Thursday, September 25, 2014

The More Things Change....

Thanks to whoever grabbed Leiter's latest words about me off the Google cache. And thanks to whoever got him to take them down. But I'm going to respond anyway.

The part about me read:
Richard Heck, who tried, unsuccessfully, to torpedo the PGR 13 years ago (!), is apparently back in action.  He is sending around an e-mail that states, falsely, that I have been the "tormentor" of Carrie Jenkins, omitting that Prof. Jenkins in fact threatened me first and that she, more recently, completely misunderstood a recent Twitter comment--which I explained to her apologetically once I learned of the misunderstanding; all the context, for anyone who cares about this increasingly deranged smear campaign, can be found here [link removed].
For the record, yes, I did send an email to several friends and colleagues calling attention to the statement in support of Carrie. And it did, indeed, begin:
As you may have heard, a large group of philosophers, led by our colleagues at the University of British Columbia, have issued a statement in support of Prof Carrie Jenkins. I am writing to ask you to stand with them, and with me, in support of Carrie (who is one of the kindest, most decent people on the planet) and against the increasingly nasty behavior of her tormentor, Brian Leiter.
But there is nothing false about that accusation. (Thanks, though, to whoever violated my trust by sending the email to Leiter. Not that I'm surprised.)

A "tormentor", according to Merriam-Webster, is one who torments, and "tormenting", according to the same source, is causing "extreme pain or anguish of body or mind". There is no room for debate that Leiter has caused Carrie Jenkins extreme pain of mind nor, for that matter, that he is still doing so by, among other things, falsely claiming that 'she started it', just as he falsely claimed that Lucy O'Brien started it.

Nor is Carrie the only one that Leiter has tormented. I am pretty sure we all get to have first-person authority about this, and I know how it felt to me to be ridiculed for years on end, not just by Leiter, but by his faithful followers, as well. And he's still at it. But you know what? I'm not afraid any more, and I'm not going to take this shit. (How crazy is it that I have to say that?)

Moreover, as others have pointed out, and as I myself have pointed out, Leiter's accusation that Carrie "threatened [him] first" is patently absurd, and his "apology" was a textbook example of a non-apology apology. If it's not clear why that is, then Heidi Howkins Lockwood and has helpfully explained what a real apology looks like, and Jezebel has explained in some detail what's wrong with non-apology apologies.

Brian, I am sure it won't help, but if you are reading this: Stop digging, dude. The hole is deep enough. Step down from PGR, issue a genuine apology to the people you have hurt (whether you meant to do so or not, it really doesn't matter), ask for forgiveness, remove the offensive material from your blog, and start treating us like human beings with feelings. You do that, and I will be the first to declare bygones bygone. You see, I'm a Christian, and I believe in the power of forgiveness.

You have hurt us. A lot. The fact that you refuse to believe that, make yourself out to be the victim, and keep on making excuses is still hurting us.

Mock me if you wish. I don't care. You have no power over me now. But I'd suggest you first think about how it will make you look.


  1. Tell it! The nonsense really needs to stop!

  2. Sorry for the splash onto you! You are a mensch.

  3. Thank you so much for writing this Richard. It's powerful and important. Much love.

  4. Thanks again Richard. Carrie Jenkins, Carolyn Jennings, Rachel McKinnon, and Noelle McAfee were amazing in all these, refusing to be bullied. They deserve medals.

    1. Owen, we will not forget the stand you took, either. We all do our part.


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