Rabid Anti-Feminism Strikes Again

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So this happened yesterday.

Venture Beat wrote:

Playhaven fired a developer after he allegedly made sexual jokes in the audience during a keynote session at PyCon, a conference for Python developers. Now Adria Richards, a developer evangelist for SendGrid, is getting rape and death threats via Twitter.

Here's the tweet and picture that set things in motion:
https://twitter.com/adriarichards/st...

The PyCon conference organizers saw the tweet and escorted the two guys in question out of the room. Later, they were fired. Then the internet went apesh*t. SendGrid found itself on the receiving end of a DDOS attack. People dragged out some unrelated tweets by Adria Richards, including one from 2009 with her views on racism and one from a few days ago joking with an acquaintence who had joked about being groped by the TSA, offering these tweets up as evidence that she was a psycho crazy bitch deserving of scorn, ridicule and hatred.

Then today, this happened.

SendGrid's Facebook wrote:

Effective immediately, SendGrid has terminated the employment of Adria Richards. While we generally are sensitive and confidential with respect to employee matters, the situation has taken on a public nature. We have taken action that we believe is in the overall best interests of SendGrid, its employees, and our customers. As we continue to process the vast amount of information, we will post something more comprehensive.

And then all the angry internet boys cheered.

Here's what I wrote on Reddit about all this (which, unsurprisingly, got a slew of downvotes):

This is in no way justice.

Everyone in this story was a douche. The guys were douches for making inappropriate comments at a professional conference. The woman was a douche for complaining on twitter with a picture. Both companies were douches for firing their employees over an issue that would have disappeared in less than a week.

The only people that weren't douches were the conference organizers of PyCon, for having a reasonable harassment policy and for following through on it proactively when they saw a complaint. I'm can't judge whether the complaint was valid or not - this whole thing is he said/she said - but it was good of the organizers to stick up for their own policies and to respect their attendees.

If it had just ended there, with the guys being escorted out of the room and informed that someone had been offended by their jokes, everybody in this story would be a lot better off. Adria Richards would have felt okay because her complaint was heard, the guys would be okay because they would have realized maybe they were talking a little too much during the presentation, and they'd know who not to sit near in the future. And the companies would be okay and nobody would be dealing with a DDOS right now.

What a sad, stupid story this all is.

SendGrid and PlayHaven sure are some chicken sh*ts, that's for certain. None of these firings were justified. Still, if I was a manager, I'd be afraid any of the three involved are a sexual harassment lawsuit waiting to happen.
Also, as any time you make your company look bad, you're toast, doesn't matter why, they really don't care, honestly it's like going to the principal's office without a surveillance tape to back your story. Not the first time in history that has happened.

Adria also doesn't know what the word racism means. Still no reason for threats.

BadKen wrote:

The woman was a douche for complaining on twitter with a picture.

Stop right there. In no way did this woman do anything even remotely wrong. Unless more high profile shamings like this happen, the situation for women and other minorities will never change. Women have had enough sh*t happened to them already. Enough.

Edwin wrote:
BadKen wrote:

The woman was a douche for complaining on twitter with a picture.

Stop right there. In no way did this woman do anything even remotely wrong.

I may disagree with you there. If it was just to her friends, then it's fine, but she seems to have sent it to all of her 11,000 followers. That's being a jerk-ass.
edit: From her twitter page, emphasis mine

TED 2013 attendee

I quoted that because often people who have done a jerk-ass thing, usually do it while in a state of having their head up their rear end.
But again, not a reason to fire her or threaten her.

This was at PyCon, by the way. Not TED.

RolandofGilead wrote:
Edwin wrote:
BadKen wrote:

The woman was a douche for complaining on twitter with a picture.

Stop right there. In no way did this woman do anything even remotely wrong.

I may disagree with you there. If it was just to her friends, then it's fine, but she seems to have sent it to all of her 11,000 followers. That's being a jerk-ass.

These guys were in a public venue with no expectation of privacy, so it matter f*ck all who she tweeted it to. Asses acted like asses and got called out on it.

This blog post provides a lot of context:

https://amandablumwords.wordpress.co...

I should note that I'm generally in favor of a good public shaming, but only when every other option has been explored, and has failed. In this case, it was the first thing done, not the last.

I posted this elsewhere, but it bears repeating here:

I don't have a problem with the joke being made. I don't have a problem Richards being offended and reporting it to the convention staff, and, as a matter of fact, I applaud her decision to do something about it. And PyCon's staff, from all reports, handled themselves very well in this situation. Could the two guys in the photo been a little more sensitive to those around them? Sure. Could Richards have followed the advice she wrote in her own blog post and talked to the two men or alerted the staff privately? Absolutely. Would this entire clusterf*ck have been avoided if one of those two things happened? Yes.

But both of those things happened, and it spiraled out of control. Because of one somewhat insensitive joke, and a really bad twitter post. Everything that's happened after: the twitter posts, the blog posts, the firings, the harrasment, the DDOS', it all leaves a really bad taste in my mouth.

Because nobody involved here came out looking sympathetic. Richards used her soapbox to publicly shame two men who really didn't deserve much more than maybe a simple talking to. The two men who made the joke could have shown some restraint, but did not. Both of the companies probably made the wrong decision to fire the two, though in Play Haven's case, there could be other things we don't know about, and Richards dragged in her company into the conversation probably without their approval.

Because it's been twisted into everyone's pet racism/sexism/ism trigger topic. Bigots are using Adria's behavior as an example of why women can't be trusted. People sensitive to issues of gender, sex, and race are using it as an example for why the entire industry's a cesspool of bigotry and sexism. For those of us who know that the truth is neither of those, it's incredibly disheartening, because you can choose your belief, and there's something here that will validate it.

cube wrote:

People sensitive to issues of gender, sex, and race are using it as an example for why the entire industry's a cesspool of bigotry and sexism. For those of us who know that the truth is neither of those, it's incredibly disheartening, because you can choose your belief, and there's something here that will validate it.

I hate to burst your bubble, but the fact that Richards received death and rape threats and her company endured a DDoS attack kinda does prove the industry is a cesspool of bigotry and sexism.

dejanzie wrote:
cube wrote:

People sensitive to issues of gender, sex, and race are using it as an example for why the entire industry's a cesspool of bigotry and sexism. For those of us who know that the truth is neither of those, it's incredibly disheartening, because you can choose your belief, and there's something here that will validate it.

I hate to burst your bubble, but the fact that Richards received death and rape threats and her company endured a DDoS attack kinda does prove the industry is a cesspool of bigotry and sexism.

There are murderers that are American, therefor all Americans are murderers?

bnpederson wrote:
dejanzie wrote:
cube wrote:

People sensitive to issues of gender, sex, and race are using it as an example for why the entire industry's a cesspool of bigotry and sexism. For those of us who know that the truth is neither of those, it's incredibly disheartening, because you can choose your belief, and there's something here that will validate it.

I hate to burst your bubble, but the fact that Richards received death and rape threats and her company endured a DDoS attack kinda does prove the industry is a cesspool of bigotry and sexism.

There are murderers that are American, therefor all Americans are murderers?

Anytime anything in the techie industries (game development, IT) all but brushes the topic of sexism, the same crap happens: rape/death threats, hacking, backlash all over. In a messed-up story where everyone makes mistakes big and small, only the woman who got uppity got a huge community backlash.

So while no, not EVERYONE in the industry is a sexist bigot: YES, the tech industry has a real problem with sexism and bigotry.

All of this over a penis joke?

So both the guys and the woman learned that what you say in public can get you fired? I cannot pretend to know what SendGrid's social media policy is. My thought is that the woman ran afoul of the policy in a serious way. Not in a, don't do that again and delete the tweet with a retraction sort of way.

Publicly insulting the employees of another company, whether competition or possibly partners, doesn't strike me as particularly professional behavior either.

DanB wrote:

I seriously don't get any of this. There's simply not a single action in the whole sorry tale that seems appropriate except for the those of the PyCon guys.

This. She had every right to be offended about the joke and she had every right to either confront the guys about it or bring it directly to PyCon staff who to their credit, seemed to take it seriously. Taking a photo without permission and tweeting it to 11,000 people is not appropriate. The guys actually did make the joke and are idiots for it but what if they didn't? People who merely get an accusation deserve to have their careers ruined? Sorry, that's not justice. If something bothers you, escalate it and if it's then not dealt with, maybe more extreme measures are called for. Taking the nuclear approach right off the cuff is wrong. As others said, everyone except PyCon looks like an idiot in this story. That mobs of Internet morons threatened her after the fact doesn't justify anything.

I seriously don't get any of this. There's simply not a single action in the whole sorry tale that seems appropriate except for those of the PyCon guys.

dejanzie wrote:
cube wrote:

People sensitive to issues of gender, sex, and race are using it as an example for why the entire industry's a cesspool of bigotry and sexism. For those of us who know that the truth is neither of those, it's incredibly disheartening, because you can choose your belief, and there's something here that will validate it.

I hate to burst your bubble, but the fact that Richards received death and rape threats and her company endured a DDoS attack kinda does prove the industry is a cesspool of bigotry and sexism.

And thank you for reinforcing the entire point of that paragraph.

Parallax Abstraction wrote:

She had every right to be offended about the joke and she had every right to either confront the guys about it or bring it directly to PyCon staff who to their credit, seemed to take it seriously. Taking a photo without permission and tweeting it to 11,000 people is not appropriate.

You do realize that the public photo and tweet(s) were how she brought it to PyCon's attention in the first place, right? And, considering that she was at the Lightning Talks (either participating and/or covering), I don't think that face-to-face confrontation was really an option.

OzymandiasAV wrote:
Parallax Abstraction wrote:

She had every right to be offended about the joke and she had every right to either confront the guys about it or bring it directly to PyCon staff who to their credit, seemed to take it seriously. Taking a photo without permission and tweeting it to 11,000 people is not appropriate.

You do realize that the public photo and tweet(s) were how she brought it to PyCon's attention in the first place, right? And, considering that she was at the Lightning Talks (either participating and/or covering), I don't think that face-to-face confrontation was really an option.

I've yet to go to a conference where you can't just stand up and leave the room to sort something out.

Edwin wrote:
RolandofGilead wrote:
Edwin wrote:
BadKen wrote:

The woman was a douche for complaining on twitter with a picture.

Stop right there. In no way did this woman do anything even remotely wrong.

I may disagree with you there. If it was just to her friends, then it's fine, but she seems to have sent it to all of her 11,000 followers. That's being a jerk-ass.

These guys were in a public venue with no expectation of privacy, so it matter f*ck all who she tweeted it to. Asses acted like asses and got called out on it.

I agree with you. Freedom of speech is not the freedom from being judged for what you say. Calling people out for racist, sexist, and homophobic comments is a good thing. It's how we move forward.

OzymandiasAV wrote:
Parallax Abstraction wrote:

She had every right to be offended about the joke and she had every right to either confront the guys about it or bring it directly to PyCon staff who to their credit, seemed to take it seriously. Taking a photo without permission and tweeting it to 11,000 people is not appropriate.

You do realize that the public photo and tweet(s) were how she brought it to PyCon's attention in the first place, right? And, considering that she was at the Lightning Talks (either participating and/or covering), I don't think that face-to-face confrontation was really an option.

She couldn't have gotten up and spoke to an official about it rather than tweeting a photo to 11,000 people, most of whom weren't there and had no means to do anything about it? Sorry, I don't buy it.

Jayhawker wrote:
Edwin wrote:
RolandofGilead wrote:
Edwin wrote:
BadKen wrote:

The woman was a douche for complaining on twitter with a picture.

Stop right there. In no way did this woman do anything even remotely wrong.

I may disagree with you there. If it was just to her friends, then it's fine, but she seems to have sent it to all of her 11,000 followers. That's being a jerk-ass.

These guys were in a public venue with no expectation of privacy, so it matter f*ck all who she tweeted it to. Asses acted like asses and got called out on it.

I agree with you. Freedom of speech is not the freedom from being judged for what you say. Calling people out for racist, sexist, and homophobic comments is a good thing. It's how we move forward.

PyCon is a private, ticketed event. It's simply not public in the way the sidewalk or a public park is. Twitter, with no substantial barriers to entry, is a lot more akin to a public park than it is to a ticketed event.

Also "lol dongles" isn't sexist. Totally Juvenile and certainly inappropriate for the context but hardly akin to sexism, racism etc...

Parallax Abstraction wrote:
OzymandiasAV wrote:
Parallax Abstraction wrote:

She had every right to be offended about the joke and she had every right to either confront the guys about it or bring it directly to PyCon staff who to their credit, seemed to take it seriously. Taking a photo without permission and tweeting it to 11,000 people is not appropriate.

You do realize that the public photo and tweet(s) were how she brought it to PyCon's attention in the first place, right? And, considering that she was at the Lightning Talks (either participating and/or covering), I don't think that face-to-face confrontation was really an option.

She couldn't have gotten up and spoke to an official about it rather than tweeting a photo to 11,000 people, most of whom weren't there and had no means to do anything about it? Sorry, I don't buy it.

That's my thing too, this is, as both parties being part of companies attending the event, for her and the idiots she called out, a professional event. They were unprofessional for making jokes like that at the event while they were "on the job" as far as their employers would be concerned. She was unprofessional for calling out employees of another company publicly while she was "on the job" as far as her employers would be concerned. She could very easily have gotten up to talk with a representative of the convention, rather than tweeting publicly about it. Embarrassment for the jokers, satisfaction for her. No public angle to deal with for either company.

OzymandiasAV wrote:
Parallax Abstraction wrote:

She had every right to be offended about the joke and she had every right to either confront the guys about it or bring it directly to PyCon staff who to their credit, seemed to take it seriously. Taking a photo without permission and tweeting it to 11,000 people is not appropriate.

You do realize that the public photo and tweet(s) were how she brought it to PyCon's attention in the first place, right? And, considering that she was at the Lightning Talks (either participating and/or covering), I don't think that face-to-face confrontation was really an option.

You realize that PyCon had dedicated ways to contact the staff in a non-public way, right? The only reason that twitter was used was because she choose to use twitter, not because it was the only way.

https://us.pycon.org/2013/about/code...

Courtney Stanton offers her take at Buzzfeed:

the article wrote:

It's also worth noting that trying to address the situation privately might not have worked very well, given the barriers to direct reporting that clearly still exist at events like this. Historically in the tech community, private is synonymous with "swept under the rug and ignored."

...

With all of that noted: I am not personally cool with Richards' choice to photograph the men behaving unprofessionally and broadcast their images without their consent. While yes, this was a public event, she was clearly not a professional photographer working for said event, and it seems a reasonable assumption to me that these men did not expect to have those cell phone photos of them published on Twitter to such a large audience, especially with their conversation quoted. I do not blame Richards for doing what she did, but it is not a thing I would like done to me, and therefore it's not a thing I want done to someone else, no matter what they're saying.

...

PyCon has also chosen to signal via dogwhistle whose side it's on, for those who can hear; they've updated their Code of Conduct with, "Note: Public shaming can be counter-productive to building a strong community. PyCon does not condone nor participate in such actions out of respect." Yes, this is the same public shaming that got their attention and action in the first place. Again: I don't think using someone's image without their consent is okay. But I also think that being told your behavior is sexist, inappropriate, and unwelcome is not a fun process no matter how one does it, and if a public shaming is what it takes, then that's what it takes.

Not everyone who may be the victim of some form of harassment is a paragon of virtue. A person can be an utter asshole, and the target or victim of harassment.

There was no sexism or harassment in what those two men said. The whole fiasco is the result of someone being overly sensitive feeling the need to manufacture reasons to be enraged. She then tried to shame them publicly and launched a tirade on her blog attempting to justify her actions by turning it into a matter of sexism. Her insane crusade against two guys, however, has backfired on her. And sadly, it has only generated the kind of sexism she tried to pin on two relatively innocent guys. She shouldn't receive death or threats of rape. She should, however, be criticized for being completely delusional, irrational, and destructive.

OzymandiasAV wrote:

Courtney Stanton offers her take at Buzzfeed:

the article wrote:

PyCon has also chosen to signal via dogwhistle whose side it's on, for those who can hear; they've updated their Code of Conduct with, "Note: Public shaming can be counter-productive to building a strong community. PyCon does not condone nor participate in such actions out of respect." Yes, this is the same public shaming that got their attention and action in the first place. Again: I don't think using someone's image without their consent is okay. But I also think that being told your behavior is sexist, inappropriate, and unwelcome is not a fun process no matter how one does it, and if a public shaming is what it takes, then that's what it takes.

Ok, this is flat out wrong. This isn't about photo rights or any of that bullsh*t. Adria could have taken he photo and then sent it privately to the convention staff as a part of her complaint. She did not. This is because she used her fairly considerable reach and power on the Internet to publicly shame two other people to her 9000+ followers before attempting to do anything that would actually diffuse the situation.

The code of conduct(which I linked above, and is linked in the article) doesn't list twitter or other social media as the way to ensure that the staff deals with the situation. They provided email addresses and phone numbers, and instructed attendees to talk to any member of the staff.

Nowhere did they say that they'll be watching twitter. It's probably random luck that someone saw the tweet in the first place, because Richards stated that she did not reach out to the convention staff through their listed lines of communication. They reached out to her after someone found the tweet.

Again, there are times where public shaming is probably the only way to get something done, after every other option has been explored and failed. But this wasn't one of those times. No other option was explored. And that is what made it the wrong choice.

Exactly. When there's a stated way to get convention staff to deal with it and you skip that and elect to instead take a photo of the perpetrators and post it to thousands of people who aren't even in attendance (along with by the way, the faces of numerous other people who had nothing to do with it, also without their consent), you're not exactly acting from a position of the moral high ground.

Amanda Blum's blog has an interesting take on the whole fiasco: basically everyone lost.

She also recounts how this isn't the first time Richards has immediately jumped to public shaming when she didn't like something rather than work with others to resolve the situation:

Why don’t I enjoy Adria? I met her in New York some years ago at a conference and invited her to speak at a conference I was organizing in Boston. She was a very good speaker and I wanted her to help our beginners. She’s not an easy person- she didn’t like the title of her talk, she didn’t like her time slot, etc. Two weeks before the conference, we got a few emails from attendees that she had just threatened on her podcast to boycott our conference because one of our speakers, Danielle Morrill was giving a lightning talk about how to use screencasting software called “Getting the Money Shot”.

She’d never told us she was offended, she’d never told Danielle- she told her podcasting audience and blog readers that we were promoting porn. In the end, after great drama, she attended and deep sixed her talk, instead lecturing the attendees about how porn wasn’t acceptable at conferences. The beginners in her class were less than amused and ultimately, deprived of the opportunity to learn from her.

ZaneRockfist wrote:

There was no sexism or harassment in what those two men said. The whole fiasco is the result of someone being overly sensitive feeling the need to manufacture reasons to be enraged. She then tried to shame them publicly and launched a tirade on her blog attempting to justify her actions by turning it into a matter of sexism. Her insane crusade against two guys, however, has backfired on her. And sadly, it has only generated the kind of sexism she tried to pin on two relatively innocent guys. She shouldn't receive death or threats of rape. She should, however, be criticized for being completely delusional, irrational, and destructive.

Yeah, it's important to protect the rights of two dudes making crude jokes. But let a women voice her disapproval too publicly, and there needs to be a crackdown.

Parallax Abstraction wrote:

Exactly. When there's a stated way to get convention staff to deal with it and you skip that and elect to instead take a photo of the perpetrators and post it to thousands of people who aren't even in attendance (along with by the way, the faces of numerous other people who had nothing to do with it, also without their consent), you're not exactly acting from a position of the moral high ground.

I suppose the followup question is -- how many death and rape threats have Alex Reid and mr-hank received in light of this?

edit:

Jayhawker wrote:
ZaneRockfist wrote:

There was no sexism or harassment in what those two men said. The whole fiasco is the result of someone being overly sensitive feeling the need to manufacture reasons to be enraged. She then tried to shame them publicly and launched a tirade on her blog attempting to justify her actions by turning it into a matter of sexism. Her insane crusade against two guys, however, has backfired on her. And sadly, it has only generated the kind of sexism she tried to pin on two relatively innocent guys. She shouldn't receive death or threats of rape. She should, however, be criticized for being completely delusional, irrational, and destructive.

Yeah, it's important to protect the rights of two dudes making crude jokes. But let a women voice her disapproval too publicly, and there needs to be a crackdown.

Yeah that's the crux of it. "Bitch yelled too loud" seems to be the running theme here. Pretty astonishing, especially in a GWJ space.

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