Apology

byJacy_Reese3mo22nd Mar 2019117 comments

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It has recently been brought to my attention that I have made people uncomfortable through my verbal and written advances. I’m deeply sorry to everyone I hurt or made uncomfortable. I intend to step back from public life and the activism communities I’ve belonged to and reflect on my mistakes further. I have been and continue to be eager to participate in any healing or restorative processes that would benefit the individuals I have wronged and the communities.

I know very little of the details of these allegations, so I cannot acknowledge them all. I was presented with details of one situation where someone was uncomfortable about a Facebook messenger conversation in which I casually expressed interest, and after consulting relevant parties to understand why the interaction might have made the person uncomfortable, I apologized to that person. I know it is important in a restorative process to acknowledge as many concrete details as possible, but I have been asked by the mediators in this situation not to share any specifics.

I appreciate that there were other interactions that made people uncomfortable and where details have not been shared with me, and that this other behavior may have been more problematic. After a third party shared that there were other anonymous concerns with me, I also wrote an apology that the third party could share with the anonymous complainants who had contacted them, and I committed to not making advances on anyone employed in the animal advocacy movement. I wanted to err on the side of caution and avoid doing any further harm. I don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable or disempowered, and I’m deeply sorry for not taking greater care with my actions.

CEA was made aware of these and other concerns about my past behavior, though I understand they’re not able to share details with me in order to respect the confidentiality of people who don’t wish to be identified. CEA has decided to end its relationship with me, and we have agreed that I will not attend or speak at EA Global or other CEA events. Because Sentience Institute has now received its 501(c)(3) status, it no longer needs fiscal sponsorship from CEA, so the two organizations are already planning to separate in that regard, and expect to do so within a three month transition period (as specified in the contract between CEA and Sentience Institute). I already stopped moderating EA Facebook groups last year due to time constraints, but I will officially remove myself from “moderator” and “administrator” statuses in groups where I still have that role. I also plan to step back from the EA community more generally.

In the interest of transparency and clearing the air, I want to clarify that several rumors have been shared about me that are provably false, for instance, that I was banned from attending an animal advocacy conference, which never happened to my knowledge. Most of the people I have spoken with about the allegations also did not hear about the restorative process, apology, or commitment to improve that occurred in the case where I was told specifics.

I want to say again that I’m deeply sorry to anyone I made uncomfortable. My approach to expressing romantic or sexual interest has always been forward and direct. In the past I’ve perceived this to have been generally received positively by others, but I see now that my approach has sometimes been inappropriate. I know that having to deal with unwanted advances at all can be hurtful, uncomfortable, and frustrating, and I’m sorry for not being as aware of the effects of my actions as I should have been. I also now better understand how the dynamic between someone in a public or leadership role and other members of the community can put them on unequal footing. Not knowing the specifics of the allegations, it’s also possible that my behavior was inappropriate in ways I still do not appreciate, and I’m sorry for that too.

As I mentioned at the beginning, I am stepping back from public life and will reflect on my mistakes further. I am grateful to all of my friends and colleagues who have helped me to understand my failures and begin to heal the wounds I have created. I accept the corrective actions discussed herein that mediators have agreed on, and I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to understand, right my wrongs, and improve.

In the interest of facilitating healthy discussion and my separation from CEA, I am not planning to respond to any comments on this post. If you have had interactions with me that you found problematic, please feel free to send me what information you are comfortable sharing, anonymously or otherwise, via this link. You can also reach Julia Wise, one of CEA’s community liaisons, at julia.wise@centreforeffectivealtruism.org.

Below is a statement from CEA:

We approached Jacy about our concerns about his behavior after receiving reports from several parties about concerns over several time periods, and we discussed this public statement with him. We have not been able to discuss details of most of these concerns in order to protect the confidentiality of the people who raised them, but we find the reports credible and concerning. It’s very important to CEA that EA be a community where people are treated with fairness and respect. If you’ve experienced problems in the EA community, we want to help. Julia Wise serves as a contact person for the community, and you can always bring concerns to her confidentially.

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