Reflections on the Essence of Drama

Reflections on the Essence of Drama

On The Essence of Drama
“Can we seriously just stop with this us versus them thing already? It’s tired, it’s
boring, it’s not helpful to anyone. That’s the main thing: It divides people. It helps
no one.” 60:33 In a Q&A a while back, I said that I was going
to create a video in which I reflect on the “kerfuffle”, but after, well… reflecting,
I decided not to. The primary reason being that I didn’t think that doing so would help
the trans community, no matter how delicately I approached it. Though, I must admit, a close
second reason was that I was physically and mentally exhausted. What’s more, I’m really
not a fan of drama in general, and my disposition is to ignore it, but due to Ethel (Essence
of Thought) relentlessly bullying my good friend Rachel Oates into self-harming, and
then heavily insinuating that she’s using the colour of her skin to manipulate people,
I’m done with silence. This is simply not acceptable. This regressive, vindictive, bullying
group, of which Ethel is a part, must be held accountable. And so, here are my Reflections
on the Essence of Drama. [intro]
Due to the nature of this topic, within this video you’re going to see a more human side
to me than I typically reveal. What’s more, I’m going to be as raw and honest as I possibly
can (perhaps even too honest, if one can be), and in doing to I’m going to rustle some
jimmies… but I’m okay with that. One lesson that I’ve learnt throughout this experience
is to just be me, warts and all. To most effectively reflect on what’s transpired, I’m going
to give a timeline. It’s a bit of a tedious way in which to reflect, I grant, but I think
it it’s most suitable. So, here we go: On the 29th of March, I published a video
on transgender athletes, and I screwed up, bad! I unwittingly contributed to a hateful
narrative, and in doing so hurt many trans people (and again, I am sincerely sorry that).
Consequently, people such as Noel Plum, Thomas Westbrook, Eric Murphy, Matt Dillahunty and
Shannon Q reached out to me and explained where I had went wrong, and as a result I
unlisted the video, donated the ad revenue, apologised, issued corrections, and then finally,
on the 15th of June, I published my new view. Another conviction that I have that’s worth
emphasizing is that I believe that we need to tmake substantial changes to most sporting
and athletic categories, because 1 – as it stands, many of them are not based on the
actual attributes that matter; and 2 – we’re currently telling trans women that they can’t
compete in the “women’s category”, and that’s not right. That needs to be fixed.
So that’s me – that’s my production timeline – and of course, I’ve made many
mistakes throughout; I could’ve done things better; I should’ve acted sooner, etc; I
accept this, wholeheartedly. Since June, I’ve said little to nothing on the topic. I’ve
tried to move on. However, during that timeline, a lot has happened elsewhere (specifically
with Essence of Thought), and here, again, is a breakdown:
Shortly after the release of my first, original video, Ethel published a response that was,
in large, decent. Just like the aforementioned people, Ethel accurately pointed out many
of my mistakes… but unlike the previous people, she incessantly assigned to me malice
motive – she insisted that I had made the video with the intent of deliberately hurting
trans people. “Just as a means to attack trans women and
their place in public.” In fact, she straight up asserted that I was
“Jumping on the anti trans bandwagon simply to cash in on a far-right paycheck.”
“Oh deary me, the alt-light man is here to teach us about his fears of women’s sports
[…] Stephen Woodford from Rationality Rules is jumping on the anti-trans bandwagon. Because
when the bible thumpers are too busy to blame us for every natural disaster on this planet,
the trademark skeptics step up to claim we’re destroying Western Civilisation, piece by
piece.” […] “People who have never been concerned about women’s struggles all of
a sudden taking up the pussy-hat at the whiff of a far right paycheck, amuse me. Because
Woodford’s personal beliefs aside, that is who he caters to these days with his soft
Shapiro videos.” Now, given the accusation of me deliberately
jumping on the anti-trans bandwagon, I didn’t originally watch the rest of her video – I
did as I do with all criticism that’s mired in false accusations – I moved on. Hence,
I didn’t recognise the colossal mistakes that I had made until shortly before (and
during) my visit to Austin. It wasn’t until people honestly engaged with me, without assuming
that I had malicious intent, that I recognised my mistakes.
Anyhow, while flying back from the warm hospitality of the ACA, the ACA publicly denounced me,
and since receiving a denouncement from such a large and respected organisation can be
career ending, I had to put everything aside in order to respond immediately, which, despite
being exhausted, is exactly what I did. In response, Ethel doubled-down on her accusations,
but this time additionally claimed that I made my original video with transphobic principles
in mind: “He, as a creator, was acting on transphobic
principles when he made it.” What’s more, she claimed that I formed my
my argument based on pure prejudice: “He formed his argument on sheer prejudice
for trans women based on preconceived notions and stereotypes of what they’re like.”
And she asserted that I was calling for the removal of trans people’s human rights:
“And the way he used this to argue for the removal of their human rights.”
Which is not only wrong, it’s slanderous… I have never argued for the removal of trans
people’s human rights. Never. Not once. Didn’t happen. Let me put it simply: If
one is not eligible to compete in a category of their choosing (for whatever reason, be
it weight, testosterone levels, age, etc., that does not mean that one has been banned
from sports and has been stripped of their human rights… Five days after Ethel’s
second video, I published my apology, in which I expressed that I’m sorry for failing to
do my due-diligence and inadvertently emboldening some bad actors.
“To know that my mistakes and hyperbole has likely emboldened some actual bad actors
weights heavily on me, but the weight that I feel is NOTHING compared to those who suffer
at the hands of said bad actors. I’m sorry for my failure on these matter.”
However, because I didn’t completely capitulate to Ethel’s accusations of transphobia, or
pretend that it was her, and not others, that changed my mind, she tripled-down, claiming
that my donating the ad revenue to a trans charity was her idea.
“Said video was demonetised as a direct result of me dragging Woodford out on this.
[…] I kicked his door in and dragged him out over his total inaction, and within several
days I, and various others who joined me in doing such, achieved more than a month of
coddling Woodford had achieved.” What’s more, because Sarah, a trans woman,
didn’t agree with Ethel’s accusations and narrative, Ethel dismissed Sarah a merely
a token, and has since called her a “hatespeech apologist”, while others in Ethel’s group
have been calling Sarah a transphobe. *sigh* Honestly, the way that Sarah has been treated
by these people is quite frankly disgusting. I am sorry, Sarah, that you’re having to
deal with this. You deserve so much better, especially from this community.
Three days after Ethel’s third video, I published my correction video, in which I
voiced exactly what I felt I got wrong, exactly what I felt Ethel got wrong, and I also made
extremely clear that the malice that Ethel was ascribing to me is nonsense:
“My motive – my concern – was, and still is, what constitutes fairness in sport. Trans
women must be able to compete, and, indeed, as the gender they identify as, but that doesn’t
necessarily mean that it’s FAIR for trans women to compete in the same category as non-trans
women. It might be, for example, perfectly fair for those who transitioned before male
puberty, but unfair for those who transitioned after…” 04:50
It was also within this video that I briefly touched upon Ethel’s efforts to defame every
public figure that won’t swallow her (ironically) hateful narrative:
“In addition to defaming me, Ethel has been defaming pretty much everyone who won’t
publicly denounce me, including Matt Dillahunty, Aron Ra, Thomas Westbrook, Tell Tale, Rachel
Oates, and even Mr. Atheist for crying out loud.” 05:01
In response, Ethel then created two videos over the next 10 days, one in which she continued
to spread the same divisive narrative: “He was calling for the removal of trans
people’s human rights.” […] “It’s the fact that woodford made his video from the
standpoint of prejudice against trans people.” And one in which she declared that I’m not
an ally to the trans community. “Woodford is not a trans Ally.” 23:36 And on this note, I’d like to just remind
everyone of what they already know: despite Ethel and her ilk frequently acting as if
they speak on behalf of the trans community, they don’t:
“They don’t represent trans people – they represent a fringe group of hateful arseholes.”
1:30 “They don’t represent trans people – they
represent a fringe minority of hateful arseholes.”
We’re nearly through the timeline, I promise. On the 15th of June, I published my updated
views, and seven days later Ethel published a response titled “Rationality Rules Proves
Himself a Transphobic Hack”, in which, of course, she continued with all the same accusations,
and once again declared me not to be an ally (again, as if she speaks for the entire trans
community): “One group, including yourself, is arguing
for the removal of certain human rights for trans people.” 40:48
“To be clear, you are not supportive of the trans community. You are certainly no
trans Ally. You are a transphobic hack.” 41:26
Furthermore, and strategically, this was the video in which Ethel finally came clean with
her real position – stating that whether trans women take HRT to lower their testosterone
and performance levels or not (that is, regardless of their medical status), they must be able
to compete in categories that are designed for typical 46, XX females.
“Trans women should be allowed to compete as women no matter their medical status.”
27:44 Now, presuming that Ethel accepts the athletic
gender gap (which, depending on the specific event, is 10 to 30%), this entails one of
two things; either Ethel believes that as soon as a fully grown man embraces that they
identify as a woman, the accrued athletic benefits of having 30 nanomoles of testosterone
per litre surging througouth them for potentially decades, simply vanishes.
Ethel quoting that shitty study claiming that there’s no advantage whatsoever
“No matter their medical status.” Or it entails that Ethel does not give a damn
about fairness in sport. She couldn’t care less. She’s not even interested in renaming
the categories so that gender is irrelevant (as I would). Now, credit where credit is
due – Noel Plum spotted Ethel’s true agenda from the outset, and when Ethel finally revealed
her views, Noel made a very important and excellent observation:
40:33 “What I think is the case is that Essence of Though knew that if they come out
with this straightaway, that they would have lost a lot of support. The majority of people
who have taken Essence of Thought’s position believe that it’s right that trans women should
compete in the category for female athletes, but only if they have had hormone replacement
therapy, and if right at the outset Essence of Thought had come out and said the opposite,
they’d have gone “Whoa, hang on a minute, that’s not what we believe.” Instead,
what he has played is an absolute blinder. He has played one of the perfect radicalization
tactics. […] He has left his supporters in a position where they either walk away
with some egg on their face, or just allow themselves to be radicalized into his new
position. The truth of the matter is, is that effectively in saying what he’s saying, Essence
of Thought has said, to the majority of people who have sided with him, you are transphobes.
Your position is, transphobic unless you adopt this position that anyone who identifies as
a woman gets to compete in this category, then you are holding a transphobic position.
And he’s masterstroke is that it seems to have done the trick, and nobody’s arguing
– none of his supporters are arguing with him.”
Indeed, this is a classic cult move, though I think that it’s only really worked because
Ethel deletes anyone’s comment which doesn’t fit her narrative, which is why her videos
have massive numbers of dislikes, yet no real criticism in the comment; it’s an echo chamber.
Ethel treats her subscribers like mushrooms – she keeps them in the dark and feeds them
crap. Moving on, during the month of July, Ethel
asserted that I had a “transphobic meltdown”, claimed that the ACA had died due to transphobia,
and attacked Matt Dillahunty (who is considered a massive ally of the trans community) for
not publicly denouncing me. And finally, on the 24th of August, Ethel created yet another
video on the topic, in which she somehow quadrupled-down on her defamation, stating as fact (get this)
that my one and only goal throughout this whole ordeal has been to maximize the amount
of harm to trans people that I possible can: “Woodford is not setting out to improve
sport. He’s setting out to maximize the amount of harm he can cause trans people.
That’s his one and only goal, with this act – something which should remove any lingering
doubt about his transphobic nature.” 09:04 […] “He has nothing riding on this at
all outside of its desire to hurt trans women, regardless of how he’s also hurting cis
women, intersex cis women, cis women of colour, and lesbian cis women in particular, in the
process. […] “He, as with those making this argument with bad faith, are merely looking
for some way to scratch their bigoted itch. A way to hurt trans people and avoid being
called out on it.” 11:59 … nuts, isn’t it? I mean, you couldn’t
make it up if you tried? Couple these statements with Ethel’s assertions of me calling for
violence – yes, violence – against the trans community, and we have a very serious
situation indeed. In her struggle to stay relevant, Ethel has grotesquely manipulated
a narrative in order to weaponizing a marginalised community, and honestly, it’s reprehensible.
What’s more, by calling me a violent transphobe for my not being convinced that the burden
has been met for SOME events, Ethel and her cult are legitimising actual violent transphobes,
and that angers me! People are seeing these accusations, and when they realise that it’s
nonsense – when the realise that it’s defamatory – they are, understandingly,
assuming that the same is true of the legitimate accusations made against actual transphobes…
this, as anyone with eyes can see, is detrimental to the trans community. But believe it or
not, Ethel has sunk even lower than this… As briefly covered early, Ethel has been targetting
just about every public figure in the YouTube secular community, insisting that they buy
into her defamatory, ever-escalating narrative and denounce me as a transphobe, but she’s
had little to no success – and for that, I’m very grateful. Plenty of public figures
have expressed disagreement with me (which, again, is to be expected), but very few have
drunk the koolaid. But after trampling over the reputation of these figures (who’re,
lets not forget, considered MASSIVE allys of the trans community), Ethel found someone
who simply couldn’t ignore her accusations – my close friend, Rachel Oates. After harassing
and demanding that Rachel denounce me as a transphobe, and manipulating everything that
Rachel had to say while blocking her from defending herself (as Ethel does), Rachel
replied in video format: She called out Ethel’s lies, and stated, as clear as day, that she
is not interested at all in athletics, that she just wants to be left alone, and that
she won’t discard me as a friend simply because Ethel is demanding it:
“To be brutally honest, I don’t care about sport. I don’t know anything about sport.
I have no interest in sport. So I didn’t even have an opinion on the video. Even to this
day, I don’t know anything about sport. I don’t know what skills or strengths or whatever
people need to be able to do sports competitively. I don’t know what gives someone an advantage
and what doesn’t. […] I can’t stop something I’m not doing! Stop making that claim. This
is exactly the same as those who say ‘oh, when did you stop hitting your wife?’…
I never viscously attacked trans people. I can’t stop viciously attacking trans people
cos I never started. Quit with the strawman […] So this was a straw man. It was completely
untrue. It was objectively wrong. So, it made me mad. I said, okay, now you’re literally
talking rubbish. I never once support the stuff Steve said in that video. I support
the fact he’s learning from it and trying to put it right. I won’t cut off a friend
because they happen to make an ill-informed mistake with no malice.”
But Ethel couldn’t respect that – she had found someone who’s hurt by her defamation,
and just like the bully in the playground who finds the kid who reacts, Ethel continued
her harassment and defamation for months on end. She did exactly to Rachel what she did
to me – she escalated the narrative, all while blocking and deleting anyone who didn’t
agree with her (because that’s what cults do). And finally, after months of lies and
bullying, Rachel broke. She posted a video in which she was profusely crying, with blood
trickling down her arm from self-harm, just as means of getting Ethel to recognise the
harm and abuse that her and her ilk were causing. Rachel wrote:
“I don’t want to post this but I don’t know what else to do. I don’t want sympathy.
I want Ethel to be accountable for their actions and realise what they’re doing. I need an
apology. I’m lost and hurt and angry and sad and confused and terrified.”
You see, Ethel, Rachel just wanted to be left alone – she’s said, for months on end,
that she isn’t interested in athletics, but that she won’t denounce me simply because
you’re bullying her to do so. “I don’t know anything about sport. I have
no interest in sport.” […] “I won’t cut off a friend because they happen to make
an ill-informed mistake with no malice.” But you couldn’t leave her alone, could
you? You couldn’t accept that someone wouldn’t bend to your intolerant commands, and so you
bullied her for months on end. And when she broke – when she cried out just so that
you’d recognise her as a damn human being, you dismissed her anguish as simply a manipulative
tactic. You pinned a Twitter post titled “How white women use strategic tears to silence
women of colour”, and stated that you’ll start caring about her safety if, and only
if, she capitulates to your commands and endorses your defamatory narrative.
Honestly, Ethel, you’ve become the very monster you set out to slay. An abusive, bigoted,
bully. A few days after the incident, Rachel stated the following:
“I am so sorry you had to see me like that. I was having a pretty bad episode when all
that went down. I was a mess. I didn’t think any of it through. All I knew is: I was hurting
and my head was loud and I needed EoT to see me as human and see what he’d done so he’d
finally stop and leave me alone. I just wanted the lies to stop and to be left alone. After
months of trying to be left alone, I felt like EoT was actively trying to ruin my reputation
and career by lying about me and I didn’t know how to stop it. I’m sorry you all had
to see me at my most vulnerable. I feel weak and pathetic. I never wanted you guys to see
that side of me and I’m sorry you did.” Now, I’ve been chatting with Rachel since
the incident, and while hurt, she’s doing a little better – and she is incredibly
grateful for all the wonderful messages that’s you’ve all been sending. In reply to her
statement I want to say publicly what I’ve already told her privately: Rachel, while
you may not feel like it, you’re extremely strong. Despite all of the bullying and manipulating,
you didn’t cave to Ethel’s demands; you didn’t condemn me; you didn’t endorse
a lie. And for that you have my utmost respect. It’s truly an honour to call you my friend.
Thank you. So that’s that – there’s the bulk of the
drama. There is, of course, loads more that I haven’t covered, but doing so would take
eons, and there’s already enough on the table for me to effectively convey my remaining
thoughts in context. The first of which is that I’m convinced that Ethel and her cult
embody what many term the regressive left. They’re every bit as dogmatic, tribalistic,
intolerant, and insufferable as the evangelical right. With the evangelicals, you’re either
100% with them or you’re a heretic, a blasphemer, an infidel; and with the regressive left you’re
either 100% with them or you’re a phobe, a deplorable, a racist. While the evangelicals
silence and bully transgressors by making them out to be immoral, disrespectful, offensive
and sinful, the regressive left silence and bully transgressors by making them out to
be tone-policing, dog-whistling, gatekeeping, and victim-blaming. (Now just to be crystal
clear, I’m not saying that these things don’t occur – they do – rather, I’m
saying that this group wields these them as shields and weapons). In both cases, it’s
a game of narrative, in which egregious acts are justified so long as they favour the dogma.
This, is why Ethel has been able to take me saying that ‘I’m not convinced that the
burden of proof of showing that HRT mitigates the benefits of male puberty has been met’
and turn it into ‘Woodford is a violent transphobe with blood on his hand, who’s
actively trying to strip trans people of their human rights simply because his one and only
goal is to maximise the amount of pain he can cause to trans people.’
“Woodford is not setting out to improve sport. He’s setting out to maximize the
amount of harm he can cause trans people.” 09:04
And, indeed, this tribalism is why the cult won’t hold Ethel accountable. And this brings
me to my second to last reflection: in my opinion, we (as in the sceptical community)
need to do a MUCH better job of calling out the nonsense on our own side when it comes
from, or in favour of, a minority (that is, we need to ACTUALLY be egalitarians; we need
to ACTUALLY treat people equally), because as it stands, we don’t, and it does our
entire community a massive disservice. By being utterly petrified of being labelled
a “phobe”, we make our entire side look regressive. It really isn’t helping.
So, the natural question that comes from this is this: How do we react to Ethel? Well, I’m
not entirely sure, but I do know the answer is not to do to her what she’s done to others
(please, don’t harass her). Unfortunately, however, attempts to get through to Ethel
have been met with a swift block. Those who’ve approached her gently have been accused of
tone-policing and blocked, and those who’ve been up-front have been accused of transphobia
and blocked. As said earlier, in one way or another, Ethel has found a reason to block
anyone who doesn’t agree with her. Her platforms are safes spaces from honest discourse. Because
of this, it’s unlikely that anyone who’s not already very close to her will be able
to make any impact. But what we can do is show those who’re on Ethel’s side patience,
kindness, and decency, and let them know that it’s okay not to have the group mentality.
They’re allowed to have their own thoughts, and that doesn’t make them a hateful, transphobic
person. On a brighter note, my final concluding reflection
is that the secular community is in pretty damn strong hands – we’re looking to have
a bright future. There’s some incredibly decent, intelligent, caring people at the
helm, from all walks of life, and quite honestly, that excites me!
Okay, I’m done. I just want to thank you all for your continued support throughout
this; I really screwed up, but you didn’t drop me and I really appreciate that. And I want to especially thank everyone who’ve kept the channel afloat
through patreon. Thank you for not allowing these lies to warp your opinion of me. I truly
and sincerely appreciate it. I screwed up – I deserved repercussion, but if the regressive
group had it’s way, I’d be out on the streets, with not path to redemption except
for complete capitulation (sounds like the church, right?). Last but not least, feel free
to leave Rachel some love in the comments, and I’ll be sure to spam her with them.
Fittingly, I’ll leave you with some wise words from the lady herself:
“Can we seriously just stop with this us versus them thing already? It’s tired, it’s
boring, it’s not helpful to anyone. That’s the main thing: It divides people. It helps
no one. I support people supporting people. I don’t care what group you’re a part of.
I don’t give a damn what you identify as in terms of your gender, or sexuality, or your
race, I don’t care what your background is. I don’t care any of that. I care that you’re
a good person trying to do good things. Let people do what they want unless it’s hurting
someone. Doesn’t matter what group you’re a part off. I’m always going to support people,
and I’m definitely going to support minorities and their rights, but I’m never going to be
willing to make claims on a topic that I’m not knowledgeable in, and it’s nothing to
do with cis people or trans people, or any other insignificant characteristics like that.
It has to do with the fact that unlike some people I don’t want to make baseless claims.


  1. The only mistake you've made is backtracking as much as you did. Nothing you said, in even your initial video, was malicious and should not have been as controversial as it was. When you published your 2nd video, I knew right then that it was a mistake. Apologies are never good enough for these people, they react like its blood in the water and they always double down. Next time you state an opinion that triggers these outrage merchants, the only rational response is to double down yourself or move on.

  2. Dude..I support you all the way..ur first video was was not hateful..but you were unaware of stuff n learnt from it..n you proved that..and I hate that you gotta continue proving it to this effing asshole EOT..
    Rachel..thnx for standing wid RR even wen it wasnt easy..

  3. I do not agree with you on many subject, but I have never ever considered you hostile toward anything I stand for. If anything, you are one of the few voices of rationality that actually participate in actually contributing to the foundation that is civilized society. I also do not agree with you on the statement that you are at fault, as fault requires your neglection of something you are required to do – as in being wholy informed of very faccet of the matter you discussed, which you are not in any way required to. Please, stop appologising for something you did not commit.

    To Rachel, while I have not had much interaction with your videos, nor do I claim to follow you closely, I know for a fact that you are a human being, a treasured gift from existence to anyone who can claim to be your friend; you not need to seek recognition from the likes of EoT, and as I have learnt very early on, they are the type of elements you should just cut ties with, as communication do you no good. I hope all the best to you, and sincerely wish you a full good life without people like EoT harassing you further. Have courage, and belief in yourself.


  5. This is such an unfortunate situation…. I really like Rachel and I enjoy your channel as well. I hope EoT can see the harm they've caused and stop the slander.

  6. Your first mistake is accepting that men can become women or women can become men . They can alter their externals but the internals remain the same . Men can be effeminate and women more masculine butbasically they are either just men or just women . Your second mistake is trying to reason with people who have demonstrated time and time again they are plainly not reasonable .

    Your third mistake is to believe that the people you are reasoning with belong to any community whatsoever . Trans people by identity are a community of 1 as they identify only as their version of the gender they believe they are which they cannot actually know to be true .

    Who cares whether anyone considers you an ally or not . Just be a truth speaker and to hell with who is upset by the truth .

  7. I wish you had mentioned Noel Plum's misgendering of Ethel. If not for her then for other trans viewers who might still battle with disphoria.

  8. Huge heroes!
    You and Rachel are showing your honesty and vulnerability.
    I think EOT is mentally ill.
    I unsubscribed from her when this began. Sarah Michel, as a real trans person has the best perspective on this issue because she is speaking from the inside. She "gets it" more than you, Rachel or myself ( a straight male ) could ever do. I think Sarah is a beautiful human and I have a great amount of respect for her. She expresses a balanced objective view of this whole issue.
    My respect for you, Steven has increased exponentially, especially since the ACA "adventure."

    Peace, respect and much love.

  9. In sport, always play the ball; not the man. Therefore, it is correct to attack ideas and concepts rather than people themselves in every situation. Reasonably, Rachel or Stephen should never have faced such personal affronts. Having the narrative presented here chronologically displays not only its lamentable nature but its horrific effects.

  10. The problem with Essence of "Fraught" is that they are a zealot, and this, over time, is a personality-diminishing position. They're now at the point where they are incapable of feeling anything other than resentment, and incapable of seeing anything that doesn't look like an insult aimed at themselves. They are now only capable of being three things: Annoying, boring, and counter-productive to their cause.

  11. I have no respect left for the sad sack Pethel. Rachel Oates did not deserve any of what Pethel did to her, nor did anyone else harmed by her cultist idiotology. I respect Rachel and I respect you for making this video. Subscribed.

  12. I hope we turn our backs on EOT and there ilk, leave those ignoramuses to fight amongst themselves. I can not stand bullies and liars.

  13. Rachel, I'd hardly call you pathetic, or weak considering the content you tackle on your channel. Know that I have been where you are and that you will get through it. Know that I will be keeping you in my thoughts as I am able.

  14. Stephen, you should have never apologized in the first place… I love them all but in this case I said to myself… fuck Matt Dillahunty, fuck AE and all the rest who denounced you. What does gender equality have to do with atheism?? I like listening to you, Matt, Koolaid and the rest of the "gang" because I want to hear different points on religion, I wanna expand on the topic. Hearing you put yourselves into a position of "I must defend trans people at every cost (even at the cost of logic – which is the only point why most people watch your channels)" is fucking sad…

  15. I became aware of you Rachel as consequence of you standing by your friend and not backing down whatever it was costing you. People like yourself are to be admired which is why I now follow you on twitter and YouTube. As someone who suffers from mental health issues I can empathize with how we get confused, lost and scared when being bullied. Wishing you all good things. You are among those special people who help us in our ongoing quest to be better humans. HUGGZZZ

  16. eot can eat a dick. why does eot act like stereotype of a bigoted white male while trying to hit people over the head with the same claim

  17. Stephen, you've apologized more than enough already, and in a very comprehensive and sincere way. While there are some who inhabit a lunatic fringe and will never accept contrition no matter how much you offer it, the rest of us are impressed by admissions of mistakes made and apologies sincerely offered, because we are sane and decent and trying to work together productively. So no more on-air apologies are necessary.

  18. It all reminds me of a popular Christmas song by Meredith Willson.

    It's beginning to look a lot like Brexit
    Everywhere you go
    It's like Johnson and EU
    And like Woodford and EoT
    It's a fight that no one really wants to see…

  19. Most people are on your side, yours and Rachel's/Shannon/ (that girl that got the start of the drama) you shouldnt have to keep apologizing.

    Is anyone else insanely bothered by the obnoxious, almost robotic, way that EOT talks? Even if I did agree with his toxic and cruel p.o.v, I couldn't listen to his points, with that horrible voice of his.

    That shitbag does all this stuff just for boredom and veiws. They are an awful person

  20. EoT is just playing the victim card, and this makes us all feel a little guilty and uncomfortable. Stll, the transgender community are only human too, and this makes them no better or worse than the straight community. Bad behaviour should be called out whoever does it, so keep up the good work

  21. I do not agree. You did not mess up big time. Even if unintentionally you have caused harm you went above and beyond to atone for that. If we are not allowed to raise discussions on controversial subjects and voice our, sometimes wrong opinions to be challenged, then we are doomed. Stop apologizing. For the non-fanatics it should be enough and for the rest it will never be enough unless tou convert to their extreme or offer them your head on a plate.

  22. I used to watch EoT pretty regularly. And nothing against you Steven, but it was when she attacked Rachel a few months ago that I un-subbed her channel. In hindsight, I was hoping that EoT would move on, but she kept baselessly attacking you and Rachel. Sadly, Godless Cranium, one of my other former favorite atheist youtubers has jumped on EoT's bandwagon though not nearly as bad. For the first time I now understand what the regressive left looks like and I want no part of it.

  23. What you did not even that bad. As you say, EoT is a cult and I don’t understand how anyone can take seriously. It’s disgusting and an embarrassment to the trans community.

  24. Rationality Rules, I believe in you, and not for a second do I believe that you are homophobe or transphobe. Keep up amazing work!

  25. I know these people. In my own experience, the only way to calm them down is a at least hour-long personal debate in which you repeat your support of whatever it is they are saying you hate before every single argument you make, stay completely calm, completely ignore their accusations and only make a few actual points, most of the time just asking questions…
    Until they finally accept that you're not evil, you're not against whatever, you are just not convinced of a particular point.

    Any negative emotion, even yourself getting hurt will just push them even more (it's weird, but that's my experience), the only thing that calms them down is you holding your quiet, reasonable, genuine and good-natured-interested-in-the-well-being-of-everyone frame stoically until they just have no emotional hook to fire up their anger anymore.

    It's extremely hard, but I've done it before, I think it's possible with everyone. This video is probably the best thing, RR could have done.

  26. I don't really know what happened to EoT. We got along fine, even opened a channel together and collaborated – until something happened and everything changed, until I was even blocked by him. I have no idea what that "something" is. But it seems the once witty comments are now bitter.

  27. You don't have to grovel before SJW people just because you talked about a controversial topic rationally… You didn't do anything wrong or disrespectful… Don't let their combative attitude influence your rational and unbiased way of thinking… To this day I don't know what was so about your original video…

  28. EoT holds others accountable for not blanketly accepting gender labels as people want to be identified because we should be able to look past social norms to accommodate them


    Allows for dimorphic people who want to change their bodies because these people don't accept themselves as they are because their self perceived gender doesn't match the bits.

    It's an illogical double standard.

    OTHERS MUST accept whatever bits/gender is asked.

    Sex changing/dimorphs aren't expected to accept their own gender/bits combo.

    The changers are allowed to force their current self to undergo mutilation to placate the inner bigot that cannot accept people as they are.

  29. Hey Steven, just wanted to say that the ONLY reason I have stuck with you is because you have been logically consistent in your message from Day One. I like your videos, but I have no allegiance to you, and if you'd been wrong in your approach, I would have stopped watching you, as I have stopped watching other Youtubers in the secular community. Your consistency, as is the case with any and all other rational secularists, is entirely dependent on your intent, and you have unambiguously demonstrated where you stand on the issues of transgender rights, even despite your original mistakes which themselves came only from a state of being uneducated rather than from a position of malice, implicit or explicit. You are an inspiration for anyone who has acknowledged their own mistakes and wishes to set things right again. Thank you, and please continue being yourself.

  30. Lots of love to Rachel – of course – and to you Steven. I used to follow EoT as well as you both and when your first video came out I did question some points and thought it was a bit insensitive but it isn't something I'm an expert in so I looked forward to answers and thought EoT's response made a couple of good points, but was harsher than necessary… now that the dust has settled I think this video summed everything up very well.

    Ethel has lost my respect and subscription – but I certainly won't fan the flames by attacking her further than pointing out errors in the comments to her videos. You, Rachel and several others in the secular and trans communities have shown your worth and I respect you more than ever. I certainly don't agree with everything you say, but you have shown integrity in the way you respond to critics even when they overstep the bounds of civility.

    Kudos – keep up the good work.

  31. Full credit to you, Stephen, for calling EoT by her chosen name and the gender she identifies as. Some of the sources you used to support your position didn't even bother to do that, and lesser people have been inspired to do the opposite just as a way to needle their opponent. I'm glad to see you didn't sink to that level, despite your very obvious frustration. Best of luck to you ridding yourself of this nuisance person (may she eventually see the harm she's doing and finally capitulate to a false enemy… so far it doesn't seem like she will) and helping Rachel recover from the harm done to her at EoT's hands. Seems like Rachel will be ok once things settle down, but I don't envy her the anxiety and frustration in the meantime.

  32. Im a non binary person, following Rachel for a while now.
    I a huge fan, and i regret not being more supportive of her 😭
    I really hope she is doing better, and I'm sending her all the love and support in the world 💜💜💜
    I cant wait for you to come back to YouTube. And you are not pathetic, Rachel, you are human. A very wise one.

  33. One thing that seems to have been overlooked in transgender involvement in athletics is money. It is rational to seek the greatest reward for the least effort.

  34. Just a constructive criticism point (and I don't know which version is correct), is EoT male or female? I notice you use he/him and others that you had clips from (e.g. Noel) use she/her. I really don't have any care for EoT except that name and this brew-ha-ha keeps popping up in my feeds, but it might be something that keeps them going after windmills. That said, I am excited to see you get back to the usual topics and quality videos you put out. And if it ain't clear for others: I'm #StandingwithStephen (sorry if you use a "v" instead of "ph") and #RootingforRachel … and now I have entered the hashtag world with a double entry for my first use of that silly thing.

  35. I dislike extremism in any form so I'm 100% with you and Rachel. Having to walk on eggshells around certain people also doesnt sit well with me. We all have the right to express our ideas. I think you were pretty brave throughout this all thing and only narrow minded bigots would claim you to be something as extreme as transphobic.

    Much love to Rachel, no one deserves what she went through. She was very brave to withstand bullying for so many months and for sticking to her convictions. Kudos to her, it takes guts and courage especially if you're already in a depressive state. This EoT person is terrible and should grow up out of his narcissism and self-entitlement.

  36. This video solved world hunger in less than a minute. There's so much straw-manning being done I can't see the sun anymore.

  37. Through the internet, I think people easily forget that its humans that we are interacting with; most people forget that they are human — so you have nothing to apologize for, Rachel. Your pain does not have to be silenced and should be a good reminder that whether a person is right or wrong does not make them less than human. In this case, you were totally in the right.

  38. Anyone with an iota of common sense can see Ethel is a completely radicalised extremist…and completely unbalanced in her thoughts and opinions…you refer to her and her supporters as a cult…which is a completely accurate description…
    Hopefully she will back off and respect everyone else’s human rights by keeping her slanderous allegations to herself and just leave people alone

  39. How do you blame someone for another person SELF harming? Did they go to her house an forcibly make her do it? I can't stand EoT but seriously… There is an off button on the computer, blocking options and NOT engaging with him.

  40. 2 things:
    1. I notice Rachel calls EoT, "him", and Steven calls EoT "her". I wouldn't mind knowing why as a curiosity, but it's not critical, as I'm more just saying I noticed /shrug
    2. Why would Steven actively try hurt trans people and cause maximum harm? What would he stand to gain from this? This would be like shooting yourself in the foot and the idea doesn't even make sense…

  41. @Rationality Rules, I can't imagine how hard these months must have been for you. I respect the way you tried to solve this in a dignified manner. I highly value your opinion because you are a thoughtful and not a malicious or deceitful person.

    @Rachel Oates, you are precious!!
    I value your often personal approach on topics, admire you for it. You're honest and real. Even in your pain, although I think that that pain never should have been caused in the first place.
    I wish you well and hope you heal from it, quickly and fully. You've been a wonderful friend to Steven, now let him and others be good friends to you ♥️♥️♥️

  42. You can't tell by the sound of her voice and the dead look in her eye that Ethel is fucking nuts? Ignore this crap and get back the usually scheduled program.

  43. All those "…phobic" stuff like transphobic, islamophobic, homophobic, and more recently, grossophobic, is a smoke screen to deflect discussion, and to shut down criticism.

    If sexist was to be named today, we would say womanophobe. It sounds really weird, right?

    It is a misnomer, because phobic means irrationnal fear. A tansphobe would have a irrationnal fear of trans people. What should we do about it? It is irrationnal like arachnophobia (fear of spiders), it is not their fault, right?

    Now, as they are denounced, all those "phobia" should be renamed "anti-…", like anti-trans, or anti-Islamist, or anti-fat people. Problem there. It is too precise, and too few people fit into those terms. The phobias are so vague you can put pretty anyone into it, and it can be used as a weapon to shut down speach.

  44. Maybe she should direct her efforts to real transphobics.Ok so you made a mistake(maybe because your just human like the rest of us).Which was quickly followed by an apology.I do not know about what is fair with trans people and sports, as I do not know enough to comment but with complex physiology changes there must be some problems with unfair advantages,only my opinion I dont know.Pity that the Atheist movement is being split on other agendas

  45. We all make mistakes. You corrected yours. Eot has not. Keep doing what you are doing. I enjoy yours and Rachel's channels.

  46. We are on it hermano. No worries. We already have the silver bullet. Nobody damages Rachel on my watch, but regardless of that it turns out to be the case that Essence is overstepping bounds that place their actions firmly in the category of our responsibility. The Initiative will see to it that Essence is made an example of how not to behave, and their audience will be thoroughly informed as to precisely what they are bargaining with. She, Rachel, is absolutely correct though, what divides us as a species is what we truly need to be focused on here, together. Provided we pull through on our end, I will be expecting cooperation from you guys when we get around to requiring it. While our beliefs may be dramatically different, our understandings do not actually conflict, we are being deceived. I am hoping to make an example of that here as well. My best wishes to Rachel, hoping she is alright.

  47. 😂 Yeah I had our Operator send them a link to our video exposing cultist strategies they have been using, and they immediately deleted that shit. She is getting it to his followers individually as we speak. This is important to us. We will get the job done.

  48. Sorry, Stephen but I have to disagree with you on this one.
    It is ‘Ethel’ who is being completely rational and consistent and it is you who are not.
    ‘Ethel’ is a white, privileged male. This is empirically true. He knows that to perpetuate the fiction of transgenderism there must be a semblance of ideological consistency. So, if trans women ARE women they have every right to participate in women’s sport.
    You are the one parsing and fudging here if you insist you believe males are women ….. but just not physically. Trans-ideology is based in metaphysics so physical realities are triggering and pretending they exist are actual acts of violence.

    I understand that many people on the left are highly motivated by compassion. They genuinely want to relieve suffering (real or perceived). They are open and want to believe people when they tell their ‘truth’. Compassionate people will go to great lengths, twist themselves into knots, make rationalisations, overlook inconsistencies, and even enable to avoid causing what they are told is harm.

    The ‘woman but not female’ concept is a semantic fiction, a device to resolve cognitive dissonance created by holding two conflicting beliefs. But the discomfort will keep bubbling to the surface because of pesky biological realities. Not facing the truth is an irrational dead end.

  49. EoT was great when he dealt with philosophical issues. Once he moved into the feelings over facts crowd he became useless as an information source.

  50. Well done RR. Greetings from Brazil and stay strong. I love one quote from EoT: "Stand in the compassionate side of reason". It is a shame the she forgot about the compassion, and about the reason.

  51. I feel genuinely sorry for this generation, they are going to hash out every little piece of drama in their lives, in public, in videos on youtube or facebook. Life is too short people, and you are all going to throw those short lives away on this trivial shit. You'll all be 70 and be asking yourselves, "did I spend enough time fighting over nonsensical crap on the internet and trying to gain enough followers that agree with me??"

  52. Mate, I have been following you for a long time and this is my first comment ever in your channel.
    Most rational people (I would presume) are on your side. Radical anything is a bad position be it religion or any other ideology. Most of your followers know your honest intentions and do not assume you are malicious. You are doing the right thing by trying not to feed the fire.

  53. 1:57 I don't think you screwed up Steven. In my opinion you're one of the few people that wasn't afraid to tell the truth about the unfairness of biological men competing in women's sports. It's completely unfair. What you said was true. You just didn't talk out of your duffle bag Steven you presented a buttload of proof.
    You were right. I will always respect you Steven for having the courage to tell the truth.

  54. YESSSS!!!! This Essence of thoughtlessness asshole seemingly LOVES that drama! HE keeps bringing you up in his videos, even though the "incident" is and has been over for quite some time. You expressed your opinion on trans women playing sports with biological women (which is the same opinion the MAJORITY of people, mostly same people, all agree with and feel the same!) So glad you are standing up for Rachael AND yourself. This drama queen needs fuck off and you NEED TO STOP APOLOGIZING, STEPHEN! YOU HAVE DONE NOTHING WRONG . I can't believe this POS is bullying your friends, too! Rachael is one of the sweetest, most rational people, just like you. This fucker is just a piece of work, eh!? And I laughed so hard at the parts that show other Trans people saying this freak doesn't represent ALL Trans people. Which HE doesn't (sorry, I'm not feeding into his mental illness, primarily because he's a fucking bully under the guise of some superior intellectual SNOB, Therefore, I will refer to him as HE , because those are the secondary sex characteristics I see, hear, and I do not know what "they" identify as, anyway…nor do I care!) All i can say is people can CLEARLY SEE his accusations are BULLSHIT and you're clearly right. What a fucking self righteous drama queen. Holy shit.. kick ass, Stephen and Rachael!! You have SOO many people in your corner! The only ones in this shit head's corner are mentally I'll drama queens. Whether his fucking supporters are trans or not, or both, they would have to ALL be pretty fucked up to support this socioppath's bullshit!!!

  55. This whole thing is a waste of time, from all sides. No one is hurt by your words, intentional or not, misconstrued or not. They are only words, ideas, arguments. Sticks and stones.

  56. Let EoT languish in obscurity and disregard them. They are toxic and too self centered to ever see that.

    Let me echo your sentiments to Rachel. She endured quietly and gracefully what was quite frankly a campaign of targeted harassment and damn near stochastic terror (only reason I say damn near is EoT’s tiny platform). She did it all out of a desire to uphold her principles, and that is real conviction and real strength. She has both my empathy (I’ve been where she was) and my admiration (I failed to stand by my principles) for succeeding in a way that I didn’t have the strength for.

    I wish you both the best, here’s hoping y’all can make another trip to Texas at some point my state is a better place with you two present in it.

  57. EoT should make a video with citation clips to support her statements, if she can. She won't because she seems to suffer from a typical trap of her ego not allowing herself to back down. Backing down is seen as weak and if your whole brand is based on weak logic and assumptions, that person will imprison themselves in this circular speech. Changing your mind is not backing down, its the hallmark of the scientific mind. I don't know a way out for her since saving face seems to be the goal. This is the folly of most political and cultural ideologies.

  58. Ethel doesn't deserve to be left alone Steven, but I will respect your wishes and not attack her even though she deserves it.
    Ethel is just jealous because Rachel is so beautiful.

  59. Dearest Rachel,

    You have always been, and continue to be, one of the kindest, most honest, and most caring people I have found in within the skeptic/secular community. In fact it was after watching several of your videos that I, a retired combat Veteran finally found the strength to openly and confidently state that I was an atheist. I had lived for 50 years struggling with so many issues, but it was you genuine caring, understanding, and acceptance of people that helped me defeat my biggest "dragon" so that I could be honest with both myself and the world.

    Rest assured, you are helping to heal and strengthen myself, and I have no doubts many others as well. Do not let the childish tantrums of those who cannot admit their own errors dissuade you from your chosen course of making our world better through kind and positive actions. Yours is actually the only way things get better. You should be hailed as a true champion and hero.

    I, most sadly, have seen the worst of humanity and the worthless suffering it causes, which reaches far beyond both the veterans and the battle field. In virtually every case, such carnage was wrought by someone's petty tantrum that was allowed to fester. They or other fascists then gave the tantrum legitimacy by calling upon some marginalizing commonality along with grossly overstated and highly demonizing rhetoric which lead to the greatest of all crimes against humanity — WAR!

    You dear sweet Rachel, are truly one of our saving graces. Through both word and action you have been, and I pray continue to be, the example of how we should conduct ourselves. You are a light in the darkness, and you shine far brighter than most. You are our best hope for a meaningful tomorrow.

    Should you ever feel besieged by bullies or others having tantrums, please call upon this Veteran. Let one who already bears many scares be your sword and shield so that you may remain safe. So that Your bright soul should not dim but continue to light a better and more hopeful future for us all.

    I would tell my troops that ours was the mission not to attack but to defend, to be a human shield linked arm-in-arm and standing steadfastly upon the shoulders of the brave men and women that went before us. Our shield was to encircle the those who tended the lights of liberty, truth, and reason. Defenders do not face inward towards the light. Rather, we face outward into the darkness. Vigilant against any and all who would dim such light and ready to rescue all who fled the darkness to build the light ever brighter. Defenders protect not the light, but rather the people who tend the light, Tenders. The light warms the backs and strengthens the spirit of the Defenders. It also allows us to see into the darkness that we can rescue others and resist our foes. As Defenders, we must rely upon Tenders for our warmth and strength. The Tenders are our hope, our future, and our reason to continue.

    Dearest Rachel, Thank you for being such a strong and important member of the Tenders. You truly are a savior and hero to more Defenders than you or I will ever know.

  60. Great video. I will say this one more time Steven, you didn't screw up, you did what's right. You are a gentleman and a scholar.

  61. So much LOVE to Rachel!! She is amazing and incredibly intelligent!! I love her videos! She deserves kindness and respect like EVERYONE does.

  62. This entire thing was a joke. You did nothing wrong in my opinion. Your original video was pretty reasonable (I recognize that your views have changed a bit, but even still, it was pretty fair.) These vultures just want to find anybody they can sink their claws into.

  63. You know, you technically have a strong legal case for defamation. I worked with psychopaths for many years, and legal consequences is all they understand. Any other kind of response only feeds their needs for a reaction (aka control).


  65. I read the entire twitter thread, that EoT blocked Rachel Oates then used that block to mercilessly attack her and give her no ability to respond is foul, cowardly and disgusting.  It was obvious she was trying to withdrawn and she continued to attack viciously.  Now people like Godless Cranium finally open their mouth and cry about EoT's feelings is worse.  Thank you for your video.  Rachel should never been attacked in that way.

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