Light Shadow and Movement
Since we first published our initial statement there have been a few noteworthy events relating to the survivor advocacy team and The Author’s public narratives about his past partners. To make the most significant developments easy to digest we have organized them here.
Questions about timing of the public statement
Many readers have come away with the impression that the public statement uploaded here on Medium was the first public discussion of The Author’s treatment of and by his past partners. It wasn’t. First, The Author has discussed his past relationships, including his interpretation of his partners’ feelings, motivations and choices, publicly for two decades — including writing two books based on them. His own public promotion of his relationship narratives makes them appropriate topics for public discussion, and his past partners’ desire to be heard is entirely reasonable. Second, 24 hours before the Medium post went up The Author was sent this call-in letter privately by Reid Mihalko.
His first response, in which he reiterated several false narratives and seemed to reject an accountability process, was posted on Quora. It was later deleted. After deleting the Quora post he wrote a public Facebook post in which he denies knowing what he is accused of (we included some information in our original post and offered specifics through Reid; The Author did not request any details) but states his intention to form an accountability team. We encourage everyone to compare both of The Author’s characterizations of the call-in letter to the document itself, and to recall what was written in our first public post:
“Many people have tried many times over many years to explain to The Author the harm he has caused and offer him a chance to change, with no effect. He has cut off partners, friends, communities and social groups as a result of having his harmful behaviors named. He has been offered, and refused, a community accountability process at least once.”
We’re going to hold off further discussion of these distortions and narrative switchbacks in the hopes that The Author’s accountability team will be part of that process.
Eve is named as a survivor
Since The Author’s public posts frequently included information that would allow many readers to identify her, Eve (The Author’s most recent ex and former business partner) has decided to participate in the process under her own name. The other survivors choose to remain anonymous for the time being. Eve has agreed to be named as the author of three blog posts originally published anonymously starting shortly after the dissolution of her relationship with The Author.
She has also given a video interview with relationship coach Sumati Sparks about some of her experiences relating to the events discussed in the public statement. The interview will air as part of the Successful Open Relationships and Polyamory Summit the morning of Tuesday February 26th and be available to watch through March 1st. (It has now been archived on YouTube.)
Questions about Reid Mihalko’s involvement
Everyone, including Reid, knew that his involvement would raise questions. We consulted with every member of the survivor advocacy team and Reid’s team before deciding to offer him the limited role of handling communication between The Author’s accountability team and the survivor support team. Reid wrote this public post on Facebook explaining how and why he was brought on and the extent of his involvement. Survivor team member Chelsey Blair also wrote a public Facebook post explaining the survivor team’s reasoning.
Public tracking doc
We’re glad to see that the people paying attention to this process want more information. As we’ve said in a few places, we can promise that more information is forthcoming but not that it’s going to be exactly the information you want or on the timeline that you want. That’s the nature of managing the safety of multiple survivors along with a fluid process managed by over a dozen separate people who all have day jobs.
That said, we’ve made a public tracking document to organize relevant events across various platforms and we think that it will help interested people get a handle on what has happened and on the scale of the behavior we’re trying to address, namely narrative control spanning long periods of time and many different venues. We’ll continue to update the document as things develop.
Advocacy team member bios
When the statement first went up, a moderately popular take was that none of the people who had signed it were real. We’ve all written bios explaining how we came to be part of this process. If you want to get to know us a little better, this is your ticket.
Survivor requests about dehumanizing language
The original statement made the following request:
Respect the humanity of everyone involved and avoid reinforcing abusive beliefs by refraining from using, or tolerating, dehumanizing language to refer to The Author, his enabling partners, or any of the survivors or suspected survivors.
After seeing some of the words people have chosen to describe The Author, we are reiterating this request specifically because framing that appears to render some people disposable, or or frames the world in a dichotomy of good people (worthy of support) and bad people (worthy of punishment), is the same framing that often enables abuse. Some of the survivors who see these public attacks, even when directed at The Author, find them harmful and even triggering. None of them desired a punitive approach, and for some, a transformative justice framework was a prerequisite for coming forward at all. We recommend this article by Andy Izenson for more nuance on this topic.
We know that it’s important for survivors of abuse to be free to express themselves on their own terms, so we’re not policing anyone’s self-expression or asking that anyone else do so. Instead, we’re highlighting this request and offering up the reasoning behind it so that everyone can make an informed choice about how they discuss this issue across different platforms.
The authorship of More Than Two
Many people have stated that the information provided in our public statement changed their feelings on More Than Two. Some have stated that they will no longer recommend the book to others or consult it themselves. While we have no position on what people should do with More Than Two, we would like to remind everyone that Eve Rickert is a co-author of the book. Erasing her centers The Author in the conversation, which is exactly what we’re trying to avoid even if that conversation is complicated or uncomfortable.