Apology

Some peo­ple have ex­pressed con­cern that I have made some peo­ple un­com­fortable with my on­line ro­man­tic ad­vances. I never in­tended to cause any dis­com­fort, and I’m deeply sorry to any­one I hurt or made un­com­fortable. I in­tend to step back from pub­lic life and the ac­tivism com­mu­ni­ties I’ve be­longed to and re­flect on my mis­takes fur­ther. I want to err on the side of cau­tion, and I already planned to step back af­ter the launch of my book last year so I could fo­cus on my re­search. I have been and con­tinue to be ea­ger to par­ti­ci­pate in any heal­ing or restora­tive pro­cesses that would benefit any in­di­vi­d­u­als I have wronged in any way.

I know very lit­tle of the speci­fics of these com­plaints, so un­for­tu­nately I can­not ac­knowl­edge them all. I have con­firmed with third par­ties that there have been no com­plaints from any­one who has worked with or for me. I was pre­sented with one spe­cific con­ver­sa­tion over Face­book Mes­sen­ger, which I have been able to view in my own mes­sage his­tory. Dur­ing what I per­ceived to be mu­tual flirt­ing, I said “Okay cutie :)”. The per­son said they were not in­ter­ested, and I said “Okay thks for clar­ify­ing :)”. I then men­tioned that I was in a polyamorous/​open re­la­tion­ship, in or­der to clar­ify that I was not cheat­ing or in­tend­ing to cheat on my part­ner, which the per­son in­ter­preted as per­sis­tent flirt­ing. When I was told by a third party that the per­son felt un­com­fortable with this ex­change, I apol­o­gized, the other per­son thanked me for the apol­ogy, and the third party said they be­lieved I in good faith ap­pre­ci­ated these situ­a­tions.

I have been told by third par­ties that the con­cerns were pri­mar­ily about “com­ing on too strong” or go­ing “0 to 60” with peo­ple I was flirt­ing with over Face­book Mes­sen­ger. Some have said that while my ro­man­tic ad­vances would be ap­pro­pri­ate in some con­texts, it was made prob­le­matic by the power dy­nam­ics of my po­si­tion as a pub­lic figure. Some have said that peo­ple viewed in­ter­ac­tions with me in a differ­ent light af­ter hear­ing about my ap­par­ent rep­u­ta­tion of promis­cu­ity and sleep­ing around, which was widely dis­cussed in the com­mu­nity in Au­gust 2018, shortly be­fore these con­cerns were brought to my at­ten­tion.

My ap­proach to ex­press­ing ro­man­tic in­ter­est has always been for­ward and di­rect. I am very frank, though I always do my best to be po­lite and cour­te­ous. In the past I’ve per­ceived this to have been re­ceived pos­i­tively by oth­ers, who ap­pre­ci­ated the open­ness and hon­esty, in­clud­ing the peo­ple I’ve ended up hav­ing long-term re­la­tion­ships with, but I know that hav­ing to deal with ad­vances at all can be hurt­ful, un­com­fortable, and frus­trat­ing, and I’m sorry for not be­ing as aware of the effects of my ac­tions as I should have been. I also now bet­ter un­der­stand how the dy­namic be­tween some­one in a pub­lic or in­fluen­tial role and other mem­bers of the com­mu­nity can put them on un­equal foot­ing. Not know­ing the speci­fics of the alle­ga­tions, it’s also pos­si­ble that my be­hav­ior was in­ap­pro­pri­ate in other ways, and I’m sorry for that too.

After a third party told me last fall about the anony­mous con­cerns, I also wrote an apol­ogy that the third party could share with any anony­mous com­plainants who had con­tacted them, and I com­mit­ted to not mak­ing ad­vances on any­one em­ployed in the an­i­mal ad­vo­cacy move­ment. I wanted to err on the side of cau­tion and avoid do­ing any fur­ther harm, so I took this step to en­sure that there was no chance of caus­ing any­one fur­ther dis­com­fort. I have not heard of any alle­ga­tions that I have bro­ken this com­mit­ment at any time. I don’t want to make any­one un­com­fortable or dis­em­pow­ered, and I’m deeply sorry for not tak­ing greater care with my ac­tions.

CEA was made aware of con­cerns about my be­hav­ior, though I un­der­stand they’re not able to share de­tails with me in or­der to re­spect the con­fi­den­tial­ity of peo­ple who don’t wish to be iden­ti­fied. We no longer have any re­la­tion­ship and have agreed that I will not at­tend or speak at EA Global or other CEA events. I am also step­ping back from the EA com­mu­nity more gen­er­ally, as I have been plan­ning to since last year in or­der to fo­cus on my re­search. I already stopped mod­er­at­ing EA Face­book groups last year due to time con­straints, but I will offi­cially re­move my­self from “mod­er­a­tor” and “ad­minis­tra­tor” sta­tuses in groups where I still have that role.

In the in­ter­est of trans­parency and clear­ing the air, I want to clar­ify that sev­eral ru­mors have been shared about me that are prov­ably false, for in­stance, that I was banned from at­tend­ing an an­i­mal ad­vo­cacy con­fer­ence, which never hap­pened to my knowl­edge, or that I was warned about mis­be­hav­ior and then alleged of not chang­ing my be­hav­ior af­ter that warn­ing. I do not deny that I have made mis­takes, but I am sad­dened and hurt by the ru­mors and false­hoods I have heard, mostly vague and third-hand. Most of the peo­ple I have spo­ken with about the alle­ga­tions also did not hear about the restora­tive pro­cess, apolo­gies, or com­mit­ment to im­prove that hap­pened. I hope this pub­lic state­ment helps clar­ify the situ­a­tion for out­side ob­servers.

As I men­tioned at the be­gin­ning, I am step­ping back from pub­lic life and will re­flect on my mis­takes fur­ther. I am grate­ful to all of my friends and col­leagues who have helped me to un­der­stand my failures and be­come a bet­ter per­son. I ac­cept the cor­rec­tive ac­tions dis­cussed herein that me­di­a­tors have agreed on, and I am grate­ful to have been given the op­por­tu­nity to un­der­stand, right my wrongs, and im­prove.

In the in­ter­est of fa­cil­i­tat­ing healthy dis­cus­sion and my sep­a­ra­tion from CEA, I am not plan­ning to re­spond to any com­ments on this post. If you have had in­ter­ac­tions with me that you found prob­le­matic, please feel free to send me what in­for­ma­tion you are com­fortable shar­ing, anony­mously or oth­er­wise, via this link. You can also reach Ju­lia Wise, one of CEA’s com­mu­nity li­aisons, at ju­lia.wise@cen­tre­fore­ffec­tivealtru­ism.org.

Below is a state­ment from CEA:

We ap­proached Jacy about our con­cerns about his be­hav­ior af­ter re­ceiv­ing re­ports from sev­eral par­ties about con­cerns over sev­eral time pe­ri­ods, and we dis­cussed this pub­lic state­ment with him. We have not been able to dis­cuss de­tails of most of these con­cerns in or­der to pro­tect the con­fi­den­tial­ity of the peo­ple who raised them, but we find the re­ports cred­ible and con­cern­ing. It’s very im­por­tant to CEA that EA be a com­mu­nity where peo­ple are treated with fair­ness and re­spect. If you’ve ex­pe­rienced prob­lems in the EA com­mu­nity, we want to help. Ju­lia Wise serves as a con­tact per­son for the com­mu­nity, and you can always bring con­cerns to her con­fi­den­tially.

Note: This post has been up­dated since its origi­nal pub­li­ca­tion to in­clude up­dated in­for­ma­tion.