Various dissensions and various oppositions have combined in recent months
within Wikimedia France, culminating in some members questioning its
governance. On this occasion, the community showed a behaviour which is not
suitable for a democratic association.
Some members behave like a pack of hounds, leading to the departure of the
executive director Nathalie Martin, after such a harassment on lists and
social media that she filed a complaint against 12 people. That makes 13
with the complaint she already filed against the ex-chair Christophe Henner
– now chair of the Wikimedia Foundation – for sexual harassment at the time
they worked together. Other members of the board have been systematically
harassed, sometimes with incredibly chauvinistic statements, leading to the
departure of all the board but one member.
I continuously sent messages, from July to October, to the Foundation to
warn them of what was going on. I even met its Legal Director, LaPorte, and
its Chair, Henner. They did nothing to counter these violence, part of
which took place on the lists and websites of the Foundation – they did
nothing to protect these women. On the contrary, they continuously
questioned the words and deeds of Wikimedia France board, providing
legitimacy to those who spread obnoxious rumours and committed violence and
abuse. Their sole preoccupation was to avoid a scandal, silence the
victims, and protect their Chair.
Within an organization which struggles to find new members, which
endeavours to be women-friendly and which communicate on their desire to be
more inclusive, it raises a lot of questions. Even Hollywood begins to
react and denounce people such as Weinstein: it is properly unbearable that
the digital world – and not anyone, but one committed to the greater good –
still hides the dust under the rug and refuse to take their responsibility
against morbid, dangerous, violent or sexist behaviours.
Given all that, and after losing all hope to be heard – after months
talking to a blank wall – I’m leaving Wikimedia France, resigning from it
Scientific Committee, and strongly condemn the toxic and irresponsible
strategy of the Wikimedia Foundation.
I also inform you that
*Frédéric Martel, culture and media journalist and author (France Culture)
*Laurent Le Bon, president of the Picasso Museum
*Cédric Villani, mathematician, Fields medallist
are also resigning from their position on the scientific committee.