I was sent a link to an article detailing the current status of FanX’s actions regarding it’s Harassment and Abuse Policy. The full article can be found here: Businesswire.com, but I’ll try to pull some pertinent bits and provide some commentary for you.
- […]to make its Universal Zero Tolerance Harassment Policy as strong and effective as possible, FanX has entered a partnership with the Utah Attorney General’s Office, which will serve as the front line of support via a 24/7 harassment hotline during the FanX 2018 conference[…] which will facilitate immediate investigative help. The FanX partnership mirrors a similar effort by the Attorney General to support the 2018 Sundance Film Festival earlier this year.
The front line for reporting harassment is the State AG’s office. That’s what that means. If you’re harassed, you can literally call the cops as step 1. (Okay, it’s not the cops, but come on…)
- Co-founders Dan Farr and Bryan Brandenburg […] “We are extremely pleased to take our protection for event participants to an even higher level at this year’s event, thanks to the support of the Utah Attorney General’s office. Our goal is to lead the fan convention industry with the most progressive and effective solutions to keep our family friendly convention as safe as possible.”
This is what has been missing from previous announcements about the FanX Harassment policy: a clear and concise statement of the goal and it’s enforcement.
Yes, I realize some people will not accept this statement. Noted. I heard you the first 600 times.
- During the event, the AG will provide a 24-hour live hotline where attendees, volunteers, guests, or participants of any kind can call if they are involved in or witness occurrences that violate the Universal Zero Tolerance Harassment Policy.
Anyone–Anyone–can report an instance of harassment: victim or witness, guest or attendee, volunteer or vendor. Anyone.
Regarding training of the army of FanX volunteers:
- “[…] training and related testing for all 2018 event volunteers with the help of UCASA (Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault), the Salt Lake County Mayor’s Office of Diversity & Inclusion, and other harassment and sensitivity experts.
Also new is FanX’s “Community Council”
- […]which will support the organization in its continued effort to prevent harassment at its events and interfaces with the League of Utah Volunteers (L.U.V.), allowing these new initiatives to influence many additional events throughout Utah in addition to FanX. FanX will be announcing founding committee members and additional details about the Council’s mission, organizational structure, and operational process next week.
Anyone who would like to apply for the Community Council is invited to send a resume and brief statement of interest to firstname.lastname@example.org. This address may also be used to provide input on any related topics.
Not just dealing with FanX, but with other events around the state, to ensure policies are implemented and acted upon uniformly.
So, what does all this mean, really?
Well, I suppose it depends on where you stood coming in to this announcement, doesn’t it?
For some, it means Dan and Bryan are taking their responsibilities seriously and implementing policies and procedures to correct previous deficiencies. Problem solved. When does con start?
For others, it won’t mean anything until and unless Bryan and/or Dan step down and/or sell the event, because that’s what they think is “right” (see my previous posts for how I feel about that phenomenon). No matter what FanX does, it won’t be “enough,” whatever that means. It won’t be “real” or some other disclaimer.
I think, for most (though I could be wrong… I often am, really), this will be seen as a good step; a good, solid announcement of intent and acknowledgement of the problem. And then–Heavens to Murgatroyd–we’ll have to wait and see how it all comes to fruition in practice.
For me? I’m basically where I was before. I’ll be attending FanX in September, but this is an issue I’ll be paying attention to. The fact FanX has brought in outside personnel as a major player in the reporting and processing of Harassment claims, as well as expanding the ability to report issues of this nature, goes a long way toward convincing me this is not the “sweep it under the rug” organization some folks want it to be to justify their opinions/actions.
Could I be wrong? Duh. Of course I could. I literally said that two paragraphs up, and countless times before this post. The point is, if I’m wrong, that’s on them, not on me or anyone else who gives the benefit of the doubt, or weighs the evidence and watches for results instead of grabbing a torch at the first opportunity. We’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing: evaluating. If they fall down, that’s on them.
Harassment is serious. Right now, FanX seems to be doing what they’re supposed to be doing.
And that’s a good thing.
See you in September.