If you act like an asshole in public, expect to be called-out in public

By now, you’ve likely read about the whole Woman in Tech Tweets About Sexist Dudes in Tech. Dude Gets Fired. Internet Meltdown Ensues. thing involving Adria Richards and two brogrammers at PyCon.  Just in case you haven’t, here is run-down from Gayle L. McDowell:

At PyCon, a python developers conference which purports to have a relatively large percentage of women (only 20% still), two guys made some jokes to each other laced with sexual innuendos (something about the word “dongle”). Adria Richards, a Developer Evangelist, was bothered by these comments and took some a picture of them. She then reported it via Twitter (with their picture) and asked PyCon staff to speak to the men, which they did. Then, she followed up with a blog post. As a result, one of the two men was fired. The internet got mad and then Adria was fired.

The “as a result…” bit from McDowell makes it seem as if Richards’ actions lead directly to a firing.  Humph. Maybe it’s more like Amanda Blum states:

She didn’t get the developer in question fired… Play Haven did that and there are probably details of that transaction we aren’t privy to. It is a tragedy, but one that isn’t her fault.

Notice that Blum wrote “…but one that isn’t her fault”.  Well, you know what that means.  Something else is Richards fault.  Here is Blum detailing what is Richards fault in this whole PyCon thing:

She committed one single offense: not approaching the men like an adult and saying “hey. guys- cmon, that’s offensive to me.”.  On her own blog, she states “it only takes three words: ‘That’s not cool‘”, which I agree with. She should have said them to the developers in question. If she was that uncomfortable doing so in a full room, she could have contacted PyCon officials privately, there were certainly channels to do so.

Let me get this straight. Two people, in the fairly public forum of a professional conference, make unprofessional comments and those within earshot shouldn’t call them out in public, because, you know, it’s embarrassing to be called-out in public for making unprofessional and/or offensive remarks?


We’re supposed to afford people who engage in unprofessional conduct at a professional meeting a higher level of respect than they afford those with earshot of their asinine conversation?  Why is that exactly?  Golly gee, is it because they just couldn’t have known they were being offensive?

Get. Fucking. Real.

They knew exactly what they saying was inappropriate for the setting and they did it anyway because they felt totally free to do so.  It’s called ‘privilege‘.

You want the privilege of “censure in private” without the muss-and-fuss of earning that privilege.  You want us ‘sensitive’ folks to grow thicker skin and treat you like a delicate flower.  Well, I want a unicorn and a lightsaber.  Guess what? We’re both going to be disappointed.

If you act like an asshole in public, expect to be called-out in public.  I do, I have, and I am confident I will in the future.  Likely because I don’t have the privilege of being free to say or do whatever the hell I want without any unpleasantness.  Neither do you.


image from http://bit.ly/103uNeC

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