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Carter Williams, KSL.com, File

FanX co-founder apologizes after harassment dispute with author

By Caitlin Burchill, KSL TV | Posted - May 22, 2018 at 10:24 a.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY — A FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention co-founder is apologizing after a controversial Twitter battle between him and a popular Utah author over a sexual harassment complaint.

Best-selling author Shannon Hale reached out to FanX co-founder Bryan Brandenburg about her concerns attending the convention this year following harassment allegations surrounding a conference attendee and how the conference handled the claims.

Monday, the official FanX account tweeted a screenshot of the author’s email with a response, but failed to block out her email address. The tweet has since been deleted. Hale tweeted a screen shot of it, redacting her email address.

Photo: KSL TV
Photo: KSL TV

Hale then tweeted a picture of another part of Brandenburg’s email response in which he called the #MeToo movement “trendy” — something that she says was left off of the FanX tweet.

Photo: KSL TV
Photo: KSL TV

The post sparked immediate outrage. In response, we’ve seen tweets from a handful of local authors saying they won’t be attending FanX this year, which is scheduled for September 6-8 at the Salt Palace Convention Center.

For example, author Brendan Reichs tweeting he will no longer make an appearance.

Photo: KSL TV
Photo: KSL TV

Monday, Brandenburg apologized for his handling of reports of harassment and the Twitter back-and-forth too. He also posted a blog on the FanX page, apologizing for his behavior.

Photo: KSL TV
Photo: KSL TV
Photo: KSL TV
Photo: KSL TV

He said, “Moving forward, our goal is to create a safe environment for everyone. Training for staff will happen within the next 90 days, so we are equipped to handle sexual harassment and assault reports. Our new harassment policy now includes instructions on how to report an incident anonymously or in person. It also clearly states the sanctions that will be taken when a report comes in.

"The harassment policy also includes more defined behavior expectations for our attendees, guests, agents, cosplayers, panelists, moderators, staff, vendors, vendor models, and volunteers. Consent is key. These improvements would not have happened without your voice.”

As of 5:30 a.m., we have not seen a response from Hale.

Caitlin Burchill

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