A piece has just been published about misogyny in skepticism and atheism, and particularly about Michael Shermer, that includes me as a named source who has experienced inappropriate behavior from Mr. Shermer. It’s worth pointing out that my story is merely a supporting story to the larger overall story of Mr. Shermer’s behavior, and not nearly as awful as some others. I have never told it in public, though many people have heard it in private, because of a fear of litigious reprisals and hate mail; it never seemed worth it until I was asked to comment on this story. To the extent that it’s useful and people would like to have full details on what happened, this is my full story.
In 2010, I went to the Orange County Freethought Association Conference after reading about it on PZ’s blog. You could pay $50 to eat dinner with PZ, which struck me as a good deal. I was in LA and didn’t have a lot of friends and I was a big fan of PZ’s blog. I was, at the time, an atheist but not really aware of the larger skeptic and atheist communities. Which was a shame. As I later learned, if you were part of the movement before you went to events, you’d get warnings on who to avoid. The number one person I was told to avoid was Shermer, but I didn’t hear that until months after I met him.