AESTHETICS FOR BIRDS

Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone

UPDATE: A STATEMENT REGARDING THE ASA HARASSMENT INCIDENT

79 Comments

Last November, AFB reported on an accusation of sexual harassment at the American Society for Aesthetics (ASA) Annual Meeting. Five days ago, AFB reported that the accused harasser was on the program for the upcoming ASA Annual Meeting, along with the accuser. Since then, a number of differing accounts have emerged regarding how the original accusation was lodged, largely via discussions on social media. In particular, some members of ASA leadership have stated that no official complaint was ever made by the accuser. The accuser has asked us to publish the following statement.

It was reported that an incident of sexual harassment occurred at the annual American Society for Aesthetics conference last November by a senior member. I am the accuser. This year, the issue has resurfaced because various ASA members have noticed that the accused person is on this year’s annual conference program, despite others raising red flags on my behalf. I’m currently sitting here and reading comments posted on various threads on social media about this issue – some are supportive, constructive, and some are misinformed. That is why I am coming forward and writing this now.

I feel no need to go into details about the incident itself or to call anyone out. What I am currently troubled by is the misinformed and false statements that are reported. For example, it’s said that my allegations are hearsay, that no official or direct complaint was filed, that ‘the accuser’ has not posted on various social media platforms about the issue, and that I never directly reached out to the officers. What is more, others have no memory or documentation of my complaint. I have had a recent apology from an ASA leader about some of the misunderstandings, for which I am grateful, but, I am still seeing misrepresentations and false characterizations about certain actions that took place.  I personally want to set the record straight. I did, in fact, write a timeline of events, I did confront the accused (with other members), I did make an official complaint to an ASA Trustee, a trusted and respected member of the Society, who then submitted my complaints to ASA leaders on my behalf. Appropriate actions were taken at the time of my reporting this incident and direct communication was made with me. Now, in light of the accused appearing on this year’s conference program and as more concerns are raised, it seems some are telling a different story. This is disappointing because it sends a message that the organization is more important than its members. I am no longer curious why people don’t come forward with such grievances. It’s exhausting. It’s embarrassing. It seems pointless. We must work together and change our mentality of what is acceptable and that we simply should no longer stand for behavior that has long been seen as the status quo. As such, I will work with the leadership to make sure my complaint is official and on the record.

In the midst of all of this, I’ve had countless support and so I end on a positive note to say that I am grateful. I am also hopeful that we can work towards creating a healthy environment within the ASA.

Sincerely,

Shelby Moser

79 thoughts on “UPDATE: A STATEMENT REGARDING THE ASA HARASSMENT INCIDENT

  1. I share others’ concerns expressed here. I’m deeply impressed by Shelby’s actions and attitudes in this situation not of her making. I was upset and concerned to hear about events at last year’s conference, and I hope that the ASA can decisively and visibly improve the conference environment. It’s clear that this is not consistent with the perpetrator presenting at the Toronto conference.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I wish to express my deepest respect and admiration for Shelby and the way she has handled this incredibly difficult situation. The aestheticians who have gathered here, at least, are speaking with one voice, with a message that is loud and clear. The ASA should take the appropriate measures now.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Shelby, you are being brave, and you have my full support! Participants at ASA conferences need to know that they can feel safe, and trust that if harassment does occur, it is dealt with in a manner that leaves no doubt that such behaviour is unacceptable. I join others in calling for further action from the ASA. Shelby should not have had to turn to social media.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Both the incident and the response of the ASA are awful, shocking and very worrying.. Shelby, you have my respect and admiration for challenging what happened and not letting it be brushed under the carpet. The ASA needs to act now to address what has happened.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Shelby, the determination and dignity with which you’ve handled yourself throughout this whole sorry affair is really remarkable. Change can only happen with this kind of courage. Your friends and colleagues at the University of Kent are proud of you for standing up and being counted!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Shelby, you have my heartfelt sympathy and support! Until very recently I knew almost nothing about the New Orleans incident (no doubt because I rarely—well, never—hang out on social media). But the reports I have read are very disturbing. Thanks for coming forward! My impression, during my many years with the ASA, is that it has generally thought of itself as uncommonly collegial, respectful, and inclusive. But there have been lapses. Shelby reminds us that we need to work together ever more diligently to make sure it lives up to the image.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Whilst it has been said by everyone above, it is worthwhile repeating: Shelby, you have my full support. I want to thank you for your bravery in coming forward with your story. I deeply regret this has happened and I hope the ASA will do what is necessary.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Update: the accused has written to me to say that he will not appear at the annual meeting of the ASA in Toronto. Thank you to all those who posted their support of Shelby and he wishes in this thread. We can effect change when we speak up.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I regret that this happened at an ASA meeting. Professor Moser, my belated support & good wishes.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I cannot imagine what Shelby went through. It takes a lot of courage to speak up in a system that too often seems to protect wrongdoers. I am glad to see that her sacrifice started a process of real change. I am also glad to see that many ASA senior members have reacted to their best to support that change.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: AN OVERVIEW OF THE ASA SEXUAL HARASSMENT SCANDAL | AESTHETICS FOR BIRDS

  12. Pingback: THE ASA JUST NEEDS TO APOLOGIZE — A RESPONSE TO LAST WEEK’S STATEMENT | AESTHETICS FOR BIRDS

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