Making Amends

This site has been public for a day and I’ve already received some strong feedback. I’m thankful for all of it, positive and otherwise. In fact, some of the negative feedback has been the most helpful, and let me realize I need to write a quick post explaining a bit more about this site and the living amends I hope to make in the coming… well, rest of my life.

In 2016 I was accused of groping a woman in 2003. I don’t remember the incident but I have accepted full personal responsibility for it. That was my bottom.

I have spent the last 16 months in recovery and studying Buddhism, working on myself. Part of that process is making amends – owning up to, apologizing for and making right the mistakes of our pasts. In January I was finally at a place to make amends to Caroline, the woman I hurt, and I got on the phone with her and did so. She generously accepted my amends, and as part of her belief in the concept of restorative justice told me that my next steps were to make amends to my community, which had been hurt by me in a number of ways:

  • When I was actively working I had an abrasive, combative and sometimes cruel style and attitude that led to people truly hating me. I did not take seriously my position and I interacted with people (especially on Twitter) in ways that hurt them, and I didn’t realize at the time that I was being hurtful, which is a problem in and of itself.
  • When Caroline came forward many people felt betrayed because some of my writing had been on topics of social justice, equality, feminism and representation in pop culture. My actions in 2003 were in direct contradiction to my stated values in 2016.
  • Four months into my recovery I was offered a new, behind-the-scenes position with my old employer in order to help me pay rent and maintain my health insurance. While my employment was not secret – it was announced to assembled staff at a major company meeting – it was not made public. We were wrong to handle it this way, and should have been more transparent. The lack of transparency also hurt many in the community, and impacted their trust of my old employer.

I regret all of these things. I regret that I used my position in my community too often to belittle others, when I could have been uplifting them. I regret that my efforts for social justice were undercut by my bad previous behavior. And I regret that my rehiring was conducted in a way that not only injured the film community that I loved but also the co-workers I admire and respect. I am truly sorry.

Now I am undertaking next steps to repair what I have destroyed. The first of these was to appear on the PBS TV show #MeToo, Now What?, which you can watch here. It was important to me that the producers reach out to and include Caroline, and I’m grateful that she agreed to be involved. I would be grateful if you took the time to check it out.

I am continuing to reach out privately to people I have hurt and am attempting to make amends with them. This is a process that will be ongoing for a long time because it has to be done correctly and with integrity. I will not speak publicly about any other amends I’m working on.

And now I have launched this blog. I have talents and skills that I have used negatively in the past, and now I am committed to using them positively. I hope to be able to create some repair in my community with this blog and my writing. This is not the conclusion of my attempts to make amends, but simply the next step in that ongoing process.

I’m trying to be fully transparent here while also respecting my recovery. I have updated the “About” page of this site in response to people saying it was too vague. That was a good note, so I took it.

Today I claim only progress, not perfection. I probably shouldn’t even be addressing all this stuff – it’s too close to the behaviors and habits of my negative online fighting days and is probably dangerous – but like I said, I’m not perfect. Every day is another day to try and be better, and to be of service. I believe that one of the ways I can be of service is through my writing.

You have no reason to believe any of what I wrote above. That’s okay, and I understand. You have no obligation to take me at my word or accept any of the claims I’ve made about myself and my current life. All I can do is my best, and imperfectly attempt on a daily basis to live the values I have embraced.