Update: Justin Vacula has resigned his position as co-chair. The petition to remove him is no longer necessary, and I congratulate him on making the right move for the Secular Coalition.
What do you do when you don’t like that someone has started and promoted a petition? Why, you write your own petition to complain about the person who wrote the original petition. Of course. And how do you determine what to say in your petition? What could possibly be better than copping the layout of the original petition…that you really don’t like.
We urge the Atheist Voices of Minnesota to remove Stephanie Zvan from her role as a leader and host with the Atheist Voices of Minnesota. We believe Zvan is unfit for this position for the following reasons:
1. She has engaged in bullying and harassment of people on her blog and elsewhere on the internet.
2. She has minimized bullying as a problem within the atheist and skeptic movement, and broader community.
3. She has used her current leadership position and blog as a tool to recruit other people in the harassment of people who disagree with her.
Stephanie Zvan often claims to be a vocal opponent of bullying and harassment. However, she publically [sic] supports and defends Greg Laden, a man who was thrown off her blog network (FreeThoughtBlogs) for sending violent threats to another blogger. At the same time, Zvan held a toast to Mr. Laden, and then attended a panel conference with him. For someone who shouts loudly in the community about bullying and harassment, we believe this behaviour is unacceptable.
I’m vaguely amused at how this story has grown. That’s the problem with a strict zero-tolerance policy, I guess. The fact that you can get kicked off a blog network for writing the ambiguous colloquialism “I’ll kick your ass” to a fellow blogger who reads it as a physical threat just isn’t exciting enough. Now we must have multiple threats!!!
And oh, the toast. Here’s a link to the damning evidence. Ooh, look. Three FtBers were out drinking the night a stressful episode came to a close and raised a toast to a comrade who had just paid a high price for one stupid moment. They dared to tweet him about it. Then he and I and about 5,000 other people attended a convention where we both did good work, some alone and some together.
Further, Zvan is part of a blog network which has a history of bullying and harassing people, especially women. Any woman who dares to disagree with Zvan’s opinions will be labelled “chill girls”, “gender traitors” or “sister punishers” by her or her commentators.
Well, no. “Gender traitor” was a term that was used by one person on a blog that doesn’t belong to this network. What it means is fairly specific, both there and in a follow-up where that blogger wants a better term for the phenomenon. It was used then abandoned by a different commenter. “Sister-punisher” is a similar story. Both of those happened months ago.
“Chill girl” is the only one of those terms in general use. I’ve defined it in the one place I can recall using it. Like the other terms, it has a specific meaning that is not “You disagree with me”.
Zvan is a willing enabler of a loud community of fringe atheists and skeptics who resort to slurs, insults and lies about other members of the community who disagree with her.
What is a fringe atheist? Is that one that doesn’t believe in the god of an obscure cult? Or would that just be a feminist? Because I’m definitely a willing enabler of feminism. In fact, I’m quite proud of the fact. Nor am I particularly shy (tactical, yes; shy, no) about insults when they’re accompanied by arguments. No idea what slurs and lies this guy is talking about, though. Funny how this is the short part of the petition. So much detail about Greg. So specific about terms that have been used how often? So…nothing on this score.
Another online plan of harassment was launched by Zvan in late September with a petition to remove Justin Vacula from his new position with an secular organisation. The accusations stated by Zvan are a series of slurs based merely on their opinion and not on fact.
Well, actually, you can read the petition for yourself. There are plenty of facts there. There are also a few assertions, which are different than opinions. Feel free to ask for any of them to be backed up. Many already have been in the comments here and additional detail given in the post here.
For the reasons listed above, we believe that Stephanie Zvan is unfit for her role with Atheist Voices of Minnesota. We urge Atheist Voices of Minnesota to consider her position and remove her as soon as possible.
I find myself really curious who they’re planning to send this petition to. Why? Because this is Atheist Voices of Minnesota. I’m neither a leader nor a host for it. I will be reading from it next week, though, and my position starts on page 67. I’m not sure how they’d go about removing me, either. Maybe with an X-acto knife.
At least the new petition made the usual types happy.
Not particularly well-informed, but at least happy.