Since 2013, when we had our first event, we have dedicated ourselves to providing a fun and exciting event. We have built our company’s foundation on spectacular celebrations of popular culture. Our goal is to provide people with exceptional and rewarding experiences for consumers, fans, celebrity guests, vendors and partners.
Within that, we are dedicated to creating an environment that is safe as possible, rewarding, and fun for all within the communities we serve. We strive to do all within our power to prevent any form of bullying, harassment, and discrimination within our convention, online platforms, and associated events, and when they occur, to do our best to address them quickly and well.
With that said, I have a statement to make about the events of the past few weeks. As many of you may be aware, we received a message in October from a participating author to let us know she had been hugged, touched on the arm, and kissed on the cheek without her permission and asked if we would address it. We did.
However, upon further investigation we learned there had been other authors with similar reports who had not reported these instances to us, but had similar stories and who felt uncomfortable as well.
As with many situations, the most difficult circumstances we encounter are also the experiences that compel us to grow. From that report in October, we began in February and recently published an expanded and formal Universal Harassment Policy and the behaviors that we will and will not tolerate within the walls of our event and to the extent possible within our expanded social media community.
With that said, we took the important step of meeting with Richard Paul Evans and re-established in the discussion that hugging or touching without express permission does not support our commitment to safety and comfort of our participants. Several in our community have expressed concern that my quote as reported in the Salt Lake Tribune on this matter was defending the author. Here is my position on this issue, in full.
I, Dan Farr, apologize fully for any instances in which a participant has felt unsafe. We do not condone these behaviors, from anyone.
It is not our role or responsibility to judge any individual nor to disparage or use inflammatory language about any participant in our conference. It is our role to do all within our power to keep our participants safe. Our conversation with the author resulted in a mutual agreement that he will not be participating in our future events. With this agreement, we consider the matter resolved.
Additionally, my partner and cofounder, Bryan Brandenburg has made a personal and heartfelt apology for his remarks on social media that were insensitive about our attendees’ sexual harassment concerns.
However, continued postings in social media and the press have shown negative energy to a level that Bryan has decided that his continued participation, for now, is a distraction from the goals we are striving to uphold.
Beginning immediately, Bryan Brandenburg is taking an executive leave that he hopes and believes will help to dispel the negative energy that is taking us away from our greater mission and goals and send a message that he and we are listening. We have heard you. While he has not suggested a timeframe, this leave will not be permanent. We hope to see Bryan at our September event with his wife and new son, if not sooner.
Meanwhile, we invite all to participate with us in giving us suggestions, such as opening up the ability to register complaints and ideas anonymously. It is our responsibility as always to determine how we will answer suggested concerns, but we will always strive to uphold our highest mission of creating an environment that is safe as possible and welcome for all.
We will continue to support our official social media platforms and Facebook groups that are reaching 5-10 million people. We have the most-engaged and active fan-convention-social-media-community in the world, and because of this, we vow to support it in the most positive ways we are able.
Thank you for your continued support as we learn and grow as a team, and as an extended community.
FanX Co-Founder and Producer