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Men’s Rights Activists Greet Adria Richards’ Firing with Cheers, Gendered Slurs

Adria-Richards

And so the Internet has found a new woman to hate. Most of you are probably already familiar with the Adria Richards debacle that’s developed over the past several days. If not, Jill at Feministe has a good summary of events:

Adria Richards, formerly of the company SendGrid, was at a tech conference this week when some dudes behind her made a series of inappropriate and sexual jokes. Annoyed by the pervasiveness of misogyny in the tech world, she snapped a photo of them and put in on Twitter with a complaint. One of the conference organizers spoke to the men and they apologized. Totally reasonable! Good response, PyCon. Later, one of the dudes got fired. Instead of getting mad at the company that made the choice to fire him, the internet hordes descended on Adria. She was on the receiving end of rape and death threats. Her address and phone number were published. Her blog and her company’s website came under DDoS attack. Oh and then her company, SendGrid, fired her.

Like Jill, I think firing someone for a “dongle” joke is an overreaction, to say the least. But Richards wasn’t responsible for that; indeed, she told the fired man she hoped his employer would reconsider and take him back.

SendGrid’s firing of Richards is far more problematic. It’s one thing to get in trouble for acting like a sexist boor; it’s quite another to get in trouble for simply pointing out someone else’s problematic behavior. Richards faced a virtual lynch mob for simply documenting an example of the everyday sexism that permeates the tech world; by firing her, SendGrid essentially sided with the mob.

Is “lynch mob” an unfair term to describe those who’ve gone after Richards? No. In this context, the term is sadly apropos, as the target of all this online “activism” is not only female but black – two strikes against her in the minds of many of her, er, “critics,” who attacked her as a “fucking nigger” as well as a “cunt.” (The more genteel racists referred to her derisively as a “diversity hire.”)

Numerous commenters have already documented some of the appallingly racist and misogynist attacks on Richards. (The links in the above paragraph contain plenty of examples.)

Here, I’d like to focus specifically on the attacks on Richards coming from Men’s Rights activists – that is, from people who like to think of themselves as upstanding human rights activists for the 21st century, virtual equivalents of Martin Luther King. In fact, many of the reactions of MRAs show them to have far more in common with the bigots who fought against the civil rights movement than they do with King.

In the Men’s Rights subreddit, the MRA masses gave more than one hundred upvotes to a graphic describing Richards as a “racist, sexist and hypocritical cunt.” Evidently pointing out that white men as a class have certain advantages in the world is a kind of “racism.”

Elsewhere in the subreddit, aasorted commenters indulged themselves in gendered slurs. Greyfeld got dozens up upvotes for comments denouncing Richards as a “feminist cunt” and a “screeching harpy cunt.” DerpaNerb described Richards as “a racist/sexist cunt [who’s] clearly … not capable of doing her job properly.” Buster2209 scored 160 upvotes with a comment describing Richards as a “stupid bitch [who] brought it on herself.” Cyridius simply declared “I hate her because she’s a dumb ignorant bitch.”

Others happily gave the Men’s Rights movement credit for Richards’ firing. The execrable EvilPundit got 180 upvotes for a post essentially endorsing the virtual lynch mob and declaring Richards’ firing to be proof that the Men’s Rights movement had entered a “new phase.”

MRevpun

Sorry to burst your bubble, Mr. Pundit, but there’s nothing new about men harassing and threatening a black woman.

AnnArchist – a former contributor to Reddit’s now-banned Beating Women subreddit —  reacted with indignation to someone who pointed out Richards had been harassed:

MRannnn

Over on A Voice for Men, where the locals describe themselves with no sense of irony as Men’s Human Rights Activists, there was much rejoicing over the firing of Richards, who was variously described as an “entitled bitch,” a “sociopathic bitch,” a “femshit” and a “bush pig.” Naturally, the c-word, applied to all feminists, made an appearance as well.

Daflory hoped that Richards’ firing would be the start of an industry-wide purge:

Adria Richards seems like an entitled narcissist, who had become used to deference as a moral authority through her impeccable credentials as a diversity goddess: black, Jewish, and female. …

No one ever told Adria Richards that she was at best only an tolerated guest in the world of tech, and she could either play by male rules and contribute, or get lost. Hopefully other feminists in tech will get a similar message.

And August Løvenskiolds’ mind went straight to the gutter:

[A]fter being outed as a betrayer of her customers, none of them will want to work with her, and any tech company that hires her will instantly lose credibility.

She’s going to be hard-pressed to find a job as a sex-worker unless the light is quite dim.

Taking a step back from the particulars of the incident, Mark Trueblood wondered if a man strike might help to put things right once again:

AVFMtrueblood

I’m pretty sure Amnesty International doesn’t exactly endorse this sort of “human rights” activism.

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talacaris
9 years ago

“C sure as hell ain’t standing with A.”
Who knows? C could agree in general with most of what A said

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
9 years ago

That’s nice, dear.

Marie
9 years ago

God talacaris is so boring.

hellkell
hellkell
9 years ago

Wall of Blah

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
9 years ago

Points for unique and creative use of punctuation, though.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
9 years ago

Unless C publicly, openly, supports A, nobody but C knows whether C really agrees with A. But anyways, intent isn’t magic, if C gets pedantic about what A said, in any manner that could be construed as supporting B, then C might as well be supporting B since that’s what it’ll look like to an observer.

And I’m as guilty of pedantry as anyone, but even I know that there’s a time and place and you fucking say that you don’t mean to nitpick, you agree overall, but [thing] — eg this citation is wrong, here’s the correct one.

TomBcat
9 years ago

As a very late response to
@cloudiah
on a thread that has long since died, but I felt like pointing out that you definitely didn’t seem harsh to me but very helpful. You didn’t shut me up, you explained. When I go to a new space full of regulars to express my opinions I expect to be put in my place. That’s what I asked for, and contrary to the trolls in the last few days who were here to “learn something”, I actually meant it.
So please feel free to be harsh 🙂

Also, this may be stupid, but this seems like a safe place and a lot of people here are playing with open cards, so:

I’m more or less still recovering from a very abusive relationship in which I was forcefully indoctrinated into a self hating, misogynistic worldview, so I’m actually happy for every bit of a different view.
That also means I sometimes say stupid stuff.

TomBcat
9 years ago

Wow, that seems overly dramatic now…………………………………………
also my . is jammed.

Bagelsan
Bagelsan
9 years ago

TomBcat, if you can’t be overly dramatic here then where can you be? 😀 I’m literally screaming about penguin cupcakes on the other thread.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
9 years ago

Welcome, TomBcat. People here can be harsh with those who embrace their assholery, but we’re pretty forgiving with those who slip up and are willing to own it, especially when it’s clear where it’s coming from.

Marie
9 years ago

@tomB cat.

Internet hugs if you want them. That sounds horrible. Feel free to vent about it here, if you need to. I don’t mind, and I don’t think many of the regulars would. It’s mostly when trolls try to make every thread about them.

Fade
9 years ago

It doesn’t really seem overly dramatic to me. I mean, sometimes bad things happen that are outside the norm, so sometimes (jerky) people think you’re blowing it up out of porportion when your not.

But I don’t think anyone’s going to say you’re doing that here. XD

All the jedi hugs if you want them.

Marie
9 years ago

@tomBcat

Also a warm welcome from me if I haven’t said hi to you already. (I know I’ve seen you in another thread, but don’t know if I’ve welcomed you yet).

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
9 years ago

BTW has anyone seen lowquacks around? I’m a bit worried about him, hope he’s doing OK.

TomBcat
9 years ago

So nice 🙂
I knew I should start commenting here 🙂
And yes, Marie, you welcomed me multiple times 🙂
You make me make smileys a lot…
Also I’m really fine, the recovery part is more or less just getting the voice out of my head that still tells me that all you nice people must be wrong and there’s something inherently wrong with my gender, nothing that can’t be silenced by moving over to a thread that is about penguin cupcakes AND Kurosawa!
(I’ve got penguin shaped scented candles here, they’d fit in very well I think)

Marie
9 years ago

@TomBcat

😀 Thanks.

And penguin shaped scented candles…those sound perfect. I have candles shaped like a ghost and a pumpkin, but sadly I do not know if they are scented.

On the note of misandry*, do you want to know what I saw while shopping? Pie-shaped candles! There was one like an apple pie, and one like a chocolate pudding pie, and I wanted one so bad! But sadly I did not have 15$ to spend on them.

/candle rambles.

*misandry is always our note, right?

cloudiah
9 years ago

Hugs to TomBcat, if they’re wanted!

I am also worried about lowquacks. 🙁

Marie
9 years ago

@cloudiah

What happened to lowquacks? (if it’s not private). I’ve seen them around a couple times, but didn’t know something was wrong. 🙁

TomBcat
9 years ago

@ Marie
Just saw this and don’t know if it is my place, but lowquacks posted about some problems I think in this thread, I don’t know if that is what it was about. I think I saw zir(?) somewhere later in another thread.

The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

Marie – lowquacks asked for prayers for his mum and his cat Lavender. His mum has cancer and his kitty may too, and had to go to the vet yesterday, and may have had to be put to sleep. I can’t remember which thread it was in, but he asked everyone and linked to it elsewhere, so it’s not private news I’m repeating.

Marie
9 years ago

@kittehs

Oh, yeah, I remember that now, I just didn’t connect the name for a moment. I hope he’s okay 🙁

Seriously?
Seriously?
9 years ago

You’re stupid for thinking that AFTER THE FACT, when Ms. Richards said she hopes his employer takes him back, she meant it.

hellkell
hellkell
9 years ago

There’s someone being stupid here, but it’s not us.

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