Coming to Light, Part II / An Updated Statement on the Half Mystic Allegations of the Past Two Weeks

(Friends, please note that there are trigger warnings for sexual assault, depression, & suicidal ideation applied to the following statement.)


Thank you to everyone who has gotten in touch with me & with Half Mystic in the past two weeks to share their experiences with the sexual assault case we’ve been investigating, in which an anonymous person over Instagram accused one of our editors of sexually harassing & assaulting them when the two were in school together. You can read our initial statement on this matter here.

After putting out that original statement, I & the team received a number of incredibly enlightening emails & messages from individuals on both sides of the discussion, did some further research into these accusations, & learned more information that we hadn’t been privy to before.

We came to the conclusion that, based on this new information Half Mystic learned, it’s exceedingly likely that there is at least some truth in the accusations. As such, we made the tough decision to remove the editor in question from the HM team.

As you’ll know if you’ve been following this case, this is a pivot from HM’s original point of view on this situation. We came to this decision largely due to the sheer number of people who came forward after that first statement went live to let us know they had had uncomfortable experiences with the editor. While I & our team started out this whole situation wanting to give our editor the benefit of the doubt, believing we knew them well enough to know that they would never intentionally or unintentionally commit such acts, right now we’re in a place where the evidence & the new information we’ve learned from victims are telling us otherwise.  

I know this decision comes as a disappointment to those friends & supporters who reached out to vouch for this editor’s character both preceding & following the initial statement we put out on this matter. Frankly, I am incredibly disappointed by this outcome as well. I don’t want to believe that this editor—who everyone on our team knew, loved, & trusted, & who has done wonderful, necessary work for the literary community—could be the perpetrator of such deep & lasting harm.

At the same time, though, we simply cannot ignore the testimony of the large number of people who have come forward to share their stories. No matter what light I put this into, I can’t come close to fathoming the idea of all these people somehow spinning a vast conspiracy to destroy this person’s career out of no reason other than spite. For better or worse, the idea that the editor did, in fact, commit these acts feels much more plausible. 

I’d also like to directly address two points that this editor’s friends & supporters have brought up in emailing & messaging us. Many of the arguments we’re receiving go along the lines of pointing out that this editor is both a victim of sexual assault themselves, & also suffers from severe depression & suicidal ideation.  

We’re very aware of these points, & this knowledge is part of the reason we were hesitant to take disciplinary action against the editor at the beginning of this case. Yet, at the same time, we know that being a victim of terrible things does not prevent people from inflicting persistent harm onto others, whether intentionally or unintentionally. We don’t think it’s right to tiptoe around this issue in light of the fact that the editor has themselves experienced trauma. Fundamentally, they had agency & choice in the actions they’ve done, & their past experiences don’t change that.

There will probably never be a way to know for sure what did or did not happen years ago. But we, the Half Mystic team, & I, as our editor-in-chief, honestly & genuinely believe these accusations hold truth. We believe survivors of sexual harassment & assault. We care about upholding that value, & about holding our staff members, contributors, & authors to the same standard. I couldn’t consider this thing we’ve created a safe space for marginalised voices or victims of sexual assault if we let this slide, & that would be a great disservice to the brilliant, diverse, & compassionate community surrounding Half Mystic—many of whom are sexual assault survivors themselves.

This is our final & definitive statement on this matter.

Thank you to those who have come forward privately on both sides of the discussion to share your experiences with me & the team. While this decision was incredibly difficult to come to terms with, we stand by it, & will not be engaging in further discussion or argument on the issue of these accusations.

We will be back to our regularly scheduled programming at HM—with an announcement of our nominees for the 2019 Pushcart Prize, a new episode of Half Mystic Radio, & a preorder announcement for Issue VI: Interlude—next week. Sending light to you.


(p.s. a special thank you to the friends & readers who stayed constant & true while all of this was happening. thank you for being here. thank you for supporting the choices i & hm have made, even & especially when we're not sure of them ourselves. thank you for sending animal gifs & staying up late to talk through our options & holding me while i cried. thank you for putting up with what a momentously terrible friend i've been for the past two weeks.

it's been tough going, but i feel good, deep in my marrow, about this choice we've made. i think it's the right one for our company & our world. thank you for staying with us as we work to preserve half mystic as the safe, vibrant, warm space for the arts it's always been.)

Coming to Light / A Statement on the Half Mystic Allegations of the Past Few Days

(Friends, please note that a trigger warning for sexual assault applies to the following statement.)


Over the past few days, two readers of Half Mystic—the publishing house and arts organisation I run—have gotten in touch with our team with some worrying allegations about one of our editors. These allegations are specifically regarding a possible sexual assault. The people who reported this incident directed us to screenshots of an anonymous person who, over instagram messaging, claimed that one of our editors had sexually harassed & assaulted them when the two were in secondary school together. They provided examples of this harassment.

We take allegations like these incredibly seriously. As the creative director of Half Mystic, upon directly receiving or being forwarded from other team members these claims, I reached out to other editors & writers who know the editor in question, & further talked to this editor.

I attempted to reach out to the person who made the claims in the first place. This person refused to speak with me further off anon. The editor also denied all allegations, stating that they weren’t sure who the accuser was but knew the incidents described never happened. Finally, the writers & editors I contacted stated that they too had heard of these sexual assault allegations, but only through the literary network, not because readers directly sent them. No one I contacted was able to confirm or deny any allegations made.

Separately from these investigations, three readers independently reached out to Half Mystic to support the accused editor. Two mentioned that they knew the accuser personally &, based on past actions, were wary of their claims. One contacted us only to vouch for the editor’s character.

After taking all this information into account & discussing with our team, I & Half Mystic have chosen not to take any disciplinary action against the editor in question at this time, unless new information comes to light from the accuser, the editor, the team, or any other readers.

We’ve come to this decision due mainly to the questionable veracity of the claims & anonymity of the accuser. While we completely understand how difficult it can be for survivors to share their stories, the accuser’s anonymity makes it impossible to verify their allegations. I can’t take disciplinary action against an editor who has been with Half Mystic for years, & received nothing but kind & positive words from our submitters, contributors, & readers—based solely on claims from someone who I can’t directly speak with or know the identity of.

As well, aside from this anonymous individual, everyone else I reached out to or who contacted Half Mystic themselves had only good things to say about the editor. This, of course, doesn’t mean they’re innocent—it’s just another data point we’re taking into account.

Based on everything we know about the situation & the accused editor right now, Half Mystic still supports & stands with the editor in question. If new information comes to light, that may well change—but right now, the love, respect, & gratitude we have for this editor remains.

I don’t make this statement lightly, & I don’t do so to invalidate the experiences of the accuser & other sexual assault survivors. I could be completely wrong & off base. The editor could be guilty on all counts. I’m not saying this to discount that very real, very immediate possibility.

Right now, Half Mystic has imperfect information, & we’re reacting the best we can to what we do know thus far. So, I ask: if you or anyone you know has ever had an uncomfortable encounter with anyone on the HM masthead, please email hello@halfmystic.com.

In order to take action on these reports, I need to be able to directly speak with & ask questions of accusers. That said, your name & identifying information will never be shared with the person you are accusing. We only use this information to make better decisions for our company. If you personally know the accuser in this thread & are able to tell us their name or contact information, please do not contact us. The accuser has made it very clear they don’t want to reveal their identity to us, & we’re not here to violate boundaries or invade their privacy. If you know the accused editor I’m referring to & are able to vouch for their character, share your own report of harassment or assault, or otherwise comment & share extra information on this matter, we would be very grateful to hear from you: hello@halfmystic.com.

Thank you for your support, friends. I & Half Mystic love you always. Please be safe today.