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Defender of sex with minors back on board at local software group

Richard "RMS" Stallman announced he's back on the board of directors of the Free Software Foundation, 18 months after he resigned in a hailstorm of controversy over comments suggesting Jeffrey Epstein's underage victims were "entirely willing."

Stallman, who founded the group at MIT and who helped write development tools and free-use licenses still used in the Unix world, acknowledged his return might offend some, but said he's back to stay. "That's how it is, and I'm not planning to resign a second time."

Stallman’s "that’s how it is" is not how it has to be, retorts the Organization for Ethical Source.

The Free Software Foundation Europe adds: "We disapprove of this step that came without any message of remorse or willingness to change."

The FSF needs to seriously reflect on this decision as well as their decision-making process to prevent similar issues from happening again. Therefore, in the current situation we see ourselves unable to collaborate both with the FSF and any other organisation in which Richard Stallman has a leading position. Instead, we will continue to work with groups and individuals who foster diversity and equality in the Free Software movement in order to achieve our joint goal of empowering all users to control technology.

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Comments

Women in the building he worked in at MIT used to keep large plant collections in their offices because he was such a pain in the ass but also hates plants.

He had a bare mattress that he and groups of other semi-clothed people would congregate on.

He distributes "pleasure cards" to women he thinks will be attracted to him.

He's the poster-child of toxic masculinity in tech and he should have been fired years ago.

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Voting closed 80

though he had many thoughtful ideas on patent reform, he comes across as a arrogant peck during the q&a.

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Important to note that a ton of people in the software/open source community are *extremely* not okay with this: https://rms-open-letter.github.io/

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Voting closed 32

Well over 1,000 signatures on this at this point.

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had no idea this was happening. Someone on the board really likes RMS and doesn't seem to care how many people are driven out of free software by their promotion of him.

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Voting closed 27

Back when Stallman first graced this website a few or two back, someone on this board was going hard to claim that this guy was kind of a victim of his own personality. I guess they must be a higher up at ESF. Hard to imagine being this kind of myopically despicable but hey, that's humanity.

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Voting closed 20

"Victim of his own personality" is the kind of "defense" that is only ever offered to well-off white men. For anyone else, it's not "oh, that's just Richard," it's either "I've always thought he was creepy, throw the book at him" or "well, boys [grown men] will be boys [evil creeps], what can you do?"

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Voting closed 23

Oh he just has a sex addiction.. thats why the shooter went into a spa and shot up a bunch of people.

Sex Addiction.. yeah thats the ticket.

(my point to this is... "victim of his own personality" is the same white-ass excuse as "sex addiction"... covering up that white people are just scum)

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Voting closed 31

Condemn the actions, not the race. Racial generalizations like this are counterproductive

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Denying racism is counter-productive and is commonly used to perpetuate racism.

Calling out racism when you see it is productive.

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Well, it seems like there's only one solution.

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Leaving aside his abhorrent personality and behavior, does anyone actually take him seriously as a thinker? I recently had the pleasure of reading the legendary rider for his speaking engagements, and his entire schtick seems to consist of (a) answering emails (his job, per the rider) and (b) explaining how every single widely-adopted practice in the software industry is wrong.

I realize that he and his team are responsible for writing a lot of the utilities that are used in most Linux installations, but has he actually contributed anything to the software community in the 21st Century?

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Voting closed 24

And neither has Linus.

Linux has branched into its own thing.. leaving those two behind. It now stands by itself without the FSF. Even if the open source end dried up, big companies like Dell and IBM back & fund Linux, and some like RedHat write and sell their distro's now.

Its more of a matter of tenure. Same reason why certain assholish professionals at Universities are difficult to dump.. Tenure.

Name apparently means alot to them.

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Voting closed 22

Torvalds’s major contribution in the 21st century isn’t related to Linux - its Git, which was first released in 2005 and is now overwhelmingly the tool used by developers.

And even though Linux is much bigger than one person he is still actively writing code, running tests, etc. Torvalds is not just riding by on tenure.

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Voting closed 27

Cybah's a bit off their remark... While a complete and legendary dooshbag, Linus has very much contributed by Git alone if nothing else

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who needs to believe in the idea that if you're talented enough, you can behave however you like to other people. Propping up people like RMS lets them feel better about their own behavior - they're just too much of a genius to need to be a decent human being!

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What is written above:

Jeffrey Epstein defender [...] Stallman [suggested] Jeffrey Epstein's underage victims were "entirely willing."

versus what was actually said:

"We can imagine many scenarios, but the most plausible scenario is that she presented herself to [Marvin Minsky] as entirely willing. Assuming she was being coerced by Epstein, he would have had every reason to tell her to conceal that from most of his associates."

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Your point? Even reading what he wrote he is basically blaming the victim and trying to cover his own a$$.

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If she's underage, that's the end. There is no defense. There is no legitimacy.

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An adult male over 40 should ask for an ID if a woman looks remotely under 25. Otherwise it's a creepy power play at best. He, like many others, let self-gratification get in the way of moral behavior.

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It's worth noting that Minsky was never actually accused of having sex with Giuffre. From Wikipedia:

Virginia Giuffre testified in a 2015 deposition in her defamation lawsuit against Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell that Maxwell directed her to have sex with Minsky among others. There has been no allegation that sex between them took place nor a lawsuit against Minsky's estate.[48] Minsky's widow, Gloria Rudisch, says that he could not have had sex with any of the women at Epstein's residences, as they were always together during all of the visits to Epstein's residences.[49][50]

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How is that less disgusting? Underage girls cannot legally be "willing."

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If so, please go ahead and make that argument, rather than implying it in a weaselly fashion.

While you're at it, you may want to also address that the guy writing this has made multiple statements defending pedophilia elsewhere, as well as a long history of misogyny in the tech world.

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Wait, do you want to argue with facts, and to appeal to reading comprehension here?

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Because it came up as part of the uproar over Epstein's connections to MIT in general and Minsky in particular. The young woman in question had charged that Epstein made her have sex with the far older Minsky.

Still, yes, the quote was specifically about Minsky, so I've changed the headline. The incident occurred in the Virgin Islands, where the age of consent is 18, but the woman was only 17 at the time. Stallman was arguing, essentially, eh, what's a year when the female in question is raring to go? And never mind her statement was she was forced into it. Couple that with his other Important Thoughts about teen girls and I'm not sure he comes out looking much better.

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Voting closed 26

Even if we're pretty well persuaded that the guy is a creep, that doesn't justify misinterpretations and distortions and reporting rumors as facts. The difference between the two texts Refugee presents is not trivial. The second makes it clear that Stallman was defending Minsky, not Epstein, and that he did not suggest that the girl was "entirely willing", only that she, under coercion, presented herself so to Minsky, and that Minsky may have been thereby deceived. This doesn't disparage the victim, unless you think it's disparaging to suggest that she submitted to coercion. And if you claim that, you're disparaging her more than he ever did.

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may have been the precipitating event for his expulsion, but they certainly weren’t the underlying problem, which was his creepy, toxic, misogynistic treatment of women, including students and staff.

So parsing out his statements is kind of beside the point

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Voting closed 27

That sounds an awful lot like what Epstein's equally creepy buddy Andrew Saxe-Coburg-Gotha-Mountbatten-Windsor's apologists are saying (granted, it's a loaded question, but there's a whole army of them howling about age of consent while ignoring international sex trafficking laws and treaties that can make age of consent moot). It appears Mr. Saxe-Coburg-Gotha-Mountbatten-Windsor took after his uncle Louis who was likely a pedophile (and murdered by the IRA off the coast of Sligo, but for a dumber reason than that, since they busy covering up at least one their own pedophiles).

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Anyone who can shake money trees is generally given a pass for all but the most noxious or publicly exposed behaviors.

An unfortunate reality in many non-profits (and churches): Money absolves sins.

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Sex with ninors is called rape.

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While I don't think RMS should hold any position of authority, and I'm unhappy that he's back in the FSF -- his being a creep is apparently well-documented -- I don't think it is right or just to misrepresent his words.

I encourage you to actually read that thread and his other comments. He soundly condemns Epstein. He never says there that sex with minors is OK, and he never says that the victims were willing. What he does say is that they may have *been presented* (passive voice) as willing, which is quite possible. That's how sex trafficking often works!

The worst you could honestly say about that thread is that 1) wow, wrong time and place for that argument, dude, and 2) he indirectly exculpates the people who had sex with those girls, by omission of how they should have known better.

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That's a whole lot of words to say, "Defending old men who have sex with teenagers is totally on the up and up! There's nothing gross or off-putting about saying that if a 17-year-old SEEMS willing, a man who could be her grandfather is totally allowed to bang her, no problem."

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and should probably go back and take another look at it.

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He never says there that sex with minors is OK

Sure, he never says it there, but we're talking about a guy who has said

I am skeptical of the claim that voluntarily pedophilia harms children.

(source here)

and

All of these acts [including pedophilia and possession of child pornography] should be legal as long as no one is coerced. They are illegal only because of prejudice and narrowmindedness.

(source here)

Doesn't seem right or just to be defending RMS without considering the context of his earlier remarks on the topic before he decided to defend Minsky. To me, the actual worst you could honestly say about that thread is, oh hey, looks like the guy who has regularly defended pedophilia is finding new excuses to defend pedophiles, just as we might expect.

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It's quite ordinary for Libertarians to get together and theorize and say this sort of stuff. It's also common for them to say things like how weed should be legal, and fully automatic firearms should be legal. That doesn't mean they say that a person should go out and shoot people, any more than liberal Democrats say you should go out and find unborn babies to abort.

For better or worse, what you think/say has become a relatively big deal compared to what you do. A man in Georgia goes on a rampage and kills 8 people, and the reaction to it centers on what he was thinking. That doesn't work for for people like RMS who voice their weird thoughts out loud.

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The issue isn’t that he voices his thoughts out loud, it’s that the women in his workplace consistently reported creepy harassment.

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and a much better reason for him to get shit-canned.

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is because that's what people are misquoting.

The other things he said were well known for years and he didn't get fired over those. Which is interesting, but again not actually relevant to whether his more recent words are being misrepresented to say something else.

The truth and accuracy are important, even if it makes it more complicated to condemn someone.

(And I'm just going to say it again, in case anyone missed it: RMS should not be in any position of power over others.)

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