Adria Richards Does Belong at Tech Conferences

[Content Note: Harassment.]

Yesterday, Julie Pagano sent me a heads-up about developer evangelist Adria Richards who had heard men making sexual jokes at the PyCon conference, took and tweeted their picture asking, in alignment with the conference's stated codes of conduct, for the conference to enforce that code, and then was subsequently fired from her job as a result of the "public nature" of the enormous backlash against Richards, which included the usual barrage of misogyny, racism, and violent threats.

I am always torn whether and how much to write about these things in the middle of them, without the explicit consent of the woman at their center, because I fear the possibility of sending more harm her way, along with more support. I don't have Adria's consent to write about her story. My preference, as I told Julie yesterday, was to give Adria the opportunity to share her story here, if and when she was so inclined. That is still my preference. But.

But, since yesterday, I've seen so much bullshit being written about her, often from ostensible allies, which is not fucking supportive—which tone-polices her, which begrudgingly admits she was right but should have gone about it some other way, which calls her right on the merits but still unlikable, etc. Fuck. Just fuck.

Adria's site has been under a DOS attack, but I encourage you, strongly, whenever you are able to access her site, to read her account of what happened and her carefully considered decisions about whether and how to take action.

Her piece is called "Forking and Dongle Jokes Don't Belong at Tech Conferences," on which the title of this piece is a play. Because, yes, forking and dongle jokes don't belong at tech conferences, and Adria Richards does. The end. No qualifications. No caveats. No urgent need to express my discomfort with her tone or her method of action.

I unilaterally support Adria Richards.

The men who were making sexual jokes and creating an unsafe space at a professional conference in specific violation of the code of conduct were wrong. I do not support them.

The people who responded to Adria's public report of harassers by criticizing her method of action were wrong. I do not support them.

The people who are bullying, harassing, and making violent threats against Adria are wrong. I do not support them.

Her employer, SendGrid, who fired her for becoming the center of a shitstorm caused by harassing fuckwads, are wrong. I do not support them.

Conversations, and the people who have them, that center picking apart the quick decisions that any woman makes in a moment of experienced sexual harassment, centering concern for harassers, are wrong. I do not support them. I support hollerin' the fuck back.

And I do not support the idea that only likable women are allowed to draw firm boundaries. Especially when I know as well as any woman and better than most that nothing makes a woman more "unlikable" than drawing firm boundaries. I am on to your Can't-Win game, apologists. And I will not play.

I support Adria Richards.

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus