Team FanX has learned a lot in the past few weeks about how we communicate with our worldwide audience. Our mistakes have lead us to a new era. Along with our PR Manager Jeremy Kartchner, Marketing Manager Kelsey Kingdon, and Customer Service Manager, Sara Jones, we will make sure our communication with you is much more consistent than it has been in the past.
This is a huge and important task that I do not take lightly. Customer service has always been a big part of my social media position. I have learned a lot over the years, and I always strive to communicate with others with compassion and understanding.
Yesterday, things were said and done that were insensitive and wrong. Even though I know the apologies Bryan Brandenburg published were heartfelt, I understand why some of you are not yet ready to forgive him for his actions. I want to let you know that I have been reading your thoughts, especially on Twitter. I am here today to address concerns you may have with FanX moving forward.
What is next for Bryan Brandenburg?
Bryan is stepping back from social media, and has given me control of the FanX social media presence. He is also empowering Volunteer Director Erika Sabrowski to lead harassment changes with the entire volunteer team. He will continue to work with the marketing and volunteer team to ensure the best possible event in September.
What is next for Dan Farr?
Dan will work with Bryan to empower key individuals from the internal team and external stakeholders to form an independent Compliance Committee to take the lessons learned and make the event better for the future. This will happen starting immediately. Dan will continue to focus on assembling the best celebrity lineup in our history. Look for our next guest announcement in the following week.
Why hasn’t Dan Farr made a public statement?
Dan will make a public statement later this week on our official social media channel and website.
What are our next actions concerning canceled Guests and participants?
Unfortunately, the news of the situation has reached some of our Guests and other participants that originally planned to attend our September show. We are saddened with each cancellation, but their actions have really brought to light how important it is to feel safe in a workplace, convention, and social media environment that is FanX. We hear you.
Concerning those who have made the decision not to attend, our next step is to rebuild those bridges. Team FanX has a plan in place to contact these guests and participants, apologize for the recent events, share with them our plans of change, and extend an open invitation to join us in the future. We are in the process of removing them from our website and social media.
Learn more about our Guest Cancellation Policy, here.
What about the people who will no longer attend your events?
For those attendees that have chosen to not attend, we hear you. Our hope is that by taking action, we can show people that we are learning and changing our ways to make our spaces as safe for all.
Speaking of actions, here is what we have planned over the 100+ days left before September.
- First, we are making arrangements to receive a company-wide (including co-founders) Sexual Harassment training. This means FanX will be closed for business during these days. We will announce the details of this training once it is in place. This training will include Sexual Harassment, Hostile Work Environment, Manager and Employee Relations, Bullying and Discrimination Prevention, HR Responsibilities, and more. We want our team to feel confident and prepared to handle sexual harassment and assault reports during our events.
- Next, we are forming a Compliance Committee with a variety of representatives including women, child advocates, people of color, members of the LGBTQ community, and those with special needs or disabilities. The goal of this committee is to continue the work of improving our Universal Harassment Policy, a protocol for handling sexual harassment and assault reports, and ways to make our events safe for all who attend.
- As always, we welcome feedback about our event and policies from YOU. Either email email@example.com or use our Helpdesk to share your thoughts. Our customer service team will compile your suggestions and share this information with the committee and management.
- As always, our volunteer team will receive extensive Sexual Harassment training lead by our Volunteer Director, Erika Sabrowski. We will be improving upon previous training materials, expanding to include more clearly defined harassment rules and laws. In the past, she has taken a simplified stance on harassment and touching, but moving forward volunteers will be educated as to what harassment is and their place in preventing, identifying, or reporting it. Erika is actively seeking suggestions to improve volunteer training. If you have an idea or want to share your experiences with her, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- We are moving way past “Cosplay is not Consent”. Although those signs and messaging have been prevalent at our events and website, it’s just not enough. At our September show, we’ll launch our “Consent Is Key” campaign to clearly communicate the behavior expectations of all those who attend. Our goal is to communicate that any harassing behavior is completely unwelcome. To support this cause, we’ll be creating a webpage with more information and will be creating videos that educate on what is considered harassment. Signage will appear prominently around the convention center and promotional stickers will be available at information booths that can be worn in support of this cause.
- Our Universal Harassment Policy will be more prominent on our website, as well as listed in our FAQ on Zendesk.
- We will make a donation to Time’s Up Now Fund that is housed at and administered by the National Women’s Law Center.
How are you going to make up the doxxing of Shannon Hale?
Images were removed from Twitter and Bryan has apologized publicly. He did not intend to disclose her personal information and quickly deleted it when realizing it. We extend an offer of peace to Shannon Hale. Team FanX would welcome Shannon’s participation in our Compliance Committee to offer her point of view on how we can do all of this better.
We ask that you do not harass Shannon Hale or anyone else that has spoken out against our organization. As painful as this process was, we deeply respect the intent of the authors involved, which we see is making FanX a harassment-free environment.
How you handled the sexual harassment report against Richard Paul Evans was poor. What actions are being/have been made?
Let’s make this clear: Richard Paul Evans will not be attending FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention 2018. What the future holds for him at our events, I cannot say, that is not my call.
I personally wish he would make a heartfelt apology to the victim, learn, listen, and really understand the consequences of his actions.
How can people help with this cause? Victims of harassment need you to be our advocates, calling out harassers on their unacceptable behavior instead of staying quiet.
It was not our intent to neglect reports that have come our way. We have compiled a timeline in a confidential document of the events surrounding Richard Paul Evans and the events from Monday that will shed greater light on public statements and internal actions. If you are a Guest or participant and would like to learn more about how we handled these situations, please email email@example.com.
In conclusion, I hope that you will see that our company is full of talented, compassionate people that are your allies. We believe you, we are listening, and want to create as safe a space as possible at our events and online platforms. Team FanX is learning more every day; moving along to a better future.
FanX Social Media Manager
*Update 5/24/18: Please read our Frequently Asked Questions concerning this statement. Please send any further inquires to Cheryl Snapp Conner at firstname.lastname@example.org