Geek Feminism Wiki

Michael Lopp, otherwise known as rands, is the creator of the Jerkcity web comic and a software engineering manager and writer. He keynoted Drupalcon 2013 and RailsConf 2013.

In August 2014, he tweeted, "I’ve been paying good money to watch Woody Allen worry for decades and I will continue to do so." This can only be taken as a statement of indifference to the fact that Allen raped his daughter, Dylan Farrow; a few months before, Allen was in the news when Farrow, now an adult, made a (CW: explicit description of rape from a child's point of view) public statement about Allen's rape of her.

Hero worship in tech[]

Lopp's defense of Allen, and its implication that creating art that Lopp likes justifies or mitigates the harm that Allen did by raping a child, echoes tech's trope of defending white men who have harmed people on the basis that those men have created good things. Other examples include defenses of Linus Torvalds' verbal abuse of open-source contributors on the basis that Linux is an effective project, and of JavaScript creator and former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich's contributions to homophobic and racist political campaigns and candidates.

Participants in communities where Lopp is influential may well conclude from Lopp's defense of Allen that Lopp will also make excuses for leaders in his own field who have abused people, as long as those leaders get work done.

Trustworthy leaders[]

Valerie Aurora, writing about the Rape apology on LCA mailing list affair, wrote: "When leaders in a community make comments like this and they aren’t protested by other leaders in the community, women get the message: Women are not welcome here." Matthew Garrett wrote about the same incident, "Leaders who engage in sexist behaviour or who harass community members are clearly untrustworthy and undermine any attempts the rest of the community may be making. Failing to step in when they see examples of unacceptable behaviour is as bad. But less obvious is that it's possible to destroy that community trust without clearly contravening those community standards."