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Like Rosa Parks, but for dudes: MRAs sue on behalf of allegedly discriminated against men in tech

ChicCEO: Excluding men from events for women by including them. Wait a second ... .
ChicCEO: Excluding men from events for women by including them. Wait a second … .

So there’s a depressing (but very much a must-read) piece over on Yahoo News at the moment chronicling how a lawsuit by Men’s Rights activists (allegedly) led to the demise of Chic CEO, a small company offering support and advice for women entrepreneurs in the male-dominated tech world.

As Yahoo Tech writer Alyssa Bereznak explains, the whole debacle started when two men decided that they needed to be part of a Chic CEO networking event. Because, clearly, men need a leg up in the tech world. 

Two men named Allan Candelore and Rich Allison, who had each prepaid a $20 registration fee on the Chic CEO website, tried to enter the restaurant. According to a legal complaint that they later filed with National Coalition for Men president Harry Crouch, Burns turned them away at the door, saying the event “was only open to women.” They took a photo, left the premises, then promptly initiated legal action, turning to a 1959 California law written to prevent discrimination against minorities and women.

So yeah. They’re like Rosa Parks, but for dudes.

Bereznak notes that this is not the first time the 1959 law has been used on behalf of the struggling, suffering male gender. Alfred G. Rava, the lawyer representing the two men turned away at the door,

has built a career around gender-discrimination lawsuits, filing approximately 150 complaints against California businesses over the past 15 years, according to CNN Money … and, as the secretary for the National Coalition for Men, he offers free consultation for NCFM members who feel they’ve experienced public discrimination because of their gender.

Rava has fought baseball teams giving out free mammograms and assorted swag to women as part of Mother’s Day promotions and has taken a stand against the evil tyranny of Ladies Night at a number of San Diego nightclubs.

And he’s often worked in concert with the other men involved in the ChicCEO case.

Candelore — who has been a member of NCFM for four years — has been the plaintiff in 10 civil cases since 2011, not including his case against Chic CEO. In nine of those 10 cases, he was represented by Rava. In eight of those, [NCFM president] Crouch joined him as a plaintiff. In seven of those cases, Allison was a plaintiff. 

They’re like a “Reverse Discrimination” Superteam.

For her part, ChicCEO’s Stephanie Burns told Yahoo Tech that her company “does not discriminate against men,” pointing out that it has male clients and board members. But, apparently unable to afford the cost of fighting the claims in court, she chose to settle the case instead.

The strangest detail in the Yahoo News piece? This parenthetical aside from the author:

(Rava refused to speak to me on the phone because he said he was concerned Yahoo News would misquote him. He also later emailed me to say: “I hope you print all sides to your story, because I am sure you would not want someone to publish a story about you on the Internet labeling you a ‘predator,’ a ‘gigantic bitch,’ an ‘elitist,’ a ‘soulless harpie,’ a ‘narcissist,’ and a ‘dumb woman,’ without that story presenting facts or opinions to the contrary.”)

Apparently Rava has been taking lessons in public relations from the folks at AVFM.*

NOTE: THAT LAST SENTENCE WAS A JOKE. I HAVE NO PROOF RAVA IS TAKING PR LESSONS FROM ANYONE.

Naturally, MRAs have swarmed the comments over on Yahoo News — last I checked, there were more than 1400 comments on the post. Meanwhile, A Voice for Men has reposted a long and tedious piece by the NCFM’s Crouch presenting what he sees as the “truth” in the case.

AVFM chose to illustrate its repost with a picture of a white man in chains. Because a couple of lawsuit-happy men turned away at a women-in-tech networking event are pretty much the equivalent of actual slaves.

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ikanreed
ikanreed
6 years ago

And I do recognize that women’s organizations should be allowed to exist, but that doesn’t need to entail forbidding men.

katz
katz
6 years ago

Oh yeah, Moses has horns sometimes. Due to shitty Latin translation, the way I heard it.
comment image

Fruitloopsie
Fruitloopsie
6 years ago

Ikanreed
It’s not discrimination, women and other minorities need their spaces but dou*hebags like the Mras and racists want to invade those spaces instead of making their own becuase they can’t stand anything that’s not about them.

mewfington catmouth iii
mewfington catmouth iii
6 years ago

you can thank the vulgate for moses’ hornicles. oh, and michelangelo. (resist the urge. don’t add “blame splinter, too”. oh butts i did it anyway)

i feel like #notallcentaurs should be a thing.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
6 years ago

@ Fruitloopsie

The Moses who split the sea and led the Hebrews

No, the Moses who works down the local garage.

Of course *that* Moses!!!!! 🙂

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-yhiuduKu-KE/U6o2E8HzoGI/AAAAAAAAGMk/YTgqvubEbIY/s1600/St.+Moses+the+prophet+of+the+Old+Testament+in+the+choir+stalls+of+the+Cathedral+of+Oviedo.jpg

Fruitloopsie
Fruitloopsie
6 years ago

ikanreed
“And I do recognize that women’s organizations should be allowed to exist, but that doesn’t need to entail forbidding men.”

The whole freaking world is a man’s space, positions of power like the White House, the media, the Internet, almost everything is a man’s space can we have one thing to ourselves without misognist waffleturds taking it from us?

Fruitloopsie
Fruitloopsie
6 years ago

Alan
Umm sorry I don’t know everything.

spacelawn
6 years ago

What wankers

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
6 years ago

@ Fruitloopsie

Sorry, just reminded me of a time a mate asked “You mean the Adolf Hitler from WW2?” 🙂

bvh
bvh
6 years ago

@Alan Robertshaw

Thank you for the feedback.

IMHO it’s rather obvious theses clowns were acting in bad faith.

mewfington catmouth iii
mewfington catmouth iii
6 years ago

horns for sure make anything they’re attached to at least 77% more metal

ikanreed
ikanreed
6 years ago

Okay, guys, I know. I know it’s real shitty defending MRAs and everything, but hear me out.

When an organization is professional, and has to do with career advancement, it simply cannot be a complete safe space for an identifiable group. The natures of the two are contrary, because opportunity is something that cannot be denied to people.

Not even entitled white guys who ought to have all the options in the world elsewhere. A professional group plays by different rules than a private club. We’ve collectively had to settle that question in law repeatedly.

I absolutely value organizations that pursue promoting gender equality in tech, and giving women opportunities. Those are great. We should have more. And these assholes, if they got in, would have gotten bored and left, or done something shitty and become the bad guys. No one is harmed by them visiting.

Whoever turned them away was in the wrong. It sucks to be defending this. I don’t want to be, because they were clearly just trying to antagonize. But it was an inappropriate decision.

ReallyFriendly
ReallyFriendly
6 years ago

@ ikanreed Actually in this case your points bear less weight. If you listen to the embedded video in the Yahoo article, you will hear that Chic CEO resources are available for anyone to use (and free though you could pay to get some premium items). They have male board members, advisors/speakers and male clients.

Was the event in question a ‘women’s only’ event? Yes, but clearly this is a group that is not discriminating against men. If they really were, you would see it across the board in everything they do.

These events are to create a safe, comfortable space for women who have to typically move in male-dominated spaces in their daily lives. I don’t think of it as discrimination rather than just a place where they can get some breathing room and express themselves in a relaxed fashion.

When I was in college I wrote a paper defending a group of men suing a self-defense class that was being offered by their workplace but it was deemed ‘women only’. In this instance, when the men approached the instructor they were told that ‘men don’t need self-defense classes’ instead of a compromise being reached (like offering a separate class for men). In that instance it was a clear sign of discrimination as the instructor was excluding them based on gender stereotypes rather than anything else. The resources were exclusive only for females and there was no indication from the instructor that men were welcome in their space in any form or manner. That is how I define discrimination and it is the standard that I still follow today.

Chic CEO in no way close to it. It is clear to me that you have a stricter idea of it though, so if you don’t agree with me, then I will leave it as something we will just have to disagree on.

Fruitloopsie
Fruitloopsie
6 years ago

My humble apologies to centaurs becuase “notallcentaurs”

Alan
“Sorry, just reminded me of a time a mate asked “You mean the Adolf Hitler from WW2?” :-)”

It’s cool. Sorry too, I’m not usually good with sarcasm.

Ikanreed
Well then thank you for clarifying and I think we should change those rules so we can have private professional groups for women and minorities but then again it still would be discrimination to some waffleturds.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
6 years ago

Hey, I’ve just realised I haven’t bombarded you all with lengthy extracts from legislation.

Sorry, must be slipping.

Here’s the bit in our Equality Act that allows women only events:

158

Positive action: general

(1)

This section applies if a person (P) reasonably thinks that—

(a) persons who share a protected characteristic suffer a disadvantage connected to the characteristic,

(b) persons who share a protected characteristic have needs that are different from the needs of persons who do not share it, or

(c) participation in an activity by persons who share a protected characteristic is disproportionately low.

(2)

This Act does not prohibit P from taking any action which is a proportionate means of achieving the aim of—

(a) enabling or encouraging persons who share the protected characteristic to overcome or minimise that disadvantage,

(b) meeting those needs, or

(c) enabling or encouraging persons who share the protected characteristic to participate in that activity.

bvh
bvh
6 years ago

Paradoxical Intention | September 3, 2015 at 1:59 pm

Actually, it was stated in the article that the women did, in fact, actually consult a lawyer beforehand:–

Yes, but clearly something was missed. This is not exactly a new problem in California. To quote a friend of mine in the tech industry who read this article yesterday and compared it to the minimal problems Curves has, these people need better lawyers.

There’s a difference between prepared for the reasonably possible lawsuits and being prepared for litigious predators.

vanir85
6 years ago

Next, suing dogtors because they only administer treatment to the sick or injured. Because that is SO unfair to the healthy.

andiexist
andiexist
6 years ago
Reply to  ikanreed

@ikanreed

No one is arguing that the organization itself should be a safe space. But holding a specific conference for women only is not “professional discrimination.” They are neither refusing to hire men/paying men less, to my knowledge nor discriminating in order to get profit. Those are… the only definitions I can think of for “professional discrimination,” and it’s clearly neither of those.

Especially if it was at or near max capacity, in which case giving the people the conference is *for* priority is common sense, not discrimination.

Ikan, if you’re okay with defending an MRA for harassing a feminist conference with lawyers, then you can be okay with that. But if you want to be an ally, then maybe *don’t* start justifying MRAs’ awful behavior when it’s against people you think did something wrong.

It’s not about ethics in conferences. It’s about harassing people with the legal system.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
6 years ago

@Ikanreed:

I’ll try not to add to any potential pile-on… but my office recently hosted a “Girls who Code” event, where highschool girls were invited to come see software demos, some presentations, and a panel on women in tech. (Fun fact! I was on the panel for hilarious reasons, but that’s an aside…)

I’d imagine it was a girls-only event for the attendees. At the very least, I didn’t see any highschool boys attend. If it was, do you think such an event, which is bit less intense than a full professional advancement program but still is a career-focused thing, would be discriminatory in a similar way as the orgs beings sued in the OP?

hentropy
hentropy
6 years ago

I’ve been to tech conferences before that have had women-only events, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. The idea of having entire exclusionary conferences that males aren’t allowed to attend, I can understand and can condone on principle (so long as they make allowances for transgender individuals, though even in that case I don’t try to storm the gates), but I don’t think are terribly good ideas, as it feeds even more into the idea that feminists don’t want equality they want reverse discrimination etc etc. There is a difference between male-dominated spaces and exclusionary ones, after all.

From simply a practical point of view, I think the people who need to hear unadulterated perspectives on women in tech the most are not other women, but men. I think it’s more effective to send the message that men are as welcome in feminism as women. It’s important that these “women in tech” panels actually include women and not men, however, that is one things that some conferences get wrong from the beginning.

Jarnsaxa
Jarnsaxa
6 years ago

It was a threat. All of us women in tech know what can happen to us.

pkayden
pkayden
6 years ago

“filing approximately 150 complaints against California businesses”

I assume that many of these complaints were successful and that’s why Rava keeps filing them. I don’t understand how a law intended to protect women and minorities can be used by White men though. Plus, I assume that some clubs are private and thus exclusive and can bar attendance by anyone not fitting their membership criteria.

kupo
kupo
6 years ago

I just wanted to vent that today in a business meeting in the above-mentioned totally inclusive to women tech industry, a guy I had met 5 minutes earlier put his hands over my ears to shield me from the phrase, “shitty implementation” and of course I basically had to go along with it and laugh at his “joke” because he’s an important stakeholder even though I’m extremely uncomfortable with touching, even from my family.

Jarnsaxa
Jarnsaxa
6 years ago

Because women immediately turn to dust if we hear the word “shitty.”

Good gad, what century are these people from?!

guy
guy
6 years ago

“I assume that many of these complaints were successful and that’s why Rava keeps filing them. I don’t understand how a law intended to protect women and minorities can be used by White men though”

Usually, those laws just say “may not discriminate on the basis of race/sex”, so they do apply in these situations. That and when they don’t actually apply it’s still usually cheaper to pay up and make it go away than to fight it in court.

Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
6 years ago

@Jarnsaxa

The century that uses flimsy excuses to touch women.

AbominableSnowPickle
6 years ago

What people seem to be glossing over, is that when the men showed up to the restaurant where the function was being held, they were only turned away because it was already AT CAPACITY. As per the fire marshal, it would have been illegal to let two more people in, regardless of their gender. That’s the reason the two men got stroppy. Letting two more people in, regardless of gender would have been ILLEGAL.

(it says this in the Yahoo article)

Sorry to be snotty, but that’s been bugging me. only two commentors mentioned this, and most people defending the men apparently didn’t read that part.

Buttercup Q. Skullpants

@Pandapool – Which is pretty much all of them.

davidknewton
davidknewton
6 years ago

A bit of levity with Sarkeesian Effect news! (Da de da de da)

After Jordan opened his version of the film at a showing where literally some people turned up, things have gone a bit quiet on that front, and it’s fallen out of the regular comic relief slot on this site – but I’ve been unable to tear myself away from the resultant Twitter soap opera since. It’s incredible.

Soon after the split, Aurini stomped off to fellow self-styled bald git Matt Forney to take part in a podcast hamfistedly psychoanalyzing his former partner into some sort of unstable killer figure. He then stressed repeatedly on Twitter that Jordan was beneath anybody’s attention because he has encopresis – literally saying to people not to trust him because he’s a poopy-pants, in slightly more medical wording. He then went off and talked about how the Germans had no plan to exterminate the Jews, which made Thunderfoot finally get fed up and post the video that David did an article on not long ago.

That sparked a row between the two on Twitter, and there was yet more fighting when a woman who is apparently a fairly prominent Gamergater asked him the pressing question we all want answered – whether he owns one toy skull or if he moves it around between videos (or as one participant in the subsequent row suggested, the skull stays stationary and the furniture is rearranged around it). Unbelievably, in the fallout of that, one of Aurini’s friends (who he’s posing with holding guns incorrectly in his Twitter icon) said that he now understood exactly why Gamergate is a harrassment campaign, and was mocked for that statement in the way that Gamergate typically does.

Jordan was very quiet for a while, but has regrettably resurfaced with another video where he says that his version of the film, a punchily edited piece at a mere two hours and thirty-five minutes long, will soon be released. He then mocks his backers who are asking questions about when they might expect for him to produce anything.

Anita Sarkeesian has put out another video, I think – at least, I saw Milo talking about it and smugly refuting all its points, in his mind, by saying that she’s fat.

The stars of this soap opera seem to be slowly organizing themselves into tiers, like layers of rot in a long-forgotten yoghurt – Thunderfoot and Jordan seem to be realizing that the whole thing is kind of shit and are backing away, Aurini is still himself despite his former followers widely mocking him for repeatedly insisting he knows anything about editing because he “knows all the keyboard shortcuts”, and Matt Forney is crawling his way to being the King of the Land of Imbeciles, acting as a mouthpiece for the worst of the bunch when he’s not doing his Twitter campaign to call out conservative politicians for not being sexist or racist enough.

Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
6 years ago

Which is pretty much all of them.

http://www.reactiongifs.com/r/sprmn.gif

Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
6 years ago

Aurini stomped off to fellow self-styled bald git Matt Forney to take part in a podcast hamfistedly psychoanalyzing his former partner into some sort of unstable killer figure.

http://38.media.tumblr.com/2e6b461378d4cf7651f2f22703599e4c/tumblr_nocvtpJAyR1u7h2ndo3_500.gif

What a fucking douche, uncut Lysol strength.

ReallyFriendly
ReallyFriendly
6 years ago

@ davidknewton Thanks for your aside! I did wonder if people here were aware that Anita released a new video recently that is loads better than the ‘counter documentary’ – warning, it may be quite depressing to watch!

As for Gamergate eating its own if they express dissent, no surprise in the slightest. They have done that so often to themselves that I always wonder how their own members can’t recognize the monsters they have become (or were to begin with).

I actually think (and hope) in the long run they will tear themselves apart. Either through the slow painful self-realization of what they really are or the endless infighting they have among themselves.

katz
katz
6 years ago

Chiron will be spamming this meme everywhere.

https://imgflip.com/i/qj7h7

Fruitloopsie
Fruitloopsie
6 years ago

AbominableSnowPickle
“Letting two more people in, regardless of gender would have been ILLEGAL.”

B-but misandry 🙁

Katz
Chiron salutes you. You are a great ally to the centaur rights activists.

NickNameNick
NickNameNick
6 years ago

(Rava refused to speak to me on the phone because he said he was concerned Yahoo News would misquote him. He also later emailed me to say: “I hope you print all sides to your story, because I am sure you would not want someone to publish a story about you on the Internet labeling you a ‘predator,’ a ‘gigantic bitch,’ an ‘elitist,’ a ‘soulless harpie,’ a ‘narcissist,’ and a ‘dumb woman,’ without that story presenting facts or opinions to the contrary.”)

Wow. Just…wow.

There’s false equivalence and the threat of harassment – in one sentence! That is quite a feat, though it’s nothing to take pride in as much as be ashamed about…

I don’t understand how a law intended to protect women and minorities can be used by White men though.

As a Californian, my guess is they’re arguing that – as white men – they’re the minorities in a state that has a significant Latino population. I’ve been unfortunate enough to come across it on more than one occasion and flabbergasted by it because, technically, they still live in a country that is still largely run by white men and populated overall by white people.

It’s become a rallying cry for reactionary racists in the state, who’d even blame the Latino population for earthquakes if they could. They blame them for everything else whether it be crime or traffic or high sales tax. Why the fact the last three governors of the state have all been white (one of whom was actually an immigrant from Austria) doesn’t dawn on them is beyond me.

Honestly, this whole thing sounds like a set-up. If Candelore and Allison have been involved as plaintiffs that many times, with Rava representing them, it comes off as if they planned to sign up for this networking event and then look for any reason as to suing ChickCEO for “discrimination.” I doubt they genuinely wanted to take part in what that organization was doing – it’d be like Hell’s Angels showing up at an NAACP meeting, in that it comes off as suspicious as fuck.

This is what happens when a country is way too litigious for its own good; you get frivolous lawsuits like this being taken up by courts and used as a weapon to financially ruin others, when they should be tossed aside for the nonsense they are. While I don’t deny the necessities of attorneys when it comes to Law – I’ll admit I’m still not fond of them and, given people like Rava, see them as responsible for perpetuating this. They’re the ones who gain the most out of it.

My own father, when asking for much needed compensation from his employers for his 20+ years as a sound engineer and boom operator in Hollywood, spent well over a decade having to get it back. Not only did his employers’ lawyers drew it out for as long as possible, knowing it’d cost less to continue the case that pay what my father was owed, but even his own lawyer was quite lazy about it as my dad could barely afford him as is. Paying my dad would’ve just been a drop in the bucket for his employers – yet they acted as if he was demanding the moon. I’m still disgruntled about it…

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
6 years ago

@ Nicknamenick

even blame the Latino population for earthquakes if they could

I really think you’ll appreciate watching this from 3:00

NickNameNick
NickNameNick
6 years ago

“Forget the Alamo!”

Yes. Just…yes. 😀

Rabid Rabbit
Rabid Rabbit
6 years ago

I’m not sure that #NotAllCentaurs holds water. There was literally one one good one. The reason everyone was so amazed at Chiron was not just that he was a wise healer etc. etc., because because no centaur before or since did anything like that. Sorry, C. S. Lewis, J. K. Rowling et al., centaurs are not by nature stargazers. They’re much more likely to be running around bragging about how they’re hung like a horse.

katz
katz
6 years ago

I’m not sure that #NotAllCentaurs holds water. There was literally one one good one. The reason everyone was so amazed at Chiron was not just that he was a wise healer etc. etc., because because no centaur before or since did anything like that. Sorry, C. S. Lewis, J. K. Rowling et al., centaurs are not by nature stargazers. They’re much more likely to be running around bragging about how they’re hung like a horse.

And that is exactly the kind of misequinandry that makes the world such a terrible place!

ReallyFriendly
ReallyFriendly
6 years ago

@ Rabid Rabbit I am a Sagittarius and do not approve of your comment. And we are not bragging!

I do agree that stargazing is overrated 8p

@ katz Thank you for your support! I will notify my other Sags that you are a good human!

mewfington catmouth iii
mewfington catmouth iii
6 years ago

oh sweet baby butts my meme dreams have come true #NOTALLCENTAURS

i originally typed that as “femtaurz” wtf is wrong with me

as a taurus i am unable to celebrate this fully though i will almost certainly reserve the right to sue for discrimination on behalf of all minotaurs attempting to gain access to centaur-only clubs

are tauruses represented by minotaurs or just bulls and stuff to hell with it its minotaurs now son #labyrinth

Bina
Bina
6 years ago

Welp, now we know what actual activist menz rightz activism looks like. Still basically shouting at and harassing women, but with actual legal papers filed, and snotty-hissy e-mails directed straight at a reporter they assume will not “present all sides of the story”, i.e. only theirs, and uncritically, as opposed to writing mere blog pieces threatening to dig up dirt on her and spread it around like, and I quote, “gonorrhea in a whorehouse”.

Rabid Rabbit
Rabid Rabbit
6 years ago

@ReallyFriendly

Would it be especially mean of me to quote your “stargazing is overrated” right next to your “I’m a Sagittarius”? Well, except that you basically just did so yourself…

Rabid Rabbit
Rabid Rabbit
6 years ago

@Bina

Well, to give them credit, it is more “active” than much else we’ve seen from them.

kupo
kupo
6 years ago

@mewfington I’m a Sagittarius and female; does that make me a femtaurz? 😀

Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
6 years ago

WHAT ABOUT TEH LEOS???!!!!!

Fruitloopsie
Fruitloopsie
6 years ago
alternatesteve90
6 years ago

*Sigh*. Really, guys? Discrimination against men in tech may occasionally happen on a personal level, but it’s still incredibly rare, and it sure as *hell* isn’t institutionalized, unlike sexism against women, in tech (or anywhere else, pretty much). So the Manosphere is essentially just trolling us all with their foolhardy antics…..not that they’ve ever done much else, mind.

Rabid Rabbit
Rabid Rabbit
6 years ago

@kupo:

I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure that if “centaur” is the masculine, then it’s misandric because it implies males are only worth a cent.