. Johnson was not terminated for any reason relating to her race. Working for American Atheists was Ms. Johnson’s first professional position after college and it became clear (after an extended review period) that we needed someone with more experience in her position…

Ms. Johnson also volunteered to rally support for the billboard from black atheists… Indeed, months before the billboard was even conceived, Ms. Johnson tweeted a video from her personal account echoing the same biblical hypocrisy about slavery… In addition, Ms. Johnson was never subjected to racial jokes at any time, nor would anyone at American Atheists tolerate such behavior.

American Atheists’ books are open and transparent, and our financials are audited every year by an independent accounting firm. The board receives regular financial updates from me, and as always, all members are free to ask any questions.

There’s quite a bit more in AA’s full statement, including very relevant screenshots, so check that out, too.

It’s worth repeating that this isn’t a back-and-forth that’s going to be resolved online. Let our legal system do its job and we can take it from there. In the meantime, I’m giving a huge tip-of-my-hat to Ed for his reporting.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • Robster

    Jeez, when Organized Religious Fraud LLC gets their nasty hands on this, they’ll have a field day. Is anyone opening a book on the odds concerning what lies they’ll create?

    • Billy Bob

      This was my first thought too. How will places like World Net Daily, The Blaze, and Brietbart spin this?

      • baal

        You could skip naming them so their bots don’t pick up this story. As much as we love ourselves, they might not notice the potential conflict.

  • Jordan

    Nice article. With all of the ridiculous comments that indicate atheism is a religion, I think it is always important that we hold nothing back when scrutinizing groups that gather atheists together to promote skepticism and rational thought.

    The day that atheists start protecting atheist/secular humanist groups for the sake of the message, we become no better than the Catholic Church.

    • URDUM

      AMEN – Atheists need to come to terms with the fact that non-religious people can be just as stupid as religious people

      • 3lemenope

        Did you think many of us were under any illusions on that score?

        • URDUM

          Holy smokes, yes.

          Sources: The giant homophobic, porn-fest that is reddit.com

          • 3lemenope

            Pick a bad data sample and–surprise!–you’ll reach a bad conclusion.

            • URDUM

              Can you clarify? Is reddit a bad example of “good atheism”?

              • 3lemenope

                Just an unrepresentative sample is all.

  • JohnnieCanuck

    In the meantime, Ed’s article makes me very suspicious of his motives here. Heavy on the innuendo, light on the fact checking is my first impression of him.

    Does he have an axe to grind here? His commenters clearly do.

    • TCC

      ^This. A lot of people on that site are angry at Silverman for his conversation with Vacula, and I get the distinct feeling that a lot of people would like to see Silverman and/or American Atheists thrown under the bus as a result. I’ll be interested to see how many of these allegations hold up under scrutiny.

      • Aspaceformyheart Awesomeblog

        I’m torn. On the one hand, I feel that Silverman’s behaviour towards Vacula was disgraceful. As I said elsewhere:

        This was incredibly aggravating to listen to. Silverman was utterly
        unwilling to address or even entertain any of the points Justin was
        making. Entirely unwilling to discuss even the possibility that any of his friends or anyone on “his side” are capable of wrongdoing. He just wanted to show up and preach, and talk down to Justin and have nothing remotely resembling a discussion. I’m amazed at Justin’s restraint in the face of such bullying, repetitive, obnoxiously overbearing
        behaviour.

        And the REALLY ironic thing? Dave had some valid points to make, but they were utterly drowned out by his hectoring, antagonistic approach.
        Precisely what he was accusing Justin of throughout the sermon he was monologuing at him.

        But on the other hands, if AA can back up everything they’re saying – and I think they’re too smart to make claims like this without being able to do so – her suit against them does ring a bit opportunistic and false.

        While at the moment I’m inclined to believe the worst of Silverman, I do have to recognize that one instance of being a jerk doesn’t make him a jerk all of the time. We’re all only human.

        • TCC

          Did we listen to the same conversation? Because I noticed that DS was simply telling JV that his reputation had suffered as a result of his association with certain people (e.g. the Slymepitters) and that this would hurt his activism. This is practically trivially true at this point, unless I’m in a parallel universe where JV is actually the co-chair of the Secular Coalition of PA (fairly certain that’s not the case, though). DS did none of the stuff that he advised JV to distance himself from, not by a longshot. (I have more that I’d like to say, but we’re significantly off-topic now.)

    • http://www.skepticink.com/incredulous Edward Clint

      I have no axe to grind. Search if you like every letter of every post I ever posted online, every tweet and every Facebook status and as far as my memory serves, you will find no nasty words from me about American Atheists or about David Silverman. I also know next to nothing about AJ Johnson.

      Some among the commenters are intemperate and I suspect the story has drawn out some people anxious to express their pre-existing anger or contempt for AA or Silverman. I find that unhelpful, at best.

      As to the fact checking… well, I am confident in my claims. I appreciate your skepticism, though. It is prudent when information is incomplete, and when issues are politically charged as these.

      • http://natehevens.wordpress.com/ Nathan Hevenstone

        Disclaimer: in the whole fight over feminism and secularism, especially over what happened at Women in Secularism 2, I’m on the side of the feminists (to be clear, that’s FtB, Skepchick, A+, Secular Woman, etc).

        I was quite excited when Silverman defended us to Vacula’s face (though I didn’t want him to go on that podcast to begin with). I was thinking that maybe, with CFI choosing to back Lindsay (which is totally fine, BTW… that’s their right… as it’s my right to exercise my freedom in the market, vote with my money, and no longer support them for it), maybe American Atheists would back WiS 3.

        Then your article came out and I about tore my hair out reading it.

        AA’s response was heartening, to say the least, but… you’ve certainly given me pause, so thanks for that. This is all turning out to be interesting in a twisted, sad sort of way…

      • http://www.geekexile.com/ Brian Fields

        I’m curious, Ed, why you didn’t approach AA for comment before releasing the article? In an emotionally charged issue like this, it’s the only fair thing to do.

        • ObserverDC

          More than the fair thing, it is also the thing that any editor of a real piece of journalism would have insisted on. I don’t think there was an axe to grind so much as a rush to get a scoop in, but it is still bush-league level reporting.

          • http://www.geekexile.com/ Brian Fields

            I hope you are right. As of right now, I think it’s a question that needs answering. There were quite a few unbacked insinuations in that article that should have been checked before publishing.

        • Remick

          I didn’t see you holding others to the same standard in the Adria Richards “donglegate” issue. Why the double standard?

          • http://www.geekexile.com/ Brian Fields

            Am I responsible for commenting on everything everywhere? I don’t even know what that is. Have I somehow supported someone doing the wrong thing somewhere? If so, feel free to point it out. What does this have to do with Ed adhering to basic journalistic integrity?

            • Remick

              no, yet, typically parties in a lawsuit make little to no public statements regarding the case, any expectation that Ed, or any simple blogger could easily attain such is unrealistic at best.

              • http://www.geekexile.com/ Brian Fields

                It’s considered appropriate to still try, even if he has to say “I attempted to contact AA, and they refused to comment”. He didn’t do that.

                Interestingly that’s not what happened – AA had quite a bit to say on the matter.

              • C.L. Honeycutt

                Emailing public groups and figures is hard.

                You dodged the point there.

              • http://www.geekexile.com/ Brian Fields

                Dave’s email address is public. A simple note asking for comment would have easily sufficed. What’s the worst that can happen? He says “no comment”? That’s basic reporting.

              • http://www.geekexile.com/ Brian Fields

                All a “simple blogger” has to do is fire off a quick email to the parties involved for comment. It’s basic practice in anything like this. If he gets “No Comment” or no response, he’s free to report that.

          • Lea Tapp

            Are you comparing Ed’s speculation about something he knows nothing about to Adria’s testimony on her lived experience? WTF?

          • Ace_of_Sevens

            Who should have approached Adria Richards about what? Besides, the facts weren’t in dispute there.

      • Gus Snarp

        Perhaps there’s no evidence of prior nasty words about AA or David Silverman, but there has been some animosity with people on the feminist side that Silverman might be perceived as aligned with.

        • TCC

          This, precisely. Silverman defended people “on the other side,” and so there may be a pull (even unconsciously) to present only one side in such a way that his reputation suffers.

  • Roentgenster

    It seems like a huge mistake to get in the middle of what appears to be a private labor dispute. Nobody here can know the facts of the case with certainty, we ought to leave it to their attorneys.

    • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

      I agree. We should take the stairs.

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        I shamefacedly confess to being sure that I know the reference and yet still not getting it.

        • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

          Never mind, not important. I’ve already said too much. Forget I said anything. Just don’t get on the… Never mind, not important. I’ve already said too much. Forget I said anything. I’ll be down in the lobby having a cup of… Never mind, not important. I’ve already said too much. Forget I said anything. Jesus, seems like everybody’s so ready to tear… Never mind, not important. I’ve already said too much. Forget I said anything. I’m just a harmless old gentleman who wouldn’t dream of… Never mind, not important. I’ve already said too much. Forget I said anything. Wow it’s late, and I’m not even staying here. I’d better get outa here while I’m still in one… Never mind, not important. I’ve already said too much. Forget I said anything. G’night.

          • C.L. Honeycutt

            And now I do get it. I’m laughing, but it also hurts a little.

            • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

              I hope I haven’t somehow inadvertently hurt you, C.L. I did not mean to. I admire you from your comments. It would be nice if some day we could meet for coffee in the middle of the day, and talk about many things in a really public place.

              • C.L. Honeycutt

                I’m gonna go cry in the corner for a while. Not because of you!

    • rwlawoffice

      That attitude never stopped anyone here from wading into the legal disputes when it involved Christians and their jobs.

      • baal

        RW, reports on folks and institutions at a distance are one thing. Many of the bloggers and commenters here know either or both parties. This context of close relationships means it’s different. Not that I’m expecting you’ll suddenly start paying attention to all the facts and material issues all of a sudden (rather than your usual hyper-partizan extremely narrow focus).

        • rwlawoffice

          I can see the distinction and if that is the reason then it makes sense. I also see it as the knee jerk reaction to assume if an atheist complains about a Christian acting in this way the atheist is telling the truth. Here the fact that both parties involved are involved are atheists, that bias doesn’t play a part and each are given the benefit of the doubt. I wold hope that at some point the bias that is shown against Christians in these situations is set aside and everyone has the same attitude as they do here.

          • Anti Iggyman

            Hey, wait just a darn minute!

            It looks like some atheist here is Lying!

      • Sven2547

        Most of the legal disputes involving Christians and their jobs that I see involve employers / employees agreeing on the basic facts of the case, but disagree on the appropriate response to those facts.

        This case seems to have two completely different sets of “facts” being pitted against each other. Until some clarity is added to this mess, I’m in the same boat as Roentgenster and Richard: throw my hands up and say “I don’t know and I have no opinion”.

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        Say RW, have you decided yet why you think it’s okay for businesses that hold monopolies to deny services to black people?

  • Rain

    Indeed, months before the billboard was even conceived, Ms. Johnson tweeted a video from her personal account echoing the same biblical hypocrisy about slavery

    So it’s not possible for the billboard to be offensive because she tweeted a video not related to the billboard? Sorry but that’s dishonest, and that type of lawyer-esque hairsplitting sophistry is offensive to our intelligence. Get a new President. Have a nice day.

    • TCC

      That’s not at all what’s being said. Johnson claimed that she was forced to support a billboard that she found reprehensible, and the response is that she wasn’t actually forced and that she seemed to support the same idea. I wouldn’t call that “lawyer-esque hairsplitting sophistry” in the least; it’s quite relevant if true.

      • Rain

        He knows the billboard in question. So yes it is lawyer-esque hairsplitting knee-jerk defensive sophistry and/or baloney.

        • http://natehevens.wordpress.com/ Nathan Hevenstone

          Have you ever heard of Reading for Comprehension? You should try it some time.

          Again… Johnson has alleged that she was “forced” to support the billboard. AA has provided evidence that she was, in fact, quite happy to support it. The email also included is the relevant bit.

          • Rain

            Indeed, months before the billboard was even conceived, Ms. Johnson tweeted a video from her personal account echoing the same biblical hypocrisy about slavery

            You try reading comprehension. Like the “Indeed, months before the billboard was even conceived” part. Tweeting a video doesn’t have anything to do with the (possibly) offensive nature of the billboard. It’s a lawyer-esque “piling on” of facts merely for rhetorical purposes.

        • TCC

          …that’s not even a response to what I said. Please try harder next time.

          • Rain

            Okay TCC I will read what you said again and see if I make sense from it.

      • Rain

        What does that have to do with tweeting a video before the billboard came out. You’re the one that’s “not even a response to what I said”.

        • TCC

          FFS. I’m just going to paste an excerpt here for your benefit:

          In opposition to what she now asserts, Ms. Johnson publicly supported the “slaves obey your masters” billboard, which featured a biblical verse supporting slavery as a protest of the Pennsylvania state legislature’s proclamation of 2012 as the “Year of the Bible”. Ms. Johnson also volunteered to rally support for the billboard from black atheists (see below). Indeed, months before the billboard was even conceived, Ms. Johnson tweeted a video from her personal account echoing the same biblical hypocrisy about slavery (see below).

          Both “see below”s refer to screencaps of 1) an E-mail Gaudette sent out, explicitly noting Sikivu Hutchinson’s criticism and defending the billboard and 2) the tweet in question. That’s pretty clear evidence, when taken together, that Gaudette didn’t actually oppose the billboard as vehemently as she claims, which makes it relevant.

          • Rain

            TCC, I be back laters when my head cools off. All I know is I saw a dirty lawyerly type rhetorical tactic and the flames shooted out of my nostrils.

            • TCC

              No, I think you thought you saw that and responded accordingly. Fair enough on the cooling off part, though.

          • Rain

            Nope sorry, tweeting a video has nothing to do with the controversial nature of the billboard, which presumably is why she would allegedly be against it. “Presumably” because I don’t know for sure since nobody has seen the complaint. I think it’s a safe presumption. I’m sticking with what I said. Have a nice day.

            • Atheist Loki

              And you’re just going to ignore the email she sent out soliciting for the billboard. Nice work.

              • http://natehevens.wordpress.com/ Nathan Hevenstone

                Of course xi is. That little fact defeats xir narrative.

                • Rain

                  Well I did my best to xplain my “narrative”. So since nobody agrees with it then I must presume I’m logically impaired due to cognitive bias I guess. Need more time to assimilate, lol.

                • http://natehevens.wordpress.com/ Nathan Hevenstone

                  The email. What about the email? Are you email-blind, are you ignoring it deliberately, or what? She explicitly and happily defends that billboard in that email.

                  Why does that blatant piece of evidence that she was quite enthusiastic about it mean nothing to you?

                • Rain

                  “Indeed, months before the billboard was even conceived, Ms. Johnson tweeted a video from her personal account echoing the same biblical hypocrisy about slavery” has nothing to do with the racially controversial nature of the billboard. The “Indeed” is a non-sequitur. The email was not an enthusiastic endorsement. The email was an effort to placate a bad situation. I.e. she was doing her job.

              • Rain

                I’m not ignoring it. I’m saying the other bit about tweeting the video was thrown in there gratuitously, because presumably the reason she would be against the billboard would be because of its racially controversial nature, not because she would be against being against the Bible. Which seems like a safe presumption but I could be wrong I guess.

                • Atheist Loki

                  It doesn’t seem to me that the tweet was thrown in there ‘gratuitiously’, but was added to show that she has, more than once, supported using the slavery references in the bible to make points.

                • Rain

                  I’m beginning to wonder if I’m the only one who has seen the billboard! :D

                • Atheist Loki

                  I’ve seen it, and so what? That’s another thing, slavery is not a black-only-issue. Every race has been enslaved at some point in time by another or their own. Every person can trace back their family tree and find that at least one of their ancestors that was a slave. And I can already feel the butt hurts coming, but it’s the truth.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  Given the extremely overt context of American history, that’s a very dumb retort.

                  Oh noes, I can spot context, that must be a sign of being butt hurt! Or possibly preemptive dismissal is a childish tactic that only seems to be used to cover for having a bad argument, whichever.

                • Atheist Loki

                  Right, because I guess I forgot that only black people were enslaved in America. Damn, I guess the Native Americans, Chinese, Arabics, Irish and so on, never were and I’m being lied to.
                  You can now take that butt hurt comment, roll it up nice and tight, and shove up your twat.

          • Bridget Gaudette

            Uh, hello. NOT Gaudette!

            • TCC

              My sincerest apologies; that was a big oops.

          • kaboobie

            You’re conflating two people here. It is Ms. Johnson we are talking about, not Ms. Gaudette.

            • Bridget Gaudette

              We all look alike ;-)

              • TCC

                Unfair! Your names were both mentioned. :P

            • TCC

              Guilty as charged; it was an honest mistake.

          • Whatever

            So did Mr. Silverman have permission from Ms. Johnson to publish that email? Of did he just presume that since he is a cis-gendered white guy he could do what he wanted with it. Even publish it publicly to the internet instead of giving a copy to his organization’s attorney.

            • Gus Snarp

              You may have noticed that the sending address on that email ends with @atheists.org. That means it was her work email address provided to her by American Atheists and as such they have the right to do anything they want with any email sent from or to that address. It’s pretty standard in most IT agreements before you’re handed a company email address.

            • TCC

              I have a feeling it did go to AA’s legal, but the statement was put out there to counter allegations, and as Gus Snarp notes, they do certainly have the right to do so.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/GodVlogger?feature=mhee GodVlogger (on YouTube)

    I am a big fan and supporter of American Atheists and David Silverman.
    I wish them (and Ms. Johnson) well.

  • DAdamsTowel

    I hope this means David Silverman will resign.

    • TCC

      Don’t get your hopes up, bucko.

  • Mark Heil

    My main concern is whether an atheist organization can be treated fairly by the court system. At least its in New Jersey and not in a “bible belt” state.

    • Artor

      Well, it’s atheists vs atheists. Who is the court going to side with?

  • Matt Dillahunty

    “I’m giving a huge tip-of-my-hat to Ed for his reporting.”

    Why? Since when is it laudable to post a one-sided conspiracy-theory-style piece?

    That piece was full of ‘so and so left…that seems suspicious’ when none of it was actually accurate. Did he even talk to any of the other people in his ‘story’? At the time of this writing, he’s edited it to note that Blair is still on the board, but hasn’t noted that Theresa joined the board and hasn’t acknowledged any of the other loose threads he wove together to manufacture the impression of turmoil and bigotry.

    There’s nothing hat-tip worthy about a poorly researched bit of unnecessary shit-stirring. The lawsuit alone is going to be a PR hit for the movement, why should we hat-tip people who manufacture fictions to amplify that?

    A HUGE hat-tip, are you kidding me?

    • Hamilton Jacobi

      Indeed. It’s like giving a huge tip-of-the-hat to Glenn Beck for his reporting.

    • Matt

      You know Hemant, always trying to be the good guy. Even when sometimes it makes him seem like a dimwit. I wouldn’t read into it so much, just his thing.

    • Rain

      “I’m giving a huge tip-of-my-hat to Ed for his reporting.”

      Why? Since when is it laudable to post a one-sided conspiracy-theory-style piece?

      That would be like tipping your hat to the guy on the grassy knoll, or to Bigfoot, or even to Beyonce for being an Illuminati, although I thought Halo was pretty good.

    • http://www.justinvacula.com Justin Vacula

      Very interesting, Matt. In August of 2012, you wrote, concerning women voicing complaints, on Skepchick,

      “When someone expresses a concern that something is making them feel
      unwelcome, we need to address it. Period. We need to seriously consider
      their complaint, make every effort to understand it and then decide what
      sort of action can and should be taken to alleviate it.”

      Why the double standard; why do you dismiss the concerns of AJ Johnson/the lawsuit but, in another situation, say we need to “address” a concern “seriously consider their complaint,” and “make every effort to understand it?”

      Apparently, we should only listen to some women?

      Further, you wrote,

      “When you hear a complaint that someone has raised, you might think
      that they’re expressing an irrational, emotional, over-reaction to the
      situation. You might even be correct – but it doesn’t matter, and here’s
      why:

      You don’t get to decide what someone else finds offensive.

      You don’t get to decide what someone else finds uncomfortable,
      unwelcoming, disconcerting, stressful, harrassing, troubling or painful.

      You aren’t the world: everyone isn’t exactly like you.

      We’re trying to build a safe and welcoming community. We’re trying to
      sponsor safe and welcoming events. We’re doing a pretty good job and
      we’re getting better at it, but we need every decent person to
      participate. We need to make sure that people who express their concerns
      are treated with respect and compassion and that we make reasonable
      efforts to either alleviate their concerns or clarify why we can’t or
      won’t.”

      Why the double standards?

      • Matt Dillahunty

        Completely uninteresting, Justin – as usual.

        Please point out exactly where I’ve dismissed AJ’s concerns. Oh That’s right. I didn’t.

        I didn’t comment on the merits of the lawsuit at all – nor did my complaint even BEGIN to address AJ. I was simply pointing out that Ed offered incomplete information that painted a broader picture which hasn’t been justified with evidence.

        The only double standards are in your mind and your inability to distinguish what I actually wrote from what you’d like to imagine that I wrote.

        Instead of digging around for what I’ve written in the past – how about trying to read and understand what I actually wrote.

        I recorded a video (which is uploading now) which you should probably watch before you bother sticking your other foot in your mouth.

      • Matt Dillahunty

        Assuming this link works, I figured I’d let you watch this so you can post an apology and retraction of your accusations that I’ve dismissed AJ’s concerns: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phgXkSbGlQo

        • Edward Gemmer

          I don’t find the video convincing. For one, it ignores the stuff about Bridget Gaudette, which seems quite relevant given she is also a black woman who seems to have been treated poorly by the organization. Perhaps the other people who left had good reasons that are completely unrelated – it isn’t Ed Clint’s job to track down everyone who has ever left the organization and give a synopsis on their reasons. Like you said in the beginning, there is a problem, and Clint did a good job exploring the possibility of it being a larger problem.

          Second, I find it unconvincing because it completely removes the onus of the actual problem – a large atheist organization is being sued for racial discrimination. This seems like a major story within the community (especially given the call to remove Ron Lindsay from his position based on some mild criticisms he made). So trying to make this about “Ed Clint’s reporting” seems like a cop out.

          • Jasper

            “Clint’s job to track down everyone who has ever left the organization and give a synopsis on their reasons.”

            If he’s going to assert what’s effectively a conspiracy theory-style narrative, then yes, yes it is. Otherwise, his “reporting” is little more than idle speculation.

            • Edward Gemmer

              No it isn’t. It would be a bunch of woo if there wasn’t something holding it together. But when someone (especially someone like Johnson, who everyone seems to have a high opinion of) sues the organization, it isn’t a “conspiracy theory” to speculate as to what is going on, and to tie the speculation into facts such as other instances of minorities being treated poorly or other people leaving.

              • Jasper

                That’s the part you’re not getting. We have one piece – the lawsuit, and this has been interwoven into a narrative of speculations on the motives of every other time someone has left the organization. That’s the conspiracy narrative.

          • Matt Dillahunty

            You don’t find it convincing? If it was trying to convince people of anything, it was trying to convince people that Ed painted a picture that may not be accurate – omitting information and speculating about things without providing evidence.

            “Trying to make this about…” – I’m not ‘trying to make this’ about something. There are two issues; the actual complaint (and potential problems at AA), and the way this was reported by Ed.

            I thought I was pretty clear, but in case I wasn’t:

            1. AJ’s concerns should definitely be addressed (and will be, as that’s what the lawsuit is about).
            2. I’m not commenting on the merits of the case until I have the facts. (And am baffled at people claiming otherwise as well as those who are speculating)
            3. I didn’t talk about Bridget because I didn’t have facts to contribute, at that time, and (unlike Ed) I’d rather not speculate and imply that I know motivations when I don’t.

            4. I also didn’t talk about Ed H, for the same reason.
            5. Ed took disparate facts and, by omitting additional information, implied that AA has serious problems that are the cause of people leaving.

            I agree that the lawsuit is a major story – which is why I object to it being reported in a biased, speculative fashion.

            Finally,”it isn’t Ed Clint’s job to track down everyone who has ever left the organization and give a synopsis on their reasons.” You’re right, he doesn’t have to track ANYONE down and ask what their reasons were for leaving. My objection is that he’s insinuating what their reasons are – without providing evidence to support it and in the face of facts that contradict it.

            That’s dishonest.

            • Matt Dillahunty

              And, just for clarity (because some people seem to be confused about this):

              Ed Clint could be correct. I’ve never said that he’s wrong or that there aren’t problems at AA.

              It’s possible that there are major problems at AA and people are leaving for those reasons. My objection isn’t “Ed’s suspicions are actually incorrect”…my objection is that by omitting information that doesn’t conform to his suspicions and giving us nothing beyond those suspicions, there isn’t a good reason to think that he’s correct. This not only brings his credibility into question, it muddies the waters surrounding the issue – unnecessarily and in a way that could amplify harm.

              He’s gone about this in entirely the wrong way – and that has nothing to do with the actual merits of what his position is or the actual merits of the lawsuits.

            • Edward Gemmer

              I totally disagree it’s dishonest. He mentions four other people who left. Did they leave? Yes. Did Blair Scott cite infighting? Yes. Was McBain gone within six months? As far as I know. Did Hensley leave? Yes. Did Gaudette leave? Yes. Is this all within a timeframe of AJ Johnson now suing the organization? Yes.

              I understand you know these people and may have a completely different opinion on what motivates them. But not everyone knows them, and what people who don’t know them will want to know is whether this is a pattern or a one time thing. Clint making factual efforts to show a pattern doesn’t make him dishonest just because you know these people and feel differently about their motivations for leaving.

              Further, compared to the blogosphere in general, where playing with facts seems almost generally accepted, this was a pretty good piece of journalism for someone who isn’t a journalist.

              • RobMcCune

                Clint making factual efforts to show a pattern doesn’t make him dishonest just because you know these people and feel differently about their motivations for leaving.

                How is making a bunch of insinuations a “factual effort”?Whatever that is.

                • Lea Tapp

                  I think it’s like “truthiness”.

              • Matt Dillahunty

                Why are you quoting facts that aren’t in dispute? The specific objection is about OMITTED information – things he didn’t include (which he claims he knew about) which don’t support the impression he’s trying to give.

                When you include the facts that support your hypothesis and exclude the ones that don’t – that’s called cherry picking.

                None of this has anything to do with who I know or what I believe. I’m not appealing to any special knowledge here and have already pointed out that Ed might be correct – but that he hasn’t established this.

                This is entirely about an obvious fallacy and painting a picture that does’t conform to all of the facts.

                Logic. It’s what’s for breakfast.

                When Ed acknowledges that he knew the information he omitted and chose not to include it, that’s dishonest.

                • Edward Gemmer

                  Because pretty much any journalistic piece has things in it or omits things that someone else finds extremely relevant. You will find that in anything from the New York Times to CNN. Ed Clint isn’t a journalist, doesn’t claim to be a journalist, and shouldn’t be called dishonest for not including information that is of little relevance to his main point. People have left under unusual circumstances. I would consider leaving a job within six months to be unusual. He frames it as a question – is there turmoil? You admit you don’t know if he is right. Ed Clint isn’t CNN – these people can give their own opinions and at least one of them has.

                  Furthermore, that was just one part of his article, which also includes facts about diversity in the organization and the circumstances surrounding Bridget Gaudette, which was the main thrust of the article and seems the most relevant.

                • Edward Gemmer

                  One correction – AA seems to be saying that Blair Scott was laid off because his position was eliminated. I’m not sure that vibes with the video and certainly not the article.

          • Guest43453

            Note that the claim of a “call to remove Ron Lindsay from his position based on some mild criticisms he made” is false and inaccurate. The issue (as explained *repeatedly*) was the dismissive and disrespectful context of the “criticisms”, not the fact that he made them. See this post by Greta Christina: http://freethoughtblogs.com/greta/2013/05/30/contempt-ron-lindsay-context/

            • Edward Gemmer

              Fine. Wasn’t AA being dismissive when they fired AJ Johnson? Aren’t they being dismissive and disrespectful now in saying her claims are a bunch of bunk?

              • Guest43453

                Thank you for acknowledging that your original claim was false and inaccurate. I hope you will stop repeating it, and update any places where you have repeated it to clarify that you now recognize it as false and inaccurate. You will do that, right?

                Regarding your questions about AA’s actions and comments — No, they do not appear to be either dismissive or disrespectful. Nor is characterizing their response as “her claims are a bunch of bunk” an accurate summary. What about their actions or comments suggests to you that they are “dismissive” or “disrespectful”?

                • Edward Gemmer

                  I was not false or inaccurate, and your link confirms I was completely accurate as there is no other reason given for the response to him other than his comments and his tone. However, I’m not going to engage in some endless argument about that. The issue is how AA treats its employees. I’m not sure how firing someone isn’t dismissive. I’m also not sure how saying someone’s claims are untrue does not equate to them being a bunch of bunk. I’m sure you can enlighten me.

              • Matt Dillahunty

                ROFLMAO

                • Edward Gemmer

                  Not sure if that’s a dismissive laugh or not, but I can put it in a different way. Don’t we know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that when A.J. Johnson was terminated from her job she felt race was a contributing factor? Whether it actually was or not, she certainly felt that way. Why are her feelings less important than those people who felt Ron Lindsay didn’t care about them because of their gender?

        • Lea Tapp

          Repinkening!
          I love that word.

        • Rain

          What is is that goes through people’s minds when people post videos and then they completely ignore every comment from everyone. “Thanks suckers”? I always wondered if it ever bothered anyone. Those poor people asking questions and then Matt ignores them.

          • Matt Dillahunty

            Need a tissue?

            • Rain

              Glad to see you answered some of the little people over there. Good man. Maybe atheists aren’t mean after all. It sure as heck bothered me when I had my account if I didn’t say something to the peeps, lol.

      • Matt Dillahunty

        Still waiting for that apology and retraction, Justin. *crickets*

        • Edward Gemmer

          Do you really think you deserve an apology? Because your video was about a minute about AJ Johnson, nothing about Bridget Gaudette, and the rest about Ed Clint. I like Ed Clint, but in this context who cares about him? If you care about AJ Johnson’s concerns, it seems the proper video would be about AJ Johnson and racism in the community, not Ed Clint’s journalism standards.

        • http://skepticink.com/justinvacula/ Justin Vacula

          I still plan to respond with a YouTube video response. I’ve been busy and focusing on other matters. Stay tuned.

          • Matt Dillahunty

            Is it simply too difficult to say “When I accused you of dismissing AJ’s complaints, I was clearly talking out of my ass as you said nothing to even remotely suggest that. I apologize.”?

            I’m pretty sure that doesn’t require a video.

            • http://skepticink.com/justinvacula/ Justin Vacula

              No…because I disagree with your assessment.

              • Matt Dillahunty

                You wrote: “why do you dismiss the concerns of AJ Johnson/the lawsuit but, in another situation, say we need to “address” a concern “seriously consider their complaint,” and “make every effort to understand it?”"

                I clearly have not dismissed her concerns or the lawsuit and specifically stated that her concerns should be addressed. Your statement is demonstrably false. You accused me of something that I not only did not do, but is the opposite of what I’ve actually said.

                “I disagree with your assessment” – as a response, is very telling.

              • Matt Dillahunty

                Just to be clear – you’re standing by the claim that I’m dismissing AJ’s complaint?

              • Matt Dillahunty

                Just to be clear – you’re standing by your accusation that I’m dismissing AJ’s claim, right?

    • Remick

      Matt, I didn’t see you calling out PZ Myers, Rebecca Watson, or any of your other FtB co-bloggers for doing the EXACT same thing Ed did during the ‘donglegate’ scenario, did PZ write Pycon, or Andria Richards? Fuck NO! The ONLY reason you have an issue with it is because David is one of the ‘good guys’ in your view. If his recent denial post had been posted by someone you didn’t trust, you would hold it up as an EXAMPLE of how typical white guys doesn’t get it.

      Sort of like how you don’t say anything to Ricky Gervais about his frequent use of the word ‘cunt’, despite that being prime example of someone being a misogynist according to many in your circles.

      She filed a lawsuit matt, any lawyer worth anything would tell each side not to say anything about the case. David’s post was even ill advised. Posting a basic denial and nothing else is what is typical. Instead his idiotic “This is how I am not racist, and didn’t fire her because of race or gender” post is something you would typically respond to with “LOL, check your privilege dude!” Where it someone like Dawkins.

      So Are YOU kidding me Matt?

      • Matt Dillahunty

        Sadly your ability to read my mind, determine my motives and predict what I’d do in other situations is as inaccurate as the rest of your remarks. Like Justin, you’re seemingly incapable of reading what I actually wrote without inserting all sorts of baggage that you bring along with you.

        “I didn’t see you..” – So it didn’t happen. Got it.
        “any of your…co-bloggers” – Do I really blog enough to be a co-blogger? Are their views mine, automatically?
        “EXACT same thing..” – according to you.
        “The ONLY reason..” – mind-reading fail
        “..how typical white guys…” – mind-reading fail
        “you don’t say anything to Ricky Gervais..” – Well, maybe I’ve been giving him special treament for years so that he’d tell everyone I was an absolute genius. Yeah, that’s it…let’s go with that.
        “use of the word ‘cunt’…” – Which isn’t something I object to in all circumstances
        “according to many in your circles” – how about judging me according to me.
        “she filed a lawsuit..” – which I haven’t commented on
        “any lawyer…” – is irrelevant to this discussion about what Ed said
        “you would typically respond to with” – mind-reading fail.

        Keep dragging your bias around. It’s amusing.

        • Remick

          If you want to claim you did refute them Matt, feel free to provide a link. OR if you did so privately, why did you only chastise Ed publicly?

          If you have an issue being listed as a co-blogger with FtB, that is your issue for leaving your blog there. We’ve seen that those that disagree with certain views over there are removed. Hence, we can assume on certain issues(and certain videos by you) where you stand.

          PZ posted regarding the facts of “donglegate” then put a bunch of silly opinions down, he didn’t talk to Andria Richards or Pycon. Ed did the same thing. How are they not the same?

          Apologies for certain mind reading things, I was conflating you to some of your co-bloggers with the white guy thing.

          As to Ricky, you’ve stated support for women that we need to trust them regarding what is offensive/hurtful/harrassement. Many of the women you co-blog with or support claim that any and all use of the word ‘cunt’ is hateful to women. I imagine you would want to correct Ricky in this regard. So if you don’t object to it, do you not trust these women’s word about what is hurtful and harmful to women?

          I do judge you by you matt, you just contradict yourself a lot.

          So, you aren’t commenting on the facts of the case at all, so what exactly do you object to? Ed’s opinion, or that he has one at all?

          • Martin Wagner

            “We’ve seen that those that disagree with certain views over there are removed.”

            This is such a typical smear I wish I had a nickel for every time the anti-FtB peanut gallery spouts it; I could pay off my car loan. Here’s how things go at our blog: Disagree all you like, but if you become an abusive asshole or self-absorbed troll, the Mallet of Loving Correction comes down. You really have to put forth an effort to get banned by us. Thing is, most Slympitters and anti-FtBers start out at Troll Level 9000 and just get worse from there. Then they scamper home wailing about what censorious thought police we are. It’s like the ID crowd wailing about the “dogmatic evolutionists” keeping “the controversy” out of classrooms.

            • C.L. Honeycutt

              Seriously. I haven’t read Pharyngula for several months because I don’t like what I think was the tacit support for people lying about a “target”, but the Slymepitters and their ilk are such incredible liars and whiners that there will never even be a comparison. Even the commenters at FtB that I think have made themselves dishonest through knee-jerk reaction posts are angels next to those guys.

          • Jasper

            I don’t know what it is, but the “other side” certainly loves their red herrings and obfuscations.

            Try to clarify something about the topic of privilege, for instance, and all of a sudden one’s being chastised for something Rebecca Watson supposedly said 2 years earlier, and the only connection is that we’re in the same hemisphere. All of a sudden, I’m being held accountable for every piece of mud slung at me that they can get their hands on, whether it’s accurate or relevant, or not.

            Why are we even talking about PZ or Gervais here? What’s the connection to the matter at hand? It’s more an attempt at distraction and misdirection, than anything else.

            • C.L. Honeycutt

              It’s all part of the CONSPIRACY, man. The VAGINA conspiracy.

              • phantomreader42

                “Vagina conspiracy” sounds like a good name for a band…

          • ool0n

            Oh FFS, why are the anti-FTB ppl so [expletive deleted]!!
            “Many of the women you co-blog with or support claim that any and all use of the word ‘cunt’ is hateful to women.”
            http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2012/11/how-to-tell-the-diff-er-ence/

            No they don’t and they never have, you just believe what other people tell you, not the primary source. At least that’s a very charitable explanation….

    • Erik Johansson

      “There’s nothing hat-tip worthy about a poorly researched bit of
      unnecessary shit-stirring. The lawsuit alone is going to be a PR hit for
      the movement, why should we hat-tip people who manufacture fictions to
      amplify that?”

      Wow, that blew my irony-meter to smithereens. “Shit-stirring” and “PR hit”? I’m surprised someone who calls PZ Myers, Zvan, Beson, etc friends can even use those words while keeping a straight face.

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      Note that one of the people who he insinuates left for suspicious reasons has responded in the comments and told him that he’s full of it. His response to that was lacking.

      • Jeff

        And one of the other people involved said he wasn’t full of it.

    • Whatever

      Since when is it laudable to post a one-sided conspiracy-theory-style piece?

      I think it became all the rage when Ophelia started doing the same thing with quite good effect.

      • Lea Tapp

        Citation please, you lying liar.

        • Whatever

          http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2013/06/more-documenting-the-harassment/

          Oh my, it’s a conspiracy to harass me on Twitter. And she just can’t stop posting the stuff and whinging about how awful her life is and why people won’t just leave her alone.

          Well Ophelia, you just make it so easy. That’s the reason.

          (And no, I don’t have a Twitter account, don’t twit or whatever it is you do on Twitter. It’s more fun to watch the train wreck than it is to participate. So none of that is me. :-P )

          • Martin Wagner

            So people are harassing her on Twitter (which you admit), she complains about it (understandable), and your reply is that she has it coming. Glad we got your number on all this.

            • Whatever

              So people are harassing her on Twitter (which you admit)

              No, I admit to no such thing. Ophelia calls it harassment. I call it a lot of shitty little comments designed to get Ophelia worked up. And it evidently works all too well.

              • Martin Wagner

                “a lot of shitty little comments designed to get Ophelia worked up”

                So…harassment, then.

                I’m guessing you’re angling for a career in politics. You seem fond of the old trick of “if I call something by another name, it makes it something else.”

                • Whatever

                  No, a lot of little shitty comments. I make no claim they are harassment.

                • Martin Wagner

                  Naturally.

                • Whatever

                  My pleasure.

                  :-)

                • doubtthat

                  Haha, what? I mean, WHAT?

                  Is this whole schism based entirely on the fact that you goofballs have never gone through a harassment avoidance seminar?

                  Another way of phrasing that: what the fuck is the difference between harassment and “a lot of shitty little comments designed to get (a person) worked up”?

          • Lea Tapp

            That only supports your accusation in your head, not in reality. What you wrote is so messed up. She is not accountable for her harassment, the harassers are. You enjoy watching a woman lied about, insulted and harassed obsessively? That tell me all I need to know about you.

          • Jasper

            Do you understand the difference between a “conspiracy” and a “conspiracy theory”?

            • Whatever

              Yeah, it’s Ophelia’s little conspiracy theory that everyone on the internet is out to get her by making pissy little rude comments on Twitter that she has to heroically suffer and that certain people are in on the conspiracy and they won’t leave her alone.

              • Jasper

                Okay, so the answer is “no”

                • RobMcCune

                  To whatever, a conspiracy theory is what the people who are out to control him believe, that’s why he has to get them first.

              • Joshua White

                Harassment is repeated unwelcome contact. Looks like cognitive dissonance ruined this one!

      • Jasper

        “Creationist, your stated assertion here is clearly wrong, due to my aforementioned reasons”

        “But but there was an unrelated atheist somewhere else who said something that turned out to be wrong. So THERE!”

      • doubtthat

        You guys really, really need some new material.

    • Ronlawhouston

      Wait – isn’t this a one-sided conspiracy-theory comment?

      • Martin Wagner

        No, it’s a suggestion that people get their facts straight. Try to keep up.

        • Ronlawhouston

          I haven’t heard any facts misreported. I’ve heard that certain speculation may be misplaced. So, who needs to “keep up?”

          • Martin Wagner

            Just to list one: Ed implies that Teresa McBain left AA under “unusual circumstances,” in a way that leads readers to think that AJ’s suit is the latest in a string of defections based on poor treatment. In fact, Teresa left to be closer to her family, and is still on the AA board, and Ed hasn’t made the correction.

            So that’s misreporting, or sloppy reporting.

            • Ronlawhouston

              Look, to say someone leaving their job after only 6 months is “unusual circumstances” is definitely not what I’d call “tin foil hat” thinking. In the bigger context of the lawsuit and other people leaving, I’d probably say it’s a fair inference from the evidence.

              Apparently, you, Matt and others have some inside knowledge. (And might I say some inherent bias?) Why don’t you correct the record on the events rather than engaging in rather snide “one-sided conspriacy-theory) sniping?

              • Martin Wagner

                It has evidently not occurred to you that it would have been a simple matter for Ed to have emailed Teresa to ask why she left her position at AA, rather than include innuendo in his article.

                The “inside knowledge” you think we have is in fact publicly available. http://on.fb.me/1bSUVfV Look, Ed got sloppy, and that’s all. It does you no credit to throw around accusations of “inherent bias” when you’re amply exhibiting your own. I’m not sure why you put the term “tin foil hat” in quotes, as I made no such accusation. But if you’re that sloppy with your own fact-checking, I can see why it makes you indignant that people are critical of Ed’s sloppiness.

                • Ronlawhouston

                  I agree that Ed could have emailed Teresa. However, she’d likely stick to her public statement. (How many people say “I’m doing this for personal reasons” when the reality is vastly different?) All Ed did was state a fact, i.e. she left after six months and drew and inference that it was “unusual.” (My guess is that the vast majority of people stay at their jobs much longer than six months so unusual is probably not an unfair characterization.)

                  I don’t know you, but I would highly suspect Matt of having some bias. You seem pretty knowledgeable about the facts of this situation so I wonder how exactly you’re approaching this situation.

                  I’m not here to check facts. I’m being lazy and insisting that people provide me with facts to support their positions. So far, you’ve given me 1 characterization that you disagree with but have failed to state any other facts to support your accusations of “misreporting,” “sloppy,” or people “not having their facts straight.” So far, despite your claims, I fail to see egregious failures of fact checking in Ed Clint’s article. Yeah, he could have sourced it better but he’s a blogger and not a journalist.

                  The tin foil hat has to do with the initial accusation of this thread which you’ve gleefully latched onto of Ed Clint’s article being a “one-sided conspiracy-theory.” He wrote an article making inferences from facts that he clearly stated in the article. Apparently, you and Matt take a great amount of umbrage at his inferences. That’s your right, but unless I’m shown some facts I stick by a claim of bias.

                  Personally, I have no dog in this fight. I’ve read Ed Clint’s blog and found him to be a reasonable and generally factually sound person. For people to come to Hemant’s blog and accuse the man of “one-sided conspiracy-theory” writing with very scant evidence is nothing more than another “one-sided conspiracy-theory.”

                  But, hey, I’ve got my tin foil hat so none of you bastards can read my mind.

            • Whatever

              Indeed, months before the billboard was even conceived, Ms. Johnson tweeted a video from her personal account echoing the same biblical
              hypocrisy about slavery (see below)

              Proves nothing other than she tweeted that the Bible condones slavery.

              It says nothing about her personal feelings towards the campaign that depicted an African-American slave in a barbaric slave collar.

              So I guess the sloppiness can be attributed to both sides.

              http://news.atheists.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/slavery.png

              • Martin Wagner

                There’s also this, though.

                http://news.atheists.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/email.png

                Looks like AJ was okay with the billboards at the time (insofar as she wanted to deflect Sikivu’s criticism of them).

                Anyway, waiting for all the facts to fall into place.

                • Kareem

                  “Looks like AJ was okay with the billboards at the time”

                  The proof that she wasn’t forced to support something she didn’t want to is an email showing her support it as an employee of the organization she’s now suing?

                  Is this what waiting for all the facts to fall into place looks like?

            • Edward Gemmer

              Leaving a job within six months is unusual.

    • Whatever

      And this looks live a well rounded diversified Board of Directors to you?

      Fifteen members of which five are women and of those women two are African-American and the remaining ten of which are white, cis-gendered males?

      • Atheist Loki

        Not well rounded at all. There is more than one man.

      • ShoeUnited

        There is a severe lack of transgendered stegosauruses. I’ll get the pitchforks. 1% of the species making decisions for 99% of the species. Cambrian Epoch represent!

    • jose

      Hemant is playing politics. Just like Bridget Gaudette, he doesn’t want to be either on FTB’s side or the slime pit side. That’s why he must throw a little bone to each side every once in a while.

      Have a little empathy for Hemant.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      I stand by my comment and against your interpretation of it.

      The comment wasn’t referring to the article, but to getting a fairly impressive scoop before all the other bloggers/media did. Whether Ed filed a FOIA request to get the lawsuit or had a source give it to him, he reported on this story before anybody else. I’ll admit it: I’m jealous I didn’t get to it first. That’s all I was talking about.

      • Matt Dillahunty

        Understood. My apologies for interpreting it incorrectly.

        • ool0n

          Wow that was hard… Justin?? *looks around* … Vacula has left the building.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    It also indicates that Johnson, the sole African-American employee of
    American Atheists at the time, was “forced to support” a billboard
    stating “Slaves obey your masters” which she expressly disapproved of.

    Ah yes, and it cited the Bible verse which contains that statement, for the Pennsylvania Year of the Bible. Is she claiming the Bible citation is incorrect, or what?

    • Gus Snarp

      Yeah, even if that’s what her lawsuit says, and even though I hated that billboard and thought it was a mistake, writing the article with only that inadequate description of the billboard was pretty weak sauce. Anyone taking a close and thoughtful look at the billboard would see what it was really trying to convey with the bible reference. To not even mention that in the article borders on dishonesty.

  • JWH

    I hope AA talked to its counsel before going with a press release in response to lawsuit.

  • Atheist Loki

    This article doesn’t bash David Silverman and accuse him of being a privileged-male-misogynist, just because the complainant is a woman. So, of course the atheism+, FTBullies and feminist nut jobs are going to flood in and make that claim.

    • http://natehevens.wordpress.com/ Nathan Hevenstone

      Evidence please.

      • ool0n

        You won’t get any, read his rant in Ed Clints reporting post – all about how “minorities” always cry racism when sacked. Really not pleasant. Then a fellow SIN’er chimes in with bullshit about “racial IQ gaps” and men being more intelligent than women… Its a great thread for SIN!

        • Atheist Loki

          All you have done is demonize Silverman based off nothing. How dare I not just accept what Johnson says as 100% true.

          • ool0n

            I’ve done no such thing.. Strongest statement from me is it looks bad *if* true. You however immediately chose to disbelieve AJ because in your own words -> minorities always cry racism when sacked.

            • Atheist Loki

              I choose to disbelieve AJ because there is no evidence to do so. I have also, never said that AA is 100% innocent. They are, however, innocent until proven guilty, by the law.

              • http://natehevens.wordpress.com/ Nathan Hevenstone

                “Innocent until proven guilty” only applies in a court of law. It does not apply, and has never applied, to the court of public opinion.

                For the record, I’m not saying this because I think AA and Silverman are guilty; I’m reserving judgement until more information is highlighted. I certainly was disappointed by what Ed Clint reported, but was also heartened by AA’s response.

                However, talking about “innocent until proven guilty” when we are currently sitting in the court of public opinion is just as disingenuous and unintelligent as screaming about your rights to free speech on a private blog.

                • Atheist Loki

                  Well, the court of public opinion has never meant two shits about the facts of a case, and I will not apologize for not just going along with the lynch mob.

                • http://natehevens.wordpress.com/ Nathan Hevenstone

                  What lynch mob? I’ve yet to see anyone going all “lynch mob” at either AA/Silverman or Johnson. In fact, most people seem to be taking stances similar to my own… that is, “wait and see”.

                • Atheist Loki

                  Do you just not see the comments I’ve already posted or do you choose to ignore them about this?

                • http://natehevens.wordpress.com/ Nathan Hevenstone

                  I’ve seen your comments, but they’ve been lacking in evidence.

                  So I’ll repeat:

                  Evidence please.

                  Links would be nice. I’d love to see where anyone has called Silverman a “privileged-male-misogynist”. I want to actually see this lynch mob you’re talking about. Because I actually participate over at FtB, and I’m not seeing it… at all.

                  To be fair, I haven’t logged in to the A+ forums in a long time, so maybe there’s stuff there? You could easily link to it, assuming it’s accessible… or it even exists.

                • Atheist Loki

                  There isn’t going to be anything on those sights because they will back Silverman and ignore AJ, I’ve seen them do this type of thing before. They talk a good game over there about women, until one is a threat to them. http://uberfeminist.blogspot.com/2013/03/ellenbeth-wachs-pz-myers-and-dongle-joke.html

                • http://natehevens.wordpress.com/ Nathan Hevenstone

                  There isn’t going to be anything on those sights because they will back Silverman and ignore AJ

                  Which is contrary to your original claim that I asked for evidence of:

                  This article doesn’t bash David Silverman and accuse him of being a privileged-male-misogynist, just because the complainant is a woman. So, of course the atheism+, FTBullies and feminist nut jobs are going to
                  flood in and make that claim.

                  This was your claim. This is what I asked for evidence of.

                  Also, none of these sites are backing Silverman and ignoring AJ. We’re all adopting a “wait and see” policy… at least, everyone I’ve read so far is doing such.

                  As to EllenBeth Wachs… even PZ Myers thinks she was treated too harshly. But she made two serious mistakes in that thread:
                  a) She defended someone who was blatantly triggering the PTSD of survivors.
                  b) She insisted on commenting on a point of the whole Adria debate that became irrelevant when Adria received the abuse she received.

                  Even I think how Adria handled the initial situation was wrong. Many of us actually do. The thing is, how Adria handled the situation became utterly irrelevant when she started getting floods of rape and death threats, many accompanied by her address, phone number, and a picture of her fucking residence. If this reaction hadn’t happened, then PZ never would have written the post about how Adria did everything exactly right, and the discussion would be about the better ways to handle that situation.

                  The response Adria received made her initial actions irrelevant.

                  I was shocked by Ellenbeth’s comments on that thread because… seriously… this woman is an atheist and feminist hero in Florida. I’ve been a fan hers since before she was arrested and humiliated by cops for, essentially, being an atheist. Her work with FLASH has been incredible and I really do admire her… a lot. I still really want to meet her and talk about atheism and feminism with her, because I still think she’s otherwise totally awesome.

                  So her comments on that thread left me cold, to say the least. It wasn’t as bad as everything I learned about Dawkins, Hitchens, Lindsay, and so on… but I really do think Ellenbeth was blinkered in this case, and I understand entirely why people were and are angry with her over it.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  That’s the post that led to me being quit of Pharyngula. I came in a day or two late and saw that post first, then went back and read the original and all the comments to that point, then went back through checking them… and I was done. There were reasons to criticize her, but a lot of the regulars were just making up things about Wachs’s arguments that she didn’t even imply. That wasn’t even the issue. The issue was that PZ seemingly couldn’t bring himself to tell his regulars that they were making things up, even when talking about it.

                  I consider it a loss, because I enjoy PZ’s writing and agree with him on many things, including things I didn’t even know about before I saw him discussing them, but if I have a big trigger, it’s “seeing people get away with making up shit.” …rather like Atheist Loki does. I feel I have to note that I am not on that one’s “side” about anything, because having seen his post history, I don’t believe for a second that he and I even see the Wachs issue the same way.

                • Lea Tapp

                  Who is “they” and in what way would AJ be a threat to them?
                  Didn’t you just predict that feminists in the a/s community would bash David? Now are you predicting that they will support him and ignore AJ? Which is it to be, A.Loki? Your grim predictions (projections) are all over the place.

      • Atheist Loki

        Angela Ryan: 21 hours ago
        It is unfortunate that an organization like AA would resort to such medieval tactics. Women like myself who are progressive atheist feminists will not stand for such bigotry and misogyny. We are furious with this kind of behavior. Those people with the old school idea that women are not going to be equals have something else coming. We are here. The feminist movement is awake and in full swing. We want the men to join us, but if you don’t, then beware. We aren’t going to be placated this time. Silverman should be replaced with a human capable of leading the AA with a true understanding of human equality.

        ool0n: a day ago
        Guilt by association to “#FTBullies” now then… No problems there.
        However hard to comment when its all “allegedly” but I’m not looking kindly on AA or Silvermans leadership given these allegations. Far worse than Ron Lindsays failing that could be solved with an apology IMO. This isn’t something that can be easily fixed with an apology.

        vexorian: 15 hours ago
        In your mental world, as #FTBullies and AA are part of the anti-men conspiracy (Which involves outrageous things such as DARING to expect white men to stop talking while listening a minority talk), then the #FTBullies are surely going to stand behind AA. So you are expecting them to cover this up and not speak against AA (If the accusation turns out to be true). It will work so wonderfully for you! You must be thinking. For once you will be able to claim the moral high horse.
        The reality might disappoint you though

        These are from the linked article by Edward Clint.

        • Lea Tapp

          You aren’t making the point you think you are. I’m not shocked.

        • ool0n

          Duh yeah, so I said *if* true then apology doesn’t cut it… What point do you have? Seems on that point we are agreeing, but you have already decided on the truth of the matter.

          • Atheist Loki

            I have my opinion of the matter, based on what has been released. If I’m wrong, in the end, and the AA did do something they shouldn’t have, then I will admit my mistake.

            • Artor

              But until then, you’ll just go on tossing off unfounded allegations and aspersions on people’s asparagus. And when you turn out to be wrong, that admission will be slow to come and quiet, if at all. Am I right? I’m just going to repeat this until I know more, and I’ll issue a retraction if I’m proven wrong. Or I’ll move my goalposts, whichever is easier.

              • Atheist Loki

                If I’m wrong I’m wrong. But in the mean time, fuck you. :D

    • Artor

      Yeah, not so much. There have been several threads where the issue came up, and pretty much every FTB blogger said something like, “Huh. That’s disappointing if true. I guess we should wait until we have more facts.”

      • Edward Gemmer

        In stark contrast with how they treat other people when a white person claims to be victimized.

        • Artor

          Cry me a fucking river, you poor, persecuted white American male.

          • Edward Gemmer

            You clearly missed the point of that. My point is that when a white person is allegedly harassed or victimized, they come out pitchforks first. When a black person claims the same (and to a much larger degree) the response is either silence or yawns or “well we had better wait for all the facts to come out.” It’s a double standard to its finest.

        • Sally Strange

          In stark contrast to the anti-feminist faction, who clearly don’t give a fuck about the concerns of atheists of color, but are happy to grab onto any handy tool to bludgeon their alleged feminazi oppressors with.

          • Edward Gemmer

            Well I’m not an antifeminist and I do care about about atheists and other people of color. I’d prefer not to bludgeon people with comments, but if this continues to be ignored I wouldn’t rule it out.

    • Gus Snarp

      You know what seems to be really consistent around here? Commenters claiming the “FTBullies” and atheism+ are going to show up and make irrational and unconnected comments followed by a gaping silence as they fail to do so.

      You would almost think it was those opposed to feminism who are making irrational and unconnected comments and that their idea of how feminists in the atheist blogosphere behave is utterly at odds with the evidence.

      • Atheist Loki

        They are probably too busy claiming Thunderf00t is a sociopath and Justin Vacula is a misogynist. Oh, I’ve already given examples below. Thanks.

        • Gus Snarp

          Are we or are we not referring to this comment thread? It was my understanding that we were discussing the response here. I was, at any rate.

          Edit:
          I’d also point out that only one of those appears to be any kind of evidence of what you are talking about. The other two are direct responses to someone, maybe Clint, maybe another commenter, your out of context cut and pastes don’t tell me that, but it doesn’t matter – they’re a direct response, most likely to Clint, regarding his history and their assumptions about his motivations for writing a one sided piece, not accusations about Silverman. I suppose you’ll find my brief comment above mentioning that Clint has a history with some of the feminist atheist bloggers and claim its evidence for your sloppy assumptions as well.

          • Atheist Loki

            Whether it’s here or there, it’s still happening, based off nothing more than one person’s word.

            • RobMcCune

              Yours?

        • http://natehevens.wordpress.com/ Nathan Hevenstone

          a) Richard Carrier is neither the face, leader, nor main representative of those of us on the feminist side of this whole debate. He speaks for himself and only himself.

          b) Vacula may not be a misogynist, but he’s failing miserably at showing that he isn’t.

          • Atheist Loki

            a) Tell that to him.
            b) I guess wanting everyone to be treated equally with not special treatment for either sex is such a horrible way to be.

            • http://natehevens.wordpress.com/ Nathan Hevenstone

              a) We have.

              b) First you need to provide evidence that anyone is asking for special treatment.

              • Atheist Loki

                a) First you need to provide evidence that ‘you’ have.
                b) Here is an excellent blog that mirrors my views on the radical feminists that are messing everything up for the rest. http://hotair.com/greenroom/archives/2010/08/01/8-ways-fascist-feminists-are-ruining-americas-women/

                • http://natehevens.wordpress.com/ Nathan Hevenstone

                  Did you actually link to a Conservative Catholic Pro-Lifer to make your point?

                  Will your next link be to Phillis Schlafly?

                  Also… I was the one who started the thread at the A+ forums complaining about Carrier’s “with us or against us” language, because I don’t believe one has to identify as an A+ in order to support social justice. I think, as long as one supports the idea of actual equality and agree that secular organizations should be making a push to be more inclusive, then one is an ally.

                  The only people who I think are “against” the ideas of A+ are those who have personally and actively declared themselves against A+.

                • Atheist Loki

                  Oops, seems that I mistakenly left out the part about not agreeing with the ‘glorifying abortion’ and ‘encouraging promiscuity’ parts. My fault, I should have proff read my post first. It doesn’t matter if he’s a catholic, the others parts are what is seen all over the internet. These women are making a bad name for respectable feminists.
                  I support the idea of actual equality with no double standards, or special treatment of any kind for either side.

      • Edward Gemmer

        I’d be happy if the “FtBullies” addressed the issue at all. Feminism has a history of ignoring black women. The one thing I didn’t expect was to see the atheist community perpetuate this stereotype by pretending this lawsuit hasn’t happened.

        • http://natehevens.wordpress.com/ Nathan Hevenstone

          WTF? Every single person maintains that if what AJ says is true, it’s beyond serious. AA would deserve this lawsuit and I would hope that Silverman and his entire board would go away.

          The thing is… we have two wildly differing accounts of what’s going on, neither of which have much evidence with them. We don’t have a choice but to play wait and see. This is vastly different than many other cases where those harassed have meticulously documented how, when, and where they’ve been harassed, with screenshots and links and other rather definitive pieces of evidence corroborating they’re stories, and have made that evidence public?

          There’s a GIANT frickin’ difference and you are being disgustingly dishonest suggesting otherwise.

          • Edward Gemmer

            Doesn’t ring true to me. The “harassment” usually accounts for stuff people say on twitter and isn’t anywhere near the realm of harassment by employers to their employees. Further, we do have facts that are alleged, and other facts that seem to be true (such as those surround Bridget Gaudette). I would agree it isn’t enough to condemn AA to the pits of hell, but it certainly is more than enough to have some pretty serious discussion, which is why I’m frustrated that most outlets that claim to be interested in these issues haven’t bothered to write anything about it.

            It’s by far the most serious thing to hit the atheist community in the six months I’ve been paying attention to it, so that’s why I’m puzzled as to the lack of attention to it.

            • doubtthat

              Why do you keep saying this, you are wrong. It is being discussed, it will continue to be discussed, it’s a two day old story.

              Deep breath. While we’re all deeply impressed by your heartfelt concern on this issue, I promise that there will be plenty of articles for you to read and then comment about how no one is writing articles on the subject.

              • Edward Gemmer

                Still waiting.

                • doubtthat

                  For what? Again, what is there to say about this issue? It’s been covered, it’s been discussed and the conclusion of the discussion is: We don’t really have that much information, let’s see what happens.

                  Everyone agrees that if the allegations are true, AA acted inappropriately. What can be added to that?

                • http://natehevens.wordpress.com/ Nathan Hevenstone

                  It’s beyond acting inappropriately. If the allegations are even remotely true, AA needs to make some serious changes to their board, and quickly. In fact, if these allegations are even partially true, AA should consider shutting down temporarily and reevaluating how to do things in general.

                  And, as much as it pains me to say it, that would have to start with getting rid of David Silverman.

                • doubtthat

                  I didn’t mean to undersell the seriousness of the allegation; I more or less agree with you.

                  If all allegations are true, you’re absolutely right. If some are true, adjust accordingly…etc.

            • http://natehevens.wordpress.com/ Nathan Hevenstone

              The “harassment” usually accounts for stuff people say on twitter and isn’t anywhere near the realm of harassment by employers to their employees.

              Perhaps you’re not seeing it all, but it has been documented quite meticulously by each of the most vocal bloggers who have received it (starting with Rebecca Watson all the way back at Elevatorgate, and on and on, with more and more bloggers, almost all women, documenting it), and it includes rape and death threats, tons of parody accounts on Facebook and Twitter and elsewhere, abject denial, online stalking, private and public doxxing… and at least two bloggers (Jennifer McCreight and Natalie Reed), possibly more that I don’t know about, were driven offline because of it.

              How far would it need to go until you and yours are willing to say that it’s harassment? Would the threats have to start being fulfilled? Would someone have to start being harassed, or worse, in meatspace, before you’re willing to admit that they are being harassed?

              It’s by far the most serious thing to hit the atheist community in the six months I’ve been paying attention to it, so that’s why I’m puzzled as to the lack of attention to it.

              Agreed completely, and right now AA does not look good. In fact, they look like crap if even part of it is true. The only reason anyone’s playing “wait and see” is, again, the existence of two conflicting accounts with ZERO detailed evidence corroborating either one. We quite literally don’t have a choice but to play “wait and see”.

              I’m honestly looking a bit sideways at American Atheists right now.

              Seriously.

              But it is impossible to condemn anyone, or making any major judgements, without more information.

              Unlike the continued harassment of women bloggers, there’s just not evidence or information in this case right now to make a definite judgement of guilt.

    • Guest

      You’re physic powers fail you.
      I guess they can join your reasoning ability and empathy on the list of things that fail you.

      • Atheist Loki

        Empathy for who? There is no victim here.
        Oh and you can add me failing to give a fuck about your opinion to that list as well.

    • Whatever

      Nah, they can’t make that claim as Saint Rebecca aligned herself with Silverman and the American Atheist organization since CFI failed her so horribly by not firing that unnamed CEO and appointing her head of the organization.

      LOL

      • Atheist Loki

        Say what?

        • Whatever

          I kid you not. Sainted Rebecca of Watson has decided that since she didn’t get the response from CFI that she wanted she is going to boycott them and is urging all her readers and commenters to do the same and throw their donations to Silverman and the American Atheists organization.

          So the chances of any FTBullies and feminist nutjobs are going to start calling Silverman a male-misogynist are slim.

          • Atheist Loki

            Damn. I guess I should read their horrible blogs. But, I don’t want to be accused of stalking…

            • Martin Wagner

              Yeah, you might run the risk of finding out what she actually wrote and said, instead of the distortions from the pro-harassment trolls.

              • Atheist Loki

                But when I don’t like something/one I tend to stay away from them/it, or else risk being portrayed a stalker.

                • Martin Wagner

                  Makes it easier to spread lies too, right?

                • Atheist Loki

                  What do you consider to be my lies?

                • Martin Wagner

                  Oh, I seem to recall something about “radical feminists messing everything up.” Stuff like that. I imagine you’re going to run with the nonsense above that Rebecca has cut ties with CFI because they wouldn’t put her in charge, though hey, you could yet surprise me.

                • Atheist Loki

                  I don’t know or care what problems may or may not exist between her and CFI. When I say ‘radical feminists’, I mean the ones who just scream in everyones face, blame everyone with a ‘Y’ chromosome for everything, and just flat out make all other, down to earth, feminists look bad.

                • Lea Tapp

                  Nice straw feminist you built there. You can set it next to the make believe minorities you think are always pretending to lose jobs to racism.

                  Yeah, I saw your comments on Ed’s blog. Classy stuff, Atheist Loki. Classy stuff.

                  …and by classy, I mean consistently bigoted and dishonest.

                • Atheist Loki

                  It’s not a strawman when it’s true cock sucker. Now back to your mother’s basement.

                • Sally Strange

                  When I say ‘radical feminists’, I mean the ones who just scream in everyones face, blame everyone with a ‘Y’ chromosome for everything, and just flat out make all other, down to earth, feminists look bad.

                  Gee, when you conflate “radical feminists” with “feminists who scream in everyone’s face and blame Y-chromosomed people for everything,” it kinda makes people think that you have no idea what the fuck you’re talking about, since “radical feminist” is a term with a meaning that does not reference screaming or even Y chromosomes. Whether they make other feminists look bad is a matter of opinion, also not referenced in the actual definition of “radical feminist.” Try saying what the fuck you mean instead of deliberately trying to sow confusion. Wait, maybe that’s your goal? In which case you’re a terrible person. No surprise there.

                • Atheist Loki

                  So it’s my fault you don’t know what ‘radical’ means. Oh, I guess it is because I’m part of the Patriarchy!

                • Lea Tapp

                  Lies and bullshit are really all you do, huh? Seriously, learn a new trick. You aren’t very good that this one.

                • Atheist Loki

                  Sorry to destroy your delusion. Not really though. Get fucked.

            • Whatever

              I generally don’t read their shitty little blogs anymore either and have them blocked in my HOSTS file but when I heard this news I just had to go and look.

              It really wasn’t worth the effort though and they’re blocked once again.

              Wish I could find an actual copy of the lawsuit to see what is actually alleged. The hunt continues.

              • ool0n

                Its true I just hacked his computer and “Whatever” has this in his HOSTS file ->
                174.133.97.163 skepchick.org
                174.133.97.163 freethoughtblogs.com

                Why in the world anyone would modify their hosts file to block some websites I dunno… Hey genius, try not clicking on the URL, works for me!

                • http://natehevens.wordpress.com/ Nathan Hevenstone

                  Um… why would you hack his computer? What purpose does that serve?

                • Gus Snarp

                  It’s a joke.

                • Gus Snarp

                  I just had to go and see what you did there…..Damn it, I’m at work!

                • ool0n

                  Hehe glad one person at least went for the PUA-roll ;-)

      • Martin Wagner

        So now you’ve just sunk to flat out fucking libel? Why I am not surprised. Rebecca never demanded to be appointed CEO of CFI and you damn well know it. Jesus, there’s no sewer so smelly you lot won’t gleefully belly-crawl through it, is there?

  • Steve Caldwell

    This may be a good opportunity for us to observe the different ways to respond to disagreements within the atheist community online and offline.

    There is a disagreement between an organization (American Atheists) and a former employee (AJ Johnson).

    Notice that the available online response from American Atheists (their press release) addresses matters of fact and does not descend into any personal attacks against any of the parties involved.

    Unlike a recent example involving the CEO of an atheist/freethinker organization, David Silverman did not suggest that any party in this lawsuit was as dishonest as the North Korean dictatorship.

    And the American Atheist press release acknowledges the specific allegations in the complaint without sweeping them under the rug with an ambiguous press release.

    I agree with Hemant here — this dispute isn’t one for journalism (online or offline) to decide. All parties involved here will have their day in court (or the opportunity to go to court in case they settle out of court).

    • Edward Gemmer

      I don’t know. I find it suspicious that when a black woman complains, the atheist blogosphere gets suddenly into “wait and see” mode. Why is the AA being given the benefit of the doubt when so many, many other people and organizations haven’t been?

      • Atheist Loki

        if you appreciate law and order and due process then ‘wait and see’ should be everyones stance.

      • Lea Tapp

        What other people and organizations are you comparing AA to and what analogous situations do you think exist in which others were treated differently?

        Don’t be vague. Spell it out.

        • Edward Gemmer

          Sure – there were calls for Ron Lindsay to be fired because he was critical of Rebecca Watson. There were calls to boycott The Amazing Meeting because of some possible reports of harassment. Justin Vacula is one of the “biggest harassers” and is “anti-woman.” All of these claims were based on spurious evidence and little fact. But in this instance, there seems to be a caution about a rush to judgment because of few facts and spurious evidence.

          It’s a little annoying that when an actual person alleges actual harassment and racism in a formal way that actually affects her, it is mostly ignored ignored. But other b.s. that doesn’t really seem to have much of an affect on anyone is fair game for internet battles and flame wars and calling for people’s jobs.

          Props to Ed Clint and Hemant Mehta for mentioning it. It’s a big story and I can’t understand why so few people seem to care about it.

          • Guest45349

            Citations for your “calls”, please?

          • Lea Tapp

            Ed, you’re lying again.

          • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

            There were calls for Ron Lindsay to be fired because he was condescending and pointedly unwelcoming to everyone during his welcome speech at Women in Secularism 2, which escalated when he responded to Rebecca Watson’s temperate blog post and intemperate tweets with an absurd notpology that showed he had no idea why mansplaining privilege to a bunch of academic feminists wasn’t acceptable. This same man, by the way, officially welcomed Justin Vacula to the WiS conference where several of the female panelists were concerned about being harassed because of his presence and there was a heated debate over whether he should be allowed to go at all, given his past actions. I’m glad he was allowed to attend, don’t get me wrong- WiS made the right call on that one. But the debate was had because of Vacula’s track record of harassment; that takes care of two of your “calls” arguments.

            So yeah. You undermine your credibility everything when you use such blatantly untrue statements to try to back up your arguments on this case.

            • Edward Gemmer

              I’m aware of why it was so incredibly important for people to attack Lindsay, Vacula, and all the others. My concern is that seems to be no concern here, where there seems to be a much bigger issue.

              If there is one main theme I’ve heard in my brief time on the atheist internet, it is that one concern is reaching out to women and minorities. Ignoring lawsuits by minority women seems like a poor way to address this concern.

              • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                I agree that people are being slower to leap to judgment this time than usual. I even agree that the fact the complainant is a minority woman probably has something to do with it. I do not agree that pointing to well-documented cases and comparing them to a case that really doesn’t have a lot of evidence for any one side yet is a good strategy or makes you appear credible at all.

                • Edward Gemmer

                  Well if I have to sacrifice some credibility, I’m all for it. My biggest frustration with this community is that it seems constantly in these battles over nothing and has little to offer people with bigger problems.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  I don’t consider the issue of whether the movement as a whole aligns with feminism or harassment to be a minor issue …

                • Teq

                  “I don’t consider the issue of whether the movement as a whole aligns with feminism or harassment to be a minor issue …”

                  Your language is part of the problem.
                  You are insinuating that there are two sides: one pro-feminist, and one pro-harasser.
                  That is ridiculous.
                  You KNOW it is ridiculous.
                  I am not a fan of FTB, Skepchick, RW, etc…
                  But that does not mean I want people harassed, sent mean emails, or similar.
                  It just means I do not agree with some of the philosophies and actions of some people. Especially people that claim to speak for me as a woman or as a skeptic.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  The problem is the status quo is that of harassment being somewhat acceptable and women’s issues being outside the movement. If you have no stance on it, you by default say the status quo is fine. And, quite frankly, the status quo is not fine.

                  So no, you don’t have to be “pro-harasser” or “pro-feminist” or even care much about the issue at all. But if you take no stand, you are saying that how things are is just fine. How can you be against seeing people harassed, sent mean emails, etc if you don’t want anything to be done to change that?

              • doubtthat

                Here are the reasons why you are confused:

                1) You think this story is being ignored, yet it is being discussed everywhere. You seem to not realize that the story was introduced on June 17th, also known as two fucking days ago. It wasn’t promoted on CNN, so it’s making its way through the atheist/skeptical blogs right now. This notion of it being ignored is pure fucking fantasy.

                2) People are suspicious of the source of the story, Ed Clint. He has produced some fairly shoddy work when it comes to these controversies, like his comically histrionic pearl clutching about Rebecca Watson’s discussion of Evo Psych. He had a decent point about needing to be more specific in her criticisms, but circled it with a seemingly non-ending thread of hysterical melodrama. It seems prudent to take a moment to see if that source pans out, just like I wouldn’t immediately accept the claims of James O’Keefe.

                3) No one is ignoring it, seriously. I didn’t have a third thing, I just wanted to point that out again, since it’s the source of your concern trolling.

                • Edward Gemmer

                  I’ve seen Ed Clint’s post, this post, Matt Dillahunty’s video (which is more about Ed Clint), a post by Black Skeptics, and a post by Ophelia Benson that mentions the lawsuit but is actually about comments here about her. I fail to see where everyone is talking about this. Please link for more if you see them.

                • doubtthat

                  …How many do you need? Given that this story is only really important to a distinct subset of the country — us (not that it’s unimportant, just that it isn’t hitting the news crawl on Fox and CNN) — that seems like a good number.

                  At every one of those sites, there’s a lot of conversation happening in the comments.

                  There’s not really much to say, as people would be forced to speculate on what’s actually true. Again, unlike every other example you’ve come up with, anyone writing on this topic — beyond reporting that it happened — would be trying to draw conclusions from very little uncontroversial evidence.

                  Given that the documenters and harassers, who live their whole life trying to find bits of evidence for their favorite “FTB IS HYPOCRITES” argument, it’s probably wise for everyone to wait and see how this plays out before going on the record.

                  What needs to be said that hasn’t been?

                • Edward Gemmer

                  What needs to be said? I don’t know, I would think among the atheist community, people would have lots and lots of things to talk about whether they deal with AJ Johnson, American Atheists, the general culture that has black people being an extremely low percentage of the atheist population. I dunno, the general possibility of harassment towards minority people? How American Atheists can fix this problem? Whether they should also be boycotted? Etc. Etc. Really? What more can be said?

                • doubtthat

                  Again, no one knows what the fuck actually happened, so it would be really, really dumb to start a boycott.

                  I know you cannot get beyond the ridiculous, idiotic false analogy that’s been fueling your latest round of aimless nonsense, but people were critical of CSI because they failed to deal with Lindsay in a way that satisfied folks. We all know what Lindsay said and did as acting CEO of CFI, we have very little to go on with this case.

                  As for the rest, that’s stuff that is discussed constantly. This gotcha game you’re trying to play is pathetic, even by your standards.

            • Jeff

              He wasn’t being condescending and pointedly unwelcoming. Don’t be ridiculous. And if he was, and being condescending was grounds for losing your job there’d be a lot of unemployed atheist plussers.

              • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd
              • Jerrad Wohlleber

                He specifically made of point of not welcoming the attendees. That is exactly what he said. That is literally being pointedly unwelcoming.

              • doubtthat

                Yes, that’s more or less exactly what he was doing.

                When part of your job is raising funds, and you act like a condescending asshole to the people from whom you are trying to raise funds, it very much could be grounds for losing one’s job.

                And most of the calls were for a serious apology.

          • Ace_of_Sevens

            Who called for Ron Lindsay to be fired? I don’t see how a situation where everyone agrees what happened, but disagrees on how to handle it is at all analogous to a situation where we have broad agreement as to what the correct action is, but competing stories about what happened.

            • Edward Gemmer

              Amanda Marcotte was probably the most prominent, though certainly not alone. Also, I agree, facts are still in issue. However, I’m disturbed by prominent atheist bloggers ignoring this story. It makes no sense.

              • Jonathan Roth

                That’s a barefaced lie.

              • Ace_of_Sevens

                Where did Amanda Marcotte called for Ron Lindsay to be fired? The closest I can find is here, where at best, she implied he should resign. Even that is questionable. She compared the situation to Susan B. Komen and noted their CEO resigned.

                http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/05/20/an-open-letter-to-the-center-for-inquiry/

                • Edward Gemmer

                  She says “To continue supporting CFI, I would like to feel that they are being run by a leader who knows what he’s doing. I do not have that confidence in Ron Lindsay.”

                  Whether you construe that to be a call for him to resign or a call for him to be fired, the result is more or less the same. Seems like splitting words to say that is not a call for him to be fired.

          • doubtthat

            Goddamnit, how do you constantly generate such tedious, useless posts?

            First of all, we all can read or watch Lindsay’s statement. The facts surrounding the matter aren’t hidden from view, presented from one perspective, or otherwise coming from a suspect source. He said what he said, opinions can be made accordingly.

            Second, the issue surrounding TAM was concerning the reluctance to adopt an anti-harassment policy, and the really crappy statements from one representative. You’re so missing in the basic facts…no wonder you always appear dazed and confused.

            Finally, Vacula’s work speaks for itself. Once again, it’s a topic on which we have ample evidence available, unlike this lawsuit. Even with AA’s response, that doesn’t settle the matter. This will be handled in the court system and likely culminate in a deeply unsatisfying settlement.

            It isn’t being “ignored,” the story just broke. Look at all the people talking about it.

          • URDUM

            NO JOKE – New Atheism doesn’t need PR control. It needs the truth.

    • Jeff

      “Unlike a recent example involving the CEO of an atheist/freethinker organization, David Silverman did not suggest that any party in this lawsuit was as dishonest as the North Korean dictatorship.”

      Maybe not North Korea, but the KKK?

  • Steve Caldwell

    This story has been picked up by the Christian Post:

    “Former American Atheist Director Sues Group Over Alleged Racial Discrimination; Objected to ‘Slaves’ Billboard”
    http://www.christianpost.com/news/former-american-atheist-director-sues-group-over-alleged-racial-discrimination-objected-to-slaves-billboard-98209/
    The story uses Ed Clint’s article and the American Atheist press release as sources — both are cited in the article.

    • TCC

      Then they officially have higher journalistic standards than Ed Clint. The Christian Fucking Post. Someone should be hanging their head in shame.

  • Anti Iggyman

    And we know David Silverman would not lie!

  • Badger3k

    AA’s statement is a little bizarre – more of a PR attempt at damage control than anything under the advice of counsel. It smacks of attempting to set up a narrative for the court case. Not sure how that will help them. I think if Silverman hadn’t declared his ideological opponents to be like the KKK, they might have been a bit more temperate in their PR efforts. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens as the case develops to see what the story really is, though. Right now all we have is “he said, she said”.

  • darwintyson

    I am confused

  • darwintyson

    Curious also…Ed reports AJ hired Theresa and Amanda. I’d like the citation for that. Did AJ tell him and he took her word for it, is it in the court document or did he just guess? He doesn’t alledge she did it he states it so I’d like to know how he came to report that as fact.
    And Hemant, what reporting exactly are you tipping the hat for if some of the information in the reporting is inaccurate or guess work as some appears.

  • Sally Strange

    Regardless of how the lawsuit falls out, I really want to encourage people not to dismiss AJ Johnson’s reports automatically. The things she talks about have all the hallmarks of a “chilly climate,” something that feminists have been talking about being a problem in academia and other professional settings for years now. The lack of people of color in leadership positions in the atheist/skeptic community is just as big a problem as the lack of women, and I have always thought it was only a matter of time until something blew the issue up into public prominence.

    • Guest

      I would agree with that. Don’t let past incidents and alliances with various parties or sources lead you to a conclusion.

      As I said below, this will be worked out with the courts and likely end a settlement that will be deeply unsatisfying to all of us. I doubt any of this will ever see open court, and any settlement agreement will come with gag orders and such.

      The story isn’t a lie because Ed Clint published it, and AA isn’t without blame because Silverman did a good job of making Vacula look foolish.

      • doubtthat

        Weird, I typed that, then it disappeared, so then I typed a new version, now here it is as a “guest.”

        Sorry mods.

    • doubtthat

      Yes, just because Ed Clint reported it doesn’t mean it’s wrong, and just because Silverman exposed Vacula for the sputtering child he is, that doesn’t mean AA is without blame.

      It’s tempting to draw allegiances based on the parties involved, but we really know very little about any of this and likely never will (If we could gamble, I would put money on “settled out of court + gag orders”).

    • http://natehevens.wordpress.com/ Nathan Hevenstone

      Agreed wholeheartedly, Sally. We can’t dismiss AJ’s reports.

      At all.

      We really do need more information.

      Badly.

  • MosesZD

    For the record, financial statement audits do not catch the kinds of abuses alleged. Nor are they designed to:

    We conducted our audit in accordance with auditing standards generally accepted in (the country where the report is issued). Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement. An audit includes examining, on a test basis, evidence supporting the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. An audit also includes assessing the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall financial statement presentation. We believe that our audit provides a reasonable basis for our opinion.

    If you see fraud, you report it. But it’s not your job. Your job is to determine if the financial statements present fairly. And the kind of personal use of fund issue brought up is not something that can be determined by an auditor who must rely on the representations of management that the expense was justified. (And who will, of course, justify it…)

  • Charles Raymond Miller

    I have to say that the minute that I read Ed Clint’s blog post I was astonished that it was filed under the heading of skepticism. Any skeptic worth their salt should be able to see that Clint’s post was a classic piece of propaganda that seemed to be designed to smear American Atheists and David Silverman.

    For those that don’t know, I am a Life Member and the Alabama Regional Director for American Atheists, a volunteer post that Blair Scott once held. Feel free to pile on or ignore what I have to say, or do the skeptical thing and check it out.

    I will not comment on the pending lawsuit. That, for me is the end of that discussion and if Ed Clint’s blog had stopped at that I would have nothing to say about it.

    Matt Dillahunty covered my concerns well and articulately as usual. But there is something more to say.

    Like Matt, I know most of the people mentioned fairly well. I know Blair Scott very well and I know all of the facts about his involvement in the movement and American Atheists. And he has shared his feelings about “in-fighting” in the movement on many occasions so I know that his decision to step away from a public facing role is his. I support his decision and know that it’s things like Ed Clint’s post that are high on his list of what he calls “in-fighting in the movement ” not what goes on in offices of American Atheists.

    I know Teresa McBain and her husband and the facts around her hiring and resignation from a staff position at American Atheists. Her continued presence on the board should be enough to demonstrate her support of an organization that continues to hold her in the highest regard and continues to involve her in it’s national convention. I have never heard anything to suggest that there is anything other than completely understandable circumstances behind her decision to take a better job. And frankly, there is nothing there worthy of further note except to say I am confident that to suggest that it has anything to do with anything other than a personal decision as to what is best for Teresa, her family and the movement is absurd on the face of it.

    Anyone that was at the American Atheists saw both Blair Scott and Teresa MacBain on the stage after all of the events that Ed Clint obliquely referred to in his blog. Now that is something readers ought to wonder about. Well, skeptics would.

    I was searching for a word to describe Ed Clint’s approach and now I have it: Cynical. What makes it cynical is a disregard for the facts and a desire to ascribe unbecoming motives that are not apparent once the facts are known,

    • Edward Gemmer

      I’m pretty tired of people criticizing Ed Clint for writing the story and ignoring the main people in the story, AJ Johnson and Bridget Gaudette. If the three white people who left all love AA and the two black people who left didn’t, well, that may say something right there.

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        Insinuation is nasty behavior.

        • Edward Gemmer

          Oh it isn’t insinuation, as evidenced by the lawsuit explicitly alleging such.

      • http://natehevens.wordpress.com/ Nathan Hevenstone

        And yet again, Edward, you’re absolutely right. And with more concrete information (which, unlike previous cases, we don’t actually have), judgements will be passed.

  • URDUM

    I thought that without religion, we would also be without racism….

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      Almost no one actually says that except theists trying to play gotcha games.

      • URDUM

        Sounds good. Lets keep on thinking it then.

  • Matthew Faulkerson

    Even if they are innocent it is going to take too much money to defend from a lawsuit such as this and they will likely settle out of court just to get it off their backs…..
    It happened to my brother’s company on at least two occasions. The first time they defended themselves successfully and it cost over 400K to do so, and on the second they just gave the guy some money so he would leave them alone.