W2

Whistleblown_2023

-22 karmaJoined Apr 2023

Comments
8

I'm just upset and don't want to see awful people continue to gain power

The people who put those rapists in power and keep them there are the ones to be upset at. If people didn't support serial rapists, they wouldn't feel empowered to keep raping. 

Do you have an alternate plan for how to get these accusations investigated? My thinking is that giving info to the community health team is at least worth a shot. If there's even a small chance of ejecting an abuser from a position of power and influence, isn't that worth it?

This isn't a question for me, it's a question for community health and CEA. The ball is in their court - it's up to them to investigate. 

The "alternate plan" you speak of is something I'd charge for. It would be weeks of work, and CEA made it clear they'd not pay me. Also, lawyers charge tens of thousands of dollars for investigations with orgs; it's unrealistic that I should do them for free.  

As well - on top of not being paid, I will not accept CEA's actions potentially costing me money I can't spare, can't accept them being emotionally abusive to me, being called a liar - defamation, slander - but most of all, I can't accept how many upset survivors I've spoken to that feel harmed by this movement that's willing to accept "some rape as long as its' not more than the average". 

I quoted your comment by number so I can respond to each point you bring up.

(1) I disagree. Calling someone "scary", accusing them of just wanting to get paid (after years of working for free AND turning down more lucrative requests to speak to the press & investors while I was still trying help CEA and EA overall), being doxxed - and the mods responding to other requests in the forum post while waiting multiple days (3 I believe, but it might have been 4) to respond to my multiple requests from me - none of that can be construed as "kindly" intended. And while my language is at times harsh, expresses frustration, and isn't the way that EAs speak --- at the end of the day, I've been trying to help the movement for years before giving up. 

(2) Tbh I think I understand your frustration a bit from experiences in my own life, like feeling like I've done someone's dirty work or grunt work and then being pushed aside. That said, feelings being what they are (unreliable, even if if they are sometimes right), I still wonder if a misunderstanding happened about who you spoke to or if there was forgetting rather than willful dishonesty on anyone's part, but I guess that is between you, them, and decision-makers. Although I'm more interested in the prevalance of sexual assault in EA and how that is handled, I wish you luck in your professional goals.

I think this should be addressed in other ways - “this” being the specific claim you made that CEA forgot. Its pretty hard for me to believe someone forgets four years of passing around accusations

Re: I disagree about emotions. I sometimes find my emotions - eg, anxiety or fear - will alert me to situations that are unsafe before my rational brain catches up. 

 

(3) Having spoken to CEA, being in contact with survivors who have spoken to CEA, and having dealt with this with CEA versus other groups in the bay area - I strongly disagree. But my underlying motive is to get rape to be taken seriously, and to create conditions in which CEA/EA and rape is exposed. 

Additionally, when the Time article came out, I stated in the forum things that should be done, eg, policies around consent and bans. I knew very well that CEA wouldn't hire me when I sent over a proposal, but I had hoped they'd explore the suggestions I made in that proposal with lawyers and experts. I gave them a roadmap to explore with others. 

Re Also, publicizing things out of concern for CEA getting pinged for liability seems to me to be putting the cart before the horse. 

IMO, after the past four years, the Time article, and the aforementioned points, the hammer that is the law and liability might scare them into action. In my earlier posts as J_J, I said I wanted to "call in" EA. You've shown you're not receptive to being called in - literally, CEA has said it's unproductive to talk to me. I understand that for many of you, this issue only came to light post-Time article, and my perspective is different because of the length of time and additional information. If the laws around defamation and the way defamation is being handled in the courts post-#metoo were different, I'd share more information. But such as the law is and my understanding of it, I don’t feel comfortable doing so. 

Also - I'd imagine that people reading my words think I'm more likely to take accusations at face value because I "care about rape and survivors", that I'm a bit of a fanatic/activist. I'd like to point out that I'm advocating for investigations of accusations and also advocating for CEA to not do things that could be construed as defamatory to allegations that are not yet investigated or proven in a court of law. 

(4) So - see my point 1. Why is it that when you are defensive/reactive, it's upvoted, and if I am, then it's used as reasoning to discredit me? Why are huge presumptions/logical leaps made about what I say, those are used to slander/defame me/discredit me? For example, you presumed that the high power person was Vassar. Why is it that every time I point out my education or experience, I'm downvoted to oblivion and then others reading my posts can't see that anymore? 

Why is that I'm downvoted, called names, etc, if I also defend myself? I'd also like to point out that I'm a single individual, and you and the liaisons at CEA are part of a movement that has well-funded orgs backing you - that is why I call this treatment of me bullying. You're (CEA and EA as a movement) more powerful than I am - and you have much greater power to deescalate - or even just ignore me. 

lastly, i would like to point out that you and most in this thread are focusing on clearing EA’s reputation, which includes disavowing that rape brought to your attention is related to EA, and interpreting people calling out or calling in EA on rape as something personal to you/your movement. I think that approach is damaging EA's reputation further. Being preemptive in fighting rape would be the best way to salvage your reputation and stop the “piling on” - even if you don't care about rape - show you care about rape/abuse instead of leaning into defensiveness and reactivity. The way it comes across right now (to an admittedly very biased outsider) is that you see yourselves as victims, rather than victims you failed to protect. Changing the focus to them might help.

As an outsider that lives in an area with a high proportion of EA people and where EA is well known - people here generally thought you had a problem with rape even before the Time article. 

Hello Robert. I suggest you might read other comments I've left. I had provided information for years to EA, and I could not continue doing so without pay. I've mentioned in the comments that I have no desire to work with CEA after the events I speak of. Specifically, I felt that CEA was using information obtained through me in ways that were putting me at risk of liability. I added the piece about defamation laws in the UK versus US because CEA using information they obtained through me puts them at even greater risk than it does me, and I'd like to them to stop doing that - I hope you would as well, if you care about the movement. I asked to work with them so I could share information in ways that (1) reduced the legal risk to me personally, and (2) helped survivors/increased reporting. CEA declined, and wrote a piece I believe is defamatory.  hope CEA does chose to work with experienced investigators for the investigation they are conducting, and lawyers instead of handling it in house. This is also why I'd like to warn of the risks taken. 

Additionally, earlier in the piece - I say "tech, EA (Effective Altruists), rationalists, cybersecurity/hackers, crypto/blockchain, Burning Man camps, secret parties, and coliving houses". Later in the piece and in this forum, I've clarified the number of cases I feel - without a full legal investigation, which could change this - how many cases put CEA/other org at legal risk. You are correct that I'm not the person to do this, but I hope CEA/another org chooses to work with the appropriate professionals to find out how / what the risks I speak of are

I've added the caveats because I do have a legal degree (and I 100% know this will be downvoted, because every time I've brought that up, it gets downvoted). For legal reasons, I add disclaimers. I can understand how that comes across as wishy-washy to a lay person, and when I was writing my piece, I knew it was likely someone would write  a post such as yours. However, at the end of the day, I felt I'd rather protect myself legally and that it was important for me to speak my experiences and the knowledge I've gathered. I can't emphasis this strongly enough to the orgs within the movement: please, please protect yourselves. 

I'd also prefer NOT to do the legal thing and hope that warnings of those options might spur action and communication, but whenever I do have contact with the movement and/or people from the orgs, my motives are called into question in unfavorable ways, rather than curiosity about why I might say some of the things I say. You ask people to form their own opinions, and then launch into a lengthy, persuasive piece about your opinions, and throw out accusations  and discredit rather than asking questions. 

It’s - to me - especially sad that no one has expressed interest in finding out about the “30 cases”, nor expressed sadness that so many assaults happened. 

Further, I understand the way I speak/write is quite different from that of most EAs, but perhaps some outside perspectives and voices can help you. I'd like fo your movement to stop doing things that might not be legal, and I had hoped that point would come across, but judging from your post and the upvotes, that doesn't work. I understand that I'm saying isn't pleasant and is quite difficult to hear, and so, it's likely that your movement reacts with defensiveness and tries to discredit me. And I understand that the language I use, even when I try to frame it gently, isn't the way EAs speak. I am, however, trained in formal logic and rhetoric, so I don't speak illogically - though I find it too time consuming and unnatural to reframe my writing in EA friendly ways.  

Small correct - I did not speak to CEA in July 2022 - I spoke to them in August 2022. And yes, I didn't do this full time until recently and so my website also dates to that time - you can also find out my name and look me up on LinkedIn if you'd like more information about me/my background. And - I do have private communications that show longer work around this issue.

Hm, I didn't think that bit was the worse. I DO have both of those people's words in text (DM on this forum that I took screenshots of & FB messenger messages). I've shared them with one other person. 

I feel that the potential legal claims - including the one I'm contemplating bringing, or the accused/accusers that I have connections to (again, caveat with - these are still speculative, and I'd like to share the speculation as a warning to the community) - would be far more scandalous and damaging than those DMs/messages. They would be more public than the messages, take more time, and could make other information more public (no idea what this other information could be), they'd piggyback on the SBF/FTX ties and scandals, and they'd piggyback on the Time and Bloomberg pieces. 

I would like to add that I did give the name of that high powered individual to CEA via email. I'm not one of the accusers, so any information they received from me would be second hand and highly circumspect and would need further investigation before action was taken. When I shared the name, they asked several questions that I did not answer, then a couple days later - they also wrote this and chose to stop engaging with me. 

From that post - "She referred to some other situations both on the Forum and privately, which did not contain enough information for us to identify the situation or learn more." I'm a private individual, and the onus cannot be on me in any way whatsoever to provide "enough information" or help CEA. They have the name of someone powerful, and they can chose to pursue that lead and investigate it. They have the resources and absolutely should work with the proper professionals. Rather than stating that my statements did not "contain enough information for us to identify the situation or learn more", I would have hoped they said something to the effect of "She referred to some other situations both on the Forum, and we need to investigate further before taking action." That they responded in the manner that they did is at best, not sharing information with the community (eg, if they are investigating instead of simply dropping it as stated in their comment - then they misrepresented the situation to me and the community in that comment), and at worst, disavowing their responsibility to mitigate sexual assault within the EA movement (by choosing to drop the issue altogether because I didn't give them more than "I received an accusation of SA and silencing by high power individual") --- though I suppose there is an even worse possibility that you (@titotal and @Amber Dawn) allude to you in your comments. I'm speculating here, because it's hard to say what the intent behind that comment was when so much information is kept hidden, and there are no open channels of communication.

No, you're right that post was unkind. It was written in a time of great stress for me, and in DMs and emails - CEA WAS being very unkind to me which added to my stress. The unkind tone is one reason why I deleted it - the other being that I simply do not want a relationship with CEA or EA. ADD: I do stand by the content of the post, although not the tone I used at the time. 

Also, everyone had been quite kind to you in forum discussion before that point. So it's a little odd to say that you helped "until [EA] was unkind to you". Maybe its more accurate to say "helped until people pushed back against your unkindness

Absolutely inaccurate - IMO. Additionally, I had 8 - 9 people DM in the forum when I was posting under J_J apologizing for how unkind everyone was to me right from the start, so it seems other people in your movement disagree with you as well. Further, I'm not speaking of the forum when I say "unkind". I'm speaking of all the private emails, etc. I strongly feel that EA/CEA was silencing and bullying - I understand you/the movement overall may disagree - and I became angry and reactive. The way CEA treated me strongly brought up the way I was treated post-rape, [add - tbf, maybe someone else without my specific trauma wouldn't feel as I did. If that's how they treat people], I refuse to send more survivors their way. I've honestly not felt so gaslighted and triggered and upset in 5 - 6 years as I did then. 

ADD: re: 30/point 1 in your response. You said you have "trouble trusting" because of my "liberal" definition (FYI: it took me a while to parse which "definition" you referred to) I am not (IMO) trying to mislead you as to having 30 cases that (IMO) are somehow tied to EA. I am using a different metric/definition than CEA/the movement. I am saying "I think CEA could be sued by the accuser OR accused in this many situations".  My impression from this forum & conversations with people in the movement is that you guys are saying "does this person (the accused only) have power and/or influence/is known in EA".  Additionally, I hadn't and haven't shared all the names and information with CEA/anyone. So when they say "4" and "30", those are two reasons why. This is also why I think it's important that the movement look into their actions in these situations and ascertain whether or not they could end up in a situation in which they'd have to spend the time and money and reputation points to defend themselves - and then what the risk of legal liability would be in those situations as well. 

You're also ignoring that I had investigated and provided information to EA/CEA for four years prior with no benefit - no credit, no compensation - to myself, which WAS kind on my part. I hope that the years of kindness and help aren't undone by a post, even if the post was unkind. And you're not addressing that despite the unkind tone I took, I was ultimately trying to provide CEA/EA with information that could have helped you. I believe that the utilitarian response would be to find out what I was talking about (probably after things calmed down/mediation), and the emotive/reactionary response was the post response. I absolutely would not work with CEA/EA today, but at the time I thought that the information I had would be paramount in importance over the personal relationship dynamics/tension. 

Your response was not unkind, but it was pretty defensive and reactive, as were many of my responses at the time of the Time article. 

I stopped providing information to CEA after February. I will not provide names of accused or accusers to anyone in this movement, and will not DM you. 

Maybe someone in this forum can start this conversation here or elsewhere - but I am also curious about why issues of liability/legal stuff aren't brought up as important factors in these discussions. Outside of survivors being harmed, I would imagine that they are the most important factor. I feel a slight sense of shock whenever I've engaged with EA folks about how that's not discussed, and most EA folks I've spoken to will move the conversation if I try to bring up those issues. 

 

Add: Back on February 22, 2019 - an ex-friend who started an "EA org" (that is, an organization that is strongly funded through EA channels) said that it was likely that the person I accused of rape had strongly enough ties to EA to be banned. If I google his name + EA, some hits do come up. 

I've never reported this to CEA or other organization. I don't think the situation is important enough to have reported, but also, at the time and for several years after, I didn't know I could report it anywhere. 

Frankly, I do not care what EA/CEA thinks at this point, nor is my piece meant to persuade you.  suspect the way I think and the way you think are so divergent that there is no middle ground; further, I believe you will poke holes in whatever I say no matter how I say it. I didn't include the whole piece because you are correct in that the "interconnected community" stuff isn't relevant to EA/CEA. I hyperlinked to CEA's response earlier in the article, as soon I mention CEA (I don't find it necessary to hyperlink more than once). I only hyperlinked/screen shot public forum posts, and not private emails/DM/etc. However, there are a couple things I wanted CEA/EA/the orgs to be aware of, and those are the parts I've added to this post. 

That post from Catherine Low is the post that I would give to a lawyer as being defamatory. I've also included that I've counted at least 30 situations in which I believe a legal claim CAN be brought against CEA/another org in the system. I can't understand why CEA didn't hire lawyers to investigate their risk. I can't understand why you're focusing on the parts of the article that don't relate to EA instead of engaging in further discussion and debate, approaching with curiosity to learn more about these situations, and especially, if we're going to be purely utilitarian, approaching with curiosity about any potential liability that the movement may expose itself to. Social stuff, whether someone is "thought" to be part of EA, is popular or signed the pledge, etc. won't matter in a court of law (IMO, consult a lawyer for actual legal advice). I suggest you speak to a lawyer if you want to understand the criteria I used (which I understand you dont have access to, what I mean by this is that you speak to a lawyer to understand what sorts of relationships CEA/other org could be held liable for). CEA's claims in that post that you feel is sympathetic is defamatory - IMO, not legal advice, I haven't yet consulted a lawyer - because it blatantly lies about the length and nature of the actual relationship. 

The piece is (1) to highlight a problem you do not see as a problem to the world outside of you, and (2) a warning of the legal risk, including the legal risk in the treatment of me (just a warning not legal advice).

 

PS, no, the high powered person isn't Michael Vasser, who I don't consider "high powered". It's someone that hasn't been outed publicly yet. 

PPS no, EA is not the "only" group that is trying to do something. Far from it - many groups have taken action, and are very effective, and I'd highly recommend you look further/do your research into this before accusing others of not taking action. 

PPPS if you "I feel such a drive to defend EA from what I view as epistemically-lacking piling on, and I have doubts that anyone else will stick out their neck to do so. FWIW there doesn't appear to be much of this while I was gone though!" - maybe EA ought to consider how it treats those outside of EA - especially people such as myself, who, as an outsider, helped your movement fo years, until you were unkind to me - and not see yourself as the blameless victims. Your movement has made some egregious mistakes, and taking accountability and treating others with kindness may yield others treating your movement kindly back, and others wanting to join and help you grow instead of piling on. You cannot be unkind and expect kindness back.