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. UPDATE: See a fact-checked summary of the full incident.
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.