Well, you have to admit, he’s got chutzpah.
You may have heard that A Voice for Men is sponsoring what it calls the First International Conference on Men’s Issues later this month in Detroit, featuring such notable celebrity speakers as “internationally recognized writer, lecturer and videographer” Karen “Girl Writes What” Straughan, “former mental health professional” Paul “Boy Yells A Lot” Elam, Warren “Boys Aren’t Hurt By Incest a Lot” Farrell, and, well, a collection of other equally exciting names.
But there have been some doubts about it happening from the start. It took some time for the AVFMers to sell enough tickets to enable them to cover the costs of the event.
And now it the costs of the event are going up further: according to a letter that Elam has posted to his site, the hotel that will be hosting the conference has gotten “numerous calls and threats” of a violent nature because of the conference, and is demanding that AVFM cover the costs of additional security at the event.
So Elam has decided that feminists should pay some of these costs, in order to prove they’re “not like that.”
The death threats from feminists, in the attempt to silence these esteemed speakers, has resulted in the conference incurring tens of thousands of dollars in additional security costs.
We plan on launching a fundraiser tomorrow to address those needs, but I want to give the feminists who stand by free speech and assert decisively that these thugs do not represent what feminism is about, to have an early shot at helping us address the gender issues that impact men and boys in an open forum.
He’s even set up a special Paypal button “for feminists only.”
Let’s be clear here: Death threats are bad. Other sorts of threats are bad. Harassment is bad. Shutting down talks given by people you don’t like is bad. Whoever made the threats against AVFM’s conference, feminist or not, deserves to be prosecuted.
But as someone who has never promoted violence or threats of violence or any form of harassment aimed at MRAs, and who has in fact spoken out against this on numerous occasions, I’m not actually responsible, even indirectly, for the threats against AVFM’s conference. (I haven’t even written about the conference before.) And neither is any other feminist who’s “not like that.”
Indeed, the idea that we should bankroll AVFM’s conference is a bit like asking anti-racist activists to fund a KKK rally because someone or other sent threats to the Klan.
AVFM, as I have documented rather throroughly, is a hateful organization motivated by a deeply misogynistic ideology. Its rhetoric is consistently threatening, designed to intimidate opponents into shutting up and going away. Elam himself — the master of the not-quite-legally actionable threat — once famously told one opponent that
I find you so pernicious and repugnant that the idea of fucking your shit up gives me an erection. …
Your only real hope is to keep your mouth shut and pretend AVfM and register-her.com does not exist for as long as you can. …
We are coming for you … .
It’s a group whose main form of “activism” has always been harassing individual women; indeed, the Register-Her.com sitte referenced in the above quote (currently offline and being rebuilt) was a phony “offenders registry” that posted the names and some of the personal information of AVFM’s female enemies alongside profiles of serial killers and sexual abusers. AVFM seemed to make a special point of picking vulnerable targets, often college students, evidently feeling that these women would be easier to intimidate.
AVFM has tried to destroy the lives and livelihoods of numerous other enemies, in at least one case through allegedly illegal means.
The site has also participated enthusiastically in misogynistic internet hate-orgies directed at outspoken women like Rebecca Watson and Anita Sarkeesian, women who received and who are still receiving numerous violent threats of rape and murder.
On one occasion, joining up with a hate campaign already heavily populated with white supremacists, Elam targeted a recent college grad for allegedly boasting on her blog that she’s been actively discriminating against white men in her job at the Georgetown Admissions Office. The blog was an obvious hoax and the woman in question had nothing to do with it. Even former KKK leader David Duke realized this before Elam did.
And we can’t forget that AVFM hosted a terrorist manifesto in its activism section for several years, written by Thomas Ball, a Men’s Rights Activist who hoped that his dramatic suicide – he burned himself to death on the steps of a courthouse – would inspire other MRAs to start firebombing courthouses and police stations.
So boys, we need to start burning down police stations and courthouses. … the dirty deeds are being carried out by our local police, prosecutors and judges. These are the people we pay good money to protect us and our families. And what do we get for our tax money? Collaborators who are no different than the Vichy of France or the Quislings of Norway during the Second World War. All because they go along to get along. They are an embarrassment, the whole lot of them. And they need to be held accountable. So burn them out. …
You need to flatten them, like Wile E. Coyote. They need to be taught never to replace the rule of law. BURN-THEM-OUT!
AVFM finally removed the manifesto from its “activism” section shortly after the Boston Marathon bombing brought the issue of domestic terrorism back into the limelight. But the site still hosts numerous articles glorifying the author of this manifesto.
Oh, and those associated with AVFM are not above harassing their male critics as well. I get a lot of weird, creepy and threatening emails and comments. It’s rare that the senders are dumb enough to do it under their own name. But that was the case with a creepy and threatening voicemail message I received at 1:38 AM one winter night from a longtime AVFM fan and tireless poster-paster that Elam once described as a “One Man Army” and “an MRA’s MRA.”
And this is the organization that expects feminists like me to pay for its security costs?
I don’t think so.