I am disturbed by the attempt to silence Renegade Evolution

You should be disturbed with what’s happening too – doesn’t matter if you agree with what Ren Ev does, doesn’t matter if you like her or hate her guts. She is the only practicing s(e)x-worker able to attend the debate forum on p(o)rn that’s due to take place at William & Mary next week, and now, apparently, her invitation is in jeopardy because anti-p(or)n speaker Sam Berg is uncomfortable with her presence.

Sam Berg has referred to a post that Ren Ev put up in anger, while forgetting the dozens (if not hundreds) of disparaging and abusive comments that have been spewed at Ren – comments that utilized sexist language, hell, comments that directly implied that Ren Ev somehow “deserves” s(ex)ual assault for doing what she does.

Was it wrong of Ren Ev to make those comments? Of course. But guess what? She has repeatedly owned up to them – owned up to her own anger, while I have yet to see a single apology come her way. Furthermore, trying to construe her words as a “threat” is a bit of willful misrepresentation – it’s like trying to say that Conor Oberst wanted to harm the President because he wrote that angry song about him or whatever.

Let’s get to the bottom of this, shall we? This isn’t some conscientious objection. This is censorship dressed up to look as something else. It’s happened before, and it does feminists and feminism no favours.

Since when must we actually point out to folks that it is not only useful, but important, to include an actual p(or)n performer in a forum on p(or)n?

Are some feminists more equal than others? Is this the real issue here? I sincerely hope that this is not the case.

***I will update this post as the situation develops***

{UPD} The organizer of the event is trying to speak to Sam Berg to work something out.

Also, Rebecca at Burning Words is as disturbed by these developments as I am. Belledame is pointing out that this scenario is all too familiar. Lady S is comparing the situation to “the unwilllingness of creationists to debate evolution on terms other than their own.”

If you are reading this, and you’re ticked off, please blog about it. People should know what’s going on.

{UPD 2} Octogalore has weighed in as well, and here is an excellent quote on the matter from her:

An incoherent, scary porn rep would be the best thing ever for Sam’s side. Her wanting to prevent Ren’s appearance suggests that her concern is actually the opposite.

I think so too.

{UPD 3} The organizer of this event was gracious enough to stop by and point out an error I had made: I had originally assumed that Ren Ev was the only practicing s(e)x-worker invited. This is not so. She is the only practicing s(e)x-worker who will actually be able to make it to the event. I updated the first paragraph of this post, since I do not wish to misrepresent anything.

Here are more links to people’s dismayed reactions to the entire thing:

Daisy’s Dead Air

Letters from Gehenna






Lisa Harney

All worth your time, believe me.

{UPD 4} Ren reports that she will be on the panel at William & Mary. Awesome. Sam Berg will not be on the panel. It’s her loss.

15 thoughts on “I am disturbed by the attempt to silence Renegade Evolution

  1. I just need to point one thing out. I’m an organizer of this event. I’m tired, waaay behind in classes, trying to figure out my next move after I graduate, but I want to do this panel right, and I’ve been working pretty hard on this thing for about a month now.

    I need to point out that Ren was not the only practicing sex worker “invited” to this event. Not by any means. She is, however, unfortunately, the only practicing sex worker who is able to come to Williamsburg, VA on a Monday evening and on our crappy budget to participate in this discussion.

    Just that. Thanks for posting. Take Care.

  2. Hi Constance! I thank you for stopping by and clarifying things. I’ve updated the wording of my post.

    I know that you are probably very frustrated right now, and for what it’s worth, let me just say that I don’t think that anyone is blaming you.

    These things can be very, very tough.

  3. Have you seen Witchy’s attempt to paint Ren’s invitation as a bait and switch? Like Sam was tricked into agreeing and then they closed the trap and produced Ren?

  4. Oh, like I’m taking her seriously after someone who was most likely her trolled my blog last night – never mind that trainwreck she hosted a few weeks ago about how cisgender erases her femaleness.

    I was just impressed by how far she had to contort herself to reach for that excuse to justify asking Ren to leave.

  5. So, are we now positive this is witchy?

    I’m just sort of amazed that these people accomplish anything in the real world. stupid -and- hateful, it’s a winning combination.

    oh noez I just said something unprofessional, how will I ever manage.

  6. oh yeah, and witchy, as we recall, also thinks that RE shouldn’t be allowed to volunteer for a womens’ shelter, because, you know, she’s a stripper, and abused women (who never include strippers, of course, at least not ones who don’t agree with w-w’s take on it and humbly agree to get out of that man-pleasing institution right now) don’t need that kind of selfish “help” from anyone, even if she never actually talked about her job to anyone, (much less the women and children) until the director asked her point blank what she did for a living and she told her.

    also, transwomen shouldn’t be allowed to work womens’ crisis hotlines, because they sound like “camp queens”–sorry, that was stormy, but it’s not as though w-w or anyone protested or anything–and that might traumatize real women.

    lovely people, all around, really; and no, of course the attempt to get Ren booted from this panel is in no way related to simple “ew cooties” bigotry, is in fact about actual fear for Sam’s safety.


  7. o, Lisa reminded me, I’d forgotten about -this- little gem:


    “women smiling while hanging upside down from a pole like a painted negro in a minstrel show dancing for peanuts”

    “disposable dick accessories”

    she’s got quite the way with words herself, does our Sam.

    and of course the stripper herself told her where she could get off:

    “I didn’t realise my voice was going to be available too, but for the record I don’t care. And FOR THE RECORD, I worked with S.M. Berg in the SWOC committee almost two years ago and she eventually left the group in a huff because no one (no one and I’ll refer you to other members) could take her laughable rants on (serious, admittedly) subjects such as trafficking and child exploitation seriously. She dragged the entire group off coure. I saved emails from her to remind myself of why exactly I’m becoming a public health advocate for sex workers. If it’s the same Sam Berg of course.”

    but hey, the important thing is, Sam is a -professional- and a defender of all women.

  8. Hi Constance,

    I just want to give you lots of credit for taking the time to set this debate up. Good luck with your classes!


  9. You know, we all have to take responsibility for the things we say, and we all act like asshats every once in a while. But some people get clean away with that sort of thing – and others will be painted as somehow “tainted” by their own humanity.

    We notice this over and over again – “Why are the women of colour being so meeeeean?” “Why are you an angry stripper?! You must be a dangerous psychopath!” “It’s OK to be trans… as long as you don’t demand basic rights n’ stuff.”


  10. Because nothing says “professional” like pulling a diva tantrum and going “fine then, if I can’t get my way, SCREW YOU GUYS, I’M STAYING HOME.”

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