"She Cut Me Off and Blocked Me"

Travis Roy, of the Great Penis Debate, dropped a comment (in moderation) on my Vacula v. Silverman post to do something that he seems to think was defending himself. I’m highlighting it here because it so perfectly captures the pettiness of the complaints that have led to years of sniping at activists in this movement.

Since this was posted I thought about commenting, mostly to address #16 Oolon’s comment.

The first comment he links to, I was addressing what Melody said directly, that people she blocked were showing up in her mentions. I argued that they were showing up someplace else (in a search perhaps). Simon, her husband, told me he would get me examples of blocked people showing up in her mentions, but he never did. I was addressing her concerns and pointing out that either there may be a technical problem with twitter that’s causing this, or that people she thought were blocked were perhaps not blocked.

As far as the second tweet he links to, yes, many women (about a dozen in the past two weeks since this has kind of come up again since WiS2) have said to me that they don’t feel like speaking out because they are worried about backlash, even if this is legit. Mallorie (who I know most people on this site probably don’t agree with) is often given as an example since Lousy Canuk mentioned her in a blog post and it did cause her some problems with potential clients asking her about it. He took her name off the post when she brought it up and that has been, overall, a very good exchange so there’s not much to go on about other than it’s an example of how these debates in the skeptical community can bleed into our professional lives.

I think you would find, if you actually talked to most of us on what people perceive as this “side” of the sexism/feminism issue are actually pretty moderate, and agree with what most of you on that “side” seem to want.

Nobody is perfect in any of this, and everybody, on all sides and in the middle have made mistakes, myself included. Painting me with some weird broad brush as kaboobie did about how I had “developed a bizarre vendetta against Surly Amy and Rebecca Watson” is very much unfair.

I haven’t talked publicly about the falling out that happened there, but in the case of Amy, what I will say is that at NECSS 3 I bought a bunch of Granite State Skeptics surly’s from her, and my wife got some others for herself and it was all very nice and pleasant and she actually gave us a discount for being such good customers. Two weeks later she cut me off and blocked me, when I emailed her to ask what was up to see what I could do it order to fix whatever I inadvertently done to upset her I got back a “never contact me again” reply, and I think I’ve pretty much kept to that, as far as I know.

I still would greatly like to repair these relationships, but I feel that they’re to far gone at this point.

It is true that I’m critical of Rebecca, Amy, and many bloggers here.. But I’m critical of everybody. I’ve been critical of DJ, Justin, Emery, and others on both sides.

Anybody is free to contact me off this comment thread if they would like to discuss further, be it email, FB, twitter, whatever. I’m more than happy to talk about it in more detail, or at TAM if you want to do it in person.

First of all, Mallorie received arguments against her position, not backlash, and she stood up and took them well. She didn’t ask Jason for changes to his post because of that. She asked for changes, months after the arguments had died down, because people were treating her argument as preapproval to sexually harass her. Go lay the blame for that with the people who defend harassers, and if you have to look in the mirror to do that, then try not to flinch.

Now for the rest of your complaints.

I do actually have a pretty good idea why Amy decided she didn’t want to talk to you anymore. It was this weird little passive-aggressive post about Amy trying to “tell [women] how to feel” about feminism and the skeptic movement. The article was posted just after NECSS 2011 about an article Amy posted just before NECSS 2011 and about a workshop that had happened nine months before. It was posted on the website of a group, your group, which, during NECSS 2011, received a nice discount on custom work from Amy, and comes complete with comments from you.

So is Amy deciding she didn’t want to deal with you based on that bit of rudeness and other interactions with her friends (mentioned in the comments on that post) an overreaction? I don’t think so, but I don’t care. I don’t care whether Amy decided your position on the Oxford comma was an abomination and she didn’t want to deal with you because of that. She gets to decide who she wants to talk to and who she doesn’t.

Despite your protestations in this comment, you apparently didn’t agree. Two months after, by your own account, Amy asked you not to contact her again, you showed up in the comments of Skepchick to point again to the GSS post. A month later, you showed up again. Both of those comments were on Amy’s posts. You didn’t leave her alone.

Even when you weren’t talking to her, you kept talking about her. There’s this:

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/Sc00ter/status/64762334027067392″]

There’s this retweet promoting Dale’s suggestion that not interacting with you two amounts to silencing:

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/gsskeptics/status/89325968807837696″]

Then this little love affair starts:

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/Sc00ter/status/155267110065545216″]

And is carried on in conversation:

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/AngrySkepchick/status/156434093091995648″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/Sc00ter/status/156435277362106369″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/AngrySkepchick/status/156436001202503682″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/Sc00ter/status/156436303796375553″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/Sc00ter/status/156438431466135553″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/AngrySkepchick/status/156438393297977346″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/Sc00ter/status/156438852934963200″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/AngrySkepchick/status/156448893423452160″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/Sc00ter/status/156452993749876736″]


[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/Sc00ter/status/159664820168310784″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/AngrySkepchick/status/159731771670405120″]

Some ignored:

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/Sc00ter/status/166688985480052737″]


[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/Sc00ter/status/161838247947931648″]

And retweets:

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/AngrySkepchick/status/155799701222989824″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/AngrySkepchick/status/156771480808591360″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/AngrySkepchick/status/157278029301825536″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/AngrySkepchick/status/157472759910375424″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/AngrySkepchick/status/161447145512247297″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/AngrySkepchick/status/161814446237417472″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/AngrySkepchick/status/162160639354208256″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/AngrySkepchick/status/163650282201419776″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/AngrySkepchick/status/166269760890351617″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/AngrySkepchick/status/166691336232255488″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/AngrySkepchick/status/166874889804988417″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/AngrySkepchick/status/168392475801690112″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/AngrySkepchick/status/170214194535333888″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/AngrySkepchick/status/170567782516269056″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/AngrySkepchick/status/171662989575991298″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/AngrySkepchick/status/172516078344351744″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/AngrySkepchick/status/173454466484420608″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/AngrySkepchick/status/185718001973211137″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/AngrySkepchick/status/192275400137777153″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/AngrySkepchick/status/193548681293742081″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/AngrySkepchick/status/205422051375325184″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/AngrySkepchick/status/210906571838988289″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/AngrySkepchick/status/211517685450801152″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/AngrySkepchick/status/211517696221786112″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/AngrySkepchick/status/216016074720813056″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/AngrySkepchick/status/219122218288939008″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/AngrySkepchick/status/219241162823827457″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/AngrySkepchick/status/222711641370918914″]

Then there’s this touching exchange:

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/AngrySkepchick/status/184659385535037440″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/AngrySkepchick/status/184664718496112642″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/Sc00ter/status/184776893453701121″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/AngrySkepchick/status/184808403523211264″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/Sc00ter/status/184980647859859456″]

But, you know, that’s just “satire”. You’re still just leaving Amy alone, certainly not contributing to making anywhere like TAM hostile to her. At least you’re not after you’re caught:

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/Sc00ter/status/210444249274126336″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/Sc00ter/status/210465199126355968″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/jref/status/210474976803962880″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/Sc00ter/status/210476420005236736″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/Sc00ter/status/210477300544843780″]

Until there’s a rift to applaud by retweet:

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/Wendy91602/status/223775430082170881″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/Sc00ter/status/223788313159544832″]

If you can interfere with that rift being healed, all the better.

Travis Roy arguing with Harriet Hall, agreeing with Sara Mayhew that Amy is two-faced and telling the same story he tells in the comment at the top of this post.

You may not have contacted Amy directly since…well, a few months after she asked you to stop. However, you’ve been poking and prodding at her and her friends for most of the two years since. And I’ve only captured the obvious stuff because I’m tired of spending time on you.

As for the idea that you criticize others, that’s trivially true. You criticize people making the products your placebo bands are supposed to fight, along with assorted psychics and mediums. You criticize tech companies or products occasionally. I haven’t seen the criticism you claim to have made of folks on “your side”, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

However, the only other skeptic you “criticize” the way you do Amy is Rebecca Watson. All over a heap of nothing. Amy expressed her opinion about feminism and asked you to leave her alone after you gave a rude response. You’ve done anything but, contributing for most of two years to the hostile environment female skeptics have to deal with if they want to contribute to the movement. Thus, your comment gets its own post as a great example of the petty crap we’ve been handed as a result of speaking our minds.


"She Cut Me Off and Blocked Me"
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15 thoughts on “"She Cut Me Off and Blocked Me"

  1. 1

    Hey, he even “criticizes” me…by laughing at how I have a vagina! Because, after all, accusing a man of having a vagina is both hilarious and damning.

    Geez, but we’re so cruel and awful and vicious to, like, tune the noise out of our twitter feeds. His free speech is as compromised as if we showed up at his house and slapped duct tape over his mouth. While people like you and I and Rebecca get rape and death threats, savage brutes threaten him with a block on twitter and ignore his emails (those are, of course, equally horrible fates).

  2. 3

    Didn’t Mayhew take a rather smug snipe about the TAM T-shirt incident along the lines of ‘Harriet Hall is a pioneer and so you’re being stupid if you don’t listen and accept what she has to say’?

    And here we see that Mayhew.can’t even bring herself to respect Harriet’s wishes not to be insulting for a single facebook post.

    So her message should really have been ‘you should listen to Harriet Hall…when I agree with her…’

  3. 4

    She blocked his twitter feeds. A fate worse than death. How can poor Travis go through life, knowing that his passive-aggressive tweets will go ignored by their target?

    Please, Travis, remember that suicide is not the answer. I recommend you run away and join either the circus or the French Foreign Legion. These are the two escape routes traditionally used by spoiled, emotionally immature six year olds.

  4. 6

    Ah yes, the great Penis Debate…watching the screaming spittle flecked sexually aggressive reaction to someone daring to ask politely to see TAM’s harassment policy was the thing that really opened my eyes to just how deep the divide is, and how desperate, angry and irrational some of these people can be.

    Though to be fair to Travis he seemed to be just clueless….

  5. 7

    Stephanie, Thank you for providing evidence that Travis Roy is lying when he writes, “I haven’t talked publicly about the falling out that happened there.” And thank you for documenting Travis Roy’s harassment of Amy, and his work to be one of the several dozen who made The Amazing Meeting a hostile place for her.

    Travis, How illuminating of you to publicly trash Amy for “publicly badmouthing me at various events.” (Then to lie about it.) In the first place, you don’t provide evidence of your smear against Amy. Bad skeptic. Bad. In the second place, are you sure you don’t mean, “publicly telling the truth about me at various events?” There is a difference, you know.

    Travis, Also, I would contact you to ask you to stop harassing Amy, Rebecca, and any other feminist targets you have, but I don’t want to become one of your targets. That’s how harassment works as a silencing tactic.

    And I would discuss the issue with you at TAM. I’ve had a fantastic time at five different TAMs in the past, and paid all expenses for my sister to attend a TAM.
    But I can’t go to TAM any more. Because you and dozens of others have made TAM a hostile place for those of us who don’t hate the Skepchicks. I’m certain that TAM this year will be welcoming and fun for you. The pro-harassment team won TAM, and you deserve to relish your victory.

    Sara Mayhew, I don’t follow you around, the way you obsessively follow Amy, Rebecca, and Ophelia, so I wasn’t aware of your efforts to try to turn Dr. Harriet Hall against Amy. Every time I think you can’t sink any lower, you surprise me. Don’t ever change.

    Sara, wouldn’t you be angry at Rebecca if she lied on Ophelia’s blog that you never raised money to send women to TAM? And then when the lie was pointed out, Rebecca refused to apologize or to correct the record?
    Wouldn’t you be angry at Rebecca if she spitefully Tweeted malicious false gossip that you had made anti-Semitic remarks at a convention?

    You would, right? And rightfully so!! If Rebecca had done those things to you, you would feel angry and maybe a little harassed, too. You would want her to stop doing those things, right?

    Except that these aren’t things that Rebecca did to you. These are things that you have
    recently done to Rebecca. I know I’m not getting through to you, am I? Not even a little bit. Oh well. I can always hope.

    Out of curiosity, do you think there is anything that will ever happen to make you stop this petty weird vicious obsession?

  6. 8

    I wish some one worked out how to stop
    the machine which now is just insatiable
    The way things are going there will be no
    other issues to discuss once it becomes
    uncontrollable since this is just inevitable

  7. 10

    It started long ago on my web dev forums, but I now see that whomever complains about being censored or blocked unfairly never represents their own actions properly, if at all. Anyone that complains about being rejected I almost automatically assume to be getting what they deserve.

  8. 11

    Ugh, this is the guy behind the Placebo bands? Guess I won’t be buying those for my classes again any time soon.

    So much of it comes down to this sense that one person is entitled to another person’s time and attention. When the latter cuts the former off, the former has this enormous overreaction that can only be sated by…regaining that latter person’s time and attention.

    It’s a tantrum. It’s a tantrum that has lasted for years. And it’s from people who have the unmitigated gall to call others immature and emotional.

  9. 12

    Thanks for the details, Stephanie. I knew some but not all of the story. I still think “bizarre vendetta” is a good description.

  10. 13

    jacksonp @ 5:

    The post in question was written by Travis’ wife. It was critical of a Skepchick post by Amy, Amy was critical of it in return, and Travis participated in the comment thread on Skepchick.

    As Stephanie said, whether or not one agrees with Amy’s reasons for blocking him, “She gets to decide who she wants to talk to and who she doesn’t.” I’ll never understand those who insist that they are entitled to another person’s time and attention, and that if that person chooses to avoid them they are being “silenced” and “censored”.

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