GeekGirlCon Staffers Resign, Use Company E-Mail And Address Book To Tell Everyone Why

GeekGirlCon runs a two-day annual convention in Seattle, Washington, the next one on September 30th and October 1st, that "works to empower women and girls to pursue their passions—whether they love science and technology, comics, literature, gaming, or anything else! Everybody is a geek at heart, in one way or another. Our mission is to ensure all these geeks are supported, welcomed, and encouraged to pursue what they love."

GeekGirlCon Staffers Resign, Use Company E-Mail And Address Book To Tell Everyone Why

It states that the show "gives female geeks and their supporters the opportunity to build a community, share facts and fandom, and learn how they can help promote the role of women and other underrepresented groups in geek culture. We also bring people together through social media and events in the greater Seattle area. We have a lot of fun doing this, although we aren't afraid to also tackle some serious topics related to gender equality. What makes us different from other events is one simple concept: conventions and conferences should include content for less-represented identities; this includes a focus on the contributions of women. Sure, our emphasis is on female geeks. But our real goal is to promote a culture that brings EVERYONE together to share their geeky quirks; celebrate the role of women in science, technology, media, and gaming; and build the next generation of strong, powerful geeks."

Well, they do seem powerful. The following e-mail went out from the official GeekGirlCon e-mail address to attendees, vendors and other parties, saying,

It is with great regret that we wish to inform our attendees, exhibitors and sponsors of the resignation of the entire Convention Operations team, loss of key Founders and Board members. The Convention Operations team, responsible for all aspects of setup of our convention, Exhibitor management, security, and pass sales have chosen to leave GeekGirlCon as a result of the actions of the Executive Director and remaining Board members.

The following is the statement from our Convention Operations Team:

This action is not a step taken lightly. Many of you are our friends. Many of you we consider family. This team has a long history with GeekGirlCon, including some of us who were there at the start, and all have worked very hard to support its mission and values. We are disappointed and saddened that it has come to this. However, actions by the ED and by the Board have made the current environment one in which it is impossible for us to continue. Over the last five months, while we worked with the ED and the Board in good faith to resolve the differences, we witnessed bullying, gender discrimination, racism, misuse of charitable funds, and many instances of unethical behavior. We can no longer support this organization's administration as their recent conduct shows a severe lack of integrity, morality, and respect for its hard-working staff, volunteers and attendees.

Effective immediately, we are resigning our positions and will cease association with GeekGirlCon.

Below you will find a few reasons driving our decision to resign.
1. Acts of discrimination carried out by the Executive Director in the removal and eventual reinstatement of a Con Operation staff member.
2. Opportunistic and underhanded voting tactics by the Board of Directors, including:
3. Voting on matters before seeing the evidence collected and knowing it has been collected.
4. Postponing vote on the removal of the Executive Director during its proposed session; instead the vote was called in an emergency meeting without the Board member who proposed the original motion being present.
5. Bullying of staff members and making derogatory statements to them about their mental and/or physical condition.
6. Dissemination of printed documents by the Executive Director that include details of private, sexual encounters, unrelated to GeekGirlCon, in an effort to discriminate against and kink-shame a volunteer.
7. Questionable use of charitable funds by the Executive Director.
8. Deprioritization of financial oversight by the Board of Directors.
9. Failure of the Board of Directors to provide any recourse for reporting ethical violations made by the Executive Director.

If you are an Attendee, Exhibitor, or Sponsor for GeekGirlCon 2017 and are concerned about the status of your payment, recent drop in expected attendence, or sponsorship of this year's convention, please contact:

You may also direct inquires to: Michele Domingo, Executive Director and I-Wei Feng, Acting President of the Board of Directors.

Naturally, there was… concern. The drama continued on Twitter. Firstly there was this tweet,

Followed by official fire-fighting.

And while the statement is awaited, one person involved also tweeted,

And one person did receive this direct response from the organisers.

The email you have received was sent without the organization's knowledge or approval. In fact, the email was sent after the Con Ops Team resigned at our staff meeting this afternoon. An official statement from the organization is being put together now which will shed some light on what is happening. GeekGirlCon is NOT cancelled. We have 45 additional staff members who are taking on the responsibilities the Con Ops Team resigned from.

You know, when someone resigns like that, usually a good idea to turn off their access to company e-mail… we'll update (probably in the morning) when the statement is released.

About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.

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