Best-selling author will not attend FanX after social media controversy
(KUTV) - A best-selling Utah author has decided not to return to FanX this year after the convention’s co-founder told her to “sit this one out”.
That comment was part of a private email exchange between Shannon Hale and FanX co—founder, Bryan Brandenburg, one which he posted publicly to Twitter on Monday. That post also included Hale’s private email address.
In an on-camera exclusive, Hale says she felt “violated” by the post, along with the other comments from Brandenburg talking about harassment saying, “I’ve been sensitive to these issues for decades, long before it became trendy with #metoo.”
Hale had initially reached out to Brandenburg, concerned about how complaints of harassment were being dealt with. She says the convention is a place where women go to do a job, to be respected and instead it is a place where they are treated like a piece of meat.
Speaking with 2 News, she says, “In general, cons are a place where a lot of sexual harassment and abuse have happened - and continue to happen - which is one reason why they need a robust harassment policy. But it’s not enough to have a policy in place if they don’t enforce it.”
Following the fallout online, Brandenburg released apologies to Hale both on Facebook and on the FanX website saying he had behaved inappropriately.
But the damage was already done. Within 24 hours, two celebrities dropped out of the convention as a result of the controversy.
Lindsay Jones, best known for her voice acting in RWBY, said in a Tweet:
Arryn Zech, who is also most known for her voice acting in RWBY, said in a Tweet:
An updated harassment policy is now on the FanX website. Brandeburg’s apology states that all staff will now undergo further harassment training within the next 90 days.
Brandenburgh’s apology can be found here.
FanX's harassment policy can be found here.
On Tuesday, Hale wrote a string of tweets about her thoughts and feelings in the wake of the controversy. She also posted a full account of her interactions with FanX on Tumblr.
In the first tweet of the series, she thanked those who have supported her.
"I really appreciate it," she said. "Your words ... prevented me from falling into a depressed funk. It really helps."
"I'm glad it's all coming out, but selfishly I wish it wasn't coming out over me," Hale tweeted. "I'd rather not. I've done three interviews now because this is an important topic and I want the truth out."
Hale stated that she has been ignoring further interview requests, primarily because she does not want the issue to be focused solely on her.
The author claims the controversy is emblematic of a "larger culture that enables and supports harassers and ignores and belittles women."