#MeToo, responsibility and common sense

Okay, ladies and gentlemen, I am taking a stand.

I will continue reading Eric Francis’ horoscopes. His horoscopes have always been the best and actually say something tangible and relevant and not vague. The whole me-too movement has turned into something akin to the Salem witch hunts, and it is fascinating and terrible to watch.

What is the vector between me-too, alcohol, power and personal responsibility? There is much overlap. It’s a cushion mum, there is so much overlap. Meantime, me-too started with people admitting they had been sexually abused and was quickly hijacked and morphed into “a man once touched my ass, too.”

Should we give up the theory of relativity because Einstein was a whore? Throw away Bukowski because he was sometimes violent, out of control, swore a lot? Discard Dickens because he was a philanderer? Cost Garrison Keillor his decades-long legacy because he touched a woman’s back? Not every inappropriate interaction is Woody Allen grooming his all-but-stepdaughter or equivalent to drugging people so you can violate them.


Have we no perspective any more? Newsflash: All people are flawed. Some of them are assholes, some are douches, some are dicks. There are all kinds of people. And we can’t throw them all away because they are all broken.

What Eric Francis is alleged to do sounds creepy. But there is a massive difference between creepy and criminal. A huge difference between rape, pedophilia and getting with an 18-year-old college girl who went into the woods alone with you voluntarily and made choices she wasn’t comfortable with. I’ve been an 18-year-old college girl. I knew you didn’t go alone into the woods with a strange man. I didn’t want to be killed and thrown down a hole — that’s the reason I wouldn’t have gone into the woods with a strange man when I was 18, or ever.

Eric Francis is rife with inappropriate sexuality. His articles are full of it, right there for everyone to see, every month. I mostly skipped the articles and read the horoscope. But I wasn’t surprised when I met him that he went straight to the topic of sexuality. Know what I did, as an adult woman who doesn’t really engage in that kind of conversation? Didn’t engage. 

Did he have anything to offer me, career-wise? Nope. But if he had? And if — in order to gain that favor or that leg up career-wise — I had agreed to something that didn’t feel right or that I even knew was wrong? Know whose choice that would have been? Mine.

I am an adult, and I make my own choices. No one has ever gotten me drunk. Know why? Because I drink the drinks. That’s on me. Once, I drank too much without meaning to because the guy I was with kept refilling my drink before I was done. Know what I did after that? Kept better track myself. Because I am responsible for my own body, responsible for what I decide to do with it and what I don’t.

That includes some bad decisions I have made while drunk. Take the party where I fooled around with a boy who was graduating the next day. I stayed holed up in my room for the next three days, and when I found out a month later that he had told people at graduation I cried so hard I keened. Know who made that bad decision when she was drunk? Me. Not him. He was not Svengali. I was learning about sex and how it related to me and what my boundaries were, and I made a bad call. My mistake, not his.

When I was 21 I drank grain alcohol. I don’t know what that even means but they were passing around a bottle and I wanted to be cool and not seem afraid and so I drank it. That was my choice. I got so drunk I had a blackout that lasted a good long while, during which, I am told, I behaved quite shamefully. I cried then, too. Did the man who handed me the bottle get me drunk? No. I did. My body, my decision, my responsibility.

I address this missive to ladies and gentlemen, because it is for men and women both. Gentlemen, you have to have noticed by now that lots of you with the broken X chromosome can be pretty unsavory and aggressive. Don’t be one of them. Let your sons cry. Let them play with dolls. Make sure they know all we should ever do with a drunk girl is help her home. Make sure your sons know their limits and boundaries, too. I am certain the boy I behaved shamefully with was appalled at his behavior, too, because he was drunk, too. And know that we will almost all of us fail, at times, to follow our own moral compasses. And that learning from those circumstances can be painful and sometimes its consequences are irreversible. That doesn’t mean most of us don’t strive to be our best.

Women, let us take responsibility for our own actions. Let’s stop acting like women are little violets without our own sexual urges that sometimes lead us to make regretful choices. The two best pieces of advice I was ever given, and which kept me safe until I was a middle-aged woman and forgot that the rules still applied to me, were always to assume a man who invites you someplace alone is not looking to discuss books, and always to make up your mind ahead of time. The latter because in the moment, while necking, the answer will always be yes.

I held those rules close. I find it stunning that there is such a large contingent of women, women who would call themselves feminists, who seem to think they will find safety in the world when danger stops presenting itself. As Dwight Schrute would say, “False.” Like every animal on the planet, we must do our best to keep ourselves safe.

You do that when you take responsibility for the situations you find yourself in and responsibility for your own choices. If you have ever said someone else got you drunk, you are not taking responsibility. If you could have said no and chose not to because he was a man who could help you, you didn’t take responsibility.

We have our kids wear bike helmets. We wear winter coats to keep warm. We stay hydrated, we take our supplements. We do these things. Why, when it comes to our sexuality, are we suddenly merely acted upon? It’s time to realize that actually we are often the ones taking the action, or the lack of action.

It’s time to stop disempowering our girls by teaching them they can’t stand up to men, or that they need to destroy a man who touched their ass. No. Let’s teach them to assert themselves, to learn from their mistakes, to not go places alone with strange men (Really? This one needs to be said? You would take something as important as your daughter’s safety, and suggest she behave according to a world you wish to be true? “Don’t go places alone with strangers or people you hardly know” will never ever not be the right advice. For any of us. Because bad things happen.).

Let’s stop applying the word “victim” equally to children who are sexually abused and full-grown women who did something they regret. It’s not the same. You’re not a “survivor” of someone making you uncomfortable. If that were so, everyone who ever had the teacher call on them when their hand wasn’t raised would be a “survivor.”

I want our daughters to be safe. And because I want our daughters to be safe, when the opportunity arises I tell young women the same things my sister taught me. It’s a balancing act, to teach girls to be responsible for themselves, to teach boys to respect themselves and girls; to hope our kids learn to drink socially without bad things coming of it.

Use a smidgeon of common sense. If you’re not comfortable, say so. If you have to say it again, say it again. These are part of life’s lessons, and boil down to this: You will be in uncomfortable situations at times. How you manage them is up to you.

Holly Christiana is a freelance writer living in Kingston.

There are 44 comments

  1. Brett

    “Meantime, me-too started with people admitting they had been sexually abused and was quickly hijacked and morphed into ‘a man once touched my ass, too.'”

    Oh boy. Woof.

    1. Ella

      Um yeah, unwelcome ass touching goes under the category of sexual harassment which is what #metoo addressed.

  2. C*C*

    Thank you SO MUCH for this! I’ve read all of the EFC posts, the ones about him on facebook, the articles he wrote, and the articles published by the Kingston Times. This is why I will never use the hashtag “metoo”. I’ve been catcalled, objectified, had inappropriate things said to me, been groped at concerts, been in sexual situations where I had to make a choice between having sex with an unsavory person, or asserting myself, been made to feel uncomfortable by creepy sexual behavior, etc. And NONE of those situations ended up in a *sexual assault*. So, the hashtag “metoo” does not apply to me. I have NOT ever been violently sexually assaulted, thankfully. As far as I’m concerned hashtag “metoo” is RESERVED for violent sexual assault survivors. I will NEVER equate myself or any of my past experiences with them, because that will diminish *their pain and suffering*. That will diminish the horrifying experiences those people have experienced, and the trauma that they will have to live with for the rest of their lives. People who have experienced the discomfort that has been described in their interactions with Mr. Coppolino have *not* met the criteria for using the hashtag “metoo”. The only way we grow in this world is to experience discomfort. No growing happens outside of our comfort zones. I’m of the opinion that we need to lace up our boots, get over uncomfortable situations, and move on. No one has been traumatized by a person sniffing their hair, asking to pet their dog, or asking them if they wanted to engage in “unusual” sexual activities – as per some of the accusations written about in the Kingston Times articles.
    And while we DO have to do a better job, as a society, raising people to not be sexual predators, there are ALWAYS going to be dangerous people in this world, and we ALL have to protect ourselves, and make good decisions about our own personal safety.
    While Mr. Coppolino may have allegedly made many people feel uncomfortable, it does not seem to me that the retribution visited on him by the women who so viciously and intentionally went after him to destroy his life is even remotely justified by the actions he is alleged to have taken.
    I am truly disgusted and horrified that so many people would so blindly jump on a bandwagon of hate and destruction, over allegations of discomforting sexual attitudes. Can we please grow up and do better? And yes, can we also please stop putting women in the victim category and allow people to be fully responsible for their own actions and consequences. I feel that the women who took Mr. Coppolino down were irresponsible, and that the situation got out of control before they realized what was happening. Instead of pulling back on the reigns when the horse took control, they decided to go full steam ahead, unfairly depriving Mr. Coppolino of his living, and depriving the community of the good work he was doing. Things really got out of hand, and bad things happened that should not have.

      1. Nope

        Dear Ella-

        You must certainly have realized by now that this conversation has gone above and beyond you ‘social justice warrior’ approach. Please come back when you learn to think critically.

        And please, please just stop with the dismissals (see above). Grow up.

        This is a Kingston cultural battle, nothing more. We are more afraid of you than you are of us.

        –not Eric

      2. "#metoo is for sexual harassment and sexual assault. Google it."

        “#metoo is for sexual harassment and sexual assault. Google it.”

        Seriously?! That is all you have to add to the conversation!?

        Your inability to go off-script is truly laughable at this point.

        Note Bene: I am not Eric (promise); I am not in some cult-like situation (or whatever you’d ‘conveniently’ like to think); and just for the record, I actually disagree with Eric about plenty of things (since you seem so interested).

        At the very least, you should acknowledge that Eric is human and deserves to be treated with dignity.

        Good grief.

  3. Eric F. Coppolino

    Hi Holly. I don’t know who you are, though thanks for your advocacy. Thank you to the many people who have spoken eloquently on my behalf in recent months, and who have considered that I am a person with feelings, who eats food, and works and lives with people.

    I would remind everyone that my approach to existence goes into everything I do, from the food that I cook to the music that I write and perform to the horoscopes that you read.

    I have one approach to life and to art. I treat my dog-friends the same way I treat my plants which is the same way I treat my friends and my clients and my bandmates and my musical instruments and Monsanto. I am the same person wherever I am, to whomever I am speaking.

    I think we take too casually the notion that someone can divide their character. And I think we take too casually that perceptions or opinions are evidence of reality, whether well informed or not.

    Let’s stick with my articles, as claims bade about my “behavior” are not verified, or (as published) verifiable. (I am however happy to take anyone who wants through through a step by step fact checking process, about anything that’s been written about me; my contact info is easy to find.)

    Even filtering out distortions, however, notions of my “behavior” seem to relate to my practice of speaking and writing openly about sexual matters rather than veiling them in euphemism or passive speech. Getting “consent” means saying, “Hello, do you want to do this?” Those who object cannot have it both ways. “Consent” means having a discussion that might make you “uncomfortable,” especially if sex embarrasses you.

    My articles, however, are signed and published, and I take full responsibility for them. They are quotable. They are preserved. There are many hundreds going back decades, so that one can trace my growth trajectory (for this reason, I leave all the old ones online).

    They take the same plain-talk approach I take to everyone and everything else.

    Holly, what exactly do you mean that my articles contain “inappropriate sexuality”? Do you mean OPEN discussion of sexuality?

    We live in a society where, by some, all sexuality is considered inappropriate, unless it’s used to sell a BMW or Victoria’s Secret. Then it’s allegedly fine.

    I am sincere in my question, about what exactly in my articles you consider inappropriate. I recognize that is a subjective judgment. But I am still curious.

    Do you mean my willingness to suggest that people who claim to be monogamous but are not, consider that fact thoughtfully? Or my idea that polyamory is comprised of many one-to-one relationships and in a sense does not even exist? (See “The One and the Many.”)

    Do you mean that I advocate masturbation as a legit and necessary form of sex, and for some who feel this way, as a sexual and relational orientation?

    Do you mean that I distinguish sex from “romance” and take the view that adults are free to do whatever adults choose to do, if (in my view) it’s done honestly?

    Maybe it’s my idea that sex and sexuality are integral to all of life, to consciousness and to what some call spiritual growth. I think that growth is both facilitated and limited by one’s ability to hold their own sexuality in their awareness. I believe that “straight” people have the most coming out to do, of anyone.

    However, based on recent events, we can now all see the problem without being sexually out — which is different from being politically out.

    We face no repercussions for marching in a pride parade. But speak to the “uncomfortable” nitty-gritty of the existential nature of sex, and that is still controversial. And if you want any women reading your column to be able to take responsibility for their choices, that requires a framework of understanding, about self and relationships; about the nature of desire, and its relationship to regret (which I look at in part four of my radio program this week).

    Here are some ideas from the core of my philosophy of sex and gender. These come from “The Radical Notion that Men Are People,” published in Chronogram, in Planet Waves, by Omega Institute and others. These are from among my suggestions to men, written to an audience of primarily women, who I figured would pass it on:

    **Learn to take care of women’s bodies.** If you’re a man who has physical relationships with women, it’s essential that you actually understand something about what a female body is and why it needs special care. Women’s bodies are resilient, amazingly strong and do all kinds of fun and biologically fantastic things that men’s bodies don’t do. They’re also more sensitive and more challenging to maintain. Rise above any ignorance and squeamishness you may have, or any sense that the woman’s body is some alien “other.” Get yourself a copy of Our Bodies, Ourselves and read it carefully. Ask the women in your life about the special care that their particular bodies need. You would be amazed at the subtlety, the detail and most of all at how much you did not know before.

    **Learn to negotiate sexual consent.** That means having an authentic conversation in a sober state about what both partners want and whether sex is appropriate for you both at that particular time. This includes being real about your sexual history. Sex is negotiated on a per-event basis, not as a standing contract — even with your fiancee or wife. We are rapidly heading back into the time when there is no such thing as clear yes or clear no, but you don’t need to go there. There’s a lot more sex available without the integrity of a clear yes or clear no, but I don’t suggest it’s the kind of sex you want, and you can get in serious trouble without clarity. I would propose that you want to relate to people who are excited about you, for whom yes is clear, honest and real. That puts a filter up — one made of respect and self-respect.

    **Keep it covered.** Presume that all sex will include a condom, unless you specifically plan to create a child. You are responsible for the destiny of every single sperm cell your body produces. You are responsible for any pregnancy that you co-create. It does not matter if a woman says she is using birth control. Everyone needs to bring their own birth control to the table, and not put it off on anyone else. That means you, in the first instance. You are also responsible for any sexually transmitted infections that you pass along, or that you get. Condom negotiation with you should take a grand total of no seconds, though this is not the norm. Bring your own condoms and note that many women are sensitive to latex. Ask your partner about this. While you’re keeping it covered, keep your private parts — all of them — clean. Good hygiene is essential to healthy, friendly sexual relationships.

    1. Trish

      Hi Eric…I’m of the opinion that this publication owes you a huge public apology with a full retraction of the “Bad Moon Rising” articles. I’m also of the opinion that although Holly’s intention is good with this piece, it misses the mark entirely on recognizing the soul-crushing effect of a #metoo hazing on an innocent target. I resent the damaging wash words like “inappropriate” and “creepy” have towards a person’s public image. The author should at least acknowledge this before somewhat audaciously taking the liberty of positioning her argument on your shoulders while insinuating same. Let none of this be a question or a remark on the integrity, validity and progressive intelligence of your work. Your core readership knows you and knows that your visionary spirit is a gift to your community at large and the world. I deeply admire your reserve of calm and patience with all this. I think I remember you saying a while back something to the effect of feeling like you are living out ideas and ideals that are 200 years ahead of your corporeal time. You know, I think you’re right on that assertion on so many levels and the absurdity of this situation is disconcerting in its context. I’ve been reading your work since before I even owned a computer. I used to spend blocks of time reading horoscopes at the public library in the late 90’s when I first discovered Planetwaves and can still remember thinking from the outset how potent a force you are in helping humans understand each other, and themselves.

      1. Peace & Jasmine

        I think this as close to an apology as he’s gonna get. This should have been written without involving EFC’s name but at least it isn’t an outright character assassination like the past article was. The invasion of Eric’s privacy already happened so this does address the problems with #metoo. Holly Christian should be considerate enough to answer Eric’s question tho. After all she did use him as a supporting example.

  4. Steven L Fornal

    Ms. Holly Christiana…Kudos! An extraordinarily lucid look at me-too. This piece should be required reading for everyone right after the “birds and bees” talk.

    Really…this is so correct! Great job.

  5. Penny

    I think that there is a clear line between appropriate and inappropriate sexual advances. The bottom line is that men should not pursue after rejection. They have to know how to read the signs and when to move on. Coppolino was accused of being persistently creepy, inappropriate, lewd and manipulative to the point of scary. His bosses reviewed the situation and decided that he did not belong on their team. Basically you can’t allow men who have poor impulse control and social skills to demoralize a team. #Metoo means women are coming out and no longer hiding their rage in a closet. Men can’t get away with the same persistent creepy behavior and unwelcome touching that was quietly endured 30 or 40 years ago. I think it’s a good thing to set boundaries. It makes the world safer for women as well as men and children everywhere when there’s no longer a culture of tolerance toward salacious unwelcome touching and comments. Those behaviors can escalate to violence.

  6. Steven L Fornal

    Penny…I think your statement, “The bottom line is that men should not pursue after rejection. They have to know how to read the signs and when to move on.” puts a finger on the problem: A woman needs to speak clearly. No signs. Verbally make your feelings known.

    That statement of yours feeds into the ever-old “woman want men to read their minds” cliché (not to mention the played to death comedian use of same).

    As Holly put forth, take responsibility. If something feels wrong or even just not right, SAY SO! Stop it at that moment.

    As for the Chronogram’s behavior in this shit-fest free for all, they caved to #me-too pressure. Read Eric’s blow by blow description of how this all went down on Planet Waves. You’ll see that how they at Chronogram reacted is exactly what Eric was writing about in his #me-too column. Guilt by accusation.

    That’s never alright.

  7. Christine Boyer

    These attempts to smear Eric Coppolino, and the fact that he’s been sacked from Radio Kingston and Chronogram based on these smears, without substantiation and vetting of the sources, despite an investigation that yielded nothing, is nothing short of vicious and extremely unfair. Yes, his body of work can cause some to feel uncomfortable, but that is what good journalism and other writing does. It is thought-provoking, shocking, and can even help change views. I have known Eric since 1992, and have never known him to be predatory or creepy in any way. To destroy someone’s life based on discomfort alone is just wrong.

    1. Give me a break

      The pro-Eric trolls like to portray him as ahead of his time, painfully honest and open about sex, and unconstrained by social taboos. What these people overlook is that Eric’s inappropriate behavior IN PERSON (not simply in his “edgy” writing) tends to rub people the wrong way. Are these people always victims or “survivors” in any real sense of those words? No. But they have been subjected to gratuitous pickup lines, alleged stalking, and a consistent, general unpleasantness from Eric that serves as a stain on Kingston.

      Eric is not some poor misunderstood victim in all of this. His actions have met their natural consequences. Time’s up.

    2. Eric F. Coppolino

      I am a stain on the entire city? Are you the same person who said that I have creeped out EVERY woman in the entire city? Are they made uncomfortable by my rainbow nail polish? Or is smiling inappropriate where caffeine is considered a nutrient and sunlight is considered a pathogen?

      You know what’s funny, or not so funny at all — before this all happened, I worked with Jesse Smith, the author of “Bad Moon Rising,” as part of an investigative team at the Daily News. I recruited him to the project; I’ve known the guy years, and thought he was a decent writer and reporter.

      Kingston Times had missed a huge local story, as did the Freeman and the Record. The Town of Ulster municipal complex had been locked down to arraign a gang leader; there had been two late-night arraignments in Rosendale; a fourth, unnamed person was in federal custody — and I was onto the story; I typed up my notes and passed them to Dan Barton, the editor, and worked with Smith on the story.

      It was about Eighteenth Street (Central American gang rival to MS-13), which had an execution squad permanently based out of midtown. A rival gang member had been sent up from the city, the execution squad met him over at Trailways, and they took him out to the Hudson River, stabbed him like 50 times on video and buried him in a shallow grave. But they forgot to leave their phones at home (after all they had to make a video) and are now in federal custody.

      That was my last encounter with Jesse Smith and Kingston Times before this bullshit. Though Smith was uncredited in Daily News coverage (as was I), I made sure my editors knew who did some fantastic work in the federal court database, thinking maybe I could get him ahead in his career by helping him build a reputation among some editors in the city. As a journalist, little breaks mean a lot.

      One contact can open up a whole world. His current writing, sadly, does not live up to what he is capable of, it meets no journalistic standards, it’s terrible even as gossip writing (though would make excellent Maoist propaganda) and is leading some people to wonder what exactly is going on: for example, who maybe has something on him. Reporters tend to prize their image of impartiality, and we tend to be respectful of our brethren. If someone came to me with some dirt on Jesse Smith, the first thing I would do is call him up and plan a meeting in a remote place where nobody knew who we were and say, ok what’s up? Then I would listen and evaluate.

      So ya, an execution squad…right here. Covered by me and Jesse Smith, working as a team, with some top guys at The News.

      And then there’s little old me, bouncing out of my studio for a break from work twice a day to get coffee and something gluten free, who is a stain on the entire City of Kingston? What planet are you from? What color is your blood? Do you have human DNA? Or are you just a perpetual mean girl from junior high school?

      Why don’t you just come out and say it? Here, I’ll show you how: “ERIC, I DON’T LIKE YOU. I DON’T UNDERSTAND YOU.”

      You don’t know anything about my “behavior.” You know nothing about my actual sexuality. You’ve never once, ever, met someone who has been or who is my lover. You have probably never met me, but you imagine I really, really, really want to meet you.

      Is everyone aware that this whole drama takes place on ONE CITY BLOCK? I don’t mean the length of the entire street. I mean the length of one city block. “Uptown” Kingston makes Saugerties look like Williamsburg. It makes Peyton Place look like midtown Manhattan.

      Not only have I known Jason Stern and Amara Projansky (owners of Chronogram) since 1989, as I have known both Dan Barton (Kingston Times editor) and Geddy Svikauskas (publisher) since 1989, and not only that I know EVERY member of the main-office Ulster Publishing staff including sales and clerical staff…some of them going back to when I worked for the company for 11 years between 1989 and 2000…and we all work ON THE SAME BLOCK — Wall Street at North Front Street. So does Brian Mahoney, who worked with my all-female editorial team every month going back the early 2000s.

      If you’ve known someone seven or 10 years or 22 or 28 years (whatever it is), you call them up and ask them to sit down for a conversation before writing the kind of thing Smith wrote. He NEVER did that. **Ulster Publishing did not contact me before the story went to press.** That is RULE ONE in journalism: the opportunity to comment; to refute any accusations. If you want, I’ll share with you the transcript of my 25 minute discussion with Dan Barton, the day the story came out, squirming around and saying he “did not agree with that solution.”

      Isn’t that weird? They were so certain they had it “right,” better not let me cast any doubt on whether someone was actually an employee, or ever met me; don’t let me insist that the other person at an alleged dinner party be contacted for comment. A whole article based on “interviews” conducted by my then-co-worker at two places, Hillary Harvey (the real Harvey), and **nobody mentions she’s facing charges of sexual harassment and creating a hostile workplace?** She’s treated like Woodward and Bernstein or Rachel Maddow?

      So ya, we work on one street. Me, them, us, my staff, my dog-friends, my assistant Ellen, my accountant Andrew, all of my fellow business owners, and friends I’ve known since the dawn of time…all work and hang out on the same street. I see everyone every day.

      Does anyone think it’s possible to “conceal who you are” year after year, working on the same block, bumping into one another every single day for years and years on end? Are you comatose or did you one day decide you’d had enough of my faux fur?

      The last time I had a civilized conversation with Amara Projansky, her father was there, and I jokingly asked for his daughter’s hand in marriage; and then he personally asked me to write a long-planned piece on my visit to the Buchenwald concentration camp which he somehow knew I had in the hopper. I promised to do so, and I plan to keep my promise.

      I remain fully “platformed,” shorn of a few toxic clients who have no business publishing my work, who are now under state investigation for their discriminatory employment practices despite their goody-goody, virtue-signaling image. And by the way for the past five years, Chronogram has participated in the coverup of the toxic dorms at SUNY New Paltz, by banning my coverage of the issue. Amara asked me personally: please, no investigative reporting in your column. Hence, no follow up on the dorms and none on Mohnok Preserve’s practice of stealing land from its neighbors, which I did for Chronogram, Woodstock Times and the NY Times.

      Anyway, maybe this whole episode will help me make some new friends. Anyone who wants to meet up at Dominick’s Cafe is welcome to drop me an email. I’m easy to find. And anyone looking for my horoscopes can just search Planet Waves.

      1. Concerned citizen

        Yeah, but … ummm … what about the allegations (credible allegations, by the way) that you sniffed women’s hair, stalked them throughout town, and have a practice of approaching and confronting people in the area who you know want nothing to do with you?

        But, oh, wait I forgot … Eric is supposedly the epitome of feminism, hundreds of years ahead of his time, in fact! Hopefully we can all catch up to him in due course.

        In any event, Eric, that was quite a screed! And I can’t help but notice the time stamp. Guilty conscience keeping you up at night?

        1. Totally agree with Concerned Citizen?

          Totally TOTALLY agree with Concerned Citizen:

          We should just CLEANSE Kingston. Let’s do this! Single men that are attracted to women? Gone! And people you don’t agree with (just in general, or whatever, no matter)? Gone! People you don’t like? Gone! I mean, it was a v. effective tactic in high school…!! Let’s keep on!

          The hair sniffing really stood out to me too!!!! And the stalking in public places? I didn’t even know that was possible but whatever… #METOO

          Next time, can we please address the Dallas Hot Weiners sign? It makes me uncomfortable because…sex, I guess…I dunno, I can’t explain and I’m not evengonna try. Gone!

      2. Hillary Harvey

        I’m not facing any sexual harassment or hostile workplace charges that I’m aware of, Eric. How you do like to twist reality to suit your needs.

        Sexual harassment doesn’t necessarily connote criminal charges, especially for freelancers like you, but that doesn’t mean that propositioning freelance editors, astrology clients, and astrologers you’re mentoring for sex, coercing astrology clients into watching you masturbate during a session, and making lewd comments to coworkers isn’t unethical. All of those situations are also examples of situations where Holly Christensen’s premise here falls apart because they would all be difficult, dangerous, or economically impossible to say no as clearly as she thinks we all should be able to all the time. All of those situations were also investigated by sexual harassment lawyers for Chronogram and vetted and fact checked by professional journalists here at Ulster Publishing.

        I find the self-righteousness and judgment displayed here incredibly sad. Whatever you think about the MeToo movement, it’s wrong to try to silence people rather than hold someone accountable for behavior that many people in the community have corroborated.

        1. Sizzlin in Saugerties

          But Hillary, don’t you know that Eric and all of his friends and detractors work within one block of each other?!? Certainly any objective reader would have to dismiss allegations that Eric likes to proposition women to watch him jerk off based on that fact and Eric’s claim that Chronogram’s lawyer “found nothing” when investigating him.

          In all seriousness, based on what’s been written, this guy seems to like to portray himself as an advanced feminist and women’s lib thinker … and then use that to get women to agree to sexual encounters. He clearly buys his own BS, so it’s not worth it to go back and forth with him as though he can be convinced of some of his faults.

        2. Eric F. Coppolino

          The newspaper group is in possession of drafts of those documents, which have since evolved considerably — I know that the basic material was in their hands because I sent it to them. I guess nobody showed you; it would not have fit the narrative of the story. And what you write is inconsistent even with what was published in the “Bad Moon” series.

          There is a lot you are not aware of, Harvey. You are a witness to nothing you describe, and what you write above is defamation per se. Look up that term. I am certain you have not talked to an attorney, or you would not write something like you just wrote. You would not be taking this kind of risk.

          Your comment above will soon have an exhibit tag on it. For as damaging as you have been to me, you are proving to be exceedingly helpful at this stage of the process, including your admission that you are part of Ulster Publishing.

          I would caution others against making statements you cannot prove.

          Anyone who wants to read my views on masturbation, sexuality and sexual ethics can find them at YogiSlut.com.

          Thanks to my research team for picking up your comment; I do not follow these threads directly. Anyone with questions or information can reach me via my office, contact info is easy to find.

          1. Hillary Harvey

            Eric, I filed sexual harassment claims on behalf of multiple people with two mutual employers, which resulted in your losing three freelance jobs. You have published five essays and two public comments proving your intent to harm me.

        3. Trish

          Hillary, this is exactly the problem here – the source material is dubious at best, all based on personal grudge matches, scuppered expectations and women who find his sexual openness personally galling. That the college student Dana went on a date with Eric 20 years ago hiking in the woods, consented to having sex that day and then 20 years later reflects on regretting that date isn’t a cardinal “METOO!!!” moment. It’s nothing at all. He sniffed somebody’s hair once? Oh please! The little gossip vignettes concerning Eric amount to a hill of beams when looked at through a critical lens. To endorse the idea that #metoo should be a platform to be indiscriminately hostile based on personal “feelings” is just plain wrong. It leads to pointless investigations like this one on Eric. It wastes taxpayer dollars on nonsense. I will remind you that Eric was cleared of any wrongdoing here in an official investigation. That should be enough for you to let go of this and leave Eric to return to his affairs (both business and personal) without the persistent attack on his character and lifestyle. You don’t like Eric and find him creepy? Avoid him….and don’t you worry, I’m pretty sure he finds you creepy in your own way too.

        4. Eric F. Coppolino

          Trish, I am not under investigation. I have initiated employment discrimination claims under state and federal law against two of my former employers, and a third is in progress, as a result of malicious, illegal firings from three positions.

          Harvey states above, <> This is a crucial statement to have, on the record, from her, threading together events that I would otherwise have to meticulously prove; and it is a direct admission of intent. This is also evidence that he three organizations acted in concert.

          Harvey has not said, however, that her materials were reviewed by Ryan Poscablo, a former federal prosecutor and professional investigator of sexual misconduct, and found to be without merit or substance. She cannot admit this; it contradicts her entire position.

          I have voluntarily, as part of this process, turned over my files and transcripts to state officials and am proceeding under penalty of perjury if I am not telling the truth. Neither Radio Kingston nor Omega Institute provided sworn statements by any individual in defense of my claim of illegal firing. (Radio Kingston did, however, provide a photo of Janis Joplin in its defense of firing me.)

          When you probe into any paragraph of account in all of “Bad Moon Rising” using the most rudimentary fact checking 101 techniques used at any college newspaper or taught in any journo class, you come up with a similar situation: the scenario falls apart. It’s easy to say there is something there, as long as you don’t look.

          Corroboration, to correct Harvey’s concept, is not a lot of people saying different things that they cannot prove, or intentionally withholding exculpatory evidence (such as Dana Barentt claiming to have a poem written in May, six months before she claims she met me, and saying it proves some kind of consensual encounter that she will not describe — but neither she nor the newspaper will release the poem to the public).

          I have been surprised, over and over again through this scenario, at the lack of adherence to any structure, respect for law, respect for process, basic respect for humanity, or elementary logic by nearly everyone involved. “Bad Moon Rising” breaks every rule in the practice of journalism, beginning and ending with every claim in the article having never been run past me, in advance of publication, for evaluation or rebuttal; the production of no documents; and many, many other problems.

          It was not fact checked, particularly not by professionals, as Harvey claims; had it been, I would have been the first person they contacted. I understand perfectly well why they did not do this.

          A newspaper story being wrong does not mean that every fact is wrong; it can mean as little as one source lacking credibility, one material fact incorrectly reported, or one motive placed under question.

          Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus.

  8. Kathleen

    I’m so sorry living in this misogynistic world has made you so bitter towards the women who want change, Holly. You’ve obviously been beaten into submission and accepted your place. The women of the next generation shouldn’t have to be like you.

    That’s why we’re fighting.

      1. for ella

        Oh! It’s Ella again: the real troll:

        Clap-clap-clap (right back to you) fucking dumb ass myopic pseudo-progressive

        Do I really need to insert your barf emojis here, and all your other stupid facebook comments from the early days???

        . . .

        –someone that’s paying attention (and not Eric)

  9. whatwentwrong

    whenever someone starts talking about “common sense” and urging women to “take responsibility” you can pretty much dismiss the writer as a misogynist in need of serious education. why anyone would publish such material defies explanation.

  10. Another Fake Commenter

    Here come Eric’s “hate/fans”. Your making yourselves sound irrelevant and foolish. I have never seen so much hate and animosity towards a person who may or may not have “made you feel uncomfortable.” He’s not a criminal so stop trying to equate him with rapists and misogynists all while discrediting #metoo. This article was needed because it says it loud and clear!! GROW UP!! Your obsessed with hurting Eric. We/you know who you are and you need help because you sound severely damaged by something and it’s not Eric.

  11. Observant

    I have been reading all of the articles pertaining to EFC. He has never made me feel uncomfortable, however I feel there is something missing in all of this back and forth accusations and defensive behavior. Not one time have I read, “It was never my intention to make anyone feel uncomfortable”. PERIOD. Even if you know how open EFC is, points are being lost. This is an ongoing theme.

    1. Steven L Fornal

      Observant — part of Eric’s mission (if you will) is to talk about “inappropriate sexuality” (I’m purposely using that phrase…wait for it:) regardless of making people feel uncomfortable. How else does one broach a subject that makes people uncomfortable without making people uncomfortable.

      As for use of “inappropriate sexuality” as used by Holly, it seems clear to me that she was using a generalization of reaction by the overwhelming majority of those coming across Eric’s articles. That doesn’t make his writings inappropriate but rather in the context of American puritanism the subject is inappropriate. Thus, Eric’s target audience: Practically everyone in America.

      Eric is unconventional. He discusses issues that are difficult to impossible to discuss for a great many people. Ergo his mission to bring people out of their puritanical strait jacket into the openness and glory of a human’s full sexuality.

      That’s a good thing. As evidenced by the many angst-ridden responses it is so needed.

    2. randym

      # Metoo is a scourge. We don’t need it for anything because we have courts of law to address criminal behaviours. Pitchfork mobs prove nothing and Eric doesn’t need to answer to one when he’s been cleared. Just because you sympathize with a particular group of women doesn’t make them right or immune to criticism.

  12. Dear Puritanical 'Progressives'::

    How is this any different than putting cameras in bathrooms? Where are we going to draw the line, exactly?

    Eric’s not the enemy, sorry.

  13. Troubled Dad

    I only know Eric peripherally. A friend of a friend. I haven’t had a lot of interactions with him, mostly because I have always felt astrology is complete rubbish. The concept that the position of stars in a random grid that only applies if seen from Earth can effect our personalities has never sat well with my rational sensibilities. Also I have always found his opinions on sexuality and polyamory to be misguided and slanted by a self imposed sense of enlightenment. None the less, I never thought of him as predatory or creepy. I was surprised to learn of the stories from women who felt violated, intimidated, and disturbed by encounters with him. My friend is torn between her loyalty to someone she has known for twenty plus years, and her innate sense of justice to victims of harassment. For my part, I try to keep an open mind. However, one woman’s story could be taken as a misunderstanding between adults. Two stories, maybe coincidence. Three or more….suspension of disbelief becomes harder. I agree that women, like men, have to take responsibilities for their own actions. I don’t think anyone in the #MeToo movement is trying to argue otherwise. That isn’t what its about. Its about holding accountable behaviors that create conditions which almost no man has to experience daily simply based on his gender. As a father of three amazing ladies, I want them to be able to walk down streets safely, not be leered at, certainly to be able to be recognized for their talent and abilities, and not be coerced into sex, their trust taken advantage of. This concept that professional reputations and community standing shouldn’t suffer because of allegations of misconduct misses the whole point of the allegations coming to light in the first place. How many centuries have women had to endure abuse and mistreatment only to have to hide in shame while the abuser went unharmed? How many rape victims were (and still are) afraid to admit they were raped? The #MeToo movement is a voice for so many to come out of the shadows and not feel threatened or ashamed. Ultimately this is a good thing for society, which desperately needs to be less male centric. Some have called the allegations unfounded. Maybe, but again, more then one allegation begins to look suspiciously like a pattern. In my opinion, Eric, who sees himself as an enlightened appreciator of women and their bodies, should have channeled his inner female and apologized for any misconduct or possible inappropriate behavior. Look, this isn’t a black and white situation, but one thing I believe deeply: abuse, misconduct, intimidation and misogyny should be seen through the victims eyes, no one else. How else is society ever going to grow?

    1. Trish

      Troubled Dad, I see your concerns but the issues run deeper. I’m a parent too (of a now 23 year old young man). I can tell you that there is serious polarization of the sexes happening out there, especially among youth culture. There is a general state of “guilty before proven innocent” among younger females toward all males. Meanwhile, heads are buried in social media platforms like Tinder….swiping right and left based on the superficiality of a random picture and some inane blurb. In University, my son saw example after example of how casually young men were arbitrarily labelled “creepy” and became social pariahs among the female contingent. He saw examples where these behaviors escalated to destructive for no apparent reason…females unwilling to work in group projects with guys they deemed “creepy” and actually having the assertiveness to approach profs with this. For young men that are developing their sexuality, this collective form of prejudice is nothing but destructive and deeply confusing and harmful to young men. Upping the ante for social proofs (popularity online, approval of other women, etc.) is affecting young men like never before while male-bashing is quickly becoming a new norm. Are we teaching our young women that men are the enemy because of a few modern rotten apples in the bunch and a skewed view of history? Are we teaching our young women that they should favor the reality of option paralysis caused by too much choice rather than nurturing tangible, discerned relationships with proximity young men that are based on humanistic values rather than opportunistic ones? Are we slanting history to fit a political argument? Just imagine if you will young men in World Wars I & II having the choice to go on Tinder endlessly instead of the facing the battle theater. Men were not historically collectively all bad but are we actually taking the time to reinforce that opinion through positive example to our female youth? I’m not sure anymore. Either way, I held up Eric as exemplary to my son over the years as the right kind of compass to help guide him on his own journey through our modern age. His interest was stoked in Eric’s perspective and ideas on sexual and interpersonal relationships and the fact that I exposed my son to Eric’s work was one of the more confident decisions I made in my parenting. So to the #Metoo-ers that are reading this, responsible sexual confidence and personal integrity for a man or a woman is a good thing – and that is exactly what Eric is promoting and educating for.

      I know in my heart that Eric has had the misfortune of having crossed paths with females that wield destructive power. #Metoo has created a climate to all but criminalize cold approach. Way back in the day…before the digital revolution, men and women used to just chat with each other in person at bus-stops and local coffee houses without serious social repercussions. When I was in my teens and 20’s back in the 80’s, I used to walk into the local 7-11 to buy smokes and would talk with whoever was hanging out there just to shoot the shit. I didn’t really even care what came out of their mouths and sometimes I didn’t like how I was approached or spoken to. But I had a sense of humor about it, allowing people their expressive space without penalizing or maligning them throughout the neighborhood just for breaking conversational ice with me or in some cases, displaying social awkwardness. Where do you ever see this anymore? People have become so bitterly judgmental. That Eric is friendly, social, probably fun to be around and just a little refreshingly gamey should be in actuality flattering – even to third wave feminists. After all, if you are so sexually liberated and choice-driven then you should in actuality appreciate the convenience of less remote and available choices, no? If Eric flirts, why shouldn’t he??? He’s single, interesting and has something to offer socially. That a couple of hostile, personally angry women took umbrage to that…I say to them, get over it, grow up and don’t begrudge Eric his choices. Just because you know the “creepy” label has traction on social media, it doesn’t make it a truth. Just because you know the word “inappropriate” is easily suggestible, it doesn’t make everything a reason for a criminal battle cry. You’d have to be in a relationship with Eric, in bed with him so to speak, to be able to really know him or comment on him. Or, in the very least, know his work – his writing, his opinions. #Metoo gossip about him doesn’t cut it in the same way I don’t listen to young girls who call a guy creepy just like that – 9 times out of ten, the “creep” is in actuality a buttoned up, seriously very nice guy.

      1. Troubled Dad

        You’re right. Changes in society and certainly changes in how dating happens or how social media is prevalent have effected how both men and women interact. I have three girls, and one son. My son is severely autistic , and although 21, has no concept or interest in dating. He will probably never know the joy of a relationship of any kind. But because of this I do tend to see modern sexuality through the lens of my daughters perspectives. There have always been societal influences on how men and woman see each other and how to interact. Why should modern society be any different? I won’t argue if Eric is guilty or if he is being railroaded. I will say again that, personally, as a man from a particular generation, if any of my former lovers ever suggested I did anything to make them uncomfortable or “inappropriate” my first reaction would be to apologize. NOT to go on the defensive. Even if I did nothing wrong from my perspective. Any relationship, no matter how far in the past, or how long it lasts, is a union of two humans who for whatever reason on whatever level, came together and trusted each other. Its something to be honored. Especially if one of the partners consider themselves enlightened. If there was some difference of point of view of how it played out, I would want to know that and to try to make that person feel more at ease about me. If they wanted nothing to do with me, or my apology, then fine. At least my sense of self ethics would be satisfied I tried.
        I have no doubt that there are females who see strange (strange as in not known to them) men as creepy, who judge their behaviors harshly, who isolate those males socially. Speaking as a man in my fifties, this is nothing new. Navigating the waters of convincing females to date you, let alone sleep with you, has always been fraught with complications. Women have always held all the cards. I don’t envy your son, or any of this current generation especially since the gender boxes have expended way beyond him/her. I have faith though that love and sex will find a way, no matter what troubled waters and rock outcrops appear in the seas of relationship. I don’t see the #MeToo movement as something men should be worried about. And while there may certainly be those who abuse and twist what it was meant for, the fact that someone might manipulate a cause to create harm for someone else is nothing new, Unfortunately it is the great dichotomy of human nature that we are capable of showing immense love while also being able to cause extreme pain. Its good that there is discussion about the pluses and the minuses of #MeToo movement. Healthy society requires discourse.
        One small point about the “creep” factor. Interesting observation from an older gentleman gleamed through conversations with other men, as well as observation: behaviors that are defined as creepy in some gentlemen are often overlooked when those gentlemen are younger and better looking. Then those behaviors are defined as charming and seductive. For this reason age appropriate flirting is way less creepy.

        1. Trish

          Troubled Dad, you sound like a balanced and intelligent person, as well as a good father. Your children will all do well in life because of the strength of that kind of parenting. I wish you well…

  14. Bruce E. Woych

    …Until it happens to you…. of course.
    But that applies to all asides and perceptions in these personal damages and sufferings. This has been a needed discussion and demonstrates the case sensitivity of every sexual assault, physical abuses or accusations but does call for some standards to be defined.
    Defending yourself in either set of circumstances becomes a nightmare.
    Good discussion here, and mostly balanced, intelligent and sensitive.

  15. Matilda the Sheep

    Me and three other sheep friends were eating grass in a field when we saw a shadow that looked like this guy Eric Francis. He was offering us his grain and we ate it. It was our choice. After we ate it we felt so regretful. A little while later we heard what sounded like a zipper. We all ran so fast that our fur was straightened and pellets started shooting out from behind us. Now we don’t know what to do. We think we are traumatized and this other sheep named Lora said we should fight back. I can’t ever look at grain again and the sound of my own zipper puts me over the edge of sanity. Baaaaaaahhhh!!

  16. YeahIsaidit

    This conversion has become so degraded, unsophisticated, subjective and full of ignorance and ego that it’s shameful and a little makes me want to leave Kingston if only to find somewhere with upgraded discourse about a very serious issue of our time. Is this really the best you folks can do?

  17. k milo

    Thank you for the sentiments written here. The irony of who the #metoo witch hunts are burning down are super troubling.

    I hate watching it. I am 30 year old woman who has spent my life being really interested in the agency I possess. I understand that we are all in different places with our ability to relate to our sexuality as individuals and within the community at large, and I think we are really lucky to have the scope of choices that we have. To me, I feel like we hit c. 2012 and the rules we (culture at large) had figured out about how romantic etiquette worked disintegrated, and it was with some pretty good reason. For those of us who were already adults, we had some semblance of how to navigate potentially romantic, or merely interpersonal situations. Meanwhile, I see my younger friends are really struggling and their peer environment is something I have a really hard time navigating. The terms “creepy” and “awkward” are so prevalent in situations. I notice I am much more comfortable talking to people I don’t know and they are often very over stimulated by how casual I feel in unfamiliar social situations. I see they are way more paranoid and scared than I felt when I was in my teens and early twenties. I am sick when I see people recklessly playing at this troubling “victim olympics” as an identity.

    Let me end on a happy note. I am hopeful because these conversations are happening. As a human community, I really believe will continue to hone down the scope of what the issue is and how to heal the people who have been hurt by sexual abuses, and heal our culture to nurture healthy interpersonal relationships. It’s crazy out there, let’s do the best we can to be kind to each other!

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