Today I come before you with multiple emotions, none of which are pleasant.
Many of you, some more intimately than others, are aware of recent events regarding another simming organization. Those events have become widely known throughout the greater community. Many have mocked these events, others have scoffed, others have condemned.
Others, specifically those involved in these events, have been bruised, hurt, embarrassed, and so much more.
These events, while unfortunate, have taken additional turns that have not been in the public eye.
The 22nd Fleet was founded to be a safe space, a place where anyone regardless of background, affiliation, religion, race, creed, preference, identity, et cetera, could come and write together, be creative together, and enjoy our collective fandoms together. We esteem ourselves to be a place free from harassment and discrimination.
This week, I have learned that we failed.
We had several 22nd Fleet members involved in these recent events. Multiple members of the 22nd Fleet then harassed one of these individuals in private conversations on Discord. I wish I could say it stopped there. However, the harassment moved from Discord into personal social media channels and into the direct path of that person’s real life.
This harassed individual decided to depart this organization. The individual provided no names, nor will I ask for any. We do not know the identities of the 22nd Fleet members involved in this harassment. Nor do we know who the individuals were that crossed the barriers into real life.
I am not going to ask anyone to come forward. I am, however, going to remind you all that our Charter guarantees our members very basic rights, which include (emphasis in bold is mine):
- The Fleet recognizes first and foremost that the Fleet is no greater than the assembled Members as they are the most valuable resource available to the organization. The Fleet leadership shall always strive to protect and serve its members, closely following them to meet their needs and wants as much as possible.
- All Members are entitled to an environment free of harassment and discrimination due to any personal characteristics including, but not limited to, ethnicity, age, religion, nationality, skin color, biological gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability status, veteran status, public and military service, and marital status.
- All Members shall be held accountable to the same standards as another Member, Leader, or Officer.
- All Members have the right to own their characters, the right to have their character respected by others, and the right to not have their characters used without their approval.
- All Members have a right to due process, and to submit grievances, and to see those grievances resolved; all without facing harm or recourse.
- All Members shall have the right to take a leave of absence from their roles and duties for a reasonable length of time when they have real life commitments they must attend to.
If we cannot uphold these standards, then we are no greater than the organizations and groups we came here to seek refuge from. I would ask that everyone forward this message to your players, remind them why the 22nd Fleet exists, and remember to check your own conduct before acting.
I’m not saying you can’t have opinions about others or other organizations. Nor am I saying you have to keep those opinions to yourself. Most of us are adults and we should have the discernment to find the line between sharing an opinion and harassing other individuals because of their actions and your own opinion of it. If you are harassing others, then not only are you ruining your own reputation, you are ruining the organizations and sims that you represent as well.
Let us end these “fleet politics.” Let us remember that this is only a game, and that is why we all here. Let us learn together from this failure. I know that I have.