Monopod Man and other matters. An Update

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Some day I want someone to write up an expose on Monopod Man because, if he really is who people say he is and if his other identities are the same as they seem to be, it is important that people know who he is. But I’m not going to do that, or at least, not now. Monopod Man is the guy who was bothering women at a conference, and also, walking around with a camera that may or may not have been set up to obtain “upskirt shots” of people who may or may not have been wearing skirts or kilts, and while he may or may not have been doing that, he also may or may not have posted “upskirt shots” on the JREF forum.

Anyway, Rob Tarzwell wrote a Facebook Note that referred in part to Monopod man, and has become part of the corpus of information regarding TAM related events that may or may not have happened. Rob has modified his facebook notes and has asked me to indicate that here since I had previously referred to it. Also, this same information has been significantly expanded on by Greta Christina who has related information provided by a person who was one of those involved in reporting the activities of Monopod Man.

Rob’s updated post is here, and in case you can’t see that, this is what it says:

Act I: TAM 2009

I notice an outrageously drunk conferee hitting on a non-conferee in the Del Mar Lounge. She was at the stage of being quite anxious but trying very hard to remain polite. I asked him if maybe the woman had had enough. He was far too drunk to notice his inappropriate behaviour and became surly. I watched from a distance. He decided to kick it up a notch, leaned across the table, and licked the woman’s neck. Myself and another gent physically restrained him and frog-marched him to his room. Hotel security wanted to eject him immediately. God knows why, but I intervened so he could stay. He was a royal pain in the ass for hours while we babysat him in his room, and he remains bitter about the experience to this day. I would not plead with hotel security if that were to happen again.

Act II: TAM 2011

Two women approach me and another conferee. They are pale and trembling. Allegedly*, a man with a camera on the end of a telescoping monopod has been attempting to surreptitiously take photos up their skirts. Yes, he was attending TAM. They had taken concerns to conference organizers and got little satisfaction. Hotel security confiscated the camera. I later learned the individual was “well-known” and had been complained about in previous years, and yet there he was again.

Act III: Female safety?

I go to conferences. Lots of conferences. I am nauseated with conferences. None, NONE, involve the kind of outrageous shitshow behaviour I routinely witness at TAM. I could supply many more anecdotes. Oh, anecdotes aren’t data? Well, these anecdotes are human beings – our sisters.

Frankly, I admire Rebecca Watson’s restraint and tenacity, and her longsuffering support of an organization which, while it does perhaps do net good in the world, has yet to take a long, serious, hard look in the mirror and acknowledge that, if we’re ever going to get past this sophomoric bullshit and present a credible face of rationality in an irrational world, the irrational world we need to start with is us.

*Wording changed 15 June 2012 to make it clear that I did not directly witness the alleged incidents. I did directly witness the palpable fear and revulsion the women were experiencing.

There are many, many comments on that post including questions, clarifications, and all sorts of other stuff.

Greta Christina’s information and commentary is here, mainly. Or at least, start there and work your way outwards.

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13 thoughts on “Monopod Man and other matters. An Update

  1. To clarify: He didn’t post upskirt shots on the JREF forum. He posted about his enthusiasm for voyeuristic photography. The same username (which isn’t something that looks like a lot of people would pick it) posted upskirt shots on another forum.

  2. Reading the comments on Greta’s blog, I am just … astounded. I mean … what? I don’t even know what to say.

    The issue isn’t if one part was true or not (where he posted photos) the issue is: the INSTANT the camera was reported, why were the police not called?

    This does not only go to the conference security, it goes for any hotel personnel as well.

    And the people who are all up in arms against Greta and Lee … wow. They are more evil than the voyeur, at least he has the excuse of being probably mentally ill.

  3. plutosdad, I’ve met the Monopod man, as every woman who has ever gone to TAM has. He is not mentally ill, just a supremely entitled twit.

  4. Sheesh. How many of the big name skeptics (just finished an extended FB conversation with one) won’t discuss this further without photographic proof!?

    Why am I even trying to talk to somebody that won’t even consider that an admitted voyeur might be invading people’s privacy?

    I expect more from these people.

  5. It isn’t so much of talking points, but a groupthink attitude that places justification for a discussion of policy on the same level as what would be needed for finding a person guilty in a court of law.

  6. Skeptical Abyss … that’s that web site that was set up by persons unknown specifically to post things denigrating those concerned with harassment or to make claims that there is not problem with harassment at conferences.

  7. It isn’t so much of talking points, but a groupthink attitude that places justification for a discussion of policy on the same level as what would be needed for finding a person guilty in a court of law.

    No, it’s a groupUnthink attitude that places justification for attempting to satisfy women and gender minorities’ concerns about their safety on a level of Beyond an Unreasonable Doubt.

    Don’t think for a minute that they’d apply anything like this level of “skepticism” to policies intended to benefit cis men.

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