David Silverman is Back and Finally Discusses Sexual Allegations Against Him

David Silverman is Back and Finally Discusses Sexual Allegations Against Him September 14, 2019

Silverman says false accusations of sexual misconduct almost drove him to suicide. Where has he been for the last year and a half and what is he doing now?

David Silverman Credit Firebrandforgood.com

David Silverman was the president of American Atheists from 2010-2018 when he was abruptly fired from his position. The rumors for his termination were vague as the community was told it was due to internal policy violations and loss of confidence, to name a couple. But there was a storm brewing behind the scenes, and it was the only story getting attention: Silverman was being accused of serious sexual misconduct.

 

Two women came forward saying Silverman had taken advantage of them sexually. One said she was too drunk to consent to sex, while the other said Silverman forced her into BDSM role-play against her will. Silverman had said in the past that all women who come forward with sexual allegations should be believed, however, he issued a statement denying all allegations against him. He was fired the day before an article was released outlining his accusers’ stories. As a staunch feminist, Silverman says he still believes all women coming forward with sexual allegations should be believed, that every allegation needs to be taken seriously, and it’s important to use skepticism while still being supportive.

YouTube Video Courtesy of Atheist Republic

A year and a half has gone by since this story hit the atheist community and Silverman has finally spoken out to give his side of the story. He reveals all in an exclusive interview, saying he lost his will to shower, eat, or get out of bed, because the accusations against him were false. Fighting with the idea of killing himself, his wife hid weapons so he couldn’t go through with it. Friends abandoned him, he couldn’t find work and he lost his marriage. While he admits he’s not a saint, he’s asking people to look at the facts. He says it’s ok to hate him…if it’s because of the truth.

 

Though he can’t make a living, due to being an atheist activist for 22 years with sexual allegations against him, he is spending what he can on a lawsuit to help get his life back. Several witnesses have come forward adding different perspectives to the allegations against him. He has a GoFundMe account to help with legal fees. Not looking for revenge, he says, all he wants is to clear his name and leave his legacy focusing on the work he has done and the community he has helped build. He is back to producing videos with his new YouTube channel and has a Subscribe Star account for those looking to support him.


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  • Joe_Buddha

    In other news, I own this bridge in NYC that I’m trying to get someone to take off my hands. Interested?

  • kaydenpat

    I thought that an investigation into the allegations had cleared his name. If Neil deGrasse Tyson could bounce back from similar allegations and an investigation, I assume that Silverman can do the same.

  • Michael Neville

    Since I wasn’t a fan of Silverman long before the allegations were made, why should I care about what he’s doing now?

  • (((-MARK-)))

    Silverman claims to be able to win any argument by reason and logic. That if he is wrong he will change his mind.

    Yet anytime I tried to engage him on Twitter. His response is the same. ‘Read my book’ or read some books.

    That’s not how you debate someone.

    He claims that when people don’t debate him or stop debating him, that they are afraid of the argument. Yet Silverman regularly refuses to debate, saying the person is too stupid and/or should read a book.

    He continues to believe and to push forward the discredited Khazar argument despite having been given evidence to show its a debunked theory.

    He continues to insist that everyone who is atheist should identity as atheist and that Jews who don’t believe in God are not Jewish.

    It’s not enough that he isn’t Jewish. He tells everyone else, who they are.

    I would of hoped that some inflection would have him see this. But no, he just doubles down.

  • (((-MARK-)))

    They had not cleared his name.

    The allegations were made and there was enough evidence to dismiss him.

    It’s also, by his own admission, very creepy behavior. Using his stature and influence to have sex with women. That some women would of felt pressured to have sex in order to get ahead. That the appearance of if you have sex you can get ahead on organized atheism.

    Creepy

    Keep your sex life away from your professional life

  • kaydenpat

    I agree with you. If you’re in a position of power, you shouldn’t be coercing subordinates to engage in intimate conduct with you. I just thought that I had read that he had been cleared. My bad.

  • kaydenpat

    Why didn’t you like him before?

  • (((-MARK-)))

    Yet he still doesn’t get it.

    Even if they were not subordinate but just looking to get into organized atheism, it stinks.

    Women who don’t put out don’t get what appears to be (and possibly is) special favors.

    Imagine a top notch surgeon having sex with all of his residents?

  • (((-MARK-)))

    Even if it was willing. Being in a position of power should not be grounds for having sex. It certainly look like women were having sex in order to get ahead. So there must of been some sort of signal.

  • Michael Neville

    Silverman was as dogmatic as the religious leaders he complained about. There was only one way to promote atheism and that was Silverman’s in your face, take no prisoners, black and white method. In his book Fighting God I read: “Religion has no positive value because those doing good in its name are just using religion as an excuse to do good.” The converse—that religion might serve as a cover for evil actions—never occurs to him, even though it would be more likely.

    Silverman appears to think there’s a nefarious goal behind every religion and religious leader. No preacher or parent shares their faith for innocent reasons, and no religious politician acts from a place of sincerity. Instead, believers are “victims of the cold and calculated brainwashing they’ve received since birth” and religion, being “too weak in premise to live and thrive without government intervention,” has “entwined itself in government” to survive.

    Sure there are incredibly nasty people who use religion to gain wealth and power. The Catholic Church still protects and supports child rapists. The Southern Baptist leadership continues to push its misogynist agenda. Evangelicals and the Catholic Church still want to deny LGBTQ+ people basic civil rights because Gawd thinks butt sechs is icky. But the majority of laity try to live as good and moral a life as they can. Unlike Silverman I don’t think these people are stupid or evil, I think they’re wrong.

    EDITED to correct minor typos.

  • kaydenpat

    Understood. I’ve never read any of his books so didn’t know that was how he felt.

  • Congratulations on the new blog!

    I admit I never thought Silverman was a particularly good spokesperson for atheism. Firebrand atheism is good for yuks in the com-box, but when you’re aiming for a place at the grown-up table of public discourse, being unremittingly confrontational is a bad strategy. I recall a Colbert Report bit that responded to the unbelievably insensitive remarks Silverman made about the WTC Cross brouhaha. When even the secular wags at Comedy Central are ripping you to shreds, it’s not a good sign.

  • jh

    I think there is space for many types of strategies. One can fall afoul by being too adult and not calling a spade a spade. At other times, you can antagonize a group by being too outspoken. Before opening one’s mouth in public, one should take the time to analyze how the optics look. They should also look at the opposing group deliberately misunderstanding them and lying about them. For example, Hillary’s deplorable comment should never have been spoken in public. Why? Because Republicans and conservative media will lie and twist it and it reinforces their persecution complex. She was telling the truth but it wasn’t a truth that translates well in the media with so many bad faith actors.

    With atheism, like any minority position, you have to play Goldilocks. Not too hot, not too cold, not too firm, not too soft. It’s best to have a multitude of voices. MLK Jr and Malcolm X spring to mind also. And one needs to always understand that the game is rigged against you. You will be misunderstood and quoted out of context because it is not in the interests of the majority or the people in power to acknowledge the validity of a minority group’s complaints. You will deal with bad faith arguments and the game of bothsiderism. Religion is so insidiously an identity politics game that it is hard to navigate a position that can prompt change without provoking a massive backlash. When that gets involved, you get a lot of bloodshed and lies.

  • “As a staunch feminist, Silverman says he still believes all women coming forward with sexual allegations should be believed, that every allegation needs to be taken seriously, and it’s important to use skepticism while still being supportive.”

    I agree with two of these three claims. All women coming forward with sexual allegations should not be believed to be telling the truth. Evidence shows that a small percentage is making false allegations. But all such allegations should be taken seriously and investigated either by law enforcement of ethics panels.

  • I admit that I never thought you were a particularly good spokesperson for either atheism or skepticism.

    It’s not a good sign when you ban people from commenting on your own blog for simply disagreeing with your opinions, as you have me. You are behaving unfairly and unethically.

    Your behavior is similar to the jailing of critics by dictators.

  • kyuss

    a Colbert Report bit that responded to the unbelievably insensitive remarks Silverman made about the WTC Cross brouhaha. When even the secular wags at Comedy Central are ripping you to shreds, it’s not a good sign.

    If you think stephen colbert is secular, you haven’t been paying attention.

  • Ender

    He reveals all in an exclusive interview, saying he lost his will to shower, eat, or get out of bed, because the accusations against him were false.

    To me, these are the actions by and large of someone who’s guilty. If I’m falsely accused, I’d be energized to fight such a thing, prevailing MeToo moment be damned. I’d wake up everyday and get on the phone, consulting with my lawyer, releasing public statements proclaiming my innocence, being available for interviews, etc. I’d do whatever it takes to prove the falsehoods of my accusers and I would do so with unmistakeable, burning fervor. And yet, this guy is saying, “I’ve been slandered and my thoughts turn to killing myself.” Really? A self-described “firebrand” at that? Guess it’s all bluster then, Silverman; else why’d you slink away from this kind of fight when you were so passionate in others? Truth and facts affect you in many ways, perhaps? BS

  • Here is an article about someone who was accused of sexual harassment. His life was ruined. I think is definitely innocent, yet he felt suicidal. See:

    https://reason.com/2019/08/23/im-radioactive/

  • Charles Hittle

    Just a mere accusation can destroy one’s life. How incredibly pretentious.
    You’re no Silverman… no one would give a shit if you were accused… your name wouldn’t even appear on page 7 of the local paper.
    Yeah… keep playing keyboard warrior when your cowardice and judgementalism can’t be hidden behind your false bravado.

  • Charles Hittle

    Exactly. Well done.

  • Your name does not have to appear in the paper for your life to be ruined. You can lose your job, and you might never be able to work in your chosen career again. Your wife and friends might desert you. This can happen with any sort of false accusation, not only sexual harassment. The problem is, even if you are not guilty, the claim that you are might be will follow you around on the internet. Even if it is not published in the newspapers employers will find it. I know from my own experience hiring people decades ago that even the slightest doubt will disqualify an applicant. Because there are any number of people who have no hint of a criminal record and have never been accused of anything. Why risk hiring someone who might be guilty?