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Big Name Sexual Harassment Accusation in the Skeptic Blogosphere

Illustration for article titled Big Name Sexual Harassment Accusation in the Skeptic Blogosphere

Dr. Karen Stollznow is a popular speaker at atheist and skeptic gatherings throughout the anglosphere. Today, via Scientific American, she posted an important personal essay confronting the ongoing problem of sexual harassment in the skeptic community. In it, she recounts a grim story of long-term harassment by an unnamed skeptic speaker and author. Over a period of four years, she alleges this individual tried to coerce her into sexual activity, and that he eventually progressed to the point of holding her career advancement in jeopardy in an attempt to make her receptive to sexual advances. She also accuses the man of finally escalating to episodes she describes as "sexual assault" on her person.


After "Atheism Plus" aligned blogger P.Z. Myers posted his comments regarding Stollznow's SciAm piece and provided a signal boost on his blog Pharygula, Twitter outed the alleged harasser as Ben Radford, a notable skeptical writer and speaker associated with the Center For Inquiry. Myers soon updated his blog post, stating that in the short time after he had posted, he had received a deluge of emails outing Radford as the accused. His post states he has emails from additional women who claim to also be victims of Radford's unwanted sexual advances.

Radford's outing also gives insight into the institution Stollznow describes as being disinterested in properly addressing her continued harassment. Center For Inquiry is a fairly large, international skeptic nonprofit which came under fire recently after CEO Ron Lindsay made some unwelcoming comments during his "welcoming" address at the Women In Secularism 2 conference held in DC this past Spring. CFI still hasn't apologized or taken action against Lindsay. Here's to hoping they have something more to say now that they are alleged to have been supporting the behavior of an individual accused of tirelessly sexually harassing a fellow skeptic for four years.

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