In December, 2011, well-known skeptic Benjamin Radford published an article on the Discovery News website, "The Four-Year-Old Feminist Sensation -- Some Questions" about a Youtube video that had recently gone viral, featuring a four-year-old girl named Riley complaining about pink vs. blue toys, and how companies trick girls into buying pink things instead of "stuff that boys want to buy." Radford's article examined the claims that Riley made in the video, and found that, contrary to much of the popular media buzz that had been floating around, there was no need to invoke a "sexist marketing conspiracy" to explain the abundance of pink toys for girls.

Radford also submitted a version of that article to the blog We Are SkeptiXX, where it was published, along with a response by Julia Lavarnway (the blog's founder), on December 31st, questioning Radford's thesis that sexism and corporate chicanery were not in play. Lavarnway later updated the blog post with a further response from Radford. This exchange occurred without devolving into a flame war.

Cue Rebecca Watson, who posted one of her usual hatchet jobs on Skepchick. That was quickly followed by PZ Myers expressing embarrassment for being of the same race and gender as Radford. This led Radford to write a post on his CFI blog with a response to Watson's criticism that also criticized her for being snarky and insulting. A torrent of comments followed, some calling for Radford to be "fired" from the CFI blog. Ron Lindsay's response, which was essentially, "tough shit, no," did not go over well.

Radford kept his cool; in his follow-up post, "RileyGate: Lessons Learned" he acknowledged errors in his original post.

Of historical interest: Watson's previous run-in with Radford

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