• Deplatforming and the Dawkbro

    Public intellectual and renowned atheist Richard Dawkins has (once again) drawn the ire of skeptical blogger Rebecca Watson (this time) for poking fun at collegiate deplatforming:

    Watson appears to forget that she long ago refused to attend any events where Dawkins is a speaker:

    So many of you voiced what I had already been thinking: that this person who I always admired for his intelligence and compassion does not care about my experiences as an atheist woman and therefore will no longer be rewarded with my money, my praise, or my attention. I will no longer recommend his books to others, buy them as presents, or buy them for my own library. I will not attend his lectures or recommend that others do the same.

    (Emphasis mine.)

    Ever since that post, nearly six years ago, atheist and skeptic event organizers have been on notice that they have to book either Dawkins or Watson, since she avoids being in the room whenever he is giving a talk. This has worked out well in practice, for the most part. No one in charge of a major event wants to deal with that level of drama in the green room or speakers’ lounge, anyhow.

    Atheist blogger PZ Myers has weighed in supporting Rebecca Watson’s revisionist history, blaming Dawkins for deplatforming Watson and suggesting the possibility of more shenanigans:

    This is the same PZ Myers who announced he would not share the stage with a fellow science blogger, in a bizarrely Orwellian 2012 post entitled There is no blacklist:

    I will not participate in any conference in which Abbie Smith is a speaker. If I’m invited, and later discover that she is also invited, I will politely turn down the offer.

    I cannot find any earlier examples of (formerly) skeptical public figures “deplatforming” each other by putting event organizers on notice that they refuse to share a stage or a venue with another speaker. So far as I can tell, Watson and Myers originally pioneered the use of this (morally dubious) tactic within the skeptic community. They are in no position to announce to us, years later, that turnabout is unfair play.


    Category: Atheism Plus

    Article by: Damion Reinhardt

    Former fundie finds freethought fairly fab.
    • It is also worth noting that “deplatforming” is a term of art with a specific meaning. It usually refers to attempts to rescind an invitation through activist protest or institutional policy, or both.

      • Their policy is really one of Me-platforming. The term of art that means I get my way and get to say who can talk.

      • A friend of mine once received an e-mail from [REDACTED] threatening bloggy outrage if their conference did not incorporate more gender diversity. Helpfully, the blogger in question had recommendations.

      • Given that Watson announced her stalwart refusal to attend Dawkins’ talks, it makes rather little sense to claim that he attempted to “use his position in order to keep someone else off the lineup” some months later.

      • Admittedly, the chronology makes it likely that Dawkins’ alleged protestation was in respond to Watson’s condemnation of him, and not the other way around.

      • clauslarsen


        But then, Watson would be a hypocrite, because Dawkins would only be doing what she had previously done to him: Demanding of conference organizers that they were to choose between Dawkins and Watson.

        Yet, she criticizes him for doing exactly that. Bad, bad Dawkins!

    • Jack Rawlinson

      Err… also, “refusing to share a platform with” is not “deplatforming”. It is saying “You can have your platform; I will leave you to it, but I won’t join you on it.” Completely different to “deplatforming”, which is to actively prevent someone from speaking.

      Naturally, such casual and deliberate misuse of language is just part of the standard playbook for the dishonest and devious likes of Watson and Myers.

    • Aww, entitled brat is mad because she couldn’t take advantage of famous man whose name she had dragged through the mud for no other than narcissistic reasons!

      The FtBullies know no limit to their horseman envy.

      (BTW, Becky can claim whatever she wants, but she’s no skeptic by any stretch of the imagination. I’d be more cautious when calling anyone a “skeptic”)

    • Otto T. Goat

      “this person…does not care about my experiences”

      Newsflash: most of humanity does not care about your experiences.

    • AceDiablo

      Is she still relevant? I have thoroughly removed her from my various social media feeds and haven’t visited her website in years. She hasn’t filtered through to me in a very long time; I’d almost forgotten she existed.

      • I’m a metrics guy. As far as I can tell, the primary measure of relevance for an internet personality is their monthly Patreon income.

      • AceDiablo

        Good point. Then I’m utterly irrelevant…..

      • ?