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Comment Archives: stories: News & Politics

Re: “Make Choices, Have Reasons

Here is a draft of the civil complaint.…

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by Eric F. Coppolino 1 on 11/30/2019 at 6:38 PM

Re: “Editor's Note: K, bye

Marie is brilliant! What a beautiful and thoughtful curation of the community and its many, many facets. Can't wait to dive in to all these features! Seriously the raise is a no-brainer.

Posted by bearue on 11/07/2019 at 9:52 PM

Re: “Editor's Note: K, bye

It's been a blast working with you!

Posted by Anne Pyburn Craig on 10/01/2019 at 4:50 PM

Re: “Make Choices, Have Reasons

A little birdie told me that New York State dismissed Eric's complaint against Chronogram, and in so doing referred to Erik in writing as "a Creep". Seems like justice was served.

5 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Heather on 10/01/2019 at 3:42 PM

Re: “Make Choices, Have Reasons

What does Eric do for money now that he no longer has his writing gigs?

Posted by Anon on 09/05/2019 at 4:13 PM

Re: “What Undocumented Americans and U.S. Citizens Should Know About Immigration Rights

What a disgusting article. Telling people that have broken the law how to avoid being caught and making the job for our law enforcement more dangerous.

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Joe Bago on 08/12/2019 at 1:18 PM

Re: “What Undocumented Americans and U.S. Citizens Should Know About Immigration Rights

No humans are illegal. They want a better life in this country. Many are leaving their home countries due to violence and poverty. They don't have options.

2 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Kate Donahue Daley on 08/10/2019 at 10:20 PM

Re: “What Undocumented Americans and U.S. Citizens Should Know About Immigration Rights

They aren't immigrants, they are illegal aliens who are breaking the law.

6 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by MmcspikeMichael on 08/10/2019 at 3:34 PM

Re: “Make Choices, Have Reasons

Does anyone know if Eric has engaged in inappropriate behavior toward other men? We all know about the allegations of his sexual misconduct against women/girls, but what do the men in the community have to say? Has Eric ever inappropriately attempted to seduce them, drug them, proposition them, or give them ultimatums (sleep with me or you are out of the house/out of a job)? Might be an angle for a new story.

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Glenn on 07/18/2019 at 3:41 PM

Re: “Make Choices, Have Reasons

Does anyone know if Eric has engaged in inappropriate behavior toward other men? We all know about the allegations of his sexual misconduct against women/girls, but what do the men in the community have to say? Has Eric ever inappropriately attempted to seduce them, drug them, proposition them, or give them ultimatums (sleep with me or you are out of the house/out of a job)? Might be an angle for a new story.

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by Anon on 07/18/2019 at 3:37 PM

Re: “Make Choices, Have Reasons

Wikipedia banned Eric again.

Here's a bit of the timeline:

* July 8, 2018: legal threat against Wikipedia, resulting in 2 year ban

* March 9, 2019: attempts at censorship, logged in as "Kuku777"

* June 26, 2019: more whitewashing attempts and edit warring, logged in as "Dontmwt?", resulting in an indefinite block on this new account

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Wikipedia Banned Eric Again on 07/07/2019 at 4:42 PM

Re: “Make Choices, Have Reasons

Eric's suing everyone for two million dollars!

- vs -
ERIC F. COPPOLINO duly affirms, deposes and states under penalty of perjury, a
crime in the State of New York:
Complainant timely files this reply to respondent's April 26, 2019 pleading.
For 22 years starting in March 1996, above named complainant served respondent
LUMINARY PUBLISHING, a publisher, as its most visible and well-known author,
covering a wide diversity of subjects, frequently among them relationships, sex and
gender as well as writing a widely popular horoscope column.
Complainant developed his columns from his own website and respondent
LUMINARY PUBLISHING's magazine Chronogram. These became a project published
in many countries and approximately 25 different national publications, and dozens
of local publications in U.S., Australia, Canada, the U.K. and Europe, including well
known titles such as Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, Canadian Home, the New York
Daily News and the London Daily Mail and Daily Mirror.
Complainant as part of his monthly series of articles submitted the article "Take a
Step Back" [EXHIBIT 1] for publication in respondent LUMINARY PUBLISHING's
magazine, critiquing the "Me Too" movement, in late January 2018. The article was
copiously researched, and Version 5 was submitted and went through the standard
vetting process, and was approved for publication by respondent BRIAN MAHONEY
in the February Chronogram.
In openly admitted retaliation for the viewpoint of this article, respondent
LUMINARY PUBLISHING falsely and maliciously accused the complainant of sexual
misconduct. These accusations were made personally by employees and former
employees of LUMINARY PUBLISHING not personally known to him, orchestrated
by respondent HILLARY HARVEY and former employees JULIE NOVAK and LORNA
This took place via a viral Facebook campaign beginning in April 2018, however, its
first development was the April 1, 2018 publication of the Dana Barnett letter
challenging "Take a Step Back" published in Chronogram.
Most vocal among those spreading false and malicious rumors, and openly calling
for the firing of the complainant, was respondent's editor-at-large HILLARY
HARVEY, who months earlier had personally founded the local "Me Too Kingston"
movement. She did so with a long-planned "Chronogram Conversations" event cosponsored
by respondent LUMINARY PUBLISHING in late January 2018.
This event had nothing to do with the complainant; he was not mentioned. Days
later, on Feb. 1, 2018, complainant's article "Take a Step Back" appeared in
"Take a Step Back" had been previously widely published to an international
audience via complainant's own publication Planet Waves and its social media
accounts on Jan. 25, 2018, where it was received with a spirited but civil discussion.
Before that time, complainant had conducted several public discussions of the "Me
Too" phenomenon, among other places locally on Radio Kingston, and
internationally on the Pacifica Radio Network.
Complainant's coverage of the "Me Too" phenomenon began in October 2017,
within weeks of the Harvey Weinstein story breaking, with an op-ed published in
the print and online editions of the New York Daily News [EXHIBIT 2]. Complainant
was the first male survivor of workplace sexual abuse to tell his story in the national
Throughout this phase, there was no public discussion of the complainant's personal
conduct. Such begins in April 2018 with Chronogram's publication of a letter to the
editor by Seattle resident Dana Barnett, called "Turn Off the Gaslight," which was reposted
to Facebook in a longer format four days later by respondent's former
production editor and longtime associate Julie Novak. This one action ignited a
Facebook flame campaign, driven largely by respondent HILLARY HARVEY, that
lasted for six months and resulted in complainant's dismissal from three contracts.
A Movement Directed at Individual Men
The "Me Too" movement is a form of activism directed exclusively at individual men.
It is hyper-focused on female survivors, and entirely excludes female perpetrators. An
Oct. 29, 2018 one-year anniversary article in The New York Times emphasized the
point: the headline was, "#MeToo Brought Down 201 Powerful Men. Nearly Half of
Their Replacements Are Women." Not a single woman was listed as a potential or
alleged perpetrator.
While acknowledging the serious social problems that the "Me Too" movement
purported to address, "Take a Step Back" raised the issues of potentially false
allegations directed at men, denial of the right to face one's accuser, and how the
"Me Too" movement appeared to be biased and non-inclusive of male survivors.
The mere speed of the terminations, the lack of thorough vetting of complaints in
publicized cases, and social media as the primary vector of the discussion, all
indicated that "Me Too" claims could potentially be used as a forum for false
accusations and personal agendas. At the time, a commonplace slogan was, "Believe
Women," stopping short of actual proof or verification, and without acknowledging
the need for such. As a classically trained feminist, complainant was accustomed to a
higher level of integrity, ethics and responsibility from his fellow feminists.
Since "Take a Step Back" was written, false accusations associated with the "Me
Too" movement have become a known issue. Many have spoken up about the
problematic "accusation equals guilt" equation that characterizes the instant case.
As any student of social history knows, there are times when certain forms of bias
are permissible and popular, and times when they go out of fashion. It is now
permissible and popular in some places, de rigueur to express bias against
men. This includes men being encouraged to "talk down" themselves and other men,
and the pervasive fear of being falsely accused.
Respondent LUMINARY PUBLISHING took advantage of this climate in its efforts to
vilify complainant as a "typical toxic male." Yet prejudice, discrimination and bias
camouflaged by a prevailing social trend are no less damaging or noxious; no less
the things they are.
Cornell University's law dictionary states that in criminal situations, probable cause
exists when there is a "reasonable basis for believing that a crime may have been
For example, in criminal law, if a police officer sees an opened liquor bottle on a car
seat, the officer has probable cause, or a reasonable basis, to conduct a field sobriety
test on the driver. In a civil or administrative situation, per Black's Law Dictionary,
the standard of "having a cause of action" applies.
Probable cause is not proof, but rather the basis for investigating whether proof
exists. In this situation, complainant presents evidence of the probability of
discrimination based on sex, seeking a finding of probable cause and therefore a
public hearing.
The federal Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) website says of sex
"Title VII prohibits an employer from treating you differently, or less
favorably, because of your sex. Title VII also prohibits employment decisions
based on stereotypes about the abilities and traits of a particular gender."
Complainant will argue that he was stereotyped based on being a man, evidence of
which included the repeated use of slurs and additional statements revealing bias.
In the course of his firing, complainant was called a "Harvey Weinstein," referring to
the accused serial rapist, a "Matt Lauer," referring to the accused serial rapist, and
by respondent BRIAN MAHONEY, "someone perceived as a creep," which language
is only applicable to a man in a social context.
Complainant was never accused of a crime or any conduct that could even meekly
form the basis of such hyperbolic statements, nor was he accused of workplace
misconduct in any form whatsoever. Yet those initiating the campaign set a high
standard for themselves in beginning with the comparison to Weinstein which
claim was ultimately discredited by the facts that emerged.
The following points of law clarify that complainant has standing and a cause of
action sufficient to sustain a finding of probable cause by the Division:
a. Men can bring gender discrimination claims
Arcuri v. Kirkland, 113 A.D.3d 912, 914 (3rd Dept, 2014) holds that:
[T]he Human Rights Law protects males from gender discrimination (see
Yukoweic v. International Bus. Machs., 228 A.D.2d at 776, 643 N.Y.S.2d 747;
see also Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Servs., 523 U.S. at 79, 118 S.Ct. 998,
140 L.Ed.2d 201).
b. Job held open for a woman = evidence of discriminatory intent
Sogg v. American Airlines, Inc., 193 A.D.2d 153, 15657, 603 N.Y.S.2d 21 (1st Dept
To satisfy the first step in this three step process and make out a prima facie
case, plaintiff was required to establish that she was in a group protected by
the statute, that she was qualified for the position in question, that she was
denied the position, and that that denial occurred under circumstances that
give rise to an inference of unlawful discrimination (Texas Dept. of
Community Affairs v. Burdine, supra, 450 U.S. at 253, 101 S.Ct. at 1094). That
inference may be drawn from direct evidence, from statistical evidence,
or merely from the fact that the position was filled or held open for a
person not in the same protected class (Ashker v. International Business
Machines Corp., 168 A.D.2d 724, 725, 563 N.Y.S.2d 572; *157 Ioele v. Alden
Press, supra, 145 A.D.2d at 35, 536 N.Y.S.2d 1000; Mayer v. Manton Cork
Corp., 126 A.D.2d 526, 510 N.Y.S.2d 649).
See also, Wenping Tu v. Loan Pricing Corp., 21 Misc.3d 1104(A) (NY Sup. Ct.
2008), citing this standard in the context of a termination, rather than a denial of a
c. Evidence of discriminatory intent does not have to be explicit
300 Gramatan Ave. Associates v. State Division of Human Rights, 45 N.Y.2d 176, 183
[T]hree underlying principles should be borne in mind: the statute is to be
construed liberally for the accomplishment of the purposes thereof
(Executive Law, s 300); wide powers have been vested in the commissioner
in order that he effectively eliminate specified unlawful discriminatory
practices (Batavia Lodge No. 196, Loyal Order of Moose v. New York State
Div. of Human Rights, 35 N.Y.2d 143, 146-147, 359 N.Y.S.2d 25, 27, 28, 316
N.E.2d 318, 319-320; Gaynor v. Rockefeller, 15 N.Y.2d 120, 132, 256 N.Y.S.2d
584, 592, 204 N.E.2d 627, 633); and discrimination is rarely so obvious or
its practices so overt that recognition of it is instant and conclusive, it
being accomplished usually by devious and subtle means (State Div. of
Human Rights v. Kilian Mfg. Corp., 35 N.Y.2d 201, 209, 360 N.Y.S.2d 603, 608,
318 N.E.2d 770, 773; Matter of Holland v. Edwards, 307 N.Y. 38, 45, 119
N.E.2d 581, 584, Supra).
d. Employees sex need not be the sole factor for firing decision to
be unlawful
Chadwick v. WellPoint, Inc., 561 F.3d 38, 4344 (1st Cir. 2009):
Chadwick's claim can be characterized as a sex plus claim. This
denomination refers to the situation where an employer classifies
employees on the basis of sex plus another characteristic. 1 Barbara
Lindemann & Paul Grossman, Employment Discrimination Law 456 (3d
ed.1996) (emphasis in original). The terminology may be a bit misleading,
however, because the plus does not mean that more than simple sex
discrimination must be alleged; rather, it describes the case where not all
members of a disfavored class are discriminated against. Back v. Hastings on
Hudson Union Free Sch. Dist., 365 F.3d 107, 118 (2d Cir.2004). In other
words, [i]n such cases the employer does not discriminate against the class
of men or women as a whole but rather treats differently a subclass of men
or women. Lindemann, 456. Here, Chadwick alleges that the subclass being
discriminated against based on sex is women with children, particularly
young children. Ultimately, regardless of the label given to the claim, the
simple question posed by sex discrimination suits is whether the
employer took an adverse employment action at least in part because of
an employee's sex. See *44 42 U.S.C. 2000e2(m) ([A]n unlawful
employment practice is established when the complaining party
demonstrates that ... sex ... was a motivating factor for any employment
practice, even though other factors also motivated the practice.) (emphasis
added; italics in original).
Sex plus claims are permissible in under federal law and NY Human Rights law.
Bailey v. New York State Div. of Human Rights, 38 Misc.3d 756, 762 (NY Sup. Ct.,
Contrary to Libeco's apparent argument that sex plus discrimination is
recognized only in Title VII cases, there is legal authority to support its
application to claims brought under the NYSHRL. See Doyle v. Buffalo
Sidewalk Caf, Inc., 70 Misc.2d 212, 214, 333 N.Y.S.2d 534 (Sup. Ct., Erie
County 1972); Lifranc v. New York City Dept. of Educ., 2010 WL 1330136,
*11, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34009, *36 (E.D.N.Y.2010) (recognizing, and
dismissing, gender plus claim in case brought under Title VI, NYSHRL and
NYCHRL), affd. 415 Fed.Appx. 318 (2d Cir.2011); Timothy v. Our Lady of
Mercy Med. Ctr., 233 Fed.Appx. 17, 19 (2d Cir.2007) (gender-plus claim,
involving mother with small children, considered in claim brought under
Title VII, NYSHRL and NYCHRL); see also Back v. Hastings on Hudson Union
Free Sch. Dist., 365 F.3d 107, 118119 (2d Cir.2004) (finding that [a]lthough
we have never explicitly said **839 as much, sex plus' discrimination is
certainly actionable in a 1983 case).3 Moreover, claims under the
NYSHRL, which requires that its provisions be construed liberally to
accomplish the remedial purposes of prohibiting discrimination
(emphasis added) (Executive Law 300), generally are analyzed under the
same standards applicable to claims under Title VII. See Stephenson v. Hotel
Employees & Restaurant Employees Union Local 100 of AFLCIO, 6 N.Y.3d
265, 270, 811 N.Y.S.2d 633, 844 N.E.2d 1155 (2006); Forrest v. Jewish Guild
for the Blind, 3 N.Y.3d 295, 305 n. 3, 786 N.Y.S.2d 382, 819 N.E.2d 998
(2004); Ferrante v. American Lung Assn., 90 N.Y.2d 623, 629, 665 N.Y.S.2d
25, 687 N.E.2d 1308 (1997). There is, accordingly, no legal basis for finding
that sex plus discrimination is not actionable under the NYSHRL.
Bearing in mind the state court's holding that "discrimination is rarely so obvious
or its practices so overt that recognition of it is instant and conclusive, it being
accomplished usually by devious and subtle means" [emphasis added], let's
consider the respondent's actions and statements.
As its sole defense against the charge of discrimination, respondent LUMINARY
PUBLISHING says that complainant's actual lament is that women came forward and
accused him of sexual misconduct.
As its only "evidence" of such, it provides the Division of Human Rights with the
complainant's own exhibit from prior cases a transcript of the interview with
attorney Ryan Poscablo on May 10, 2018. Poscablo was respondent LUMINARY's
professional investigator, brought in to settle the matter.
To sustain its defense, respondent LUMINARY PUBLISHING would need to prove
that sexual misconduct actually occurred. In fact, LUMINARY's publisher JASON
STERN is of record saying that Poscablo found that the investigation determined
that "there is nothing."
This was predictable. To wit, in a May 10 dialog with respondent STERN,
complainant encountered him in a neighborhood parking lot going to his car after
work. Complainant said to STERN at [EXHIBIT 3]:
"This will all be clear once the facts come out."
Respondent STERN replied, "Eric, you know this isn't about the facts."
Then in a May 20 phone call, four days before complainant's termination, Stern
summarized the results of the Poscablo investigation at [EXHIBIT 4]:
"The result of a very extensive investigation was nothing was that the
attorney said, no, there's nothing here extensive investigationthat was
Ryan's final word."
In the same conversation, respondent STERN said that the investigation "didn't
surface anything. What it - what it did show as that - was that there isn't anything."
Previously, in mid-May 2018, respondent STERN warned the complainant that
"sometimes witch hunts work." Respondent's chairman DAVID DELL warned
complainant the same week that "sometimes witch hunts work," using the same
exact words, admitting the specious nature of what they were doing [EXHIBIT 3].
In private correspondence in May 2018, respondent STERN described the unfolding
events to a mutual friend as a "#metoo witch hunt."
The term "witch hunt" evokes not just colonial Salem but more significantly one of
the saddest and most embarrassing eras in American history: the "Red Scare,"
leading to the search for non-existent "card-carrying Communists" that destroyed
the lives and careers of so many Americans in the 1950s.
A witch hunt is defined as, "A campaign directed against a person or group
holding unorthodox or unpopular views." What was occurring was specifically
that respondent LUMINARY PUBLISHING and its agents were retaliating against the
complainant for his "unorthodox or unpopular views" related to his openly
challenging the integrity of the "Me Too" movement's philosophy, thus being
accused of being a typical male, and worse, a "Weinstein," meaning an alleged serial
In September 2018, respondent HILLARY HARVEY wrote in the Kingston Times,
"[T]he beloved term for MeToo witch hunt should provoke especial outrage,
considering it was women who were the hunted." It is notable that two of her
colleagues used that very term to describe what she and they were doing in an era
when it's considered acceptable to only hunt men.
Respondent HARVEY, in a social media post from September 2018, bragged that she
had personally instigated complainant's firing from three freelance contracts in
their small community by filing what she termed "sexual harassment claims" against
the complainant [EXHIBIT 5].
Respondent HARVEY's word "claims" implies legal charges or a civil tort, not merely
getting someone fired which we know she did. How did she bring these claims on
behalf of others? Is she an attorney? Nolo's Plain English Law Dictionary defines
"sexual harassment" as, "Offensive and unwelcome sexual conduct that is so severe
or pervasive that it affects the terms and conditions of the victim's employment,
either because the victim's submission or failure to submit to the behavior is the
basis for job-related decisions (like firing or demotion) or because the victim
reasonably finds the workplace abusive or hostile as a result of the harassment."
In fact, respondent HARVEY has personally alleged no such specifics, and no facts of
record support her false claim made to the public.
Contrary to respondents LUMINARY PUBLISHING et al's claims, the women who
made various statements were solicited by respondent. For example, on April 7,
2018, respondent HILLARY HARVEY identifies herself as a reporter for respondent
LUMINARY PUBLISHING and Radio Kingston Corp. and claims complainant is "one
of my #metoo stories," signaling that she was personally a "victim" [EXHIBIT 6].
Her April 7, 2018 post serves a general "call to arms," introducing the complainant
to the general public as a "Weinstein," an accused serial rapist, and accused player of
"casting couch." She wrote, "So it's ironic to me that the Hudson Valley's [Harvey]
Weinstein has a platform at both places. I would love to see a reckoning happen
here. I am interested in collecting people's stories about their experiences with Eric
Francis. I think that could happen if we put together a narrative of behavior we've
individually witnessed. If you're interested in sharing your story, please let me
From the outset, respondent HILLARY HARVEY presents herself as a victim, an
activist and a journalist. She includes herself in the category of "behavior we've
individually witnessed," but is not personally known to the complainant.
May 4, 2018, one week ahead of complainant's interview with respondent's
investigator, while claiming to have "dozens" of victims, respondent HILLARY
HARVEY took to Facebook with an appeal to the public:
"Hi all. I met with Chronogram's investigators yesterday. Jason and Amara
said they've only heard from a couple of people about all this. Might be a
good idea to reach out to them directly with these concerns. They might be
making a decision of all of this soon. Their contact info is on their website
and printed in the masthead. Hope this helps" [EXHIBIT 6A].
By this time, by her own admission, she had already had complainant fired from two
other contracts, respondent LUMINARY PUBLISHING has "only heard from a couple
of people about all this."
Respondent HARVEY is not personally known to the complainant; she has no
personal knowledge of complainant's life, as defined as direct experience or
eyewitness account. All of her claims used to get the complainant fired from three
positions were collected in a kind of neighborhood dragnet with her digital
recorder. Nobody was "coming forward." Respondent knows that actively soliciting
complaints is evidence of prejudicial intent.
It is reasonable to ask why respondent HILLARY HARVEY had to make an appeal on
Facebook on that late date, one week before the investigative interview, seeking
additional "victims," when she claimed to have many only weeks before. One
possibility is that none were willing to have their claims vetted by a professional
investigation because they would not stand up to any scrutiny.
That anyone HARVEY may have recruited would be unwilling to speak to a
professional investigator is telling. Most citizens, when presented with the
opportunity to do the right thing for society, will willingly make statements, speak
to the police or investigators, and say what they know or witnessed unless they
are disingenuous and therefore run the risk of being caught lying, or being
incriminated personally.
Regarding "thousands of photographs," the reference was to production and
publication of photographic works by a professional photo studio and
publishing company. Each month respondent paid this studio, Book of Blue LLC,
for the writing and art package it purchased from complainant.
Respondent writes as if it's the only entity somehow unaware that for a decade after
arriving home from Europe in 2007, complainant ran his photo studio twenty paces
from its place of business specializing in intimate photography a business which,
though discreetly branded, was visible to all who passed on the street, and was wellknown
in its small community, written about in the local daily newspaper, and
participated in festivals, photo shows, gallery walks, etc.
The studio and its project was a topic in Chronogram coverage, on the occasion of
complainant being invited to speak about his photos before the American
Psychological Association world congress in 2009 [EXHIBIT 7].
Everyone who passed through an employee or contractor gave consent to see the
photos and the photographic sets and props, including photos of the complainant.
All models signed permission to be photographed and commercial model release
documents, and were paid for their work. The business was compliant with 18 U.S.C.
2257 federal record keeping requirements.
Respondent writes its filing as if it's possible for people to know one another for 28
years (as complainant has with respondent JASON STERN and co-owner AMARA
PROJANSKY), to live with their family (as complainant has, with STERN's mother), to
work together and socialize at company events and in the same cafes for 22 years
(as complainant has with respondents STERN, his wife PROJANSKY, and editor
BRIAN MAHONEY), and to work on the same street of a very small town every day
for 11 years and somehow discover that person's alleged shocking, nefarious
past. This is pure sensationalism.
Respondent pretends it did not publish complainant's column that openly
encouraged frank sexual speech, an experimental and honest approach to
relationships, and topics such as male personhood and the real meaning of sexual
consent. Not everyone liked these articles, but complainant was retained as an
author by the respondent for 265 consecutive months to write them.
What respondent LUMINARY PUBLISHING is doing is twisting the facts of
complainant's career, mixing them with gossip and anger about his position on the
"Me Too" movement, and using its position to conceal or camouflage its own bias
against the complainant.
In April 2018, respondent LUMINARY PUBLISHING engaged the services of Riley
Safer Holmes & Cancila, a Manhattan law firm, to investigate rumors of misconduct
circulating about the complainant rumors that, without exception, were started
by people who worked for or who were closely associated with Chronogram. The
firm assigned to the case Ryan Poscablo, a former Assistant United States Attorney
(AUSA) from the Southern District of New York (SDNY). He was assisted by an
associate attorney and a paralegal.
Respondents LUMINARY PUBLISHING et al present the transcript of the May 10,
2018 investigative interview between Poscablo and complainant (made by the
complainant above the objections of the investigator) as their only material exhibit
in support of their claim of nondiscriminatory firing.
In its reply, respondent presents the questions asked by its investigator as
foregone conclusions of fact, when they were stipulated by the investigator as
not even being accusations. For respondent to use the rumor-based questions as
conclusions, and make an employment decision based on them, reveals the
presumption of guilt and therefore is evidence of discriminatory intent.
The statements of the investigator and claims made by the respondent do not even
rise to the level of hearsay.
Poscablo said into the record that he was there to investigate what he called rumors
a word he used four times. At [EXHIBIT 8, page 14], he says:
"I'm here to assess the allegations that have been made against you, the
rumors that have been that have been flying about."
"So let's talk about them. So tell me about one of the rumors."
Additionally, at page 14, respondent LUMINARY PUBLISHING's investigative
counsel stipulates that the questions are not allegations:
"Let's be clear about something. I'm not I haven't alleged anything. This
isn't this isn't me alleging anything."
later adding at page 24,
"I am not accusing you of anything. Neither is Chronogram. Let's be clear
about that. What's happening is that there are allegations out there, like I
said, supported by unnamed sources, right? Except for one, Dana Barnett"
Additionally, Poscablo admits that he has never spoken to any purported "accuser,"
but has heard their stories. This "hearing" was via respondent HILLARY HARVEY's
set of anonymous recordings to a digital device, of interviews solicited from the
public. The recordings were played by respondent HARVEY for Poscablo at the
LUMINARY PUBLISHING office on or about Thursday, May 3, 2018. Respondent's
investigative counsel seems to admit his frustration with the process when he says
at page 19:
"I cannot state to you that I've met any of these people. I've heard their
stories. And so, you know, I'm in a position of trying to assess their
credibility and assess yours with without the ability to dig down into the
specifics of a particular individual's story and get the details, right? So if I'm
not sharing details with you it's not because I'm hiding them, it's because I
don't know them."
In violation of the confrontation principle, dating to ancient Rome and a foundation
of our legal system enshrined federally as an Article VI right the "accusers" never
face cross-examination; they are never even examined. Their identities are
unknown. They merely speak into a digital recorder in the hand of a LUMINARY
PUBLISHING editor and "Me Too" activist, who is posing as a reporter. They are all
assured anonymity, which is why their names are not known to Poscablo.
Respondent had other sources it could check, including a list of references provided
to Poscablo on May 10, 2018 [EXHBIT 9]. None of the references received phone
calls. The investigation sought out information only from those pretending to be
accusers and ignored exculpatory witnesses and information. That is evidence of
discriminatory intent.
As it did in "Make Choices, Have Reasons," its July 2018 editorial by respondent
MAHONEY, respondent LUMINARY PUBLISHING is attempting to reverse the
findings of its own investigation, which it characterized to its readers in Mahoney's
July 2018 editorial as "confidential" [EXHIBIT 10]:
"While the findings of the investigation are confidential, what I found out led
me to sever Chronogram's longstanding relationship with Eric Francis
What exactly had he "found out," how, and from whom? He is implying that he
"found out" something from the investigation, but not stating so; he skirts the point
of who his source was. His source, however, was the voice recording of respondent
HILLARY HARVEY. In a Nov. 9, 2018 phone call, respondent MAHONEY admitted
that the Poscablo investigation and the HILLARY HARVEY digital recording
"investigation," were "two separate things" [AUDIO EXHIBIT A, in digital filing].
The results of Poscablo's work are "confidential" because they are exculpatory
and the results of the other are what MAHONEY claims to have "found out."
Yet respondent HARVEY is not a disinterested party; she drives the whole scenario
from the start, beginning with founding "Me Too Kingston," an activist organization.
She recruits her own victims and describes events she was not a witness to as if she
was there. In an early Facebook post, she said complainant was one of her "Me Too
stories," which claim she removed quickly.
All of respondent HARVEY's supposed "victims" are anonymous; they could be
anybody, or one person impersonating many, or actors recruited for the purpose. No
valid investigation or conclusion can rely on anonymous, unknown sources or
anonymous statements.
Respondent LUMINARY PUBLISHING must produce the document from Poscablo
formally stating the results of the investigation. By respondent MAHONEY's
admission, the investigation had a result, which was characterized by respondent
MAHONEY as "confidential." Yet respondents are making characterizations of the
investigation but providing no exhibit other than the transcript, which the
investigating attorney stipulated on the record was non-accusatory. We know from
recent news events that the unsupported characterization of an investigation by
another party can differ substantially from its actual findings.
Yet on May 20, 2018, respondent STERN had already admitted in a transcribed
telephone call at [EXHIBIT 4]:
"The result of a very extensive investigation was nothing was that the
attorney said, no, there's nothing here extensive investigationthat was
Ryan's final word."
Respondent LUMINARY PUBLISHING has based its defense on an either-or theory:
either complainant is correct, and was subjected to discrimination; or the
respondent is correct, and the complainant was legitimately dismissed for
Respondent STERN openly admits that his claims are baseless; their own
investigative counsel calls them rumors four times; STERN uses the term "witch
hunt" to describe his own investigation. This is echoed the same week by
respondent's executive DAVID DELL, who in May 2018 also characterizes the
LUMINARY PUBLISHING investigation as a "witch hunt."
The questions asked by the investigator were inappropriate, invasive, speculative,
and do not belong in an employment context. Prying into an employee's private
life based on what amounts to bathroom graffiti is better known as sexual
Obviously, respondent LUMINARY PUBLISHING could not ask these kinds of
questions of every employee or contractor. But in the current climate they could do
it to a sexually outspoken man who dared to question the "Me Too" movement. That
is discrimination.
When respondent's investigator Poscablo asked about Dana Barnett, the only named
party, he was clear he was talking about alleged consensual sex with someone of
legal age. Respondent does not provide an affidavit, deposition or even a written
statement from Barnett, only the loose paraphrasing and exaggeration of her vague
claims initially published as a solicited letter in LUMINARY PUBLISHING's
Respondent's claim in its pleading, what complainant was asked in the interview,
and what Barnett originally claimed, all differ widely in their tone and language, and
their characterization of basic events. For example, the investigator asked if the
complainant had ever "gone hiking" with Barnett. Respondent in its pleading claims
complainant allegedly "lured" her into a wooded area.
Notably, Barnett the respondent's star witness claims to possess a poem
written by the complainant "proving" her claimed encounter, purportedly having
saved it and its accompanying postmarked envelope for 22 years which poem or
dated envelope were never produced. That is not surprising, as the poem, identified
by its title published in a local newspaper, was written and dated six months before
complainant is alleged by Barnett to have met her.
Barnett's repeated refusal to produce the poem should be marked as a negative
inference against her claims, and those of respondent LUMINARY PUBLISHING. It is
astonishing that the respondent's investigator Poscablo, aware of the potential
existence of a contemporaneous document, failed to even request its production.
Barnett did not "come forward." She was by her own admission recruited into her
role by respondent LUMINARY PUBLISHING's longtime production manager Julie
Novak, and Barnett's letter was then brokered by Novak to her friend, respondent
BRIAN MAHONEY, Chronogram's editor. This took place behind the back of the
complainant. A longer version of her letter was posted to Facebook by Novak on
Professional investigators have explained to complainant the "squeeze" interview
method is used when the investigator has nothing, and is hoping the presumedguilty
subject will break under pressure. This is designed as a self-incrimination
trap, in contradiction to one's Article V rights.
No conduct that the complainant was questioned about rises even meekly to the
level of "misconduct," "exploitation," "taking advantage of," "a pattern of behavior,"
being "perceived as a creep," comparison to accused serial rapist "Harvey
Weinstein," comparison to accused serial rapist "Matt Lauer," or "unapologetically
horny misogynist" all of them prejudicial terms used by respondent LUMINARY
PUBLISHING to falsely impugn the complainant and cast him before the public and
the Division of Human Rights as the "typical toxic male."
In published comments and those made on Facebook, the respondent focused on a
theory that "Take a Step Back" was written as a pre-emptive strike against
complainant's presumed future accusers.
This delusional position is obviated by the fact that complainant had persistently
covered the "Me Too" movement since its first days, as it fell squarely in the "sex and
gender" coverage area of his publication, Planet Waves. He was the first man to
come out in the national press as a survivor of workplace sexual harassment, in
October 2017, in an op-ed in the New York Daily News [at EXHIBIT 2].
Complainant's choice to go public with his story of harassment by another man was
intended as a response to the "Me Too" movement's total emphasis on female
survivors up to that time and to the present.
Between October 2017 and February 2018, complainant had maintained fearless,
vocal and moreover balanced discussions of issues surrounding the "Me Too"
movement locally on Radio Kingston, nationally on the Pacifica Radio Network and
the New York Daily News, and his own publication, Planet Waves.
His radio guests on the topic twice included Woodstock-based activist Rachel
Marco-Havens, and internationally renowned women's empowerment trainer Kasia
If complainant wanted to conceal his alleged nefarious double life, he would have
avoided the issue entirely or written an article praising the "Me Too" movement and
feminism rather than conducting a balanced, cool-headed, honest discussion.
Quoting something considered a particularly objectionable element of the article:
Among many other excellent points, [Daphne Merkin of The New York Times]
asks, "And what exactly are men being accused of? What is the difference
between harassment and assault and 'inappropriate conduct'? There is a
disturbing lack of clarity about the terms being thrown around and a lack of
distinction regarding what the spectrum of objectionable behavior really is."
If this is some foreshadowing of the "the future is female," no thanks I'll
stick to patriarchy. At least there, one has a right to face and question one's
In February 2018, the notion of false "Me Too" accusations was considered
unorthodox and tone-deaf, and was avoided by the press because it was dangerous
to write about. A year later, it's now a topic of open discussion. Here is a sample of
recent headlines from the internet and working press:
Morning Consult, from October 2018: "A Year Into #MeToo, Public Worried
About False Allegations; Most Americans equally concerned for men being
falsely accused and women facing sexual assault"
Reason, from October 2018: "High School Girls Admitted to Making False
Sexual Assault Accusations Against a Male Student Because They 'Just Don't
Like Him"
Toronto Sun, from October 2018: "Mean Girls face lawsuit over false sex
allegations against teen
Quillette, from November 2018: "How the #MeToo Movement Helped Create
a Script for False Accusers"
Albuquerque Journal from December 2018: "Accusations put a chill on
Lincoln Journal-Star, from December 2018: "#MeToo's false claims hurt real
Philadelphia Tribune from January 2019: "Could false accusations threaten
the #MeToo movement?
Psychology Today, March 9, 2019: "The Threat of False Allegations in the
#MeToo Era
If respondent is so concerned about its "sterling image" that complainant is
allegedly tarnishing, it is noteworthy that as of this filing, all of complainant's
writing still appears on the respondent's websites, including "Take a Step Back."
Respondent is still profiting from complainant's work.
When respondent LUMINARY PUBLISHING finally hired another horoscope
columnist in July 2018, the announcement came from respondent HILLARY
HARVEY, who said, "Chronogram has hired a new writer for their horoscopes, and it
is a woman" [EXHIBIT 12].
She did not say, "Chronogram hired a more qualified horoscope columnist."
She is suggesting that the job was held open for a woman, which per Sogg v.
American Airlines, Inc. is evidence of discriminatory intent per state court holdings
cited above. While respondent HARVEY is said to have resigned last May 18, it was
her actions and her motive while working for the respondent that resulted in
complainant's dismissal from three jobs and she admits her motive in her
published statement.
If at the end of the process of firing an African American man for what it
characterized as "typical black behavior," someone directly involved in the firing
announced, "We hired someone new, and he is white," that would be seen as racial
If a group of men had publicly attacked a woman for "typical female behavior," and
had her fired, and then had announced, "We hired a man," that would be clearly seen
as sex discrimination.
The courts have held that "discrimination is rarely so obvious or its practices so
overt that recognition of it is instant and conclusive, it being accomplished usually
by devious and subtle means." In this case, we are talking about discrimination that
is at once overt, devious and subtle.
In the case 300 Gramatan Ave. Associates v. State Division of Human Rights, the
courts have held that the Human Rights Law must be construed liberally for the
accomplishment of the purposes thereof.
Per Chadwick v. WellPoint, Inc., the courts have held that, "Ultimately, regardless of
the label given to the claim, the simple question posed by sex discrimination suits is
whether the employer took an adverse employment action at least in part because
of an employee's sex."
In their filing, respondents knowingly, falsely present the rumor-based questions of
their investigator as findings of fact, in order to cast complainant as a typical toxic
male. Respondent denies that interviews with women were solicited, in direct
contradiction of the published record. Two of respondent LUMINARY PUBLISHING
top officials, STERN and DELL, have called these events a "witch hunt," which
implies they knew it was not about the complainant's conduct but rather who the
complainant is.
STERN has admitted "it's not about the facts." He characterized the results of the
official investigation as "there is nothing that was Ryan's final word." LUMINARY
PUBLISHING has not produced any evidence in its defense and attempts to deceive
the State of New York with its false claims. Respondent's conduct rises well above
the threshold of probable cause, revealing bald prejudice and malicious disregard
for truth.
Complainant has presented a strong case for the probable cause of sex
discrimination as the sole factor or a co-factor in his dismissal, and seeks a public
hearing. Complainant asserts that he is additionally seeking back pay, forward pay,
an apology and retraction of respondent BRIAN MAHONEY's July 2018 editorial
about the complainant, retraction of respondent HILLARY HARVEY's "sexual
harassment" public post, and libel training for respondent LUMINARY PUBLISHING
and its whole staff.
Affirmed under penalty of perjury this ____ day of May 2019.
s/ electronic filing
Original hard copy is notarized
v. 1.1.6 p
encl: 12 exhibits

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by EricsLawsuit on 07/07/2019 at 4:04 PM

Re: “Editor's Note: Millennializing Chronogram?

I'm really looking forward to this! I've been following Marie Doyan's work for years (she edited my column at Country Wisdom News) and she's smart, funny, and interested in all the things I am. Go Marie!

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Maria Reidelbach on 07/03/2019 at 10:25 AM

Re: “Body Politic: Poetic Parting

Esteemed Management-

It was with utter dismay that I read Mr. Beinhart's last column this morning. I can think of no single greater loss to Chronogram or its readers than the departure of your most gifted political pundit. Mr. Beinhart's poem implies "editorial differences" with a new editor as the reason for his leaving. If so, may I request you consider hiring a different editor?

Alas, alas, if Mr. Beinhart leaves because of "editorial differences" it will not bode well for the future of Chronogram.

Michael Chesloff

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Michael Chesloff on 06/07/2019 at 7:31 AM

Re: “Editor's Note: Beauty and the Bureaucracy

Before O+ even dreamed of putting up their first wheat-paste, Kingston was already home to creative thinkers and makers. Kingston was not a desolate wasteland before O+. Please stop perpetuating the narrative that O+ brought the arts to Kingston. Ben Wigfall opened a community print shop in the 1970's. Pauline Oliveros created the Deep Listening Institute. ASK did their sculpture show for many years. And they did all of this without corporate sponsors... Yes, O+ has done a lot of good, but their main focus is not pure altruism, it is to promote their festival.

O+ is a branding machine, marketing art to property-owners as a way to increase business & patronage. They have empowered white property-owners to raise their rents, while also making them feel like they are above criticism because they "support the arts." This festival has not done a good job of including local artists and creatives, and has looked down on anyone who does not fit into their narrow view of what is "cool." They have co-opted narratives of people of color, bragging that they are the first to have considered artists of color. Their line-ups, volunteers, board members, artists, and organizers, are majority white.

Most importantly, O+ claims to know what is "good art." Their "vigorous vetting process" is a jumbled, drawn out, closed door mess which usually results in something bird-related. They have painted murals that have dripped due to substandard materials. They have taken down their own artists' work. They have had artists waiting until days before the festival to know where they are painting. Artists have to fundraise to restore their own murals, even though the festival is sponsored by one of the largest paint manufactures in the country. Murals degrade in the sunlight, and crumble and chip away from the poorly prepared surfaces. They have left some artists/musicians with sour tastes after working with their haphazard system. They received thousands of dollars from private investors, and are now bringing their model for art-based gentrification to other communities.

Please be wary of organizations that claim a moral superiority. Some of us have been here for a long long time, and know that regardless of O+ or the City, art will continue to be made in Kingston.

6 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by gts67 on 06/03/2019 at 1:07 PM

Re: “Make Choices, Have Reasons

Anyone familiar with Eric's former assistant, who left him in recent months? I wonder if she has a story to tell...

4 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Lois on 04/02/2019 at 10:25 PM

Re: “Make Choices, Have Reasons

being that I am a casual friend of Eric's and a woman, I can honestly say, what a sweet person he is. Eric has many female friends who like him a great deal...I know so many people who really have no interest in the chonogram now and perhaps it is that fact that is indeed, the final statement.

2 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by i see on 03/25/2019 at 7:40 AM

Re: “Body Politic: A Humbled Poodle

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Posted by Leonard Lloris on 03/12/2019 at 7:18 PM

Re: “A Conversation with Antonio Delgado

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Posted by Leonard Lloris on 03/12/2019 at 7:17 PM

Re: “4 Strange Headlines You May Have Missed

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Posted by Leonard Lloris on 03/12/2019 at 7:17 PM

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