EA, Rationality, Sexual Assault, and Liability

Edit—I removed the hyperlink because I’m going to change the post so that it includes less about EA. I’d rather reframe it so that it speaks to a different/​original audience rather than to EA’ers.

I’ll leave the parts about EA here so anyone who wants to see them (or your mods can take it down if they’d like). I hope you dig into what I said here. I hope you encourage/​pressure your institutions to investigate the “high power individual” whose name I gave them. I hope, EA folks, that you take a critical look at what you might be doing to encourage rape in your communities, and what your leadership is doing/​not doing to prevent assault. I also hope you—as participants in the movement—start asking questions and talking to people with different opinions—thinking critically—instead of shutting down voices that say things you don’t like, and look at the content of what’s being said instead of focusing on the way it’s said. IMO, shutting down critical discourse helps no one.

Here where I live in the bay area, you (EA as a movement) have a reputation for being highly “rape-y”. After the Time magazine article, I had survivors outside of the bay area contact me with their stories of being assaulted in London and Oxford, which leads me to think that the problem isn’t “bay area EA” only, but EA in general.

I hope you take a look at why the survivors who report to me think it’s your movement that has a problem with rape. Even if—as most of you would claim—that’s untrue and the rest of us are “piling on” to you or have ulterior motives—the sort of reactions you have to the Time article, what I’ve said, or the woman who spoke for the Time magazine who had posted here originally—those reactions aren’t helping your reputation.

The most pertinent quotes:


These non-mainstream communities holds themselves to higher standards, and the purposes they work toward are to influence the future for the better – and so, even a below-average or average level of rape should be acknowledged, worked on, and rape should be reduced. Unlike other professional and social groups, these interconnected communities deny the problems they have, and go so far as to silence stories of rape because those stories may be detrimental to their purpose/​cause. For example, I received two reports about a high-powered individual who had assaulted and silenced the women accusing him. When I shared this with two people (who are “deep EA” and employed/​founded orgs in EA) who knew and worked on the same cause as this high-power individual – the two people spoke to the harm their cause would suffer if the story came out, and how it could be used against the cause. I had to remind both that this high-power individual had been credibly accused of sexual assault.


Recently, there’s been a spotlight on EA through the media. Not every story/​accusation I’ve received or detailed above are related to EA, but some are. More specifically, I have stories of leaders in bay area and London/​Oxford accused of fairly egregious sexual assault and misconduct. In February 2023, I calculated that I personally knew of/​dealt with thirty different incidents in which there was a non-trivial chance the Centre for Effective Altruism or another organization(s) within the EA ecosystem could potentially be legally liable in a civil suit for sexual assault, or defamation/​libel/​slander for their role/​action (note: I haven’t added the stories I’ve received post-February to this tally, and I’ve gotten several stories since that time). Of course, without discovery, investigation, and without consulting legal counsel, this is a guess/​speculative, and I can’t say whether they’d be liable for not with certainty without legal advice.


In response to my speculation, the community health team denied they knew of my work prior to August 2022, and that it was not connected to EA. Three white community health team members have strongly insinuated that I’ve lied, and treated me – an Asian-American – in much the way that survivors reporting rape fear being treated. As I stated in the previous paragraph, I haven’t yet consulted with lawyers, but I personally believe this is defamatory. Additionally, the Centre and Effective Ventures Foundation are in headquartered in a jurisdiction that is much more harsh on defamation than the one I’m in. The statements not only damage my reputation in this field – which I work in full time –but I have a string of messages/​texts, DMs, and emails that disprove them. The earliest messages date back to February 22, 2019. The founder of an org with the EA ecosystem shared my work with the then-only liaison of CEA in February 2019, and the liaison confirmed earlier receipt of shared work in an email dated August 2022 – she additionally confirmed the aforementioned EA founder shared them. She also confirmed I had helped publicly days before. Someone on another nonprofit EA team confirmed via DM that the community liaison had shared my work with them “years ago”. Another founder of an EA nonprofit org emailed me through my website, sharing (quote) “I heard through the grapevine that you hold some sort of record on individuals in the EA community in the Bay Area, and that you are open to sharing whether you have received any concerns about certain individuals in confidence.” I have a few more messages/​emails as well. In their final emails to me, all three members of the Community Health team for the Centre for Effective Altruism signed off by asked me to continue sending survivors their way.