Debate and discussion of any biological questions not pertaining to a particular topic.
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We would like to express our sincerest apologies to Danielle N. Lee (DNLee) and anyone else who may have been offended by the way our recently hired employee, Ofek, handled the conversation with her. Ofek's behaviour was completely out of line and after gathering the facts we immediately terminated his employment. Ofek failed to show the respect and prudent behavior expected of him as a contributor to Biology Online.
From the moment that Biology Online started, it has always been a cordial avenue to exchange invaluable information and discussions among scientists, professionals, students, and biology savvy individuals from different parts of the world. Offensive and discriminatory behavior has always been discouraged. We intend to preserve this core function of the website. After an immediate and fair deliberation of the situation we decided to terminate the services of Ofek for his failure to represent and keep what we value in Biology Online.
We would also like to express our gratitude to the people who made us aware of the situation and to all loyal patrons of the website for your continued support. We assure you that Biology Online will continue providing its audience a congenial place for discussions and free biological information for everyone.
Biology Online Team
(Note: Below is a screenshot of the the email sent to DNLee)
As informal as this apology may be, it's a lot better than the "thrown under the bus" tactic of SciAm:
http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/at- ... -in-chief/
This is a good step.
I actually hope that it is received well by Dr. Lee. I am sure that she, like any other reasonable individual, would understand that the actions of one specific employee does not necessarily represent or reflect the sentiments of a particular company as a whole.
Women struggle for respect, fair compensation, and credibility in the workforce, and the scientific community is not beyond its own gender barriers. There is a notable lack of gender diversity in the field of science, and men have always dominated it. To be an accredited woman AND Black in the scientific community is doubly as rare, as the statistics for Black graduation from any four-year college is amazingly low by comparison to many other groups. Now even at historically black colleges according to the newer numbers.
In that sense Dr. Lee has broken quite a few boundaries, and sadly that makes the sexist and racist correspondence even more bitter.
For a representative of a professional scientific 'questions and answers' website to refer to a woman in the scientific community as a whore (or just in general and regardless of her credentials in my opinion), is an extremely offensive act.
To refer to a Black woman in the scientific community as a 'urban whore' is just outrageously inappropriate and nauseating.
To refer to a Black woman as an 'urban whore' for not submitting free content that you would then hope to utilize in order to increase web traffic and thus advertising revenue is hypocritically damnable and mind boggling beyond description.
Ofek, I suspect, did not work for free.
In any event, I am glad that this site has sensible leadership and that this apology was issued, however informal it may be.
- B.T. Way
It's a good apology, IMO. Forthright, and unqualified. Different people have different communication styles; and that Alan went for an informal friendly style is fine. It's still a good and prompt apology and the right practical steps taken as well.
This isn't a complaint, but something that made me chuckle. It was jarring to read that closing:
Alan's free to hope for nice things; but dude... she's just recently declined politely the opportunity to establish a relationship with you, even before she got insulted.
The problem came about when Ofek wouldn't take that polite refusal as an answer...
An offense of this magnitude requires that the top individual in this organization contact Dr. Lee personally and convey his or her most profound apologies. An informal email does not suffice. This offense was egregious. An employee may have committed it, but organizations ultimately are responsible for the actions of their employees.
The offense was ridiculous. The apology was welcome. Now, how about Biology Online and other publishers stop taking for free what they turn around and sell?
That this clown of an editor thought he could treat anyone this way is incredible. It's sad that no one is offended that the clown's job was to cheat writers of their valuable work products.
It's pathetic that the line to fill the clown's red nose and fright wig will stretch around the block.
Lee is aces in my book, and not just because she told the clown to asexually reproduce when he was rude. It's admirable that she didn't work for free.
The post at Sci Am is back up - with an attached note at the top: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/urban-scientist/2013/10/11/give-trouble-to-others-but-not-me/
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