How We Have Fulfilled Requests, Part 7 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 (7 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 7:

Reevaluation of Charlie’s online presence.

To honor the specific requests of Contributors, in April 2020 Charlie removed a post he’d written on the topic of consent from his blog. In place of the post, Charlie left a note addressing why it was removed and how, for transparency’s sake, readers can contact him to receive the content of the original post. (This notice can be viewed here.) Per Contributors’ request, Charlie also removed references to specific Harmed Individuals from the text of this post, especially when Charlie was using Harmed Individuals’ educational concepts in ways that enabled his abuse or twisted them to fit his agenda.

Starting in September 2019, in an effort to prevent interested organizations and individuals from requesting Charlie for educational engagements, Charlie also removed information about teaching and speaking from his professional website, LinkedIn profile, and profiles on other professional websites. He then added notices to his sites (specifically on the “Contact” tab and “My Accountability Process” tab of his professional website) informing visitors that he is currently in an accountability process, and the pod’s expectation is that Charlie will inform anyone who reaches out to him with requests for educational engagements that he is unavailable for teaching.

While Charlie made a commitment in January 2018 to refer people to other educators when he received workshop requests, there were times when he was not initially upfront with the requestor regarding his accountability process or his step back from teaching. The pod became aware of this concerning behavior and began addressing it in August 2019. More on this matter will be detailed in our post about Charlie’s patterns.

It is critical to name that evaluating Charlie’s online presence and impact was not a one-and-done or smooth process. Various online bios and appearances slipped through the cracks, in part due to Charlie’s own lack of a centralized catalog of all of his digital spaces and appearances. Additionally, Charlie’s own defenses and investment in a status quo, whether conscious or not, resulted in him not sharing or updating all of his online properties simultaneously. (And it’s important to note how harm can still be enacted even when not “maliciously motivated.”) For example, when it was time to share updates from the accountability process on his social media, Charlie was not always consistent about posting clearly and thoughtfully, and he at times buried these updates in a wave of other posts and memes. While this met “the letter of the request” to be transparent and share, it didn’t abide by the spirit of the request. Exploring the intentions and experiences behind a request in order to understand and honor the spirit of a request (rather than choosing the simplest, most literal interpretation of it) has been a recurrent theme in our work with Charlie.

The team worked to help Charlie identify harmful beliefs and language within the writing he’d previously published online. We worked with him to conduct a content audit of his website’s blog, meeting with him to discuss how he might view his writing through the lenses of abuse and accountability. We tasked him with cataloging evidence of his abusive patterns within his writing, and the team reviewed this list, challenging him to dig deeper with his observations, especially when he was missing more nuanced details or using deflection strategies to avoid taking full responsibility for his beliefs and attitudes. We also had Charlie analyze and rewrite entire posts or journal entries without instances of deflection or narrative control of interpersonal experiences.

Additionally, in June 2021, it seems a technical glitch resulted in old testimonials showing up on Charlie’s coaching website (Make Sex Easy), in the rotating footer area. The team could not independently verify the cause of this, though Charlie suspects a widget on his website became reactivated with an automatic Wordpress update. This was problematic for various reasons, including that it put up outdated endorsements of Charlie’s work, painted an incorrect picture of where Charlie was at and how the community saw him, and, perhaps more importantly, negatively impacted at least one Respondent and eroded some of their trust in the process, especially because the primary consultant Aida Manduley had been one of the people who’d provided a testimonial for the website.

Aida had written their testimonial in 2013, after Charlie emailed a list of colleagues to request short blurbs and endorsements for his website. While truthful to the consultant’s individual experiences with Charlie at the time, they adamantly no longer supported what they wrote and swiftly asked Charlie to both take it down and remove the testimonials section as a whole for all the reasons outlined in the preceding paragraph. All this was communicated to the Respondent who contacted us about the testimonials for transparency and also to directly address their concern about it. The consultant also made a note that Charlie needed to contact anyone he had testimonials from and update them given all that had happened. In response, Charlie found a way to delete the testimonials widget entirely, not just disable it, to prevent this from happening again.

Over the course of this process, the team has done a lot of research into Charlie’s online presence, even setting up Google Alerts for certain keywords around Charlie to help us catch mentions of Charlie or reposts of old materials that fail to acknowledge his harms or link to information about his accountability process. This process of examining Charlie’s online presence and impact continues to this day. When the team or Charlie discover new blog posts citing Charlie’s work and pages naming Charlie as a “teacher” or “speaker,” we task Charlie with correcting those references and informing those behind the sites of his accountability process and where things stand. We have also asked Charlie to keep a detailed record of his online footprint moving forward.

Follow this link to go to the Request 8: To inform Charlie’s clients and potential clients about his abusive patterns and the accountability process.

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