The Karen Stollznow/ Ben Radford/ Hemant Mehta Thing

So as some of you may already know, Ben Radford issued a statement on May 22, cosigned by Karen Stollznow, stating:

In 2013 Karen Stollznow accused Ben Radford of stalking, sexual harassment, and both physical and sexual assault. She made these accusations in a complaint to Bed Radford’s employer (the Center for Inquiry), in a guest blog written for the Scientific American Mind website, and to various individuals in private communication.

Karen and Ben were in an intimate, personal relationship that ended with acrimony and misunderstandings. But it would be wrong for anyone to believe that Ben Radford stalked, sexually harassed, or physically and sexually assaulted Karen Stollznow.

The issue has done damage to both Karen and Ben and to their careers. Through mutual discussion, all issues between them have now been resolved. Both Ben and Karen wish to move on with their lives and put this matter behind them.

They ask that their friends and colleagues let the matter drop. They ask that bloggers and others who have repeated these allegations against Radford or Stollznow remove them from their sites and not repeat them. Any blogs or other published references to these accusations only serve to perpetuate the harm to both parties.

Hemant Mehta wrote about this on June 2 — strongly insinuating that several bloggers (including me) who had shown support for Stollznow knew about this statement, and were deliberately sitting on it and staying silent about it. As it happens, I didn’t know about the statement until the Mehta’s piece went up on June 2 — and that’s true for several of the other bloggers cited by Mehta. (I don’t know about all of them.) He has posted an update at the end of the piece with a semi-apology to me about this implication, but to my knowledge has not apologized to any of the other bloggers he implicated.

I may write more later about Mehta’s piece and its insinuations. For now, I’m simply going to comment on the statement itself:

I am highly skeptical, to say the least, of the content of this statement. Among other reasons: In the past, Radford has written “joint” statements of this nature and tried to pressure Stollznow into signing them. At least some of the accusations of harassment were corroborated by others. CFI hired an investigative firm, which found merit to at least some of Stollznow’s accusations. And if this report is correct, Stollznow signed the May 22 statement under extreme pressure, including a demand that she sign on the day that she went into induced labor. It’s only one report, not yet corroborated, so I don’t know if it’s true — but it’s certainly consistent with Radford’s previous pattern. So I am highly skeptical, to say the least, of the content of this statement. But I will take one part of it at face value: The statement asks colleagues to let the matter drop. So unless something happens in the future that makes further comment on this important and relevant, I’m dropping it.

For that reason (and also because I’m recovering from being very sick, and don’t have the energy to moderate comments on this), I’m closing comments on this post. If you want to discuss this issue, you can do so elsewhere. Here are a few other comments on this issue and replies to Mehta’s post, from PZ Myers, Stephanie Zvan, Jason Thibeault, and Rebecca Watson.

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The Karen Stollznow/ Ben Radford/ Hemant Mehta Thing