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A Voice for Men's Threatener-in-Chief Paul Elam demands that feminists pay security costs for his group's conference

Paul Elam, Man of Peace
Paul Elam, Man of Peace

Well, you have to admit, he’s got chutzpah.

You may have heard that A Voice for Men is sponsoring what it calls the First International Conference on Men’s Issues later this month in Detroit, featuring such notable celebrity speakers as “internationally recognized writer, lecturer and videographer” Karen “Girl Writes What” Straughan, “former mental health professional” Paul “Boy Yells A Lot” Elam, Warren “Boys Aren’t Hurt By Incest a Lot” Farrell, and, well, a collection of other equally exciting names.

But there have been some doubts about it happening from the start. It took some time for the AVFMers to sell enough tickets to enable them to cover the costs of the event.

And now it the costs of the event are going up further: according to a letter that Elam has posted to his site, the hotel that will be hosting the conference has gotten “numerous calls and threats” of a violent nature because of the conference, and is demanding that AVFM cover the costs of additional security at the event.

So Elam has decided that feminists should pay some of these costs, in order to prove they’re “not like that.”

The death threats from feminists, in the attempt to silence these esteemed speakers, has resulted in the conference incurring tens of thousands of dollars in additional security costs.

We plan on launching a fundraiser tomorrow to address those needs, but I want to give the feminists who stand by free speech and assert decisively that these thugs do not represent what feminism is about, to have an early shot at helping us address the gender issues that impact men and boys in an open forum.

He’s even set up a special Paypal button “for feminists only.”

Excuse me?

Let’s be clear here: Death threats are bad. Other sorts of threats are bad. Harassment is bad. Shutting down talks given by people you don’t like is bad. Whoever made the threats against AVFM’s conference, feminist or not, deserves to be prosecuted.

But as someone who has never promoted violence or threats of violence or any form of harassment aimed at MRAs, and who has in fact spoken out against this on numerous occasions, I’m not actually responsible, even indirectly, for the threats against AVFM’s conference. (I haven’t even written about the conference before.) And neither is any other feminist who’s “not like that.”

Indeed, the idea that we should bankroll AVFM’s conference is a bit like asking anti-racist activists to fund a KKK rally because someone or other sent threats to the Klan.

AVFM, as I have documented rather throroughly, is a hateful organization motivated by a deeply misogynistic ideology. Its rhetoric is consistently threatening, designed to intimidate opponents into shutting up and going away. Elam himself — the master of the not-quite-legally actionable threat — once famously told one opponent that

I find you so pernicious and repugnant that the idea of fucking your shit up gives me an erection. …

Your only real hope is to keep your mouth shut and pretend AVfM and register-her.com does not exist for as long as you can. …

We are coming for you … .

It’s a group whose main form of “activism” has always been harassing individual women; indeed, the Register-Her.com sitte referenced in the above quote (currently offline and being rebuilt) was a phony “offenders registry” that posted the names and some of the personal information of AVFM’s female enemies alongside profiles of serial killers and sexual abusers. AVFM seemed to make a special point of picking vulnerable targets, often college students, evidently feeling that these women would be easier to intimidate.

AVFM has tried to destroy the lives and livelihoods of numerous other enemies, in at least one case through allegedly illegal means.

The site has also participated enthusiastically in misogynistic internet hate-orgies directed at outspoken women like Rebecca Watson and Anita Sarkeesian, women who received and who are still receiving numerous violent threats of rape and murder.

On one occasion, joining up with a hate campaign already heavily populated with white supremacists, Elam targeted a recent college grad for allegedly boasting on her blog that she’s been actively discriminating against white men in her job at the Georgetown Admissions Office. The blog was an obvious hoax and the woman in question had nothing to do with it. Even former KKK leader David Duke realized this before Elam did.

And we can’t forget that AVFM hosted a terrorist manifesto in its activism section for several years, written by Thomas Ball, a Men’s Rights Activist who hoped that his dramatic suicide – he burned himself to death on the steps of a courthouse – would inspire other MRAs to start firebombing courthouses and police stations.

So boys, we need to start burning down police stations and courthouses. … the dirty deeds are being carried out by our local police, prosecutors and judges. These are the people we pay good money to protect us and our families. And what do we get for our tax money? Collaborators who are no different than the Vichy of France or the Quislings of Norway during the Second World War. All because they go along to get along. They are an embarrassment, the whole lot of them. And they need to be held accountable. So burn them out. …

You need to flatten them, like Wile E. Coyote. They need to be taught never to replace the rule of law. BURN-THEM-OUT!

(Emphasis mine.)

AVFM finally removed the manifesto from its “activism” section shortly after the Boston Marathon bombing brought the issue of domestic terrorism back into the limelight. But the site still hosts numerous articles glorifying the author of this manifesto.

Oh, and those associated with AVFM are not above harassing their male critics as well. I get a lot of weird, creepy and threatening emails and comments. It’s rare that the senders are dumb enough to do it under their own name. But that was the case with a creepy and threatening voicemail message I received at 1:38 AM one winter night from a longtime AVFM fan and tireless poster-paster that Elam once described as a “One Man Army” and “an MRA’s MRA.”

And this is the organization that expects feminists like me to pay for its security costs?

I don’t think so.

 

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cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

Naw. I have a creep-dar that’s about as finely tuned as it gets, and you’re pretty much the exact opposite of a creeper, LBT.

emilygoddess
emilygoddess
6 years ago

I believe that when you are very strange, it is all the more imperative to keep your feet firmly on the ground. When you have really weird shit going on, you HAVE to be willing to question and weigh your experiences, or… well. You get this shit.

See, IDGAF who you have in your system or how you live your life, as long as you’re not using it to manipulate and abuse people.

grumpycatisagirl
grumpycatisagirl
6 years ago

grumpycatisagirl, maybe I missed it but did Emma even participate in the sit-in?

Well, I guess the article doesn’t explicitly say that but it does say that Occupy Detroit was one of the groups who planned the protest and that she was a member of Occupy Detroit’s facilitation team.

Anyway, if what’s available via Google is anything to go by Emma sounds like a super awesome person and teacher who does not hate men or boys.

LBT (with an open writeathon!)

Thanks guys. That’s reassuring. Like, I swear, normally I have my act together better, maybe it’s the Rodgers ableism getting to me or something.

At least I can trust Mammotheers to put a boot in my ass if I ever get creepy and assholic! If it happened to DSC and V, it can happen to me.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

I dunno, you’d have to try pretty hard, that’s advanced level assholishness.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

And now I’m imagining something like the training scenes in Rocky, but with assholishness instead of boxing.

bbeaty
bbeaty
6 years ago

@LBT: “…sometimes, I still feel like I’m just a creeper who’s fooled everyone.”

Don’t we all.

I don’t mean to be flip, but the more I do my own emotional/mental work the more I think one of the things all humans share is the deep dark fear they are a creeper, a leech, a huge failure who has fooled everyone.

I call that feeling my 3:00 am feeling. You know, you can’t sleep, but everyone else is sleeping the sleep of the pure and good and innocent. So you start beating yourself up.

cloudiah
6 years ago

I promise that we would put a boot in your ass if you ever got creepy, as I hope you would do to me if I ever got creepy, but I see very little danger of that ever actually happening.

And ooooh, there’s a writeathon that needs funding! I don’t know how I missed that!

Marie
Marie
6 years ago

@LBT

I always feel really weird reading about these creepers, because I feel like I’m more like THEM than I am normal people. The multi, the people from fiction, the sheer weirdness. But I don’t want to be GROSS about it. I want to be a reliable, responsible human being who makes the material world a better place, and not just the one between my ears. I don’t WANT to be a creepy abusive cult leader. I just want to be a decent, boring human being.

I know I’m repeating everyone, but you’re not creepy, and you’re not gross. It bears repeating.

Thanks guys. That’s reassuring. Like, I swear, normally I have my act together better, maybe it’s the Rodgers ableism getting to me or something.

::offers hugs::

it’s getting to me, too, and I don’t even have one of the mental illnesses stereotyped as violent.

LBT (with an open writeathon!)

RE: cassandrakitty

And now I’m imagining something like the training scenes in Rocky, but with assholishness instead of boxing.

“Abuse that side of ribs! Curse it out!”

“Um… you’re ugly?”

“Come on! Put some effort into it!”

“NOBODY LIKES YOU RIBS!”

“Well, it’s a start.”

RE: bbeaty

the more I do my own emotional/mental work the more I think one of the things all humans share is the deep dark fear they are a creeper, a leech, a huge failure who has fooled everyone.

Honestly, knowing that it’s a common feeling helps a lot. It means it’s not just me.

RE: cloudiah

I promise that we would put a boot in your ass if you ever got creepy,

Thanks. That really does help me feel a whole lot better. Like, knowing there are people to check me before I wreck me, that’s actually a huge relief.

RE: Marie

it’s getting to me, too, and I don’t even have one of the mental illnesses stereotyped as violent.

I know, right? I fucking DREAD when these things come and everyone starts talking about “them crazies” coming for them. It’s just uuuuuurrrrgggh. Elliot Rodgers, why did you not get help?

emilygoddess
emilygoddess
6 years ago

I don’t mean to be flip, but the more I do my own emotional/mental work the more I think one of the things all humans share is the deep dark fear they are a creeper, a leech, a huge failure who has fooled everyone.

I worry that I’m abusive and my partner is too scared to tell me, but yeah, this.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
6 years ago

LBT — if you ever get creepy I solemnly swear to get Sneak to sic Gigi on you.

DSC and V? Who’s V?

kittehserf
6 years ago

Honestly, knowing that it’s a common feeling helps a lot. It means it’s not just me.

I wonder if this is all tied to imposter syndrome? That’s really common. I know I have it – about my own competence, about Mr K, you name it.

kittehserf
6 years ago

Took me until now to remember what DSC stands for.

I really can’t see you doing anything like zir abusive shit, LBT.

Seconding Argenti, who’s V?

pallygirl
pallygirl
6 years ago

You possibly won’t be surprised that a greater percentage of females suffer from imposter syndrome compared to males.

Jen Larkin
6 years ago

You’re assuming, of course, that Elam isn’t lying about the threats. Considering his track record, that’s a mighty big assumption.

LBT (with an open writeathon!)

RE: Argenti

if you ever get creepy I solemnly swear to get Sneak to sic Gigi on you.

These days, Sneak’s big enough to possibly do it zerself! *laughs*

DSC and V? Who’s V?

D’oh. I meant R. My brain phased.

RE: Kittehs

I think it’s pretty common for weird people to feel like frauds. I mean, we’re always depicted as frauds, flakes, or freaks in the media, why wouldn’t we think we have to be one of the above?

pecunium
6 years ago

I sometimes feel like a fraud,and I worry that I may be presuming on acquaintance.

bbeaty
bbeaty
6 years ago

I think it is very related to impostor syndrome, or maybe comes from the same place.

My (completely unqualified) theory is we all have this ugly voice inside us. You choose to be brave and healthy and find some people you trust and say “Hey, sometimes I feel/think I am a horrible person” and listen to them tell you are not. Or you can choose to listen to the ugly voice and try to run from it or drown it out with destructive behavior.

The part that sucks is that’s not a one-time choice. You have to make that choice over and over — like choosing to eat healthy food or exercise.

Sorry it that was too deep or too full or crap or utter nonsense. It’s late where I am and too close to 3 am for me to tell.

Marie
Marie
6 years ago

@Bbeaty

You choose to be brave and healthy and find some people you trust and say “Hey, sometimes I feel/think I am a horrible person” and listen to them tell you are not. Or you can choose to listen to the ugly voice and try to run from it or drown it out with destructive behavior.

You can choose to be healthy? Wtf?

Fuck you. Do I even need to explain this.

kittehserf
6 years ago

You’re assuming, of course, that Elam isn’t lying about the threats. Considering his track record, that’s a mighty big assumption.

Jen Larkin – I gather you’re responding to the OP, not the comments? Because consensus there is that Pauly made the whole thing up, as usual.

LBT:

I think it’s pretty common for weird people to feel like frauds. I mean, we’re always depicted as frauds, flakes, or freaks in the media, why wouldn’t we think we have to be one of the above?

It’s common for lots of people, weird or otherwise. Look at how often high-achieving women say they don’t feel they really earned their success, for instance, or how people with tons of job experience feel they wouldn’t have a hope of doing X, Y or Z job. It’s the flipside manifestation of Dunning-Kreuger. And yeah, like you said, anyone who’s designated weird is going to cop it even more. I reckon it’s massive socialisation and jerkbrain pulling us down, You can’t do this, you’re not good enough, you’re making it up, you’re just pretending.

Marie
Marie
6 years ago

@bbeaty

The part that sucks is that’s not a one-time choice. You have to make that choice over and over — like choosing to eat healthy food or exercise.

um, wow.

SORRY IF I CONSIDER TRYING TO STAY ALIVE AND DO SOMETHING THAT WON’T MAKE ME FEEL LIKE SHIT MORE IMPORTANT THAN EATING HEALTHY OR EXERCISING

does that mean I’m ‘choosing to be unhealthy’

gah. Maybe this seems like I’m attacking you. But everything in your post was rubbing me the wrong way.

Marie
Marie
6 years ago

@hookergal

ah, wuh? Under what logic? Did the mrm start it, or something? I’m so confused and creeped out. -_-

kittehserf
6 years ago

Marie, I’d read “trying to stay alive and do something that won’t make you feel like shit” as exactly what bbeaty’s talking about – trying to do the things that will help you, whatever they are. The eating and exercise comments were analogies, I thought.

I didn’t read “choose to be healthy” as snapping the fingers and wishing away mental or physical illness, but as trying to get help – specifically the parts about telling a trusted person about one’s self-hating or imposter syndrome thoughts, what we were all talking about. It was “try to get help/help yourself” vs “do vile shit instead”, not vs “be ill”.

hookergal
hookergal
6 years ago

@marie

I literally have no idea. I read through and laughed the the “proof” – one of which was the feminist protest in Canada against the MRMs. So I’m guessing, yes it’s a MRM thing – I know David got a abusive call from some Australian MRMs. Sigh. I did get a laugh when they referred to “feminist cells” however.

Marie
Marie
6 years ago

@kittehs

I don’t give a rats ass if they were trying to be helpful or not.

Whatever. Maybe you’re right. Maybe I’m reading it wrong.

Josh. Im so pissed and emotional I can’t think right.

Its just how can phrasing ‘choose to be healthy’ be a not shitty thing in a talk about mental problems. because that’s all it brings up for me. The six years I didn’t know I had depression and didn’t know what was wrong with me and figured I was just lazy as fuck.

And ‘choose to be healthy’ with ‘eating right’ and ‘excersing’ just felt like so much shit I”ve had neurotypical people tell me, or heard able bodied people tell my sister.

that if you’re examples of what to do fits up with what so many people say when they’re being shitty. And that bbeaty didn’t even clarify what they meant.

I’m just so out of benefit of doubt.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
6 years ago

Blah, pecunium, blah! You’re awesome.

LBT — ah yes, the DSC and R fiasco, now I know exactly what you meant!

brooked
brooked
6 years ago

Every petition on Change.org is utterly useless because the website churns them out without any actual effort on the petitioners part. It’s been years since a non-gag online petition got any press simply because there are petitions trumpeting and denouncing everything. Do a search for anything from “Feminism” to “Star Wars” on Chang.org and you’ll find dozens poorly written petitions whining about it.

takshak
takshak
6 years ago

“feminist cells”?

It’s in the mitochondria?

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
6 years ago

Well, mitochondria is inherited matrilineally.

takshak
takshak
6 years ago

misandry! mitochondria resources must be shared!

sorry, I haven’t eaten yet and I am getting silly

kittehserf
6 years ago

Marie, yeah, I agree, the “choosing to be healthy” was shitty phrasing,whether meant literally or as I read it – and I read it from the privilege of never having mental problems that were incapacitating or chemically caused or unrecognised or any of that horrible shit, and never being on the end of the garbage non-neurotypical people get thrown at them. Privilege, in other words. Did I come across as splainy? If so, I apologise for that.

DSC and R, whoa, yes, that makes sense. Nah, LBT, I don’t think you could get near those two in the Being an Arsehole race. They had so much practice.

I thought feminist cells were the ones lighted by Scented Fucking Candles and with fluffy rugs on the floor?

Marie
Marie
6 years ago

@kittehs

I don’t think you came as splainy.

I just wish I knew what bbeaty meant by it :/

because you’re right that it couldnot have had that intent.

but just the way my life has been it is the first intent I read it as, and intent doesn’t change that it hurt but I’d feel a lot better if I knew bbeaty didn’t mean it in a literal choose to be healthy way.

I mean, especially since I can’t tell if I’m jumping on new* people here recently :/

am I?

*idk if bbeaty is new, but I know I haven’t seen them much, so I”m more of worried that I’m jumping on just people I Don’t know in general.

idk sorry for the dump

Ally S
6 years ago

@Marie

bbeaty has been around here for a while. Anyway, I think your reactions are totally justified, even if you misinterpreted her.

Marie
Marie
6 years ago

@ally

gotcha. So she’s been around for a while and I just didn’t know her.

Buttercup Q. Skullpants
Buttercup Q. Skullpants
6 years ago

Sorry, I know this topic is slightly dead, but I can’t resist one more whack at the pinata of stupid…

@emilygoddess

Also, is anyone else wondering why he blacked out the name of whoever wrote the letter? I’m guessing it’s a detail he wasn’t able to fill in credibly, but I wonder what his stated reason is.

That struck me as odd, too. Protecting people’s identities is out of character for him. Also, it doesn’t look like there was any contact info included – no “you may reach me at or email at “. If this letter was the initial notification that additional security was needed, it should have included a way of being reached in case of questions.

Furthermore! Here are links to two copies of the standard Doubletree contract. Presumably, AVfM received something similar.

https://tscna.org/sites/default/files/archive/convention-committee/convention-8-2010/hotel-contract.pdf

http://www.7248.net/group222014.pdf

The interesting thing is that neither of these contracts are formally divided into numbered sections, as referenced in the letter. Each section has its own underlined header, and that’s it. The insurance part is very vague, and there’s nothing about security or the “obligation” of the Group to “control its conduct”.

Things that make you go “hmmm”.

I wonder if made-up feminist death threats fall under the force majeure clause?

Buttercup Q. Skullpants
Buttercup Q. Skullpants
6 years ago

HUh. I didn’t know we also had an HTML monster that feeds on angle brackets.

That third sentence should read “….you may reach me at (huge black bar) or email me at (fakeassily-redacted-email.com).”

Chris Wilson
6 years ago

I love that anti-feminist petition.

As if there were a bunch of underground feminist cells one would “activate” in response to AVfM’s conference. What a waste of a cell that would be!

I note Erin Pizzey signed the petition.

Buttercup Q. Skullpants
Buttercup Q. Skullpants
6 years ago

@kittehserf No, those are feminist incells.

brooked
brooked
6 years ago

OK, this petition is in fact hilarious.

Over the years feminism has constantly attacked men and women for choosing to live their lives the way they want to. These actions have now progressed to physical violence where we have seen feminists violently attack men who are concerned about mens issues.Repeated attacks in Canada and elseware have left many injured and maimed. Another feminist cell activated recently and is planning on attacking another talk for men in the US. Its time we stopped the violence, its time we put a stop to the hatred feminists are constantly generating. Its time we stopped womens studied courses from brainwashing women into thinking they are victims. Its time these misandric loonatics are stopped.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
6 years ago

*dies*

Zombie Argenti wants to know if the many injured and maimed were attacked with box cutters.

Chris Wilson
6 years ago

Yeah, that petition sounds like they think there is a big feminist underground of linked cells and when something important happens (like a AVfM conference, hehe) one of them activates and goes into action.

And who are all these maimed and injured?

I guess a few MRAs have had their feelings hurt by the mockery, har.

kittehserf
6 years ago

@kittehserf No, those are feminist incells.

LOL!

I guess you’d be incel if you were incell. ::ducks::

Marie, no, I don’t think you’re dumping, and like you said, intent isn’t magic.

I really wanna know who all these people are who’ve been injured and maimed and savaged with box cutters. Or do the MRAs think bashing their rageboners on the keyboard counts as being injured by feminists?

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

Um…no. I do not understand how you can declare an ideology a terrorist group. That doesn’t make any sense at all. It’s like declaring all environmentalism as terrorism because some radical environmentalist groups engage in “eco terrorism.”

Auntie Alias
Auntie Alias
6 years ago

http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140602/METRO/306020106/0/METRO/Men-s-rights-conference-Detroit-raises-security-concerns

Fort Shelby owner Emmett Moten said he wasn’t aware of the conference or threats, but said it’s not unusual for hotels to require additional security.

Officer Adam Madera, a Detroit police spokesman, confirmed hotel officials recently contacted the department about hiring off-duty officers who work in the Secondary Employment program. The program was established by the city in 2011 and allows uniformed off-duty officers to moonlight as security guards.

“We provided them with information about the program, but other than that, we haven’t received any word about threats,” he said.

The way this article is written, it sounds like Elam contacted The Detroit News himself to give his bullshit story credibility.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

Maimed? New information about the infamous boxcutters incident just keeps coming out! Apparently he also broke a nail.

clementine
6 years ago

I’m not surprised it requires tens of thousands of dollars worth of security when you’re amassing a group of people whose collective brain power is so poor that they run the risk of spending the entire weekend walking into walls. The security will be deployed like blockades in Lemmings, strategically placed to enable them to walk towards their goal – utter irrelevancy.

Shaun Day
Shaun Day
6 years ago

That petition confuses me. I thought the government was a gynofascist tool to oppress teh menz. Isn’t signing it just telling the gynocracy where to find their enemies?

marinerachel
marinerachel
6 years ago

I’m guessing it was just an attempt to quickly scoop $25,000 for Paul’s expenses.

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