There was an interesting excerpt from the Buzzfeed article:
A few allegations about Krauss made their way onto skeptic blogs, but were quickly taken down in fear of legal action. So for years, these stories have stayed inside whisper networks in skepticism and physics.
It gets even more interesting when you consider something atheist activist Ed Brayton wrote:
Buzzfeed has a long and detailed article that makes a compelling case against Lawrence Krauss as a serial sexual harasser, something for which he has long had a reputation for being in the atheist community. It isn’t a he said/she said, it’s a he said/a whole bunch of shes said, along with a bunch of witnesses to it in situations over the course of years and years.
In fact, multiple members of the atheist movement are claiming it was an “open secret.”
So let’s get this straight. Krauss has long had a reputation of being a “serial sexual harasser” in the atheist community and his behavior was well known in the skeptic whisper network. In other words, large portions of the Buzzfeed article were probably not news to most of the prominent atheist activists.
Now, does anyone seriously believe that activist Hemant Mehta did not also know of this reputation and was completely unaware of any of these whispers? That’s not believable. Mehta is deeply plugged into the atheist/skeptic community as one of their lead activists. We would expect him to spend much of his time communicating, networking, and coordinating with his fellow atheist activists. It is, after all, his fulltime job.
Since it is quite likely Mehta knew of Krauss’s reputation with atheist women, how does he explain his long history of promoting Krauss on his popular blog?
If you go to his page and search his blog with ‘Lawrence Krauss,’ you’ll get page after page after page of hits. I stopped looking after a dozen pages, so I’m not sure just how many there are, but here are some examples of Mehta’s glowing blog post titles:
- Watch Lawrence Krauss Answer a Bunch of Questions About Science and the Universe
- Krauss Talks About How To Become a Better Critical Thinker
- Lawrence Krauss: We’re Teaching Science the Wrong Way
- Lawrence Krauss on Cosmic Natural Selection: Why the Universe Isn’t Fine-Tuned for Our Benefit
- Lawrence Krauss on Finding Purpose: “Life Is More Precious Because It’s Temporary and Accidental”
- A Third Compilation of Lawrence Krauss’ Best Arguments and Retorts
- Lawrence Krauss: Let’s Put an Atheist on the Supreme Court
- No One Should Get a Free Pass Because of Their Beliefs, Says Lawrence Krauss
- Another Compilation of Lawrence Krauss’ Best Arguments and Retorts
So it looks like Mehta was actively promoting someone who he likely knew to have such a bad reputation with women in the atheist movement.
Now think of Mehta, having long been aware of many of these accusations while promoting Krauss, now writing:
For someone who is famous (at least in certain circles) to not understand all that seems incredibly ignorant — especially today. There’s also a power dynamic at work, where women didn’t want to rebuff Krauss because they either worked for an organization he was connected to or didn’t want to jeopardize their own careers. Even if Krauss would never hurt them intentionally, that’s a very real concern for women. The incidents may have occurred a long time ago, but it shouldn’t take #MeToo or recent articles about men behaving badly to realize that this kind of behavior is wrong.
Why didn’t he follow his own instructions?
If there’s any simple takeaway from this, though, it’s that people who organize events and invite someone like Krauss as a way to draw a like-minded crowd should consider looking elsewhere. There are plenty of people who can advocate for a scientific, rational outlook who don’t have any of these incidents on their resume.
By promoting Krauss all these years, Mehta failed to look elsewhere. And when he promoted Krauss so often with his popular atheist blog, wasn’t he enabling the people who organized events and invited someone like Krauss? They invited him because he was popular among atheists and people like Mehta helped him to become more popular among the atheists. And the event organizers wanted a popular speaker in order to sell tickets. Kind of like promoting a popular atheist leader on your blog in get more hits (and money).
Look, is Mehta truly sincere when he calls out Lawrence Krauss? If so, why does his blog still promote Krauss? Why not follow in the footsteps of his fellow activist:
RE #LawrenceKrauss: I’ve known ab this for a couple years & warned friends often. I thought it was common knowledge. I’ve never shared a stage w him & never would. However, I JUST realized that a pic of the 2 of us from 2012 was still on my website. I’ve removed it, & I apologize
— Danielle Muscato (@DanielleMuscato) 22 February 2018
Why doesn’t Mehta do likewise and go back and delete the blog postings that promote Krauss?