How We Have Fulfilled Requests, Part 6 of 10

A Table of Contents for all posts by Charlie’s pod, including the dates each article was published and a brief description of the contents of each post, can be found here

This post (6 of 10) is a portion of our larger report on “How We Have Fulfilled Requests of People Who Have Reported Harm.” Follow this link for an introduction to our terminology, how we facilitated and organized requests, and for a table of contents for each request.

Accountability Request 6:

Meaningful apologies to individuals and the sex-positive community.

Some Contributors requested a public apology or a set of public acknowledgements from Charlie. There was an additional request that Charlie write an essay explaining his understanding about the impact of the harm he caused. These reflections are in progress. Before giving him a platform to write publicly about his harms and personal reflections, the team wishes to publish more information about our assessment of his harmful behaviors and patterns and our work honoring these various accountability requests. While there has been a call for a public apology for particular behaviors and their impacts, to our knowledge, there have been no requests for private or individual apologies. Charlie has, however, expressed an openness to making individual apologies in the form of video or voice recordings, calls, or letters.

During this process, Charlie has drafted a number of apologies, but most have not been shared or made public. In part, this is because in order to offer genuine, meaningful apologies instead of devolving into more attempts to control the narrative or evade accountability, Charlie needed to: sit with and interrupt his attempts to assuage others via faux validation, more deeply understand the harms he caused and what he should be apologizing for, and practice new ways of apologizing and owning up to his actions. Early apologies and drafts fell squarely into harmful patterns, and evasive apologies themselves (especially “false target maneuvers”) are a particularly concerning pattern we’ve been working with him to unlearn. Thus, while we have not outright blocked him from apologizing publicly or even individually, we have not endorsed or supported apologies that don’t come from a place of grounded responsibility.

There were also more general requests that Charlie address and own the impact of his harmful patterns without excuses. The pod has worked with Charlie on this through journaling assignments, prompts for discussions with his therapist, and direct guidance on identifying evasive or defensive behaviors and stopping them before they arise. We have challenged him to be quiet and listen to feedback from others without explaining himself — and then create space to process his reactions on his own. This included building resilience around receiving critical feedback and reports of harm through the narrative collection process, as well as developing more embodied awareness of his agitation and when he feels compelled to be defensive. Much of this learning was synthesized into a public acknowledgement document written by Charlie (with input for clarity and directness from the pod and consultant), which was published by the pod in March 2021 titled “Naming My Harms”. In this document, Charlie sought to name the specific ways he harmed people and communities, as well as detail his defensive reactions when these harms were brought to his attention by the pod and members of his communities. Our collective hope is that this will be useful for the community to name harmful actions from people (including Charlie) in the future as well as provide some level of acknowledgement for those Charlie specifically harmed.

Follow this link to go to the Request 7: Reevaluation of Charlie’s online presence.

Follow this link for an introduction to our reporting on requests and a table of contents for each request.