onlytheycreate (onlytheycreate) wrote in ohnotheydidnt,

Lawrence Krauss Outed as a Sexual Predator as #MeToo Impacts the Atheist Movement

Physicist and famous atheist Lawrence Krauss was recently accused of sexual harassment by multiple women spanning over a decade. Buzzfeed compiled an expose in late February and the news is still making waves:
– Krauss is well known for his outspoken atheism as part of the 'skeptics' movement, a combination of scientists, humanists, and other activists and professionals that arose in the mid-2000's (primarily drawing from institutions that were male-heavy/centric, so go figure the leadership and results) dedicated to advancing secular science and education.
– One of the women Krauss harassed, Melody Hensley, was just twenty nine years old and ran an Atheist website while volunteering for a non-profit secular group when she met him. She was hoping to build a career in the skeptics movement and Krauss was her idol. He invited her to his hotel room and tried to force himself on her before she got away.
– Krauss insists it was consensual and that they simply decided it wouldn't be appropriate to pursue that avenue any further, but Melody disagrees. “It was definitely predatory. I didn’t want that to happen. It wasn’t consensual.”
– Melody is not alone... Krauss has been accused of groping other women, inviting other women to dinner to prey on them, making misogynistic jokes to students, and "telling an employee at Arizona State University, where he is a tenured professor, that he was going to buy her birth control so she didn’t inconvenience him with maternity leave."
– Krauss has denied all the allegations, citing that people are targetting him for being famous. He called the rpots “false and misleading defamatory allegations.”
– Also, his wife his defending him on twitter, below the cut. It's messy. Beware. (warning: pedophilia defense)

Harassment is not unheard of in the atheist movement. Part of what makes this so devastating is the way predators like Krauss have taken advantage of the community, which Salon reported on:
– Helena Dadabhoy, a blogger and atheist activist, said, "It got rid of the crushing feeling of loneliness I had. When I left Islam, I felt I did an impossible thing." She added that the community led her to meet "former religionists of other religions" and eventually even to connect with other ex-Muslims. "
– Alex Gabriel, another atheist activist, said, “I had a very difficult, very abusive upbringing in a home that was religious in a not-healthy way. I need a godless community. I need that support network. I think a lot of other people do."
– Sikivu Hutchinson, founder of the Black Skeptics of Los Angeles, said, "Institutionalized sexual harassment and erasure of the voices and the lived experiences of people of color and women of all ethnicities is something that is absolutely endemic" to the community.
– With the rise of the skeptics movement came what is referred to as "The Great Rift", feminists who wanted to embrace feminism against anti-feminists and people who were afraid feminism would drive away anti-feminists from the movement.
– A massive harassment campaign formed, organized primarily through a forum called Slymepit, targetting anyone who speak up against harassment or for feminism. It can be seen as a precursor to both Gamergate and the alt-right/anti-sjw movement and reactionaries.
– Stephanie Zvan, writer and co-host of Athetists Talk in Minnesota, said, “There were very few people who were willing to stand up for our speech." Men who lead the movement were much more worried about women speaking up than the harassment that followed beforehand.
– Many more details in both reports below.

“We have lost so many opportunities to connect in meaningful ways with this next generation of non-believers," Zvan said, explaining the younger generation that is non-religious affiliated is more racially diverse and gender-balanced. "But it’s not at all what we look like. Not at all. We look like a movement of old white men, because most of the choices we have made were to make the movement more accommodating to old white men."

ONTD, are you surprised? What is your relationship with religion, and do you ever seek out or wish for non-religious spaces?

Sources: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Tags: #metoo, feminism / social issues, religion, sexual misconduct

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