If you haven’t yet, and want to, here’s the button you’re looking for:
UPDATE: Vacula has resigned.
As most of you are no doubt aware, the atheist and skeptic movements have had just a teensy bit of a problem with misogyny in their ranks. You may recall the unholy shitstorm that erupted last year when Rebecca Watson of Skepchick casually mentioned in a YouTube video that it might not be such a good idea for dudes to try to hit on women in elevators at 4 AM. The assholes of the internet still haven’t forgiven Watson for her assault on the sacred right of creepy dudes to creep women out 24 hours a day, every day.
Watson is hardly the only skeptic to face vicious misogynist harassment for the crime of blogging while feminist. Last month, Jen McCreight of Blag Hag announced that near constant harassment from online bullies was wearing her down to such a degree that she felt it necessary to shut down her blog – hopefully only temporarily.
I can no longer write anything without my words getting twisted, misrepresented, and quotemined. I wake up every morning to abusive comments, tweets, and emails about how I’m a slut, prude, ugly, fat, feminazi, retard, bitch, and cunt (just to name a few). If I block people who are twisting my words or sending verbal abuse, I receive an even larger wave of nonsensical hate about how I’m a slut, prude, feminazi, retard, bitch, cunt who hates freedom of speech (because the Constitution forces me to listen to people on Twitter). This morning I had to delete dozens of comments of people imitating my identity making graphic, lewd, degrading sexual comments about my personal life. In the past, multiple people have threatened to contact my employer with “evidence” that I’m a bad scientist (because I’m a feminist) to try to destroy my job. I’m constantly worried that the abuse will soon spread to my loved ones.
I just can’t take it anymore.
McCreight’s harassers and their enablers were delighted in this “victory,” taking to Twitter to give McCreight some final kicks on the way out the door. “Good riddance, #jennifurret , you simple minded dolt,” wrote @skepticaljoe. “I couldn’t be happier,” added @SUICIDEBOMBS. “Eat shit you rape-faking scum.”
One of the celebrators that day was an atheist activist named Justin Vacula, who joked that “Jen’s allegedly finished blogging…and this time it’s not her boyfriend who kicked her off the internet.”
So here’s the latest twist:
Justin Vacula has just been given a leadership position in the Pennsylvania chapter of the Secular Coalition for America, a lobbying group for secular Americans whose advisory board includes such big names as Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins, Susan Jacoby, Wendy Kaminer, Steven Pinker, Salman Rushdie and Julia Sweeney.
It’s an astonishing choice. In addition to gloating that bullies had led McCreight to shut down her blog, Vacula has harassed atheist blogger and activist Surly Amy, including writing a post on A Voice for Men (yes, that A Voice for Men) cataloging all the sordid details of his supposed case against her. At one point he even posted her address, and a photo of her apartment building, on a site devoted to hating on feminist atheist bloggers.
Blogger Stephanie Zvan has set up a petition on Change.org urging the Secular Coalition of America to reconsider its choice. You can find further examples of Vacula’s questionable behavior there.
As Watson notes in a post on Skepchick, Vacula’s position with the SCA is likely to “drive progressive women away from the secular cause.” She adds,
I will never, ever get involved with SCA so long as someone like him holds a position of power anywhere, let alone in a state I live in. So Vacula is actively driving people away from SCA. …
It’s all a real shame, because SCA fills an important role in our movement and I’d like to give them my support. … I don’t believe secular organizations should reward bullies and bigots with high-level positions, even if those positions are volunteer-only.
I recommend that everyone here take a look at the petition.