Both Valerie Aurora and Violet Blue has posted their recollection of the events that transpired. I didn't want to get into a "he said, she said" game, but here we are. There has been too many inaccuracies in my opinion to remain silent, even at the risk of continuing the drama.
In Valerie's clarification post there are a few things that I have to point out.
- In both the original and clarification post, Valerie starts her recollection of the events by say the BSides SF organizer requested the Ada Initiative's advice on the talk. While this is true, that it implies I had originally reached out to her on my own. The omitted information that I feel is pertinent here is that Valerie had sent complaints to co-founders of Secuirty BSides and organizers of various BSides events saying "[t]his is total bullshit even if it somehow ends up giving an anti-rape, pro-consent message. Framing a talk about sex in the vocabulary of computer security does not magically make it on-topic, and it definitely doesn't stop it from being a giant 'You are not welcome or even safe' sign for women." I then replied saying that "I would love to talk to you about this. As I am obviously not a woman, I am lacking a female's perspective on this. It would be really appreciated if you could let me know your thoughts. I am not sure about the exact contents of Violet's talk, but if the past is any indication, it should not alienate women."
- Valerie said "At this point, Ian told Valerie that he would cancel the talk if it included discussion of rape, but not otherwise." From my recollection, I told Valerie that I would cancel the talk if it taught people how to date rape someone.
- Valerie said "Ian returned a few minutes later and told Valerie that the talk did include discussion of rape, and that Violet Blue had agreed to cancel it." I had returned to tell Valerie that the talk included "discussion of date rape drugs" (not rape), but we're going to cancel it anyway. I did not mention Violet's response or reaction to the situation.
- Violet had offered alternative solutions to not giving the talk in Track 1 as scheduled, the last being "[m]aybe I can do a video of the talk and BSides can have it as an after-con talk." Then her interpretation of my reaction was, "[t]he way the organizer looked at me, I knew that wouldn’t happen, either." I would like to point out that I am fully in support of making this happen. At the time, I was mentally making sure we would have enough left in the budget to record the talk at a later time. Maybe thats why she thought I was against it. I'm not sure. I have since reached out to Violet about recording her talk so we can put it up on our video site.
- At the end of her post, she says "[i]t’s now apparent that Security BSides SF feels my talk was inappropriate for its conference and community." This is not how I or anyone at BSides SF feel. In fact, it is quite the opposite. The reasons I had decided to cancel the talk were a) it was expressed to me that the talk would have a negative effect on many women, and b) Violet had offered to not give the talk in the interest of not causing more problems for me and BSides SF. We do not agree with the Ada Initiative's belief that the discussion of sex at tech conferences is harmful to women.