The details, in "So Much for Center for Inquiry", Watson explains:
A lot of people held their collective breath, waiting to find out if the board would issue an official apology, force Lindsay to issue a real apology, censure Lindsay in some other way, or take any strong action to show that CFI was going to recommit itself to addressing women’s concerns in concrete ways while marginalizing those who are harassing us.
If you’ve read that a few times, wondering what it says, allow me to clarify: it says nothing. It makes vague statements about equality and respect without mentioning anything about the harassment of women in this community and how Ron Lindsay has enabled it. It expresses unhappiness without mentioning what exactly they’re unhappy about: Lindsay’s talk? Uppity women complaining about his talk? Men’s Rights Advocates (MRAs) now supporting CFI while continuing to hate women? No idea. It also suggests that the “controversy” is about the conference, and not about 10 minutes of the opening talk of the conference, delivered by Ron Lindsay.
In a way, I’m glad they made it so very obvious that they don’t care. Had they written something complex and layered, doing nothing but promising something (anything), it would be much harder for me to say this: I’m finished supporting Center for Inquiry.
For the past two years I’ve worked my ass off to make their annual CSICon a success, by hosting their parties, getting the SGU and other popular speakers involved, helping them create a gender-equal schedule, coordinating a blood drive through Maria Walters, facilitating scholarships through Surly Amy, and just promoting the hell out of it. This year they have yet to issue me an invite. With this statement, it couldn’t be clearer: my participation is not wanted, in the exact same way that after six years of supporting JREF’s Amaz!ng Meeting, DJ Grothe made it clear they didn’t want me, either.
My haters like to pretend I organized some kind of boycott against Richard Dawkins after he attacked me, a lie that became so pernicious I edited in a statement saying I have not (facts, as usual, had no impact on the behavior of my haters). The boycott accusation was confusing on a number of levels but these two particularly: 1. Dawkins, not me, is the one who has made demands to organizers that I not share a stage with him (it’ll be interesting if he shows up on CSICon’s bill this year) and 2. there is nothing morally wrong with people calling for a boycott of something they disagree with or, in this case, something that actively causes them harm.
Just to knock those two statements out of the park:
- Dawkins not wanting to again be on a panel with Watson is a complete red herring. This information was not published nor advertised by organizers or by Dawkins himself for that matter.
- Nobody has claimed that boycotts are morally wrong.
Oddly enough, Dawkins making a private request to not be on a panel with his harasser is apparently "a boycott" in Watson's world.
The only thing Watson's critics have requested is a modicum of honesty - when you publicly announce to your fans that you're no longer purchasing Dawkins books, it's an endorsement of this action as acceptable if not preferable.
Watson feels she gets a free pass because she refrained from explicitly requesting her fans do the same and using the b-word ("boycott").
It's similar to a movie reviewer giving a film 10 out of 10, then saying that they are not actually endorsing the production because the reviewer did not actually ask his or her readers to pay money to see the film.
With that last point in mind, fuck it: I’m boycotting and I hope you do, too. I’m not giving any more of my time or money to Center for Inquiry, just as I’ll no longer give any time or money to the JREF and Richard Dawkins.But in addition to this personal decision I’ve made, I’m actually asking you to do the same.
Oh, this changes everything!
Do not support an organization that does not have the courage to stand up for women. The standard you walk past is the standard you accept. [this theme is a wagon she hopped on in her earlier article] If you are a speaker at a paid event for these organizations, cancel your appearance. If you regularly donate money to them, stop. If you work for them, look for a new job. I have a lot of friends and loved ones who currently do one, some, or all of those things, and I trust we’ll continue to be friends regardless of what happens. But I do think that continued support of CFI will send a message that it’s okay for a supposedly humanist organization to never take a stand to help the women in its community.
I hesitate to suggest where you should redirect your energies, because the last time I did that, I convinced many people to start supporting CFI, and we can see how well that went (sorry about that). There’s always Equality Now or Planned Parenthood or the SPCA I guess. They may not be directly about skepticism or secularism or humanism, but at the very least you can be fairly certain you’re helping make the world better.
Endorsing Planned Parenthood is a step forward for Skepchick, who previously endorsed AU as the last best hope for women's rights. Planned Parenthood is a lot less bizarre of a choice.
In any case, there you have it. Rebecca Watson is now boycotting CFI and admitting to the existing boycott of Dawkins and JREF. This is something the Skepchick clique should have disclosed months if not years ago.
But it's ultimately up to them. Skepchick and FTB can boycott whoever they want, and they have a right to be snide about it.
Yet what is extremely telling about this baloney about boycotts?
It is dripping with privilege.
Just a few examples:
Watson writes: "[CFI's letter] expresses unhappiness without mentioning what exactly [we're] unhappy about"
Why it's privileged: Essentially Watson expects her criticisms of an organization and its director to be summarized and mirrored in full.
For those keeping track, Watson's oft-retweeted criticism of CFI is quite simply (direct quote) "Very strange to open #wiscfi w a white male CEO lecturing women about using the concept of privilege to silence men."
It would seem CFI was to somehow relay this mature critique of its CEO in its letter. The organization essentially owes Watson a platform.
Watson writes: "This year [CFI] have yet to issue me an invite [to CSICON]."
Why it's privileged: Watson has already been invited to CSICON. Not only has Watson been invited, but you have been invited as well. How is this possible? It's an open event.
When Watson states that she has not been invited, presumably she means she has not received free round-trip tickets from Brooklyn to Tacoma, Washington along with a customary speaker's fee.
Let's be clear: Watson expects an invite before the organizers have even completed the conference website.
One imagines Watson checking her email waiting wondering why she hasn't been giving a speaker's slot.
Once Watson realized CFI wasn't going to give her a soapbox and she was going to have to attend a CFI conference as one of the secular proletariat, she threw a fit of public boycotts.
Watson, in her position of privilege, expects two things from an organization in return for her support: money and a platform. It's all about the coin with these "social justice" activists.
It's rather humorous to watch these "rationalists" expose their Victorian sensibilities.
No invite to speak? No travel expenses covered? This is a disrespect! How dare they!
Until next time, on as the skeptical world turns...