Publisher calls biology blogger an ‘Urban Whore’ for asking for payment

 

danielle-lee2No matter how frequently we report on sexism in the workplace, we are still often surprised by the audacity of those who discriminate even in the most mundane situations. In one such shocking incident, biologist and science blogger Dr. Danielle N. Lee was called ‘an urban whore’ when she inquired about compensation from the journal Biology Online. What BO didn’t count on was the social media arsenal someone like Dr. Lee has at her disposal.

Dr. Lee wrote for the Scientific American blog network for over two years under the name DNLee, focusing on “urban ecology, evolutionary biology & diversity in the sciences.” She was approached by Biology Online to write a series of monthly articles under her blog name – the Urban Scientist. When she inquired about compensation, Biology Online, explained that their guest bloggers were expected to write “for exposure”. When Dr. Lee politely declined this request, Biology Online insulted her by replying, “Are you an urban scientist or an urban whore?”

Dr. Lee posted screencaps of the exchange to her blog on the Scientific American site along with a video aimed at Biology Online on Youtube. What is even more surprising is that Scientific American removed her blog post about the incident claiming it was too personal and nothing to do with science. Since Scientific American allows numerous other authors to post personal stories on their website, their silencing of a African American woman seems to reflect a troubling contradiction towards diversity in the sciences.

The Daily Dot re-reported Dr Lee’s original post-, after it had been removed. They quoted her as saying, “It wasn’t just that he called me a whore – he juxtaposed it against my professional being: Are you urban scientist or an urban whore? Completely dismissing me as a scientist, a science communicator (whom he sought for my particular expertise), and someone who could offer something meaningful to his brand. What? Now, I’m so immoral and wrong to inquire about compensation?”

At Female Breadwinners, we wholeheartedly support Dr. Lee’s stance. We can’t help but suspect that would not have been the responses from Biology Online or Scientific American had the blogger been someone from a ‘more traditional background’.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

  • Kimber E Musacchio

    What an interesting post!

    Thankfully Dr. Lee was not silent about the disrespect she was shown and the ripples spread. Has the dialogue about sexism and related psychological manipulation in the field of science increased? That would surely be a good thing!

    Biology Online apologized. More importantly, they fired the so-called editor, which got wide media attention (http://abcnews.go.com/US/biology-online-fires-editor-called-scientist-urban-whore/story?id=20564772). Maybe he learned a lesson and will change his behaviour going forward. More likely he is just angry…

    After negative publicity, Scientific American’s restored Dr. Lee’s blog post.

    Three other scientists/bloggers were emboldened to come forward with their stories of sexual harrassment by Scientific American’s own blogger-in-chief, Bora Zivkovic. He resigned his roles as Blog Editor at Scientific American and member of the board of directors of Science Online. (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/10/131017-sexual-harassment-bora-sexism-journalism-culture-science/)