Elevatorgate[edit | edit source]

PZ Myers and others have continually asserted that the negative reaction within the atheist and skeptic communities to Rebecca Watson's "Elevatorgate" incident was by "misogynists" within the community immediately and hysterically reacting to her simple "Guys, don't do that" statement in her initial video on the topic, and for no other reason. This section documents, with available references, the actual sequence of events.

Timeline[edit | edit source]

20 Jun 2011. RW posts a video on YouTube about her time at the Global Atheist Convention in Dublin, in which she mentions the elevator incident. She also mentions a video, posted by AronRa, of the panel she was on, and thanks all of the misogynists who made negative comments about that video for proving her point about problems with sexism and misogyny in the atheist community. Comments made between 20 Jun and 28 Jun on the RW video were analyzed; of the approximately 170 commenters (some of whom commented multiple times), 40% made comments unrelated to the elevator incident, 30% commented with questions or negative remarks

One negative comment about the RW video

about RW's presentation of the incident, and 30% supported RW's presentation of the incident. Of the negative/questioning comments in that

Second negative comment about the RW video

timeframe, two were explicitly called out by RW (see screencaps at right). Determining whether even these two comments are indicative of an outpouring of misogyny is left as an exercise for the reader.

The video is also posted at Skepchick. Of the six comments still appearing on that post (some may have been deleted) from that same day (20 Jun), three (from two separate commenters) question RW's interpretation of the elevator incident, one is a response from RW, and two others are unrelated. No other comments appear on that post until 10 Jul 2011.

21 Jun 2011. Guys, listen. That? Stop Doing That. AAF Waterloo blog. Supports RW. Seven comments from six commenters are present, and mostly negative, through 23 Jun 2011. No further comments until 03 Jul.

21 Jun 2011. Rose St. Clair posts a video response about sexism in the atheist community on YouTube.

22 Jun 2011. Stef McGraw posts a response on the UNI Freethought blog critical of RW's assertion that the elevator incident was an example of sexism.

23 Jun 2011. Jen McCreight response. Supports RW.

26 Jun 2011. RW presentation at the CFI Leaderhsip Conference (video, transcript). See also this page.

28 Jun 2011. RW posts her summary of her "calling out" of Stef McGraw during her talk at the CFI conference. Malimar posts an attempt at an impartial summary of the event on LiveJournal.

30 Jun 2011. Stef McGraw posts a response to RW's summary, providing her own perspective on what happened.

01 Jul 2011. Post criticizing RW's behavior at the CFI conference by: Abbie Smith - "Bad form, Rebecca Watson"

02 Jul 2011. Posts defending RW by: PZ Myers, Rorschach, Greg Laden, Barbara Drescher . Post criticizing RW (for her behavior at the CFI conference, not for the initial video) by: Trevor Boeckmann, Hemant Mehta . Comments (here, here) by Richard Dawkins, critical of the use of the term "misogyny" to describe the elevator incident, appear on Myers's post on Pharyngula.

PZ Myers's version of events, also inaccurate.

03 Jul 2011. The floodgates open. Many blog posts, many comments begin pouring in.

Summary[edit | edit source]

The controversy did not, in fact, erupt in the atheist/skeptical blogosphere until the criticism of RW's behavior at the CFI conference led to posts

defending her and Dawkins's comments on one of those posts. Despite assertions to the contrary, (and here)

Inaccurate summary by Rorschach on Furious Purpose

that's when "all hell broke loose."

Rebecca Watson's revisionism of her USA Today quote[edit | edit source]

In the comments on this post on Almost Diamonds, Rebecca Watson asked DJ Grothe who might have said anything that would make women feel unsafe in the skeptic/atheist communities. DJ responded by quoting Rebecca herself, in this USA Today article. Rebecca then responded by saying she was referring to the skeptic and atheist communities of "~2004", and that they were not safe spaces "for me" -- those qualifiers not actually having been present in the original article.

Rebecca doesn't know who is scaring women away from the community.

DJ points out that Rebecca did this.

RW rewrites what she said.

Someone probably accidentally posted nude photos to a group of students and Myers drew attention to it.[1]  If any of his enemies did that Myers would probably call it sexual harassment. 

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