Bad moon rising, part 1: Controversy over local astrologer brings #metoo movement home to Ulster

Part I

“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”
William Shakespeare,
Julius Caesar, Act 1, Scene 2

Eric Francis (photo by Jeff Bisti)

Eric Francis Coppolino has been a presence in the Hudson Valley’s media and arts scene for three decades. His home base was Chronogram magazine, where for over 22 years — under the pen name Eric Francis — he built a faithful following with his monthly astrology column. As an investigative reporter, he published deep dives into PCB contamination in the Hudson River and on the campus of SUNY New Paltz. His reach extends beyond Kingston with columns in Marie Claire and the New York Daily News. He also has a website, “Planet Waves,” a regular podcast and numerous clients to whom he provides detailed and personalized horoscopes. 

From these platforms, Francis frequently broadcast his views on sex and the links between sex and spirituality. His online fine-art photography work, Book of Blue, features erotic images which are at times displayed prominently in the window of his North Front Street studio. In the pages of Chronogram and elsewhere, he’s written frank, opinionated pieces on masturbation, polyamory, bisexuality and his own theory of “self love” as a sexual orientation.

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In February, Francis turned his attention to another hot-button issue — the #metoo movement. In his column that month, Francis wrote a critique of the movement, titled “Eric Francis’s Reflections on #MeToo” in Chronogram and “Take a Step Back” on Francis’ site. The piece took aim at the movement’s methods, its potential unfairness to men, and its exclusion of male sexual-assault victims.

Then all hell broke loose.

First one, then a handful and eventually more than a dozen women came forward to relate experiences with Francis. Those experiences ranged, the women said, from creepy, persistent or unwanted come-ons to Francis using his status to manipulate women for sex. By May, Francis had lost his column at Chronogram, a weekly show on Radio Kingston, a contract with Dutchess County-based Omega Institute,  and a speaking slot at an upcoming astrological conference.

The story of Francis’ downfall is a story of #metoo and the “deplatforming” movement — where activists target those whose views or actions they oppose by putting pressure on the media outlets and institutions that give them platforms to take those platforms away — played out against the backdrop of Kingston’s insular Uptown arts and media social scene, and the cosmic universe of astrology. 

“It was nothing coercive in any way,” explained Chronogram editor-in-chief Brian Mahoney of the allegations against Francis. “But it was a pattern of behavior that we did not want associated with Chronogram. We have a brand that I have spent 20 years building up, and I do not want it to be associated with someone who’s viewed as a creep.”

While some men implicated by #metoo have responded with contrition, self-reflection or a quiet retreat from the public eye, Francis has responded with threats of legal action against the women who publicized the allegations and by doubling down on his criticism of #metoo in a series of articles published on “Planet Waves.” In comments on Facebook and in an interview with an investigator hired by Chronogram to look into the allegations, Francis has issued what amounts to blanket denial of improper behavior. Instead, Francis views his downfall as “political payback” from a small group of women using exactly the kind of “guilty by accusation” tactics that he critiqued in “Take a Step Back.” 

His payback was for writing the article “challenging…[the] guilty-by-accusation method,” Francis told investigator Ryan Poscablo, according to a transcript Francis provided to Ulster Publishing. “The article so explicitly and directly describes what…then happened that it would be funny if it were not so tragic.” In a July 2 piece that has generated considerable discussion, The New York Times politically conservative opinion columnist David Brooks expressed his view that the millennial generation detected less “day-to-day difference between men and women than in previous generations.” In what he termed “the political showbiz sphere,” however, where Donald Trump’s cartoonish masculinity squared off against cartoonish Why Can’t We Hate Men, “we see the usual social-media game of moral oneupsmanship in which each tribe competes to be more victimized, more offended and more woke.”

 

Reports of Francis’ questionable behavior towards women have long floated around what #metoo activists call a “whisper network.” In Kingston, that network wove through the writers, artists and other media types who live and work in the Stockade district and the cafés and restaurants they frequent. But the first public allegation came from across the country when Dana Barnett, a diversity and inclusion specialist for the Washington State Bar Association, wrote to Chronogram to express her anger over Francis’ #metoo column and what she says is her own negative sexual experience with him. 

“What he wrote felt like the same thing he did to me. I don’t know if it’s a line, a move to say ‘I’m really interested in healing, I’m a feminist, I want social justice,’” said Barnett of decision to come forward. “But seeing him do that in a place where he has a lot of influence felt very dangerous to me.” 

In the late summer of 1996 Barnett was 18 and a virgin, newly arrived on campus for her freshman year at SUNY New Paltz. Barnett said she met Francis, who would have been 32 that summer, at an on-campus drum circle where he was the only non-student present. Barnett had been an environmental activist in high school and was eager to meet and learn from like-minded people in her new home. A conversation with Francis at the drum circle about PCB contamination led to an invitation from him to learn more about the issue in a one-on-one setting, Barnett said. Barnett said Francis showed up in his car packed for a picnic and drove her up in the Shawangunk Mountains. The pair walked deep into the woods as Francis turned the conversation from chemical contaminants to sex.

“He said people were really hung up on sexual issues; he presented himself as someone who was very knowledgeable about spiritual matters,” recalls Barnett. “And I was this young hippie activist person who prided myself on being really open-minded about alternative lifestyles and ways of being.” 

Later, Barnett said, they stopped by a stream where Francis lit incense and gave her a tarot card reading that she described as “very deep and personal.”

Barnett’s voice cracked when she described what happened next: a sexual encounter that left her immediately feeling “awful, dirty, confused, manipulated, haunted.” Barnett said she had decided when Francis showed up packed for a picnic that if he made a pass at her she would simply brush it off. That resolve, she said, weakened in the woods, with the sun going down and her unsure how to get back to the car, much less campus.

“The reason I went along with it is that I wasn’t sure what would happen if I didn’t,” recalls Barnett.  

Later, she said, she heard similar stories from other people on campus. Friends told her that they had seen Francis’ name on a “wall of shame” at a Take Back the Night anti-rape event on campus later that fall. She began to see her experience with Francis as part of a broader pattern of behavior targeting young women.

“I remember thinking at the time, this is a really dangerous person,” said Barnett.

Speaking with an investigator hired by Chronogram to look into the misconduct allegations, Francis flatly denied any encounter with Barnett. According to a transcript of the May 10 interview provided to Ulster Publishing by Francis, he told Poscablo that he could account for all of his sexual partners during that period and Barnett was not among them. 

“No, it didn’t happen. Ever. Ever,” Francis told Poscablo, according to the transcript. 

Barnett, meanwhile, points to an erotic poem sent to her by Francis shortly after their encounter. Barnett shared images of the typewritten poem signed to her by Francis and the postmarked envelope it came in. The poem, titled “Returning Milk to the Mother,” aligns with details of the sexual encounter related by Barnett.

Three other women interviewed by Ulster Publishing said Barnett had told them the story of her encounter with Francis many years previously. Brook Celeste Lillard met Barnett through activist circles around 2000. She recalls Barnett recounting how she went to meet a man to talk about environmental issues in the Hudson River and “it turned into a date.” 

“It struck me as one of those sexual experiences where an older man has power and uses it to get what he wants from a significantly younger woman,” said Lillard. 

Barnett was alerted to Francis’ #metoo column by her friend Julie Novak, a writer, comedian and co-founder of the local story-telling collective, “TMI Project.” After Chronogram ran an edited version of Barnett’s letter — one that omitted her reference to her personal experience with Francis — in its April edition, Novak ran the complete version on her personal Facebook page. The post made its way to Hudson Valley Feminists, a private moderated Facebook group. There, stories began piling up about Francis’ alleged behavior towards women over the years.

Francis has written of “guilt by accusation.” He wants to know what his critics propose as an alternate community standard to consent. He believes those who find him so objectionable are projecting their own dark stuff: “It’s always about the person they’re projecting onto. That creep. That weirdo, stalker and manipulator. That infamous, condescending, womanizing, abusive pig. They are talking about themselves.”   

 

Hillary Harvey is a photographer and journalist who’s been associated with Chronogram since 2004, most recently as editor at large. She also hosts “The Source,” a news program on Radio Kingston. Harvey said she saw a potential story when she initially saw women posting their Eric Francis #metoo stories and coming to her personally to share their experiences. But, she said, she quickly decided that sharing two employers with Francis created an untenable conflict. Instead, she set out to document the women’s stories to share with management at Radio Kingston and Chronogram which, she believes, were unaware of the scope of the allegations.

“People were talking about Radio Kingston and Chronogram in incredibly unflattering terms, and I felt protective because the people who work there are good people and a lot of this stuff they might have been unaware of,” said Harvey. “I thought it could be helpful for me, because I saw it all, to just collect and gather and share it with them so they could make their decisions.” 

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On April 10, Sari Botton, a local writer and editor, hosted a meeting to discuss the allegations against Francis. At the meeting and over the next few days, 10 women gave recorded statements to Harvey about their interactions with him. Harvey then collected eight more recordings, along with corroborating documents including texts and emails. All told, Harvey said, she spoke to some 24 women who had recounted unpleasant experiences with Francis. 

One who allowed a Harvey to share a transcript of her recording on the condition that her name not be used met Francis in 2007 when he offered her some editing work for Planet Waves. The woman, who was then 25 and a single mother to a newborn son, said that she had been doing the job for a few weeks when Francis invited her to his home to have her chart read and for dinner with him and his then-girlfriend. 

During the reading, the woman recalled, Francis interpreted her chart in terms of sex, telling her that she should be more “sexually free and sexually open” and offered to work with her to help her become “more open and free and artistic like my chart said I was supposed to be.” Meanwhile, the woman said, Francis explained how he and what he called his “girlfriend of choice” had an open relationship in a way that she interpreted as an invitation to a threesome.

“I really felt like he was implying that they wanted to have sex with me, which I feel anybody would have gathered from that conversation.” 

Later during dinner she said Francis “railed on her” for going to court to get custody of her son from an ex-husband. Francis, she said, accused women of abusing the court system and blamed her for having a baby with a man who left her. Feeling insulted, the women said she beat a hasty retreat from the residence, vowing to work with Francis at a distance. The next day, the woman told Harvey, Francis sent a new batch of files, writing “I’ve got some new editing work for you.” Inside the files were images of Francis masturbating onto mirrors. The woman said that she had been hired to edit Planet Waves and was shocked and disgusted to be sent images from Francis’ personal erotic photography blog “Book of Blue.” 

“I opened up the email and I felt like somebody smacked me in the face. I felt really degraded,” said the woman, who told Harvey she believed Francis sent the photos as a kind of retaliation for her refusal to have sex with him and his girlfriend. “This was supposed to be a good job that I could do from home…and at that point I just quit and I never spoke to him again.”

Another woman recounted going to Francis’ studio after he offered a free chart reading. After the reading, the woman said he masturbated in her presence. The woman said Francis asked first and she consented. But added that she did so out of a concern for her own safety — she had previously experienced a violent sexual assault and feared a confrontation with Francis — rather than desire. 

“If I had known [that Francis intended to masturbate in front of her] I would not have gone,” said the woman who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “If I felt I could have left and been safe leaving, I would have.”  

Other women shared with Harvey emails and texts from Francis. In one, he writes of his desire “to lick out your ass.” The recipient of the text, a then-24-year-old New Paltz business owner, told Harvey that she considered the message inappropriate because nothing in her previous conversations should have given him the impression that the solicitation would be welcome.

“There was never any indication from me that I was interested in him,” the woman said in a recording shared with Ulster Publishing. “It was kind of predatory in nature because there was no reciprocation.” 

 Another woman who works at an Uptown Kingston café shared an email she said she received after she asked Francis to add her to his Planet Waves email list. The email, titled “About your belly,” reads in part, “My first inclination was to lick that cute little belly of yours. Then my mind said: I bet that girl smells good … Please tackle me sometime and wash me in your hair and your scent and let me feel your delicious strength…and I’ll give it right back to you if you want.” The recipient forwarded the email to her boyfriend writing above it “Ughhh Creepy Eric Francis.”

 

Kathleen Griffin recorded a statement for Harvey. Griffin, a 43-year-old writer and artist, said she met Francis shortly after moving to Kingston in 2014. At a writer’s event at Backstage Productions on Wall Street, she said, Francis asked her if she would be interested in modeling for him. 

“It seemed like a creepy line from some creepy older dude. I was like, ‘Wow, this guy is a total creep,” recalls Griffin. “In my recollection I was rude to him to kind of put him off.” 

Instead of being put off, Griffin said, her blow-off seemed to spark a need in Francis for some kind of “small harassing interaction” whenever they ran into each other. Griffin said that Francis would continue to approach her and try to talk, even after her boyfriend confronted him about the behavior and she told him in no uncertain terms to “fuck off.” Francis’ attention, she said, caused her avoid certain streets and businesses where he was a regular. “Individually these things are so small, but collectively it’s like I don’t want to walk down the street in Uptown Kingston.”

Griffin said her discomfort with Francis was so intense that, when she discussed joining a new writers’ co-working space run by Botton, Griffin let Botton know she would only be interested if Francis was not part of it. Botton said that she had already heard the same request from two other women before she spoke to Griffin. Meanwhile, Botton said, she’d already decided Francis would not be welcome based on her own interaction with him. According to Botton, she was barely acquainted with Francis when he walked up to her on Wall Street a few years ago and said, out of nowhere, “My therapist said I have to stop dating women 21 and under but I said if they’re over 18 they’re fair game.”

“I just thought it was wildly inappropriate,” said Botton of the comment. “And it told me how he saw women: predatorily as game to be hunted.”

Griffin said that much of her interaction with Francis occurred at outdated café, a popular spot on Wall Street on the ground floor of the same building that houses Chronogram. The café has become a hub for Uptown’s media and arts community. One day, Griffin said, she was waiting in line for coffee when she felt something in her hair and turned to see Francis, who, she believes, had placed his nose to the back of her head to smell her hair. In September 2017, after Francis approached her again as she sat at an outdoor table and asked to pet her dog, Griffin wrote an email to the café’s owners asking that Francis be banned from the establishment for harassing her and other women. 

“In fact I am not sure I have ever met a woman in Kingston who doesn’t have a creepy Eric Francis story of one kind or another, being lewd or inappropriate,” Griffin wrote in the email.

Griffin said she followed up the email with a conversation with the café’s owners but was left with the sense that they did not feel they could ban Francis because of his relationship with Chronogram — their landlord. 

“If this was a bar and anyone was harassing me like that, they would have thrown them out of the bar,” Griffin said.

On May 29, Griffin filed a report with the Kingston Police Department detailing her interactions with Francis. Griffin said that the last straw came when Francis boasted about having a “mole” inside the #metoo Kingston group that had coalesced around him. When she hosted a meeting of the group at the Kingston Writers’ Studio, a meeting that was set up via the private email chain, Griffin said that Francis showed up just as she was unlocking the door to the studio and stood close, staring at her until she slammed the door in his face. 

“This man is scary and will not leave me alone,” Griffin wrote in a sworn “deposition of witness” taken by a Kingston police officer. “He is obviously so obsessed that he is reading my private emails and showing up when I am supposed to be in places. He has physically invaded by personal space on several occasions, cornering me and putting his face in my hair. I am asking for your help and protection before this becomes worse.” 

Griffin said the police report was followed by a phone call from an Ulster County assistant district attorney (she said she did not recall his name) who told her that the only potential criminal allegation — the hair-sniffing incident — had occurred outside the statute of limitations, while the rest of the behavior she described did not appear to be illegal. 

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There are 116 comments

  1. liz hofstadter

    Wow, Trumpian levels of delusion, narcissism and extremely weak responses. It does seem to be the case that his column about #MeToo was the last straw that pushed women to come forward — like “this creep not only behaves inappropriately, he also shamelessly tries to discredit the movement that behavior like his inspired. oh hell no…” But he actually seems to think that somehow his writing the column created a bunch of false stories from whole cloth. Uhhh? How the hell does that make sense?

  2. anon

    I moved to the Hudson Valley in my early 20s, so around 2012. I’m female. One day I was at a health food store with my mother, and Eric Francis (who knew my mother casually) approached us and chatted for a few minutes. I recall he expressed interest in working with me in the future. After he left, my mom pulled me aside and told me “if that guy contacts you, be very careful.” She said she had multiple women friends who had warned her about his behavior, and that he was especially creepy towards young women like me. She had no ulterior motive for telling me this as she barely knew him herself. Just another example of how women in the Hudson Valley have known who he really is for years, and now that everyone else is seeing it he’s pitching a fit trying to discredit them.

  3. anon

    The first woman you credit with coming forward with a story, who you describe as “was 18 and a virgin”, wrote for herself in the Facebook post you mention about her feeling in getting the car with Eric, “As a teen most of the sexual encounters that I had experienced with men had some degree of coercion, I was used to adult men hitting on myself and my peers, and I had very little sense of my own agency or power in those situations. After I felt the hollowness, nausea, and regret.”

    This comment is not against her, but against your reporting that seems to have an agenda you are serving through misinformation. How much confidence can anyone – Eric, the women you spoke with, the community at large – have in the accuracy and completeness of your story then?

  4. Miss Merrill

    I used to read Planet Waves until I got creeped out by the overt sexual content. Polyamory, “open” relationships, etc. A long time ago now. This doesn’t surprise me.

    1. Ella Washington

      That part has never spoken to me, so I ignore it. I choose to read the parts that are valuable to me. For that reason, I never seem to read the sections for Virgo or Pisces.

  5. Tracy L.

    I am really thankful that HV1, the New Paltz Times, and Ulster Publishing brought this issue to light, Jessie Smith wrote such an in depth piece and Hillary Harvey took the time to interview all the survivors. Also for all of the survivors for sharing their stories – that is the hardest work of all. There is tremendous emotional and personal risk in speaking out about sexual violations, even during the MeToo era. I hope these women receive the justice they deserve.

  6. Non Sequitur

    I know this story too well because of experiences in another small town city locale – New Orleans. People like him are always claiming themselves victims. This isn’t new but this #metoo movement is certainly helping empower women to finally have their voice heard. This creep needs to stop having an overinflated ego and sense of self importance. It’s sad it took ten women to take one jackhole down. (Sad meaning how many women did it take to warn me before I finally listened?) Also ew it’s so creepy to be a 32 y/o non student on SUNY New Paltz campus unless you have a legitimate reason to be there. We must protect the youth.

  7. CinnamonWoman

    At last the scumbag Eric Francis gets his comeuppance! I hope all the women he has victimized and creeped out come forward. This is not about MeToo targeting but about a sicko perv who is getting his just desserts.

  8. A friend

    This was reported from a place of obvious bias (did it mention that Hillary Harvey was asked to resign from Chronogram?) — when the subject of — what seems to be a pretty blatant hatchet job — was asked to submit comment prior to publication, the representative who contacted him did not say they were publishing it in two days, and they failed to collect his response before going to press. Dana Barrette said her experience was consensual and did not clarify what it HAD been other than to say they didn’t have sex, per se, but she kept a poem he had written while refusing to answer him when he tried to ask her about anything. The small town mentality, the gossip-as-fact – that woman’s mother, herself, didn’t even know him, but her gossip is reported here as if evidence. This is not journalism, it is tabloid click-bait exploitation of a particularly toxic and provincial sort. Seems pretty libelous, frankly. The man has a very great number of female friends who have known him for years, without any discomfort. And let us remember that no charges have been brought – nobody accused him of assault – the intention by this writer and Kingston Times itself seems to be to cash in on a provincial scandal, for nowhere outside of a small-town could gossip without evidence constitute proof of any wrong-doing, fueled by tribal animus. This is irresponsible, biased reporting and discredits Jesse J. Smith as a journalist.

    1. Hillary

      I was not asked to resign from Chronogram. On May 17, I emailed Jason, Amara, and Brian to ask that they remove me from the masthead before the June issue came out because they hadn’t made their decision yet, and I told them I didn’t want to be affiliated with an organization that was affiliated with you, Eric. They made their announcement that they would not be running Planet Waves as of the June issue two weeks later.

      1. A Friend

        That was not a comment from Eric – that was from myself, a long time friend of his. I am a woman, have known him for years and many of his women friends. The assumption that any comment that does not jive with the attacks is by necessity from him is worth examining. From what I understand, you accused him of violating you personally, yet have met him – how many times, and when, alone? S i g h … A great deal of rage mis-directed, is this city girl’s perception. Small towns-ville. And the thing is, it discredits the entire ‘movemen

    2. "Also a friend"

      Dear A friend,

      You sound awfully like EFC. In any case — I am one of the many “female friends” who have known Eric for many years — and who knows many other of his “female friends” — who have been caused great discomfort. And that is the mildest way to put it. It doesn’t matter if charges were brought against him or not. Fact remains EFC is as toxic as it gets, and just because you do things openly does not make them acceptable or consensual.

      – A friend.

    3. ELLA R KONDRAT

      The most objectionable, disturbing aspect of Eric’s behavior is not the initial actions themselves. It was Eric’s response, which lacked any empathy, concern for Other’s well-being, curiosity for the Others’ point of view/lived experience, or attempt to make things better. We all make mistakes, and mistakes are meant to be learned from. Eric could have chosen to learn from this experience, to grow and try to become a person who women feel safe around. Instead, he doubled down.

    4. ELLA R KONDRAT

      Eric, you’re right. You haven’t been accused of a crime.

      You’ve been outed. Your bad behavior has been described in public. Simply put, that kind of behavior is no longer going to be tolerated in this community. And no, we’re not going to shut up and smile like some of us used to. We’re going to keep speaking up no matter how many times you throw around the word “libelous.”

    5. A Friend. Actually, A Real Life Friend and Female Human

      Argh. I tried to reply to Hillary but not sure what happened; perhaps replies to replies don’t go through, or something. Anyway – I actually am who I said I am – a friend of Eric’s a woman friend of pretty long standing. I would suggest that the assumption that any reply that is not in line with the attacks on him, the assumption that those simply must be ‘Eric in disguise’ is worth examining. I would add one other thought here, and that is that other women friends of his have spoken out – explaining our experience with him as profoundly different from those represented here – and we have been dismissed as somehow ‘disloyal to the cause of feminism’ or somehow faulty in our own power or agency or perception. What I consider most unjust in this whole thing is the false equivalence btwn feeling offended and actually having been violated in some way. In small town rumors swirling into legends; rumors which – at least to a considerable degree – appear to have entirely arisen from a feeling of personal offence – one person comenting cited his discussion of the subject of masterbation, or polyamory as de-vacto leading to some kind of serial preditor phenomenon… It also seems to me to work against the actual virtue in what is behind the ‘me too’ movement – which is genuine violation, genuine assault etc, which is undoubtedly systemic – being revealed. I’ve discussed this with Eric and others who know him well, and from everything I’ve gleaned it seems to me that so very much of this is a result of a violation of comfort zone issues, as opposed to transgressions of a serious nature.

      1. Snarky Survivor

        Whoever you are, EFC or “a friend” – the fact that EFC may have treated some women well is a meaningless defense. It’s possible that someone can treat some women well and others terribly.
        Secondly, the idea that a survivor would relive his or her trauma just to innocently “libel” someone is a vicious, manufactured piece of slanderous BS created by a misogynist society that does not want to believe women. So you are clearly EFC, a men’s rights troll, or a woman dealing with some serious internalized oppression to believe that is the case in this situation. Everything can happen, so this probably has happened but it is very, Very, VERY rare, like conjoined twins or two-headed cat rare. We are talking about literally DOZENS of women, not just one woman, many of whom have not even come forward but who have spoken about it behind closed doors, in addition to the brave ones willing to tell their story. So just by reason of pure statistics, that argument holds no water.
        Third of all, good luck to EFC in proving that this is libel as fortunately the burden of proof will be on him, and given that he’s losing income from Chron, Omega, and after this story most likely his other sources of income besides his own personal astrology biz, not sure how he’ll fund this, but that’s actually none of my business. Also, I don’t really wish him good luck, since I #believewomen.
        Fourthly, you are now acting in a libelous manner yourself by saying that Hillary Harvey was fired from the Chronogram. I’m close friends with both Hillary AND the editor of the Chronogram and know for a fact that she resigned. She is an honest and principled journalist who would not ever make even the slightest exaggeration of a story, even if it ultimately benefitted some greater good.
        Fifthly, no one here believes you, and most think you’re EFC. So you may just want to cut your losses and move on. It appears to be a waste of your time, though I have to admit, I find it strangely entertaining to watch you struggle to defend Eric and yourself much like an overturned stinkbug (an ubiquitous insect problem you may want to watch out for since you live in NYC and not small-town Kingston.)

  9. Monique

    Thank you for this vital amplifying of women’s voices. I shared this on my personal page and two of my friends commented that they’d had run-ins with EFC in the past. Frightening to think of how many women have been affected by his behavior.

  10. Bee Kay

    Get a new therapist, Eric. This one is doing you no favors. You say and do harmful, predatory shit. Stop crying about slander and libel. You and your shitty behavior=no sex for you, waaaahhhhh. You made your empty bed. Go sleep in it.

  11. Mystic 1

    It’s taken way to long about this to surface. Being in the psychic profession myself long before Eric hit the stands you can spot a fraud a mile away. Not only did he prey on women for his own male gratification but is all fairness he was a writer and a mediocre Astrologer. He faked that he gave readings to me to one of my clients in NYC so he’d trade with them for their services. When they wanted their forecast for immediate trends because that’s what I always did with pretty good accuracy, he got annoyed and defensive stating he was not a fortune teller! Excuse me ….? Another incident was a client on mine, a young lady, some 20 years back couldn’t locate my number to get an update. She heard him on WDST and called on him to read her. I was already in this line of work 22 years then. He was just faking it. He had her fill out a 10 page it something questionnaire on her life story and hand it in. Then he saw her the next day….I kid you not. Now when I set up something I tell people off the bat, don’t tell me anything about yourself. The whole fun for me is getting them read accurately right off the cuff. That makes a reading so much more powerful. For the reader and the person being read….Back to Eric… My poor client when she located me is hysterical crying, mortified. She located my number on the old cassette reading and told me all he did was ask her questions about her sexuality in a forceful coersive manner. I’m old enough to be this girl’s parent and I can tell you I never got over recalling the hurt and trauma she shared with me that night over a long distance telephone line. So people are asking….Is this true about him? Yes and it’s unfortunate it’s taken this long. I would have spoken out years ago but since we are in similar professions it wouldn’t have looked good on my end to point a finger. Nonetheless, to be continued. I’ve got more to tell but this is enough for now. I pray for the women who were young when they had these experiences with this man. That going back to these uncomfortable places does not cause them grief….#Metoo. And praise to the folks who stand up for goodness and keep people like him away from positions of power in media to prey upon innocent victims.

  12. The Sorcerer's Apprentice (Not!)

    As God drove out the Canaanite nations for their abominations, so I dragged this man by the ankle from my house for his practices of sex there. I drove out too his willing group of followers as well. When the the state troopers showed up to defend this man’s rights, I told them to get lost. When the police took me down to the station on a bench warrant, the prosecution never showed up in court to pursue the specious charges against me. Well at least the Canaanite nations are no more.

  13. Bethany Saltman

    This is an important contribution to the #metoo movement. But it’s shameful that such a piece still refers to an accuser’s sexual history. Calling out a woman as “a virgin” has no place here. This gaffe points to how far we still have to go before sexual violence is seen for what it is—a crime. Not a misunderstanding.

  14. Local Woman

    This is long overdue for the general public to recognize this formally, but that does not change the sense of retribution and reprieve that women and male allies are feeling now that Eric’s sexually coercive and misogynist behavior is no longer in the whisper network.

    It is also important to see here how Brian Mahoney and Jason Stern are part of this too, for ignoring Lorna Tychostup’s warning so many years ago and then repeated warnings as well. Men who shelter men like this are also exposed one day and receive their comeuppance. In the cases of Brian and Jason, I wish them well in coming to terms with their sexism in their complicity with Eric for 20 years. A lot of women were coerced, harassed, and stalked during that time and it is partly due to their choice to give him a platform which emboldened him.

    Brian and Jason are educated and outwardly respectful men and I therefore wish them well in learning to be better allies for women and reckon with their choices as well. I also congratulate them for doing the right thing, although it was late.

    As for Eric, at least now he is like the countless other normal creeps rather than a creep with a platform.

    As for the women, we can now share our stories freely without fear and can more freely enjoy uptown Kingston in the same sense of security that men do.

    1. Lorna Tychostup

      For the record and for clarity, Brian’s quote makes it appear as if I addressed the issue once in 2003. That was not the case. I spoke with Chronogram management, including Amara Projansky (as she recently reminded me), on several occasions.

  15. Dana

    Part of the reason why I wrote the original LTE that helped kick off one round of people sharing their stories was because I saw in his column EFC was holding himself out as a supposed sexpositive feminist interested in survivors healing, and using that as a way to undermine survivors voices and choices. On his website I saw that there were women giving him so much deference and doubting themselves when they tried to share their discomfort with his column, and I wanted to give them and others more info about the credibility of the author. It was also because in the 10 years that I lived in the HV I heard several upsetting stories about him both directly and indirectly and even 22 years later I heard through the “whisper network” that there were people in the area (not just women, but mostly) with current experiences that they were scared to tell for fear of retribution. I figured since my experience was old and I had done healing work around it, and since I was over 3,000 miles away, I could put myself out there in hopes to create more safety for others to do the same. This was not easy or fun for me. It’s still embarrassing to admit that I was vulnerable and taken advantage of, even though I know that it shouldn’t be. It is still painful to have my story dissected and dismissed by the handful of women supporting this person, and focusing their ire on those coming forward. It has been anxiety producing to give my story over to be reported on by others. But I felt a social responsibility to do so, and after reading this, I am even more glad that I did.

    I am not only a proponent but also have been a mediator and practitioner of restorative/transformative justice. I think that we are a far distance from the ideal in collectively addressing harm. I also deeply believe in harm reduction and resisting oppression. Empowering the harmed and sharing the truth about the harm that this person, who refuses any responsibility, has caused and causes so many is an important step towards that ideal.

  16. Observing

    Eric’s downfall here was nowhere near sealed in the first round of accusations. Had he dismounted his high horse and considered the idea that he has in fact hurt people, which I believe has had more to do with (ironically enough) unconsciousness than intent, he could have had something meaningful to add to the entire conversation, starting with an apology to those hurt and continuing into self-examination and a look at how people handle the borderlands of sex-positivity, what used to be called “free love,” and communication. Doubling down serves no one; it discredits him and, by association, the important things he has advocated for about sexual freedom, which is very sad.

  17. Cheryl Corson

    I don’t live in the Hudson Valley, and after reading this article and these petty, inflammatory, and mostly anonymous comments, I never would. After learning about Eric Francis Coppolino’s astrology work from his Omega Institute column in 2012, I attended several of his online classes and then suggested an in-person visit when I was passing through after an Omega workshop. I was so happy to discover a like-minded person whose depth of artistic, cultural, and ageless wisdom knowledge is matched by his intellectual curiosity and love of life. I’ve read through all these comments to challenge myself to be open to changing my opinion of this man, but truly, after hearing someone whose dog Eric asked to pet call herself a “victim” I laughed out loud and can’t take this seriously unless someone, anyone, comes forward with real accusations of non-consensual sexual aggression. Flirting doesn’t count. Private text messages don’t count. This piece gives journalism a bad name by its over-reliance on insinuation, at precisely the time when journalistic integrity, which is being challenged at the highest levels, needs to demonstrate its value most.

    1. Ivs Aguirre

      Cheryl: I too am a loyal reader and subscriber of Eric’s services, and reading about all of this is devastating to me. I don’t want the man whose writing and insights has helped me through so much to be a toxic, predatory asshole, either.

      But I already had a sense that something would come out. Eric’s way of talking about MeToo, and the lens with which he chose to analyze the movement, told me that this guy doesn’t really understand feminism or what actually constitutes sexual harassment. Experience has taught me that men who claim to be allies but still take the time and space to discount and undermine numerous testimonies of sexual assault and harassment – especially the ones who keep claiming that the bottom line is “personal responsibility” on both sides – are the ones to watch. Simply put: I figured that if it walks and talks like a duck, the duck probably also has a long history of questionable encounters with women.

      I’m saddened to find that my gut-feeling was correct. I, unlike you, am unable to ignore this well researched article, the coherent testimonies and the evidence of Eric’s awful behavior. Even if you would consider telling a complete stranger that he wants to lick her cute belly (!?) as totally fair and above board, it would be wishful thinking to believe that a man that lacks sensibility to understand that such a statement can make women very uncomfortable, wouldn’t say and do stuff like that all the time. After a while, a pattern emerges – and that’s quite enough for me.

      Men have been doing this to women forever. Honestly it’s much less likely that the women are all lying as payback (though please note how people have spoken about his conduct long before MeToo), than it is that an influential man would regularly cross boundaries with women. Like, really! What is the most logical conclusion to draw from this? Unfortunately, it’s not the one you’ve made.

      That said, hopefully this will be resolved with as much sensitivity as possible.. because another thing I’m truly unable to discount is the wisdom and help I’ve received through Eric and his different platforms over the years. This man has a lot of good to give this world; but I’m still glad women are coming forward, and I believe their every word. Maybe eventually, he’ll listen.

      Here’s to hoping…

      1. some actual facts

        Ivs
        It is sad to read of your assumptions. When someone has a handle on the overall situation, and sees that there is room for a ‘movement’ to become toxic and calls it out, somehow that becomes a reason to discredit them.

        The article may appear to be ‘well-researched’ since it brings up a lot of points, however these points are not factual and have not actually been researched…it’s a strategy that relies on its readers to jump to conclusions. Obviously that is working.

        Also, the statement that this ‘conduct’ has been spoken about long before metoo has no basis. The apparent facebook post purportedly from December 2017 is not linked to or described and that is the only supposed mention of any previous discussion. All of this was started in April of this year by Julie Novak and Dana Barnett, over a supposed poem from 1996, which also has not been produced.

        1. All facts

          Dear ‘A Friend’ or whoever,

          “The article may appear to be ‘well-researched’ since it brings up a lot of points, however these points are not factual and have not actually been researched…”

          Really?? Which part isn’t factual? I have no affiliation with the group of women who brought this topic into the light. I may casually know 1 or 2 of them. I’ve spent a lot of time with Eric as ‘a friend ‘ until I found out what he really was (waaay long before this issue was brought to public knowledge). I know many of the women he victimized, I was there.

          TRUST ME when I tell you that the contents in this article are factual. Is it pretty to read? Nope. However, it is all true. I also doubt that there was any intention to publish it had Eric stopped to listen to what anyone was saying.

          You should be using your own voice/platform to raise women up instead of defending Eric’s shitty behavior. He’s never going to be there to defend you if there is not some sort of self-interest or gain for him. Maybe you have not learned that yet. Good luck.

        2. Wrong side of history

          The poem has been produced “Barnett shared images of the typewritten poem signed to her by Francis and the postmarked envelope it came in. The poem, titled “Returning Milk to the Mother,” aligns with details of the sexual encounter related by Barnett.”

          Also first person accounts are evidence.

      2. Lorna Tychostup

        Dear Actual Facts, “this conduct” has been perpetrated and discussed for decades. The “strategy” of this article was to provide facts… the stories of people who have had their lives intruded and negatively impacted on by EFC. Professionally, I have been discussing EFC’s offensive and negatively impacting behaviors, as well as pointing out the pitfalls in his “journalistic” writings with Chronogram management for decades – both before and during my tenure as Chronogram’s Senior Editor. If you read through the comments here, you will see he has been offending others for quite some time. Thanks to the courage of those who came forward with their stories, more and more are following in these brave footprints. Thanks to the courage of the folks at Ulster Publishing – from Getty at the top to Jesse Smith and his true understanding of journalism to each and every editor that said “yes” when asked if this fine piece of journalism could appear in their regional paper – the community now has these truths long silenced by fear of retribution. It takes a village…

    2. Kathleen Griffin

      Hello,

      This is Kathleen Griffin, the article had to be edited down for length. On that exact incident, I was cornered in my chair so I couldn’t get up. I practically had to knock my table over to stand up and get away from him. It was probably the eight time I had expressly asked him to leave me alone. This is after he had pushed his face into my hair. On another occasion, my sister in law had to actually put herself between us to keep him from cornering me, he did not realize she was there and thought I was alone, which is when he usually swoops in. My boyfriend had also already very expressly told him to stop bothering me. This is part of a relentless harassment and what does physical mean? I think that bodily being cornered again and again and having him push his face into my hair is physical and very unwanted. When a woman communicates to a man that she does not want to engage with him in any way and he actively continues what is that about? It isn’t flirting, in fact, it never was flirting because at the earliest encounter I was clear that I wanted nothing to do with him. I don’t know this person. I never engaged him. This is about power, and the fact he felt emboldened to show me he could do this after I rejected him. If a complete stranger continued to harass you, corner you, and followed you to your studio maybe you would feel differently, but in the end, I don’t have to justify my personal boundaries or what makes me feel uncomfortable. I have no trouble with the healthy attention of men. Your relationship with him does not qualify my boundaries or make them less valid.

      This continues for many to be seen as flirtation, but from my end, I am repulsed by this person, so why does my revulsion not factor in, why should I have to allow him to touch me or violate my personal space again and again.

      1. Nick Taylor

        Isn’t it telling that the people who defend men like Eric will blame women for supposedly not setting boundaries, and then turn around and call your boundaries unreasonable when you do set them?

    3. Alexa Korus

      Hi Cheryl, my sentiments exactly, what a petty narrow minded and hypocritical little town, with these horrible women in victim mode, who think a woman whose hair was sniffed at is a “survivor” as if her life was threatened, and work superiors and associates with no sense of loyalty after decades of working together.

      I find it unbelievable that women keep sexual correspondence they find offensive years after the fact and keep for over 20 years a poem from a man who made them feel “dirty” or that they classify this man as “dangerous” but only after talking to their friends, LOL. My generation fought for equal rights for women, how sad that we have produced snowflakes that need safety spaces when a man propositions them. Women in the dinosaur fifties somehow knew how to respond politely, put a guy in his place and not get offended. Mr. Copollino is up front about his sexual orientation which is polyamory – I dont see why we deny him the tolerance that is required toward all other sexual orientations, he does not lure “victims” after all. Perhaps his fault is that he speaks what he thinks, and nothing hurts like the truth, as well as his writing skills, which leave his collegues for the most part way behind.
      I wish all these women activists and those who speak of “ survivers” would educate themselves about the rapes in Republic of South Africa on adolescent virgins (believed to cure men of Aids), that occurs every 2 seconds, highest rate on the globe, the fate of the Yazidi women who can be bought out of sexual slavery and need rehab after and can be helped with small money, to say mothing of women slave traffic, etc etc. The feminist movement is completely off track.

      1. sanity

        So let me get this straight, this poor woman is brave enough to come forward and now you attack and undercut her for having actual evidence to prove her story. You seem to have a problem with evidence being presented on the grounds that its existence is somehow calculated and then the rest of the people attacking the victims go after them when there isn’t enough supporting documentation. These are first-hand accounts and people are providing supporting documents to defend themselves. Maybe the question is why are you attacking rather than listening? Where you there? Why don’t you focus your attacks on Eric who lied when he said it didn’t happen and then was shown to be lying by the dated envelope and poem. If she didn’t present this you would say she made it up.

        Do you do this to all victims that are brave enough to come forward.

  18. Mountain guy

    What I don’t think this guy seems to get is that he’s really not important enough for this many people to want to organize to bring him down with an elaborate conspiracy of lies.
    He’s just a sleezy dude who got away with being sleezy for way too long. The party’s over buddy.

  19. A Friend

    Hey, I am not Eric under cover. I am a woman, a friend of his of long standing, and suggest to those sisters commenting here that: assuming anyone who counters this escalating character assassination must be A) Eric, himself or B) some deluded, un-woke and misguided woman without agency or insight or psychological savvy is myopic, intoxicated by your own rage and reinforces my previous comment. How many of these people have actually spent time with him?

    1. Too much time

      ‘A Friend’- To answer your question, I have spent too much time with this man. Time I will never get back. Lesson learned. Please stop dismissing the accounts of others because you are a friend of Eric’s. I was too, and for a longtime. This is not a so called witch hunt on Eric, these are accounts of experiences that many people with in a community has had with him. No one is out to get him, we are just not accepting his behavior any longer.

      Yes, we live in a small town and choose to live here. As most of us are “transplants” and lived in NYC or other places. This is not small town gossip and it has nothing to do with Eric’s views on polyamory, masturbation, or anything else. Most- at least some of us – are all for those veiws. This has to do with his behavior. May he treat you better as ‘a friend’.

    2. A "friend"

      I have spent plenty of real time with him. More than possibly any woman. Even you dear ‘a friend’. – and I ignored even perhaps defended E’s deplorable narcissistic behavior for years. Until he went too far. You can keep defending him, someday you too will see the light. And hopefully before it’s too late. Good luck. And thank you Jesse.

    3. Nick Taylor

      I’ve spent time with him and I hope I never have to again. He’s been sexually aggressive towards many of my female friends and tried to pick a fight with me when I asked him to give me space.

  20. Ilene Marder

    It’s about time. More than a decade ago when I was working for a major event in the area this same man came to my office with no appointment demanding an immediate interview with the founder of the event. The founder was not in town that day. When I told him the founder was unavailable but I could schedule an interview for him, this man – EFC- who I had met before and imho was clearly a completely insensitive, inappropriate, self- absorbed narcissist, then got right up into my face and called me “a stupid bitch” with the coldest, menacing attitude that was not just creepy but truly scary. And infuriating. Kudos to all the women who came forward and to Ulster Pub and Chronogram for recognizing he did not belong in their pages.

  21. @TimesUpEric

    Speaking of CinnamonGirl, before Eric Francis Coppolino used the CinnamonGirl account on “Make Choices, Have Reasons” he used it to defend his article “Eric Francis’s Reflections on #MeToo”.

    Here’s how it begins:

    “Mr. Coppolino’s quote of Margaret Atwood … is how I (a woman who has been 3 times sexually assaulted)…” — Posted by CinnamonGirl on 06/17/2018 at 8:43 AM

    https://www.chronogram.com/hudsonvalley/planet-waves-astrological-forecast-february-2018/Content?oid=4039893

    Posing as a woman who has been sexually assaulted? Posing as a survivor who would come to your defense?

    How dare you, Eric.

  22. I forgot to say something

    ‘A Friend ‘,

    “Also, the statement that this ‘conduct’ has been spoken about long before metoo has no basis. “

    Stop. Just stop. It has EVERY basis, it’s been an ongoing discussion in ‘small town Kingston-ville’ forever. He’s been spoken too about it many times. He always continues to act like a creep. He is disrespectful of others and people became fed up. I couldn’t stand his behavior a long time before #metoo.

    I suggest you do some research of your own.

  23. Only the Shadows Know

    First, kudos to Jesse Smith for what seems like an impartial and meticulous exercise in reportage.

    I see a small tragedy here, or rather a small collection of interrelated tragedies. Every person has a shadow; every movement has a shadow, too.

    The article by Eric Francis Coppolino that ignited this firestorm was in my view an attempt on his part to make a reasonable point: The #MeToo movement has a shadow. This produced what in retrospect was a predictable response: “Yo’, Eric what about YOUR shadow?” Thus was the downward spiral launched. Eric’s response was basically, “I ain’t got no stinkin’ shadow.” Predictable, perhaps, but not sage: It only increased the incoming.

    In another, better world, here’s how this unfortunate situation would be resolved. Eric would stand up in the virtual public square and say, “You know, you’re right. I have had issues with boundaries. I apologize for any pain I’ve caused and am resolved to do better going forward.” His attackers would acknowledge that there’s a big difference between committing sexual crimes, which there’s no evidence whatever of his doing, and making women uncomfortable, which he plainly has done. In other words, they’d welcome nuance into the conversation–gradations of misconduct, if you will. And they’d also acknowledge that #MeToo, like every political movement, does indeed have a shadow.

    The best way to resolve conflict that I know is by meeting on the bridge of vulnerability between the two hard-and-fast positions. When you acknowledge the shadow, it goes away. When you deny it, it gets bigger. If only that could happen here! But it probably won’t. It’s probably too late for that, and the times and temperaments aren’t aligned. That’s why this is a tragedy.

    1. Nuance Schmuance

      His “attackers”??? Bringing abusive behavior to light is equivalent to attacking? And making women feel uncomfortable and unsafe, not to mention disregarding women’s requests (for four years!) that you leave them alone — sorry, but it doesn’t matter that these are not “sexual crimes” from a legal standpoint. They cause huge trauma and harm, and negatively impact people’s lives. They are abuse, plain and simple. He’s also doubling down on his “right” to disregard other people’s rights, and spreading lies. Nice try with the both-sidesism, but you are way off the mark here.

      1. Nuance Schmuance

        Abuse is not mutual “conflict” you “resolve” by “meeting on the bridge of vulnerability.” Big difference.

  24. Another friend

    This shoddy article and the ridiculous remarks supporting it are truly cringeworthy. Your collective horror at his supposed activities seems to consist of an unconscious mish-mash of vague insinuations, prejudice against polyamory (and indeed any expression of sexual desire from a man, it would seem), interpersonal disgust at the use of explicit language (how very liberal!) and offense at the challenges posed by his writing.

    You’ve taken all of this and constructed a fictional caricature that is nothing at all like the Eric I know personally – and yes, I have been in his company often enough to know he is nothing but respectful, polite, kind and supportive of women’s struggles.

    This projection-fueled attempt at butchering my friend’s reputation is disgraceful, and your efforts could be considerably damaging to victims of real violence and abuse. Are you prepared to live with that on your consciences?

    And just by the way I am a woman, and I experienced a pretty brutal childhood thanks to my father and stepfather. I have never felt anything but entirely safe in Eric’s company. Also, I happen to know the identity of Cinnamon Girl: she is a flesh-and-blood woman, another who has been friends with Eric for many years, another who would defend him to the hilt, and with good reason. It intrigues me that some of you are assuming Eric’s support is thin on the ground. Know that in fact there are many of us who care about Eric and understand this pitiful hatchet job for what it really is.

    I, for one, will always have his back. I am proud to call him my friend.

  25. Ella Washington

    I have been reading Eric online for two decades now and value that part of him. I admit to being pretty baffled by all this. Generally, the consensus seems to be that some women find EFC creepy. Ya know what? It’s a big planet, populated by people you’ll like and people you won’t like, and all the confusing ones in between. Equating Eric with some powerful media mogul, in whose presence women are powerless??? If you think Eric’s a creep, keep away from him. If you’re offended by what he writes, don’t read it. If you don’t want his emails, don’t give him your email address. How hard is that?

    I, too, live in a small town and there are people here I don’t want to spend time with – so, for the most part, I avoid them. It works.

    1. kimono junkie

      How about if you tell him to leave you alone again and again and he absolutely won’t? What if he unrelentingly harasses you, comes up behind you, whispers things to you, corners you in small spaces, follows you saying uncomfortable things. I have had over ten specific different encounters and was very clear before I went to the police to document it. I am sorry that wasn’t enough, please, let me know the number is.

      1. Ella Washington

        I’m still confused. What did the police do? Suggest a no-contact order because you feel threatened? Easy to do, at least in my state. Or are you talking about lewd whisperings? Annoying for sure, and totally insensitive. I sure wouldn’t want them. But you can see the difference between creepy behavior and rape, right? You can see the difference between some guy you walk a block or two to avoid and your boss who demands oral sex every Wednesday, right?

        I do hope you’re finding a way around your situation, and I don’t envy your position. A small town is small, and it’s not that easy to avoid someone. But there don’t seem to be names or events behind the allegations here. Obviously you gave your name to the police when you talked with them, and just because no legal action came from it doesn’t mean there’s no problem.

        1. Confused

          Why do you think that dozens of people, mostly women, should have to change their behavior to try to avoid someone who is harassing and inappropriate, even after being told to stop? Why should they never be able to speak out against it? And why should not be held accountable to change his behavior?. Also what do you suggest for the people who don’t yet know that he will behave this way, particularly the young people and the ones that aren’t aware of the whisper network? They should just learn for themselves by having a bad experience and then avoid him after?

          Do you realize that is what you are saying? I don’t understand the world that you are advocating for. Can’t you imagine anything better?

        2. A hope

          Trying to personally avoid creepy (aka predatory) men is what most of us have been doing for so long. I remember in high school the whisper networks around certain male teachers that we shouldn’t wear skirts around, or the one who had all the “pretty girls” sit in the front row. We assumed that this was part of being a teenage girl or woman in the world, that no one would do anything about it, and thought that we had to try to avoid them. Hopefully in this new era we can change the culture so that it is no longer ONLY up to the preyed upon to try to avoid the predator. Hopefully we can now hold “creepy” people accountable for their behavior. Hopefully as communities we can take responsibility to ensure that all of our members have the right to be free of harassment and to have their boundaries respected. That hope is why so many of us have come forward.

    2. Nick Taylor

      I think that, just as you suggest, the people who have had bad experiences with Eric do choose to avoid him. And they are also telling their stories publicly so that other people can avoid him without having to have a bad experience first.

  26. John

    From every single one of his quotes in this article it sounds like he’s absolutely guilty. He’s arrogant, dismissive, patronizing and “everyone is against him” … wonder why? Perhaps because once again, someone spoke up, and this terrifies the rapist and the aggressor because their only defense is to dsimiss, mock, and denegrate.

    Sounds a bit like a small-dIcked man in the white house. Cut from the same cloth when it comes to “respect in sexuality.” The words, the psychology, and the pattern are classic text book sexual abuser. Calling this a “creep” is quite kind.

    Please, don’t defend him…makes you guilty as well.

  27. Amy Little

    Unbelievable that the Editor of Chrongram, Brian Mahoney, justified the firing by saying that Eric’s behavior was “creepy.” What a wimpy apologetic cover for a sexual predator.

    1. Anon

      He is creepy. He earned being fired, all by himself. Also, we get that all of Eric’s “friends” are former abuse victims. WAKE UP.

      1. No need for assumptions

        I am frustrated and saddened by those callously defending him and dismissing victims too, and I get that you might be trying to make sense of it, but please don’t make those kinds of assumptions about who they are and their history with abuse. Many of us have a history with abuse and it doesn’t make us support abusers. Many people who support abusers do not have a history of abuse. It’s just an assumption that shouldn’t be made or thrown around like an insult.

    2. Agreed

      Agreed. Creepy is a dismissive euphemism for predator. And he didn’t even say that EFC was creepy, he said that other people find him creepy. I’m glad that they stood their feeble ground, but it sounds both editors have a long way to go in turns of empathy for the victims, and understanding rape culture.

      1. Savvy

        Brian Mahoney’s statement is not a dismissive euphemism, nor lacking in empathy; it is professionally and personally prudent: To accuse EFC of being a “predator” prior to further action in the legal process could have caused legal exposure (based on “defamation via slander, of EFC”) to Mahoney, the publication, the company that owns the publication, and the owners of that company. This would have been foolhardy and naive, not only from a legal/financial exposure standpoint, but also because it would skew and divert the original case toward slander by Mahoney et als. rather than focusing on the original issue. Mahoney’s statement about wanting to maintain the long-built (over 20 years time) reputation of a business, is part of a legal argument, should the case go to court. The dismissal of EFC and his longstanding services, along with the article about same and why, is a strong statement. Read between the lines.

  28. Not a friend or a resident.

    I have no skin in this game. I don’t know Eric. Never met the guy. I loved his horoscopes and found them insightful, curious, and comforting. I looked forward to them every month and am saddened to think that they will no longer be present. But I would prefer to lose my horoscope than excuse behavior like Eric’s- doubling down on defensive behavior, refusing to acknowledge, admit, or apologize for his past, current, and likely, future transgressions, and using faux legalese in a blisteringly boring personal op-ed to show that there are ‘two sides’ to a story.

    Of course there are many sides to an argument, but we would all be wise to see that the more women Eric Francis dismisses as crazy, jealous, or out to get him, the more the finger points in his direction. I’m sad to see him go, and I’m especially sad that he wasn’t able to behave properly around people and that this is the conclusion of his efforts and behavior.

  29. kimono junkie

    To all the defenders of EFC, I can only say that I am really glad you have not had to experiences what many of these women have endured, treasure whatever you share with him, but it is still completely irrelevant. Your experiences do not change, erase or silence those of the many women who have come forward. These are first-hand accounts backed up with dates and emails, texts and statements, much of it was edited down to fit inside a newspaper article but that does not mean these women, also established professionals and leading members of the community are lying. What would be the point? And I agree with so many of the speakers who bring up rape, it is unconscionable and the worst atrocity, but is that the line? So long as we women aren’t being raped we can’t set boundaries, physically or emotionally?

    I also would add that this is nothing like healthy male attention. There is nothing healthy about this.

  30. Barbara

    I haven’t taken the time to read all responses as of yet, however my reaction to the women who defend EFC and the “friend.”
    “Uh, so he murdered a few people, yeah, he did it– but that’s all. So see, he’s not a murderer. You have to murder more than just a few people to be a murderer.”
    Wow.

  31. Erica

    If someone I loved and cared about was accused by dozens and dozens of people of disrespectful, harassing, cruel, and abusive behavior I would confront that person. I would expect the same by the people who love and care for me. No one grows by sticking their head in the sand and blocking the necessary calling out of bad behavior. I watched my spiritual community make tons of excuses when our “guru” manipulated and exploited women for decades for his sexual gratification, instead of dissecting and exploring and growing through some deep work, and holding his feet to the fire. Why should EFC get a pass, because he hurt many women he came across, but not all of them? He was able to have healthy relationships and boundaries with women who were his friends, but got off on stalking and harassing and manipulating other women, and that somehow just balances out? This is so important and necessary, to have anyone who behaves like EFC has behaved to know this shit won’t fly. It’s a shame it’s been going on this long, I feel awful for all the people who have been hurt, but finally times up.

  32. Not surprised at all

    I don’t live in the Hudson Valley and have never met Eric Francis, but I had one astrological reading with him, and never came back for more. During the reading, he asked intrusive questions about my personal sexual practices, stated categorically that my father had affairs outside of my parents’ marriage (which I know didn’t happen – and Eric’s insistence that it did was based on his belief that everyone has affairs), played psychotherapist despite the fact that he has no training, and told me that I “have problems with my sexuality as a woman” based on looking at my chart. I ended the reading with Eric feeling really upset and actually pretty violated, and I’ve since had readings with other astrologers (men and women) that have never left me feeling that way. The guy clearly has issues with respecting women’s boundaries, and by painting the women who have complaints against him as “prudes” he’s conveniently avoiding any personal responsibility.

  33. mariner

    I met Eric once and he was very respectful and we discussed astrology. – If Eric has friends who believe in him – why attack them. In any situation where there is conflict – as one of my Buddhist teachers advises – Have compassion for all in the situation – I see very little of that here – I am happy I do not live in or near Kingston…so I send compassion for all –

    1. Look again

      They aren’t coming forward and saying – hey I just want to say that I had a good experience with him – they are actively criticizing, dismissing and attacking those speaking out about being harmed. Calling that out is not showing a lack of compassion. In fact many have empathized and said things like – “I am glad for you and understand that these things are hard to hear about a friend, but it does not give you the right to attack those that have come forward to share their traumatic stories.” That is an excercise in true compassion.

  34. Anonymous

    I believe and support the people speaking out. BTW, this is not about bias against writing or activism in sexual or polyamory issues. People in those communities as well have also spoken of problems with what they found to be contentiousness and manipulativeness. I’m literally afraid to say anything else, but I felt bad for the people harmed, and wanted another voice of support up here for them. It’ll just get attacked and denied anyway, but I couldn’t think of what else to do.

  35. Paul

    Hippies turning against hippies. This is nothing more than “he said / she said”. The real injustice comes from a one sided dialogue that results in the ostricization of a potentially innocent person. Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty? Apparently the #metoo mob motives are not to be questioned.

    1. Nick Taylor

      What happened to innocent until proven guilty? Chronogram fired Eric after conducting a third party investigation into his behavior, as this article clearly says. Where do you find the lack of due process in that?

      Since we are not literally in a courtroom there isn’t going to be a point where someone in a position of authority over the truth bangs a gavel and says “this person is officially proven innocent/guilty”. We all have to make up our own minds based on the facts available to us. But 24 women have come forward and officially recorded their stories- doesn’t that number of witnesses saying the same thing have any value in establishing what is and isn’t true?

      Nobody is saying that rumors or hearsay should be swallowed unquestioningly, but the fact that so many women can tell their stories and not be considered to have a convincing case is a sad testament to how undervalued women’s voices are in our culture.

    2. He said / She said

      Sexual harassment issues are too often he said / she said, and this is a social issue that needs to be brought to light.

      MeToo is trying to shed light onto that to give women more safety. It’s working.

      Eric and people like Eric use he said / she said to their advantage, and target women alone. I have reason to believe this is why Eric has refused to give group tarot sessions on two occasions that I have made that request. He wants the women alone. He lures women one by one into his office for private sessions. Or he takes them into the woods without their support systems around them, like in the story with Dana.

    3. anon

      “This is nothing more than ‘he said / she said’”.

      Wrong. It’s “he said” /
      “She said . . .” and
      “She said . . .” and
      “She said . . .” and
      “She said . . .” and
      “She said . . .” and
      “She said . . .” and . . .

  36. Christopher McGregor

    Eric and I have been close friends for 25 years. I knew him before he wrote an astrology column. His efforts on behalf of the community as an investigative reporter were tireless and selfless. Early on, He was a starving activist, whose cats were fed even if he wasn’t. He showed us the Clean Harbors environmental cleanup workers in moon suits leaving the back of the New Paltz dorms, as the new freshman class was coming in the front. Long after the PCB cleanup was supposed to be complete, he convinced Mario Cuomo to test the dorm vents. They were still toxic.
    I have fond memories of going to Hunter Mountain, where he entertained an entire room of skiers with his Tarot readings. We danced all night at the Cabaloosa in New Paltz. We brought mass quantities of groceries to the free kitchen that fed thousands and had the time of our lives at the Bethel Woodstock celebration. We gathered with friends in the caves in Rosendale. We had memorable moonlight drives through the mountains in a Mustang GT convertible. And we have gotten together or had dinner with friends too many times to count. Plenty of opportunity, but nothing to add to the “whisper network” here.
    When I heard about the s***storm over the #metoo column that Eric wrote, I read it. I thought it was well written and thoughtful. I was surprised that a vicious group of “non-victims” had formed, led vicariously by Hillary Harvey, whose stated goal was getting Eric fired from all his jobs. Talk about hitting a mosquito with a sledgehammer! Jason Stern from Chronogram suggested that Eric should have apologized and looked within. These mostly nameless accusations were all gathered by Harvey, who was not looking for reconciliation, or an apology.
    When a public figure is accused of bad behavior, it is no longer a scientifically controlled situation, and then biased fakes or crazies can come forward and say, “that happened to me too”. Or maybe it is just the power of suggestion. In this case, Lorna Tychostup has been spreading poison against Eric from New Paltz to Kingston for decades. Talk about an obsession. harassment. and creating and perpetuating a whisper network! I speak from personal experience. In 2008 I was having dinner with a friend on the patio of the Moolight Café in New Paltz. Lorna walked by, we recognized her from the Chronogram, and we talked. At some point, my friend and I mentioned that we were friends with Eric. Lorna then went into a ½ hour tirade about Eric, and how she wanted him fired from the Chronogram because of his sexual history. I then asked, isn’t he responsible for half the Chronogram circulation? She begrudgingly admitted that was true. I am wondering if she was the person who supposedly puts his name on the ”take back the night” chalkboard
    As a man, I have been groped and received unwanted sexual attention from both sexes. I am sure I have made others uncomfortable, because just like my grandmother when she was 80, I still feel like I am 20. Unlike most accusers and comments here, I use my real name. I apologize to anyone reading this who feels I did something in the past that made them uncomfortable. Anyone who knows or reads Eric knows that he marches to a different drummer when it comes to sex. I find it ironic that this drama unfolds only a couple blocks from the LGBTQ center in uptown Kingston. Maybe we need to add another letter for Eric.

    1. Hillary Harvey

      Actually, Christopher McGregor, my stated goal was to sit down with and listen to the people coming forward and to share their experiences with the people I knew at the media organizations, so that they could understand how their brands were being used and perceived.

    2. Nick Taylor

      “I then asked, isn’t he responsible for half the Chronogram circulation? She begrudgingly admitted that was true.”

      So Eric has made a lot of money for Chronogram- that doesn’t mean Chronogram or anyone else should turn a blind eye to his behavior. Maybe Eric was good at astrology and investigative reporting- just like Louis C.K. was a good comedian, and Harvey Weinstein was a good producer. Our society will be a lot safer for everyone when we stop valuing a person for their skills or success over their character as a human being.

      1. Christopher McGregor

        The point I was trying to make was that Lorna seemed jealous of Eric, and that seemed to be the motive for her obsessive badmouthing of him. And since you mentioned it, the reason why this is not Kingston”s #metoo: Louis C.K.- he blocked the exit, which clearly means no consent. Harvey Weinstein: rape, silenced victims through career destruction or threats thereof.

        1. Trolling Trolls

          In the statement released by his publicist, [Louis] C.K. said in part: “At the time, I said to myself that what I did was okay because I never showed a woman my dick without asking first, which is also true. But what I learned later in life, too late, is that when you have power over another person, asking them to look at your dick isn’t a question. It’s a predicament for them.”

          Another woman recounted going to [Eric] Francis’ studio after he offered a free chart reading. After the reading, the woman said he masturbated in her presence. The woman said Francis asked first and she consented. But added that she did so out of a concern for her own safety — she had previously experienced a violent sexual assault and feared a confrontation with Francis — rather than desire.

        2. Nick Taylor

          The fact that one person’s offense was “not as bad” as someone else’s doesn’t make them innocent.

    3. Anonymous

      How lovely to hear about your good times and moonlight drives. I guess women would like to experience the same freedom of movement, or at least to visit the corner cafe without wondering if they’ll have an uncomfortable encounter with someone “only trying to be nice,” but who gets vindictive, touchy, and insinuating at the drop of a hackeysack and who never, ever lets go of a grudge.
      We’d like to experience the freedom to use our names, as well, but it’s dangerous. It’s ironic that the subject of these articles has been known to use many different names, for all occasions, as it suits him, but of course the same freedom would not be extended to us targets.

  37. Franka Habla

    Let us sumarize
    A woman claims to have a sexual experience at 18, when she was a virgin, Which made her feel dirty, yet she kept a poem from the man who made her feel that way for 20 plus years. Give me a break. She wants to talk to an attrective “older” man about an activist issue, and when he shows up with a picnic basket she cannot say lets have this on the bench in front of the library, but gets in the car to commune in nature? Why are women convinced that they do not have any responsibility for setting the Boundries?
    Another is ofended the man sniffed at her hair. I am guilty of sniffing at men that smell nice, rare as it is to find one wearing fragrance, and I feel free to complement them – were I a man and they a woman that would make me a sexual predator I suppose LOL.
    It is sad how women have become convinced they are an opressed group in a country where they can do and become anyone they want provided they apply themselves to studying and work hard. Women who are propositioned are now traumatized victims – the word survivor apears in several of postings here – have you lost complete touch with reality? The words have meaning and the meaning should not be cheapened or diluted because it is there to describe reality and if it does not we end up in hysteria and feeding frenzy about a guy who may or may have not been obnoxious to some women. Deal with it. If a man writes you a sexual note put him in his place or break relations. Been there, done that, and even remained friends with men who tried. Men Are not ogres, men have lame pick up lines. Another young woman feels traumatized because EFC tried to pick her up with a line his terapist told him to say clear of women below 25 etc. i was young once, and men in their 50 ies seemed ancient to me, there are so many ways you can respond in that situation if you dont want to be cruel and call him grandpa of the batt (sorry EFC). you can say you are only attracted to: priests, gays, lumberjacks, and smile sweetly and they get it.
    Where does this syndrom of oppressed womanhood and opressed sexual minorities come from? in the West where they are most free? Well it starts in early 20 century when it became clear that the working class prefers to work and get themselves up by the boot straps so they can buy cars, homes etc and that a bloody revolution such as in Russia does not work. To change the culture you need a bloodless revolution and develop a group which will be eternally opressed and victimized. Thus, via such famous gurus as Herbert Marcuse his Eros and Civilization and more importantly his essay on Repressive Tolerance we come to the mess and massive feelings of victimization today skillfully used in politics That revolution was successful and we do not even know it happened. Let us keep things in perspective. Obnoxious is not Harvey Weinstein. Private emails with sexual context are not the same as Weinstein’s threats the women will be finished with no prospect of any work in Hollywood if they do not sleep with him.

    1. Becca

      Dear Frank, You are doing something called victim-blaming.

      Victim blaming is when you criticize the actions/choices of the victim rather than those of the perpetrator.

      The most common example of this is when you blame a woman for wearing a short skirt instead of blaming the man who raped her. Another example is when the language in the media is framed as passive:

      “Twelve women have experienced harassment” instead of “A man harassed twelve women.”

      Victim blaming skews the argument toward the innocence of the man and the complicity of the woman. MeToo is trying to bring some balance to this situation by reframing language around criticisms of the man’s choices rather than the woman’s choices.

      Of course every story has two sides, but usually media only portrays the man’s side, so #MeToo is attempting to restore some balance to that situation. We are meeting a lot of resistance to that change, but a lot of relief and reprieve for many women as well.

      Victim blaming causes fewer women to speak and more inherent threat for women in society, as well as more license for men to perpetrate harassment and sexual crimes.

      A common response to this argument is that women should not be weakened by these threats; we should be powerful through this inherent threat of sexual violence. And we are. We have developed coping mechanisms like you wouldn’t believe. Mostly we pretend that we are fine with it and it doesn’t bother us. We can even develop entire branches of our personalities designed to help ourselves be okay with the daily reality of harassment victim blaming, and more.

      I know that as a man, you likely are not as aware of this culture as women are, so I invite you to try to consider the woman’s perspective, as women have been asked by media and culture to consider primarily the man’s perspective.

      It’s about balance. Sometimes something so far out of balance needs some strength in the pull back to the other direction. This is not the weakness of women that so many espouse as being characteristic of MeToo; it is quite the opposite. This is a movement of women’s voice and strength.

      1. Franka Habla

        I am a woman and it is my generation in the 60ies and seventies for women.s rights. If your read carfully you would have noticed the name is Franka. If you read carefully instead of jumping to conclusions and resorting to simplistic platitudes and categorizing perhaps you would realize that the stories these heroic women come forth bringing need to be logical. Thank you for the patronizing response. Now I know how men get talked to.

    2. the change will come

      Wow! I think inventing that this woman found him attractive is a fantastical stretch, as if being coerced into sex by a good looking man is better than being coerced into sex by a bad looking one. This was a guy that six months earlier would have gotten a statutory rape charge. And for my part, I think this dude is really ugly. What a weird comment to add to her narrative.

  38. M. Connelly

    But who’s next to get the boot from this inclusive Uptown ‘community’? Just throwing it out there, but I know one woman in Uptown Kingston whom has been made to feel uncomfortable by Thor. So is he the next target of this provincial take on #metoo?

    1. Franka Habla

      It will help if he is brighter and say sufficiently cosmopolitan that it will make them uncomfortable and be a better writer too and have a certain panache if you will… if you get my drift 😉

  39. Becca

    M. Connelly, creeps are everywhere. The difference between creeps on the street or your average creep next door are that they don’t have platforms and positions of power. They are more easily avoided and have less sway over our lives. Harassers and bullies with power positions are the current focus of MeToo.

  40. Not and apologist, not a sucker

    “I KNOW FOR A LONG TIME, HE CAN’T POSSIBLY DO THIS.”

    aka

    “MY NEIGHBOR HAS ALWAYS BEEN SO QUIET, POLITE AND KEPT TO HIMSELF! WHO KNOW HE WAS CAPABLE OF THIS!?”

    aka

    “FATHER JOHNSTON HAS BEEN WITH OUR CHURCH FOR 30 YEARS, OF COURSE HE DIDN’T TOUCH THOSE CHILDREN.”

    Y’all are apologists and suckers.

  41. Christopher McGregor

    “Barnett, meanwhile, points to an erotic poem sent to her by Francis shortly after their encounter. Barnett shared images of the typewritten poem signed to her by Francis and the postmarked envelope it came in. The poem, titled “Returning Milk to the Mother,” aligns with details of the sexual encounter related by Barnett.”
    It’s astounding that what she claims is contemporaneous evidence has been kept secret for 4 months. From the newspaper article, we learn that there’s also a second document – an envelope w/ a post mark. So now there are two documents, which she says prove something. After all the fuss that Barnett has caused with her original post, claiming some kind of consensual encounter, lets see these documents and see what they prove. Or the motive for keeping them hidden.

    1. Nick Taylor

      First of all, the poem’s existence has not been “kept secret for 4 months”. Dana described it when she first told her story, and shared it with the author of this article, who reported on it as he felt appropriate. She has no obligation to share it with Eric, as he has repeatedly demanded, and certainly shouldn’t have to make it public if she doesn’t want to. I’m sorry you feel like you are owed more access to other people’s personal lives than you’re being given, but your comments so far don’t exactly demonstrate a keen understanding of interpersonal boundaries, so…

    2. anon

      I think you are being harsh and attacking here unnecessarily.

      I think there are issues to wonder about, ie when they quote the investigation of all the incidents as finding ““It was nothing coercive in any way” but then the journalist presents individual instances as coercive but doesn’t question the finding of the investigation.

      This (1996 situation) and the one you also commented on (masturbation after volunteered tarot card reading) do bring the issue of consent to focus, as both are presented as consensual but still as problems. The first is presented as consensual (or, not resisted) but something the person inwardly didn’t want to consent too, and it is the age/experiential difference and circumstances that seems to be what determines responsibility? The second one, is presented as the woman gave consent only because she felt threatened based on her previous experience with someone else.

      So they are both based on the women not feeling they had the agency to not consent?

      The situation where he is said to have emailed sexually explicit photos of himself to a new employee who was only prepared for the astrology site editing work, sounds like a violation that is also in the context of an employment power dynamic context.

      But for Griffin to be coordinating a campaign against him, then complain to the police that he is “so obsessed” with her (with him having someone reading those campaign emails, and showing up at one(?) of the campaign meetings), seems to be somewhat one-sided opinion*. For this article to also include the quote “In fact I am not sure I have ever met a woman in Kingston who doesn’t have a creepy Eric Francis story of one kind or another, being lewd or inappropriate,” from her email to the cafe, is very questionable journalism on multiple levels.

      * The harassment Griffin describes, is unclear how much is related to the campaign she leads against him, or how much was prior to that (ie when was it she told him to fuck off and he continued to approach her, and when was the co-working space?). The journalist here is missing those kind of details (also, Eric has stated in his articles about this issue, that he lived abroad for approximately a decade of the time span described in this article, but there is no mention in this article about that or when that was; from reading this it would be assumed he was present in the community).

      ** Eric has posted (July 25) about the journalistic principle of giving someone the opportunity to have their response to any allegations against them in media presented before those are published, and that hasn’t here which is disappointing.

    3. Ivs Aguirre

      She has already showed them, Christopher. The reporter has seen them – that’s what the sentence “Barnett shared the images of the typewritten poem signed to her by Francis and the postmarked envelope it came in”, means. Or are you expecting to receive a personal message with an image attached?

      TWENTY-FOUR WOMEN have come forward – and we haven’t even added the experiences in the comments of this story to the tally. Their testimonies, recorded, together with the physical proof this journalist clearly states exist, all counts as evidence. Why won’t you accept it? Why is the fact that a person can be a good, kind friend and a talented human being, and STILL be guilty of bad things, so incomprehensible to you? Why would you be so willfully blind and paranoid, not to mention arrogant?

      And fact is, your incapability of seeing the bigger picture – something you could do and STILL love and support your friend – is just making it worse. Previously I didn’t consider ending my subscription of Eric’s services: I was hoping he would come around and at some point understand. I thought that maybe just this one time I could separate the man who through his writing and insight has given me so much, from his actions against these women. But seeing yours and others spirited and shameful defense, and the intellectual laziness all of his friends seem to prefer, I’m less inclined to believe that he’ll ever understand. Because with friends like you, what’s stopping him from pushing his narrative forever? When will he ever take responsibility for his actions and understand that his supposedly good intentions mean jack shit if women for years have been telling him to STOP?

      I’ll make sure to name you later in my e-mail, when I after 5 years of loyalty and monthly payments, cancel my account.

  42. Serennu

    Asking a client if you can masturbate at the end of their reading is an absolutely massive violation of professional ethics, with or without consent.

    Laughably, Eric likes to lecture other astrologers on ethics.

    1. Christopher McGregor

      Eric already addressed this in part 2: “[To] mix sex in any form and a spiritual session, someone would need to have a gun to my head. It’s not appropriate. It violates all ethics. It did not happen — ever.”

      1. The Literate One

        Yes and his quote was demolished by the stories of his being inappropriate. Didn’t you read the actual story?

  43. Christopher McGregor

    It is the writer, Jesse J. Smith who is not publishing the evidence. The poem would be an obvious exhibit to his story. “That an adverse inference may arise from the fact of missing evidence is a generally accepted principle of law.” Smith v. US., 128 F. Supp. . I am forwarding this interaction to Jesse as a request ” to receive a personal message with an image attached”
    As far as the “testimonies” referred to, Jesse does his readers a disservice by attempting to rehash the complaint based on the unverified, unnamed allegations. The timing, and vague and unverifiable nature of the allegations are the reason Ryan Poscablo did not find them credible. Many of the allegations do not rise above the level of gossip, even if true. Since Lorna Tycostup, in her unique position as an employee of the Chronogram, has been badmouthing Eric, and trying to get him fired for decades, I am convinced that she is the source of the whisper network.
    As far as the “big picture”, I thought the #metoo movement was about real people coming forward with actual time and place allegations of criminal behavior and/or workplace harassment. Can we really “deplatform” someone without due process for pointing out the danger of the #metoo movement not having due process? Here, a caricature has been formed by the pitch fork mob which is simply not Eric. He is too busy working, in another town or state, or not even in the country and can’t possibly be guilty of what has been thrown at him.

  44. TheRedDogParty

    Whatever happened to those two dachshunds? Every time I tried to sniff them, they tried to bite my nose off! How creepy is that! I’m so glad we won’t be seeing those two around anymore, what a relief!

  45. A Student of Eric's

    I’ve been a student of Eric’s and subscriber for almost the entire time Planet Waves has been around, although I am not local to this community. I am SO SAD and heartbroken about this entire thing: because I know it’s true and I was able to dismiss his behavior and separate what I knew and continue to compartmentalize his work from his personal life (that he is not only a CREEP to put it mildly, but has crossed lines with MANY women) . Well, that is over.

    Like loyal Trump supporters, it seems by reading through this thread of comments, that his “friends” refuse to believe that he is a sexual predator and especially likes to prey on young women. YOU ALL SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELVES. Obviously, just because Eric likes to openly share his sexual philosophy does not mean he is incapable of crossing lines, violating people, etc. The truth hurts, but he is this person the story describes and the fact that he is acting like a lawsuit-threatening-VICTIM just shows he is not the Consciousness Expert he believes himself to be. If you can’t read social cues that you are DISGUSTING PEOPLE and your advances are not being received well, YOU. HAVE. A. PROBLEM. You need help and I think it’s time for a new therapist.

    I personally have witnessed his aggressive sexual advances and know VERY WELL 2 women who slept with him consensually, who BOTH later said, they were DISGUSTED that they “caved” and gave in to his advances. BOTH claim they were in a vulnerable place when it occurred and that he offered “free readings” to them, took them to the woods, etc. After one of them tried to say she was no longer interested in any kind of relationship with him because she felt “off” about it, he proceeded to call her and leave an excrutiatingly long voicemail of him masturbating into the phone, moaning, and saying all kinds of things that are pretty sexually deviant. I heard the message with my own ears, and it LITERALLY SHOOK ME. I really, really, wished I had never heard it.

    So, Eric, if you are reading this-I’m sorry I didn’t call you out for your behavior a long time ago. I thought about sending you a direct message, but I actually don’t want to interact with you anymore and if you are suffering the way you claim to be in your newsletter, I don’t want to contribute to that. I learned a lot about astrology from you, but I learned way more about life, and Misogyny, and Fake Feminists, and Manipulation, and am REALLY THANKFUL that you were not “interested” in me sexually. In fact, the first time you looked at my chart when I first met you in person, you basically launched into a 15 minute rant about how I’m “sexless” and basically frigid, while then turning your back on me in a restaurant when I was the third wheel at your “date” with my friend, and I witnessed your shadow-lusting after another young woman 30 years younger than you (who btw, has ALL KINDS OF ISSUES WITH HER SEXUALITY, so it’s no surprise you took a fancy to her).

    So, yes, I saw with my own eyes, what that determination to get inside someone’s pants looks like. And then I saw her shame and disgust with herself for whatever exactly transpired between you two (she would never share the details and I have since lost touch with her). But to see this level of people (even on this thread) who are confirming what I knew, but didn’t want to admit to myself. My teacher is a Pervert and Sexual Predator. This isn’t about free love, polyamory, etc. That’s all an excuse to get laid. Rarely saw any erotic art from Eric that was of a woman over the age of 30. And I’ve heard MANY instances of Eric knocking feminism in every wave, and he has said how older women (I was 35 when we had this discussion-is that considered “older” to a Man in his 50s?)

    And I really wish you would have had the CONSCIOUSNESS level to say “Geez, maybe I did make people uncomfortable and maybe I did cross boundaries.” But no, total denial of responsibility is what brought you to this moment. I thought the Chiron Return was about Healing our wounds once and for all-and it is apparent that this has not occurred for you, Eric.

    I hope that you find your way, but you better find the help you need to take a good look at yourself in the mirror and see the real you. It would be nice if you ever in 20 years shared your chart-it always struck me as “odd” that you wouldn’t just post your damn astrology chart. Every other astrologer I know does-what are you hiding?
    Oh, well, I guess this.

    Sad on this potent Eclipse to be getting to reading this article-but feels appropriate to be releasing my feelings, even to this thread. I wish all the women who have been affected by this to LET IT GO and heal and move on in any way you can. The future is waiting for you-we need you.

    And to the idiots who claim just because they are ‘friends’ with Eric that this is OKAY, it’s not.

  46. Savvy

    anon (July 27, 2018 @4:38a.m.): Regarding your second paragraph (“I think there are issues to wonder about, ie when they quote the investigation of all the incidents as finding ‘It was nothing coercive in any way’ but then the journalist presents individual instances as coercive but doesn’t question the finding of the investigation.”):

    In the article author Jesse J. Smith’s sentence, “‘It was nothing coercive in any way,’ explained Chronogram editor-in-chief Brian Mahoney of the allegations against Francis,” I am unclear about the meaning of “coercive” here. I can’t tell if “coercive” here refers to “coercing the allegations” or to “Francis’s behaviors as being coercive.” I’d read it a few times, and decided it referred to “coercing the allegations.”

    Jesse J. Smith, would you please clarify? Thanks.

  47. Part 2

    PART 2

    https://hudsonvalleyone.com/2018/07/28/bad-moon-rising-part-2-sex-positive-feminism-or-sexual-misconduct-and-manipulation/

  48. Thy Fong

    Thank you for this comment. I was part of Eric’s circle of admirers quite a few years ago, and soon saw what his game was, and split. I don’t need to be in a cult and I don’t need to worship anyone, but sadly some people do and he preys on them. Eric and his die hard followers believe this scandal is payback for his #metoo article, but I don’t think so, not with all the comments here and not with the behavior I saw when I was in his circle. And to his defenders, if you really honestly think that every comment here about his behavior toward women is fabricated, well, you are no better than Trump followers who refuse to see the truth that’s right in front of their noses.

  49. Stargazer

    I had a phone reading w/him in the late 90’s. I remember that he asked me a specific question about my sexuality. I replied w/ a few words. This is odd, I thought. Then, he asked me another question. I again replied w/ a few words. He then started to say how he had “counseled an x number of women for an x number of years.” It was a number like 300 as I can recall. I thought, first, who cares? And, why is he saying this? Sounded very defensive. We went back and forth like this over a few things. I mentioned I had processed for quite a few years various issues. He made a remark about a negative remark about that, too. Wow, I couldn’t understand what was going on. With only some time left, I asked him “What about the astrology”? He said something very insulting about a certain aspect in my chart.I had paid extra for a tape of it (old days) and he never sent it to me. I can see why!

    The whole thing left me scratching my head. It verified to me that you must be careful w/ any non regulated type of “counseling” situations w/ those who don’t have solid credentials. For me it did. I think having a regulating body is important before you go to someone and expose your psyche to them. I had done enough work on myself by that time that this was like a hiccup. It was uncomfortable, but didn’t really affect me. I’m so sorry for those people who had more intense interactions and were greatly affected.

    I can only emphasize and say that I’m sure most of them had a “gut feeling” or “red flag” that something was “off” about their interaction from the get go. Trust that part of you inside that knows what’s going on. Listen to it always. Then, when something like this wants to repeat itself, you’ll know immediately it’s “off” and what you’re perceiving is indeed real. It’s a learning experience and it takes time.

  50. Creepy Indeed

    I hired Eric to read my astrology chart around 20 years ago, and he went on and on about how I needed to masturbate more. I have had my chart read dozens of times over many decades, and no other astrologers said that. And, I have always been a sex positive, erotic woman who self pleasures without shame. It felt at the time that he was pushing his agenda (issues?) and not actually doing a reading for me, about my chart. Makes sense now, with this larger picture.

Comments are closed.