Atheist Alliance International's hiring of David Silverman

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In October 2019, David Silverman was hired to be the Executive Director of Atheist Alliance International.[1]

Atheist Alliance International (AAI) is a global federation of atheist organizations and individuals. It was founded in 1991. A majority of individuals involved with AAI are men. AAI has called the gender imbalance in its ranks “a significant and urgent issue.”[2] See: Atheism and women

In October 2019, he was hired to be the Executive Director of Atheist Alliance International (AAI)[3] In December 2019, the atheist blogger David G. McAfee reported that David Silverman has been suspended by AAI pending an investigation into an alleged inappropriate touching incident which allegedly occurred against the atheist woman Rebecca Vitsmun.[4] Silverman contends that he did not inappropriately touch Rebecca Vitsmun.[5]

Rebecca Vitsmun has filed a battery allegation with the police against atheist David Silverman and indicates he caressed her sacrum without her permission (the sacrum is a bone at the base of the lower back that is above the tailbone).[6]

On March 4, 2020, Silverman mocked Vitsum's allegation and referred to the whole affair of Vitsum's allegation of him caressing her sacrum without her permission as "#sacrumgate" on Twitter (see: David Silverman's Twitter post on 3-4-2020).[7] (Click on screen capture graphic above)

Rebecca Vitsmun filed a restraining order against Silverman, but the judge denied her petition because the judge did not see a pattern of sexual harassment against her by Silverman.[8] Rebecca Vitsmun has filed a battery allegation with the police against atheist David Silverman and indicates he caressed her sacrum without her permission (the sacrum is the portion of the lower back that is above the tailbone).[9] On March 4, 2020, Silverman mocked Vitsum's allegation and referred to the whole affair of Vitsum's allegation of him caressing her sacrum without her permission as "#sacrumgate" on Twitter (see: David Silverman's Twitter post on 3-4-2020).[10] See also: David Silverman's loss of public influence

David Silverman resigned his position as Executive Director of Atheist Alliance International in December of 2019.[11][12][13]

The atheist David Smalley did an interview with Rebecca Vitsum and she gave her account of David Silverman touching her sacrum without her permission, her thoughts about the matter and her court hearing endeavoring to get a restraining order against David Silverman (see: Rebecca Vitsmun Responds).[14] The judge rejected her petition because the judge did not see a pattern of sexual harassment against her by Silverman.[15]

After leaving two atheist organizations amid sexual harassment allegations, Silverman now calls himself a former atheist activist.[16]

On December 9, 2019, in a video about David Silverman, who is being accused of inappropriately touching women, the atheist YouTuber Cult of Dusty said the atheist community is "cringe" and he doesn't want to have anything to do with it anymore.[17] See also: Decline of the atheist movement

In 2018, Silverman was fired from the American Atheists organization after allegations of financial conflicts and sexual assault.[18] See: Firing of David Silverman from the American Atheists organization

Progressive/feminist atheists reaction to the hiring of David Silverman by AAI

See also: Firing of David Silverman from the American Atheists organization and Atheism and the Me Too Movement and Atheist feminism and Progressive atheism

The atheist Sikivu Hutchinson wrote about the hiring of David Silverman by Atheist Alliance International:

The recent decision by Atheist Alliance International (AAI) to hire the former leader of American Atheists, David Silverman, to its executive director position is yet another indication that this business-as-usual rehab strategy also applies to movement atheism, which can be just as corrupt, cronyistic, and swaggeringly hostile to women as corporate America.[19]

There were atheist feminists/progressive atheists attempting to get Atheist Alliance International to fire Silverman.[20]

David Silverman indicated that Secular Woman and its president Monette Richards were trying to get the United Nations to revoke AAI's special consultative status with the UN in order to punish AAI for hiring Silverman.[21] AAI has NGO status with the United Nations.

According to Silverman, the board of directors for AAI reviewed the evidence that Silverman presented maintaining his innocence of the sexual assault allegations that have been lodged against him and unanimously decided to hire him.[22]

David McAfee on Rebecca Vitsmun's accusation of David Silverman inappropriately touching her

See also: Rebecca Vitsmun

David Silverman declares he is a former atheist activist

See also: David Silverman's loss of public influence

As can be seen above, in January of 2020, David Silverman declares he is a former atheist activist via his Twitter account.

Atheist Alliance International, David Silverman and firebrand atheism

After being hired, Silverman proclaimed, "The world lacks and needs an international Firebrand Atheist organization... The newly revamped Atheist Alliance International will take on that role with pride and gusto. It’s time to save the world from religion.”[23] Silverman defines firebrand atheism as vocally "attacking" humans' "silly" religious beliefs without attacking the individuals themselves.[24]

Steve Neumann at The Daily Beast believes that Silverman's vocal "in-your-face atheism" that calls religion "silly", combined with his take no prisoners approach, is an ineffective approach in causing religious believers to abandon their religious worlview.[25]

Atheist PZ Myers on David Silverman's career in light of recent accusations of sexual harassment

See also: Atheism and leadership

In a blog post entitled The secular predator problem, the atheist PZ Myers wrote on David Silverman's career in light of the recent accusations of sexual harassment against him:

If I were to give any advice to David, it would be to say that the path to being a good person is often counter to being an influential and powerful person. He wants the latter, but in light of his terrible assumptions and abuses, the only way forward for him is to accept some humility. He’s never going to be the bold, heroic atheist in the eyes of the people again … but then, most of us never were. We cope.[26]

See also

Notes

  1. David P. Silverman Appointed Executive Director
  2. The World's Newest Major Religion: No Religion, National Geographic
  3. David P. Silverman Appointed Executive Director
  4. David Silverman Suspended Pending Investigation Into Touching Incident
  5. Silverman / Vitsmun Hearing with commentary #Metoo FINALLY Meets Due Process #TakeBackTheLeft
  6. Silverman / Vitsmun Hearing with commentary #Metoo FINALLY Meets Due Process #TakeBackTheLeft
  7. Because I have to. #sacrumgate, David Silverman on Twitter, Mar 4, 2020 - Twitter
  8. Silverman / Vitsmun Hearing with commentary #Metoo FINALLY Meets Due Process #TakeBackTheLeft
  9. Silverman / Vitsmun Hearing with commentary #Metoo FINALLY Meets Due Process #TakeBackTheLeft
  10. Because I have to. #sacrumgate, David Silverman on Twitter, Mar 4, 2020 - Twitter
  11. After Misconduct Allegation, David Silverman Has Left Another Atheist Group by BY Hemant Mehta
  12. David Silverman Leaves Yet Another Atheist Group After Misconduct Investigation by DAVID G. MCAFEE
  13. David Silverman is out, again by PZ Myers
  14. Rebecca Vitsmun Responds
  15. Silverman / Vitsmun Hearing with commentary #Metoo FINALLY Meets Due Process #TakeBackTheLeft
  16. David Silverman, ex-president of the American Atheists, after leaving two atheist organizations amid sexual harassment allegations, calls himself a former atheist activist
  17. David Silverman Accused Of "Creepy Touching" Again! Plus 50 Other topics! (CODcast 78)
  18. This Firebrand Atheist Was Just Fired After Allegations Of Financial Conflicts And Sexual Assault
  19. Hiring of Accused Atheist Leader Is Reminder That #MeToo Is Still Needed in Organized Atheism by Sikivu Hutchinson, Rewire News
  20. David Silverman (Former President of American Atheist) talks to us about allegations against him.
  21. David Silverman (Former President of American Atheist) talks to us about allegations against him., Silverman starts mentioning this matter at the 51:29 point of the video
  22. David Silverman (Former President of American Atheist) talks to us about allegations against him., Silverman starts mentioning this matter at the 51:29 point of the video
  23. David P. Silverman Appointed Executive Director
  24. The Case Against In-Your-Face Atheism by Steve Neumann, The Daily Beast, 4/14/17
  25. The Case Against In-Your-Face Atheism by Steve Neumann, The Daily Beast, 4/14/17
  26. The secular predator problem by atheist PZ Myers