(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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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: email@example.com.
Thank you for your support, friends. I & Half Mystic love you always. Please be safe today.