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:
reminder that richard dawkins literally deplatformed me from multiple speaking opportunities bc he refuses to share a stage with me. pic.twitter.com/T6UGf7fjYO
— Rebecca Watson (@rebeccawatson) June 3, 2017
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.
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:
There is also no shortage of atheists willing to voluntarily shut you out if you dare to criticize the New Atheist Saints.
— PZ Myers (@pzmyers) June 3, 2017
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.