A Note on Complaints, Confidentiality, Safety, and Inclusiveness
About five years ago, Dan and I set out to try to create something truly special for our incredible community here in Utah, across the country, and around the world. Our conventions and the overwhelming support of the vibrant and diverse community surrounding them far exceeded even our wildest dreams. Over just nine conventions, we have welcomed literally thousands of guests (from the amazingly niche to the enormously mainstream) and nearly a million attendees from all walks of life. At our upcoming tenth convention this September, we hope to continue our progress by even more fully committing to fostering and protecting the safest and most inclusive environment at any convention. We have already devoted significant time, money, and effort to that end. Because I have taken a temporary leave, others at our company will be keeping you posted on all of those developments moving forward.
My point is that I love and care about each and every one of you who shares your passion, energy, and life with us. I feel tremendously privileged simply to be a part of this movement, which is as much yours as it is mine. All of this makes me extremely protective of not just our events but our entire community—sometimes, overly so.
This brings me to why I wanted to write this note. Like any new adventure, this has been a learning experience both for our business and for each of us personally. It certainly has been for me. I did not know the limits of my own knowledge regarding a number of things, including aspects of certain social and cultural movements. Though I have always tried to be a strong ally, I realize I am still learning. Under our policies, we strive to protect the confidentiality of anyone complaining of inappropriate conduct. I take very seriously the responsibility of doing our absolute best to protect everyone at or even tangentially associated with our events. While we have properly resolved various complaints during our five year history to the satisfaction of the person submitting the complaint, I do regret that my own involvement with a particular complaint did not honor the high standards that we all have for ourselves and our organization.
By way of brief background, we received a complaint at the end of last year that we genuinely tried to resolve as soon as we could given our small staff, the time until our next event, our schedules over the holidays, and our substantial involvement with the trial in San Diego. Even so, we understood from the person submitting the complaint that we had satisfactorily resolved it already earlier this year. But when the press just recently started investigating that complaint, I agreed to provide them with our own internal report (not the actual complaint) in an effort to be transparent, but I also asked that it be considered highly confidential and quoted only if absolutely necessary. Although we had already heavily redacted out names and other identifying information, I again insisted that nothing should be printed that would otherwise indicate the identity of the person submitting the complaint. While I was always trying to do my best to do what was right, I now understand why the person who submitted the complaint feels this violated trust.
I am sorry.
Through this experience, we have also realized that merely trying to do better is not enough. We must be better. And we will.
Between now and our September convention, our company will be announcing a number of initiatives and other proactive steps being taken to improve ourselves, our organization, and our events. But this process will continue long after September too. We believe in progress. Always. Our goal is not just to meet some minimum requirement. We want to be the safest and most inclusive convention in the world.
I want to thank everyone who has been vocal on these and other issues for bringing them to our attention and helping us improve. You have made us stronger. We are currently reaching out to many involved personally to continue this important dialogue.
I also want to specifically express my sincere gratitude to the person who first submitted the complaint. You were professional and courageous in your effort to help. We have an opportunity to improve and be better at least in part because of you.
Finally, I want to thank all of you for your love and support. We love you back. And we promise we will do right by all of you this September and beyond. We will continue to improve every step of the way. These are our long‐term goals because it’s the right thing to do.
From the bottom of my heart,