All entries by this author

In addition to her daily pimping duties

Oct 15th, 2015 9:04 am | By

At the Faber & Faber blog, Kat Banyard tells the story of a trafficker who is also VP of an organization that heavily influenced the UN and Amnesty International in their moves to decriminalize pimping.

On Thursday 12th March 2015, 64 year old Alejandra Gil was convicted in Mexico City of trafficking and sentenced to fifteen years in prison. Gil reportedly controlled a pimping operation that exploited around 200 women. Known as the “Madam of Sullivan”, she was one of the most powerful pimps of Sullivan Street, an area of Mexico City notorious for prostitution. Gil and her son were connected with trafficking networks in Tlaxcala state – site of Mexico’s “epicenter for sex trafficking.”


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A good thirty years

Oct 14th, 2015 5:43 pm | By

Pauline Gagnon tells another, a different, horrifying story about Geoff Marcy.

I suspect that what has come out so far is only the tip of the iceberg. His inappropriate behaviour goes back a good thirty years, when he was teaching at San Francisco State University.

This is where I met him in 1985 when we both worked in the Physics and Astronomy Department while I was a Master’s student and a lecturer. It was well known that he had intimate relationships with several of his female students. But it is not the only aspect where I felt Marcy’s ethics were questionable.

In 1987, Marcy’s colleague in the search for exoplanets realized that he had handed her a revised copy

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Geoff Marcy is resigning from Berkeley

Oct 14th, 2015 4:36 pm | By

Dennis Overybye reports in the Times:

Geoffrey Marcy, the renowned astronomer who was found guilty ina campus investigation of sexually harassing students, is resigning from the faculty of the University of California, Berkeley, where he has been a professor for 16 years.

In an email to members of the astronomy department on Wednesday, the interim chairman of the department, Gibor Basri, wrote, “This is to inform our community that Geoff has initiated the process that will lead to his no longer being a faculty member at U.C. Berkeley.”

In a statement announcing Dr. Marcy’s resignation, the university’s chancellor, Nicholas B. Dirks, and the executive vice chancellor and provost, Claude Steele, said they had accepted Dr. Marcy’s resignation

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If you’re trying to get the best out of people, why would you allow an environment of bullying?

Oct 14th, 2015 12:06 pm | By

Pamela Gay was in San Francisco on Friday for a board meeting of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, the day the BuzzFeed story about Geoff Marcy broke.

By the end of the day, I was done with reality. I was ready to go back to my hotel room and just play Carcassonne on my iPad and wish for something I thought was impossible – a world that that didn’t hurt. But as we were packing up and sorting rides, I was offered a sweet distraction. Fellow board member Chris Ford offered me a chance to take a ride with him in his Tesla Model S over to his offices at Pixar.

What I didn’t know was he was asking

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Family First are outraged

Oct 14th, 2015 10:57 am | By

News from New Zealand: the ban on Ted Dawes’s novel Into the River has been lifted.

The New Zealand Film and Literature Board has lifted the ban on Ted Dawe’s controversial teen novel Into the River.

That little word “controversial” is a bit of cautious well-poisoning. Surely the fact that it was banned was enough of a cue to readers that it was in some way “controversial.”

In a decision that was far from unanimous, the president of the board expressed the collective felt the actions of the censor were “illegal”.

Board president Don Mathieson delivered a dissenting minority report but the remainder of the board voted to allow the book to be sold without restriction, saying a

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The culture that champions the voices of predators

Oct 13th, 2015 6:37 pm | By

245 – two hundred forty five! – astronomers and physicists have written a forceful letter to the New York Times objecting to its article on Geoff Marcy.

Dear NY Times Editors,

We are writing to give feedback on a story which appeared in the October 11 edition of the NYTimes, titled “Geoffrey Marcy, Astronomer at Berkeley, Apologizes for Behavior” by Dennis Overbye. Appended at the end of this letter is a Letter to the Editor to be considered for publication.

The authors of this letter are all professional astronomers and physicists, from across the world. Women are dramatically underrepresented in our field and other sciences, in part because of the sexism and misogyny that this article reinforced.

This article epitomizes

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Of course, this is hardest for Geoff in this moment

Oct 13th, 2015 6:17 pm | By

Azeen Ghorayshi, who broke the Geoff Marcy story on BuzzFeed, now reports that faculty and students at Berkeley are steaming.

The astronomy faculty at the University of California, Berkeley, released a statementlate on Monday saying that famed astronomer Geoff Marcy should no longer be a professor at the university.

“We urge the UC Berkeley administration to re-evaluate its response to Marcy, who has been found in violation of UC sexual harassment policy,” the 23 faculty members said in the statement. “We believe that Geoff Marcy cannot perform the functions of a faculty member.”

They’re pissed off that the university has done nothing about Marcy.

Grad students and postdocs want him to be put under restrictions.

“The University’s

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So light you’ll hardly notice it, unless you look

Oct 13th, 2015 5:08 pm | By

Maryam has a piece replying to David Shariatmadari in the Guardian today…eleven days after she asked them for a right of reply. They heavily edited her piece, so she published the unedited version in a post. She introduces it:

On 8 October, the Acting Editor for Comment is Free wrote to say a “very light edit” had been done on my article including “a few tweaks for flow, house style, and to make the piece as accessible as possible for non-expert readers.”

Shockingly, the “light edits” included substantial changes, including the removal of references to Ali Shariatmadari and CAGE prisoners as well as all the relevant links, which would have helped “non-expert readers.”

Moreover, where I mentioned Islamism as

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Social consciousness is part of his identity

Oct 13th, 2015 11:31 am | By

From a long piece on Geoff Marcy in the New York Times in May 2014:

Dr. Marcy lives high in the Berkeley hills with Dr. Kegley, “wife, chemist, goddess,” as he puts it on his website — an environmental chemist and chief executive of the consulting firm Pesticide Research Institute. Their backyard is home to beehives decorated with astronomical symbols, and a flock of chickens, leading the son of one of his graduate students to call him “Chicken Geoff.”

Social consciousness is part of his identity. At Santa Cruz he ran around plastering “Men Against Rape” stickers over nude pinups in the engineering and optics shops.

Hmmm.… Read the rest

A consequence-free bubble

Oct 13th, 2015 11:14 am | By

Ross Andersen at the Atlantic is also underwhelmed by Geoff Marcy’s notpology.

In Marcy’s account, he was just moving through the world, giving unsolicited massages to undergraduates, according to the complaints, without the slightest inkling that his actions were causing pain and distress. But in practice, Marcy had leveraged his considerable fame and power in the world of astronomy to build a nearly consequence-free bubble around himself, so that he could avail himself of pleasures that rightfully require the consent of others.

That’s one reason this story is so familiar – the way that fame and power can create that bubble.

Given that reality, Marcy’s intentions aren’t that important. The important intentions here belong to the women he victimized,

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Homemade wine

Oct 13th, 2015 11:04 am | By

From the Guardian:

The children of a British man have called on David Cameron to intervene to save their father from being subjected to 350 lashes in Saudi Arabia. Karl Andree, 74, faces being publicly flogged as part of a punishment imposed after bottles of homemade wine were reportedly found last year in his car by Saudi police enforcing strict laws prohibiting alcohol.

The family of the oil executive, who is being held at Jeddah’s Briman prison, say he is already weak as a result of cancer and fear that the flogging will kill him.

Once again, words fail me. The guy is 74 years old and has cancer. He had some wine – and for that they want … Read the rest

The Serial Harasser’s Playbook

Oct 13th, 2015 10:21 am | By

A former graduate student of Geoff Marcy’s has more details.

Based on the stories I’ve heard from women who don’t know each other, but share eerily similar experiences, I put together a Serial Harasser’s Playbook. Most of the stories I heard before writing that post were related to one specific colleague: my former adviser Geoff Marcy. Thus, the Serial Harasser’s Playbook I posted is seemingly Geoff’s playbook. To be clear, many harassers employ such a strategy. But Geoff is the person most commonly named by targets with whom I’ve spoken.

Famous Berkeley Astronomer Violated Sexual Harassment Policies Over Many Years, University Investigation Finds

After [I published] the Playbook post, most of the people who contacted me with additional

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Wondering about the criteria

Oct 13th, 2015 9:06 am | By

Reginald Harper wonders why the Manchester Students’ Union banned Julie Bindel and (later, after protest) Milo Yiannopoulos from a debate proposed by the Free Speech society, while allowing, indeed welcoming and promoting, Muslim Engagement and Development’s (MEND) exhibition on Islamophobia.

Abu Eesa Niamatullah, MEND’s CEO, has come under fire for comments he made on Facebook regarding women, such as, “Don’t try to understand women. Women understand women and they hate each other.” When feminists responded with outrage, Niamatullah responded that feminism was antithetical to Islam, and that he relished women’s anger over his comments:

For you, carry on burning in your rage. There is nothing that delights me more by God than making you mad. I hope you spend

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The numbers rise

Oct 12th, 2015 5:49 pm | By

Middle East Eye says it has evidence that the death toll from the Hajj disaster is much higher than the Saudis have said.

We have seen evidence suggesting that at least 2,432 people were killed on 24 September when pilgrims were crushed to death at a crossroads in Mina, inside Mecca and not far from the holy city.

Photos displayed at the Muaism Medical Emergency Centre in Mina, where people are being permitted to search for missing relatives until 30 October, appear to reveal a numbering system of those killed.

A Saudi source travelled to Mina on 30 September and spent four days visiting the centre, where he covertly took photos of what he found and sent them to Middle

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Reverse Missionaries: Are African Churches Exporting Homophobia to the West?

Oct 12th, 2015 | By Leo Igwe

In recent years, the issue of gay rights in Africa has generated intense debate and discussions. Some countries have tried to tighten the laws against homosexuality and prohibit same sex marriage. They claim homosexuality is an evil, corrupt and immoral lifestyle which western societies are trying to impose on African nations.

Concerned individuals, state and non-state actors have been campaigning and lobbying to beat back the tide of homophobia that is threatening to engulf the region. It is frustrating to know that as is often the case when dealing with Africa-related issues, many people have tried to infantilize African agency in the raging homophobia by looking for some western or colonial scapegoats, and they have found one in the activities … Read the rest

How to know what is “whorephobic”

Oct 12th, 2015 11:35 am | By

Edinburgh University Student Association is holding an election. The EU Feminist Society interviewed the candidates for the Women’s Liberation Group Convenors.

We also sent this email to the candidates for Women’s Liberation Group Convenor to ask them some questions. Before you read their replies below, we’d like to remind everyone that FemSoc passed a policy stating we support sex workers’ rights, which means we back the decriminalisation of sex work and condemn all forms of whorephobia.

Two candidates have answered so far. The first to answer gets a trigger warning at the top.

Magdalen Berns

TW: whorephobia

“Whorephobia”? Really? She expresses hatred of prostitutes in her reply? No, of course  not.

3. EUSA and Femsoc both passed policies supporting sex-workers.

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Does the university not realize?

Oct 11th, 2015 6:06 pm | By

Michael Eisen is pissed off at Berkeley, his university.

On Friday,  posted a story about Geoffrey Marcy, a high-profile professor in UC Berkeley’s astronomy department. It reported on a a complaint filed by four women to Berkeley’s Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination (OPHD) that alleged that Marcy “repeatedly engaged in inappropriate physical behavior with students, including unwanted massages, kisses, and groping.”

Unusually for this type of investigation, the results of which are usually kept secret, Ghorayshi’s reporting revealed that OPHD found Marcy guilty of these charges, leading to his issuing a public apology in which he, in all too typical PR driven apology speak, acknowledges doing things that “unintentionally” was “a source of distress

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Learn to spot the facetious

Oct 11th, 2015 5:24 pm | By

So there are people who actually think it’s a serious mark against Julie Bindel that she said in an interview last month:

I mean, I would actually put [men] all in some kind of camp where they can all drive around in quad bikes, or bicycles, or white vans.

Oh come on. Really? That’s obviously not a serious statement.

Let’s look at it in context. The interview is with radfem collective, so she’s talking to fellow radical feminists – not “radical feminists”as in the hostile stereotype, but radical feminists as in feminists who think we need to get to the root of things. They asked her:

will heterosexuality survive women’s liberation?

And she replied:

It won’t, not unless men

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Islamist voices

Oct 11th, 2015 11:29 am | By

So Ariana Huffington and the Huffington Post empire are promoting Islamism via their new website, from what the Independent says:

The refusal of Western news organisations to involve Islamist voices in the debate on the future of the Middle East is acting as a recruitment driver for Isis and al-Qaeda, one of the region’s leading media figures has claimed. The accusation that global news groups are “pushing people to become extremists” was made last week to The IoS by Wadah Khanfar, the former managing director of the Al Jazeera network.

Mr Khanfar is Arianna Huffington’s partner in the new Huffpost Arabi website, which has been embroiled in controversy since it launched eight weeks ago. Critics have denounced the site

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Stepford students

Oct 11th, 2015 10:54 am | By

Julie Bindel in the Sunday Times:

I have been “no platformed” on and off by the various factions of the National Union of Students (NUS) since 2009. My crime? In 2004 I wrote a column in a national newspaper about the case of Kimberley Nixon, a male-to-female transsexual who had sued Vancouver Rape Relief, a feminist support service, after it declined to take her on as a counsellor for rape victims. In the article I made facetious comments about Nixon, and immediately came under fire for my alleged “transphobia”.

I have since apologised for the tone of my article. But no matter, the piece from 2004 has followed me around ever since, with a small cabal picketing and disrupting

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