It’s been a few days since I put up my post about D. J. Grothe’s record of lies and his most recent threat (that I know of) to lie again. In the meantime, the reactions from Grothe’s supporters have been coming in. I already posted about the first one I saw, but there have, of course, been plenty more. People just keep sending me links.
After Rebecca Watson tweeted the piece and said she’s one of the people who thinks Grothe is a psychopath and Monette Richards retweeted it, EllenBeth Wachs had her say. I’ll spare you pictures of this one, though I have them if anything disappears. It’s long.
@BlameEllenBeth: @rebeccawatson @MistressOfFrog Really disappointing Monette. How is this different than the hate and lies Rebecca gets thrown at her
@MistressOfFrog: @BlameEllenBeth @rebeccawatson Show me the lies in this piece, please, EllenBeth.
@BlameEllenBeth: @MistressOfFrog The link to the photo claiming assault @rebeccawatson
@MistressOfFrog: @BlameEllenBeth @rebeccawatson can you be a bit more specific. There are a lot of links in this piece.
@BlameEllenBeth: @MistressOfFrog Stephanie’s title and her disclaimer not to be armchair pyschologists is the height of hypocrisy –
Referring to a question that I think is reasonable and open by using a question mark but insisting that people not try to answer the question because they’re not qualified is the “height of hypocrisy” now. What would she have had left to say had I tried to diagnose him rather than declining to answer because I’m not qualified?
@BlameEllenBeth: @MistressOfFrog The one that claims to prove to show Pam was sexually assaulted only to show her having a blast with Shermer
@MistressOfFrog: @BlameEllenBeth Not at all. She’s talking about the path of lies he has left behind him as he made his way through this movement. #1
@MistressOfFrog: @BlameEllenBeth The psycopathy has been mentioned to her again and again by people who have been hurt by those lies.
@MistressOfFrog: @BlameEllenBeth How does that make it a lie?
@BlameEllenBeth: @MistressOfFrog Sorry- got a phone call- Listen, I have seen the tweets, I have seen the photos, I have been on recv’ng end of Zvan’s lies
@BlameEllenBeth: @MistressOfFrog I know what she does and how she twists things. She is an evil, mean person
Here are the posts I’ve written about Wachs. They’re largely quotes. Feel free to find the twists.
- The “Campaign” to Replace Ron Lindsay
- A Past President of a State-Level Humanist Group in the U.S.
- In Which I Harass Someone Off the Internet
@BlameEllenBeth: @MistressOfFrog what path of lies? What nonsense.
@MistressOfFrog: @BlameEllenBeth You are very wrong about her. She upset you. That doesn’t make her evil or a liar.
@BlameEllenBeth: @MistressOfFrog She is a liar- She wrote lies about me
@BlameEllenBeth: @MistressOfFrog I know others she has lied about.
What lies? Be specific.
@MistressOfFrog: @BlameEllenBeth Again, how does this picture make anything a lie?
@BlameEllenBeth: @MistressOfFrog She used it to prove assault.
@BlameEllenBeth: @MistressOfFrog I have to go to work. Have you ever met DJ?
@MistressOfFrog: @BlameEllenBeth I think you should read the piece again. Stephanie was not using that image as prove of assault.1/2
@MistressOfFrog: @BlameEllenBeth DJ was using as proof of no assault happening.
I quote from the piece Wachs is complaining about: “He has threatened to do this despite the fact that his photographic “evidence” has already been seen, having been dug up by the slime pit and passed around by a “helpful idiot”, and is entirely consistent with Gay’s tale of making the best of bad things because it is dangerous to object.” and “Maybe he points at pictures and project plans and uses the Radford defense, saying Shermer couldn’t have assaulted Gay because she was nice to Shermer afterward.” [Emphasis added.]
@BlameEllenBeth: @MistressOfFrog I stay away from her toxicity if at all possible. If you haven’t met him, I don’t think you should be RTing about him
Says the woman who continued to manually retweet me after I blocked her months ago.
Why should we have to meet someone in order to talk about their documented behavior and how it affects other people, particularly when much of that behavior hasn’t happened face to face? Grothe certainly didn’t meet me before he claimed I drummed up controversy for hits and scared women away from conferences. For that matter, Wachs has never met me. It’s just a silly, arbitrary way of saying, “Shut up.”
@MistressOfFrog: @BlameEllenBeth And I am at work. No, I do not care to.
@MistressOfFrog: @BlameEllenBeth I don’t believe she is the toxic part of this situation.
@BlameEllenBeth: @MistressOfFrog Right, because you might see you are wrong, SMH
@BlameEllenBeth: @MistressOfFrog Step out for a few minutes and you might be able to see she is the toxic part
He lies. I point out that it’s a pattern. I point out that it’s such a pervasive pattern that people talk about it being a personality disorder. That means he’s someone you need to meet in person, and I’m toxic. Uh-huh.
@MistressOfFrog: @BlameEllenBeth You have not shown me one place in her piece where she lies. Multiple people have shown where DJ lies.
@MistressOfFrog: @BlameEllenBeth No. Trying to stop the bullshit is not toxicity. The bullshit is.
@BlameEllenBeth: @MistressOfFrog No, they really haven’t. *shrug* You’re too deep into your bias
@MistressOfFrog: @BlameEllenBeth Are there untrue items in her piece somewhere?
@BlameEllenBeth: @MistressOfFrog WHAT multiple people? “They said” “people told me” puhlease I’m not here to defend DJ. He gave explanations about tweets
One of those people came forward on her own, which is what started this Twitter exchange. Others probably won’t, because they’re afraid of Grothe’s vindictive streak.
Anyone know where Grothe defended his tweets?
@MistressOfFrog: @BlameEllenBeth Which tweets?
@BlameEllenBeth: @MistressOfFrog If you can’t see what a mean vindicative piece that is, that’s sad.
@MistressOfFrog: @BlameEllenBeth If you can’t see the diff between stopping someone from hurting a woman and the hate Rebeeca gets, that is really sad.
@BlameEllenBeth: @MistressOfFrog red herring
Yes, pointing out that Wachs’ original question has an obvious answer is a red herring.
@BlameEllenBeth: @MistressOfFrog Now I’m going to work. Have a nice day
Then a couple other of the usual suspects weighed in.
@metaburbia: @MistressOfFrog @BlameEllenBeth she called DJ a psychopath in the title of the piece then told ppl not to be armchair psychiatrists. Nuts.
Someone doesn’t understand punctuation marks, apparently. I really wish I could say he were the only one.
@RichSandersen: @MistressOfFrog @BlameEllenBeth Then you are completely ignorant. #FTBullies
@RichSandersen: @MistressOfFrog @BlameEllenBeth Zvan is the woman who TOASTED Greg Laden the SAME NIGHT he was fired from #FTB after threats of violence.
If Grothe were removed as JREF president tomorrow, I would probably toast that as well. Would it mean I approved his behavior? No, it would mean the end of something.
@BlameEllenBeth: @metaburbia @MistressOfFrog Are you fucking kidding me??? I just read Pamela’s blog. YOU and SHE and Stephanie don’t know what PTSD is
That would be the same Wachs whose companion in Florida atheist lawsuits harassed Melody Hensley over daring to have PTSD from non-military experiences. That would also be the same Wachs who has or had PTSD from being woken up and arrested in her bedroom.
@metaburbia: @BlameEllenBeth they take the Humpty Dumpty approach to psychiatric diagnosis: it means what they choose it to mean // @MistressOfFrog
@metaburbia: @MistressOfFrog trying to stop the bullshit is what Szvan is doing with her internet diagnosis of psychopathy is it?@BlameEllenBeth
The slime pit is being its usual, relevant self.
JREF Educational Programs Consultant, Barbara Drescher, also appears to feel that the best way to address Grothe’s behavior is to tell us we shouldn’t talk about it. Selections from that conversation:
Barbara A. Drescher: Jeez, I can’t take a three-hour break from the internet to pick my husband up at the airport without craziness exploding all over it. There is no end to the amount of hypocritical, ideological…LUNACY (that’s the best word that I can think of) being spewed. Good god.
Yes, it’s insane (says the psychology lecturer) to look at patterns in people’s behavior and put names to them–like “lunacy” or “narcissism“.
Richard Murray: It really is like an annual thing… 4-5 weeks ahead of TAM, suddenly this coordinated effort to discredit kicks off…
Jeremy Stangroom: I’m tempted to pay a visit to TAM just to spite the rage bloggers. (I’m sure there are lots of good reasons to turn up, but I don’t tend to go anywhere there are other people if I can avoid it!).
Knock yourself out, Stangroom.
Ryan Long: Jeremy I went to TAM last year, and nobody gave two flying fucks about stupid rage bloggers. We listened to good talks, saw entertaining shows, had fun afterwards. There is so much real stuff to do, Internet nonsense is quickly remembered to be stupid and fake. I’d go again this year if I weren’t unemployed.
Does threatening or lying to someone become “nonsense” just because it happens on the internet?
Nathan Bupp: Lunacy is a good word for it!
Ryan Long: I know from experience that if you ignore these assholes, they continue to write about you anyway, for weeks on end. Once they’re done milking whatever idiotic fake controversy for all its worth, they simply move on to someone else to attack.
Abbey Sanders: It’s interesting they whine and nothing happens. Where’s the difference? The movement? They haven’t ever made any sort of movement. Just a bitch blog.
And an atheist radio show on commercial radio. And a growing local atheist group. But really, nothing but a bitch blog.
Barbara A. Drescher: Torkel, they’re not happy with a boycott. They won’t stop trying to destroy it all. And it’s really one giant tantrum.
Barbara A. Drescher: I don’t know why I’m even trying to read any of this shit. These people don’t even know the meaning of the word “assault”, much less do they know what a “lie” is.
Barbara A. Drescher: But opinions are useful if what you’re trying to do is damage someone’s reputation. After having my own trashed (on screwmyprofessors), I’ve come to recognize that such things matter a whole lot more than real character when it comes to one’s ability to get stuff done in the real world.
Barbara A. Drescher: Is there a word that is stronger than “vile”, yet still appropriate to describe these people? I mean, what kind of person writes a couple of thousand incredibly hateful words about someone, just for blog hits or to try to destroy something they can’t have the way they want it (e.g., themselves and their friends on the stage)? And what kind of people praise it and spread it?
No kidding. What kind of person writes about someone who has unearned credibility and is using it to try to threaten someone else?
BJ Kramer: Barbara: I don’t think “just for blog hits” is fair…or necessarily accurate. I’ve found there to be no limit on what people can convince themselves is not only true, but worthy of a moralistic crusade.
Barbara A. Drescher: You’re right of course, BJ, but I can’t for the life of me think of what else Zvan could possibly get from writing and posting such an ugly piece of shit.
I can take away Grothe’s ability to hurt someone who has done nothing worse than speak up about what an “important” person did to her against her will.
Ryan Long: She’s a monumental asshole, and that’s not me demonizing an ideological opponent, that’s just a totally reasonable observation of one person who routinely acts like an asshole.
Barbara A. Drescher: Good point. [responding to someone else –SZ] And one I often make, so thanks for reminding me. But I have to say that this kind of thing makes it sooo difficult. I get that they probably believe that they are morally righteous, but I am finding it very difficult to see Zvan and Watson and their ilk as anything other than vile, horrible people.
Abbie Smith: Again. Every year. For three years now.
Dear Skepchicks: Hes just not that into you.
Barbara– We are dealing with people who are a) losers and b) narcissists. These outbursts are just pantomime to maintain the actors personal delusion that they are important and influential people. Artificial drama to deal with the mind-numbing tedium and meaninglessness of their otherwise uneventful lives.
Dear Abbie: What happened last year before TAM?
In 2012, Grothe claimed that those of us who were talking about harassment policies were scaring women away from TAM. This year, he threatened Pamela Gay. If you’re looking for an explanation of the timing, you should talk to Grothe.
Torkel Ødegård: Am I the only one who feel that some of these self-proclaimed skeptics who are going on and on about drama, rageblogging, misogyny, sexism, harassment, conference policies, etc. all the time are starting to sound like a bunch of crazy ass conspiracy theorists?
They make a claim, you make a counter claim, they call you sheeple, apologist, enabler, misogynist, asshole, TAMmer, Bigfoot skeptics, dictionary skeptics, etc. There’s no nuance or even an effort to have a discussion. It’s their default comeback to any criticism.
Like how someone who’s REALLY into alt med crap or anti-vax will dismiss skeptics as being part of big pharma or how those who claim the moon landing weren’t faked are brainwashed by NASA propaganda.
Ryan Long: You are not alone, they are True Believers.
It’s such a reach to think that Grothe might be working with Shermer, whom he copied on emails, when he threatened Gay.
Amanda Devaus: Sigh. Normally I don’t like to say it about someone but they are really horrible creatures.
Barbara A. Drescher: You know what else? I keep thinking this is an attempt to destroy what they can’t control and I find that very, very disturbing. It also makes Zvan’s post particularly ironic in light of who else does that sort of thing.
Accountability doesn’t actually destroy most people.
Robert Blaskiewicz: ” I can’t for the life of me think of what else Zvan could possibly get from writing and posting such an ugly piece of shit.” A lawsuit?
A lawsuit for documenting a bunch of behavior and pointing out that it makes a pattern? Really?
John C. Welch: Zvan’s ego may in fact be beyond human comprehension. She wrote a post not long ago that was basically “I AM THE ULTIMATE RHETORICAL WARRIOR” as some kind of bizarro warning to anyone who might cross her. At this point, calling her and the rest a joke is a major upgrade of their status.
Her head is SO far up her own ass that she’s gone full Klein bottle. Never go full Klein bottle.
It was actually a post about how gender affects perceptions of authority and how that, in turn, affects the outcome of debates, but you just go ahead and feel threatened, Welch.
Martin Robbins: What an astonishingly ugly thread, and how bizarre for people to gang up like this rather than confront serious issues within the community. You should be ashamed of yourselves.
Abbie Smith: Barbara– They have no control or influence over anything. Eventually they wandered off after nothing worked on me, but I have a feeling they will remain fixated on people like Grothe to maintain their delusions.
Thank god Martin is here to bring The Word to us unwashed savages. Another Usual Suspect I didnt have blocked yet. *BOOP!*
Talking to National Geographic did work on you. That’s why the slime pit is no longer under the ScienceBlogs banner. Then, having succeeded in decoupling the harassment from the authority that platform granted it, we moved on. But thanks for undermining the narrative that we’re obsessed with certain people.
Barbara A. Drescher: Are you kidding, Martin? Please tell me you’re kidding, because that’s a pretty insane statement when you realize that we’re talking about a bunch of people going on and on about how my friend is a psychopath. A bunch of people who have done everything they can think of to destroy something that they can’t control.
John C. Welch: Yaaaay! The voice of Moral Superiority is here!
Now we can FINALLY learn how “it’s okay when WE do it” is a rational, moral, equitable philosophy.
When “we” do what? Last time I checked (about four words ago), I wasn’t threatening anyone to get them to recant allegations of sexual assault.
Amanda Devaus: Martin – I actually work very hard to help people, both in my profession and through skepticism. Right or wrong if someone who is my friend and who I respect is being the subject of a hate campaign I will step up and defend them – every single time.
No matter what they’ve actually done. Team Us, right or wrong!
Barbara A. Drescher: You know how we address “serious issues”? We actually take actions that make change, like ensuring gender parity of speakers. Manufactured controversy and moral panics don’t help. They hurt the very cause they claim to be trying to help.
Therefore, because you won’t address it, Grothe threatening to lie in order to get someone to recant her story of sexual assault is not a serious issue.
One of Grothe’s defenders at least tried the direct route. Yes, instead of attacking me, he actually stood up for Grothe.
D.J. Grothe is my best friend. I have also worked with him on a few projects including my internship at the JREF and TAM last year. I could name flaws of his, as I might for anyone I’ve ever known.
The truth is, I have never known anyone so scrupulously conscientious. He does not point out how he has steadfastly worked against entrenched cultural discrimination of women and other minorities because he has the rarest of qualities these days, an ounce of humility. Within the skeptic movement, there is nobody I can think of who has actually done more for said groups than he has. Just knowing him has me made more thoughtful about my own possible biases and prejudices and in more contexts.
I have never known him to lie. I have never known him to act maliciously for his own interests. Instead, time and again, I have seen others exploit his kind nature and subvert his hard work. He tells the truth, even when it is personally or professionally costly or difficult to do. He innately sees the best in people, even the most awful, the most flawed. For his humanistic spirit, he is roundly punished.
Much like our dear friend Eric Broze who passed away this year, DJ somehow remains untarnished by all the ugliness and venom. Ever steadfast and looking to the glimmering possibilities on the horizon. For those who value reason over tribe and evidence over party line, I say to you that we are fortunate to have such a resilient and indefatigable ally.
In the hindsight of history, this will be obvious, but I want you to know now, while it is most useful to know. Those who know me know I don’t take much in the way of risks and this is no risk at all: I stake my name on all of this being true to the extent of my (quite significant) experience.
Yes, Ed Clint, originator of FreethoughtBlahgs, for which he has now paid for nearly two years of hosting, has given Grothe a touching, if somewhat purple, character reference. He has never known Grothe to lie or to act maliciously for his own interest, which means he either hasn’t read my post and followed the links before responding to it, or he’s willing to say that even after having been presented with documentation of Grothe lying. I wonder whether he’s staking his name on careful ignorance or dismissal of contrary evidence.
What is Grothe doing during all of this? Being comforted on Twitter, as far as I can tell.
@JayTeeAitch: @DJGrothe I Don’t bother checking the TAM schedule anymore, I just monitor FTB for a flurry of negative activity 🙂
@DJGrothe: @JayTeeAitch Predictable as clockwork. Every year about this time I feel prophetic. But we always take care not to get too distracted.
Given that Grothe selected the timing of both events, as already noted, I don’t see how he would find it anything other than predictable. Unless it’s just poor impulse control on his part?
The other exchange Grothe had about this on Twitter, however, was truly touching. Such bonding.
@thunderf00t: @DJGrothe funny how FTB decided we were both psychos after we disagreed with them! #witchhunt
“FTB” hasn’t decided that anyone is “a psycho”. I left unanswered a question about Grothe, while pointing out that there wasn’t any doubt his pattern of behavior–behavior which has nothing to do with disagreeing unless you’re someone who defines lies and threats as disagreement. Richard Carrier raised the question about Thunderf00t, but he also laid out specific behavior criticisms while leaving the question open, though he did claim a “sociopathic amorality” for Thunderfoot. And Carrier did so, not after simple disagreement, but after Thunderf00t hacked his way onto our private email list (finding nothing damning int he process) and made a series of videos about how feminism was “poisoning atheism”.
@DJGrothe: @thunderf00t It’s the ultimate unfalsifiable catchall smear. That said, I haven’t engaged them in years; a man’s defined by who he battles.
@thunderf00t: @DJGrothe I’m kinda the opposite. I am the beast whose name they do not speak! 🙂 pic.twitter.com/CD2D4zxxWN
@DJGrothe: @thunderf00t Yeah we were both former insiders, which is much worse than being an theological enemy or cultural competitor.
@DJGrothe: @thunderf00t But I’d prefer Stalin’s airbrush to being the focus of the fixated unrelentingly.
@thunderf00t: @DJGrothe Oddly, I really don’t mind them flinging dung at me n elsewhere. Sure its not pleasant, but it says a lot more about them than me!
@thunderf00t: @DJGrothe Vitriolic dung flinging over trivial matters has pretty much become their trademark. Sadly its really poisoned the community.
@DJGrothe: @thunderf00t Right. And I think the best thing about fact claims is they are amenable to evidence.
@DJGrothe: @thunderf00t Can’t fight the fog, but can expose demonstrable lies. That mud doesn’t stick.
And he–and everyone else who is condemning my post will actually start exposing those lies any time now instead of bullshitting.
Any time now.