As a result of social media comments made by the official Twitter account of the Lakes International Comic Art Festival towards writer, publisher and critic Zainab Akhtar, covered by Bleeding Cool over the last couple of days, festival director Julia Tate – believed to be the author of those tweets at the time – has issued a full and frank apology on behalf of herself, her team and the show. It runs as follows:
AN APOLOGY FROM JULIE TAIT, DIRECTOR AND THE LAKES INTERNATIONAL COMIC ART FESTIVAL
We would like to extend a full and unreserved apology to Zainab Akhtar. Firstly we would like to apologise for the way in which Zainab was disparaged for making valid criticisms in relation to the festival. We acknowledge that she has no ulterior agenda in expressing these criticisms and would like to apologise for making an unwarranted personal response when we should have behaved professionally, working constructively to start an honest and open dialogue.
We accept that our response and communications were inappropriate, and that they have caused stress and heartache to Zainab and others, and we would like to further extend our apology to all affected.
We are committed to working towards a more diverse and inclusive festival for everyone to enjoy and we accept that there is more we can do, and must do, to help to make our festival a more wonderful and vibrant place. We will be taking meaningful and positive actions to ensure our festival is more diverse and representative of the full diversity of the comic world, and a place that is equally welcoming to all people.
On behalf of the festival team I would like to re-iterate our deep regret and unreserved apology to Zainab.
Julie Tait, Festival Director
And Akhtar has accepted this apology .
I understand the apology wording was agreed with Akhtar before posting. As to those who withdrew from the show, no one has yet stated they will be returning yet…
My position hasn't changed, I still won't be attending.
— badmachinery (@badmachinery) October 10, 2017
…- at least, not this year.
While some are preserving the mystery.
Hi, no comment from us, just glad it's been resolved. Apologies I didn't get back to you yesterday, too much going on this end! Thanks.
— Avery Hill (@AveryHillPubl) October 10, 2017
UPDATE: An open letter has been posted:
Open letter to the Lakes International Comic Art Festival (LICAF), signed by guests & exhibitors of this years festival, concerning recent events. pic.twitter.com/LdLUszyOtY
— Hannah Berry (@streakofpith) October 11, 2017