This past weekend saw the beginning of a movement to uncover “missing stairs” in the wider speculative fiction community. People were encouraged to come forward with stories about their experiences with such individuals, so that survivors of such unfortunate incidents could be lent the group support they deserve.
Unfortunately, the good intentions behind this movement were abused.
The Fantasy Inn has been made aware of irrefutable evidence that the allegations against Ed McDonald have been falsified.
We are now aware that Ed McDonald has been targeted for online harassment and abuse, and there is also irrefutable evidence of this. The evidence proves beyond all doubt that one or two individuals have utilised multiple social accounts with the express purpose of spreading malicious rhetoric against Ed McDonald, and making it appear that ‘reports’ are coming from numerous sources, where in fact they all come from a single source. This source has never met Ed McDonald.
It is now very clear that Ed McDonald has been exposed to a long and malicious campaign by someone who has abused the trust and confidence of people, over and over.
We at the Fantasy Inn believe it is important to recognise that the individuals responsible for the creation of the “missing stairs” movement were manipulated, and their good intentions used against them.
False allegations of sexual harassment and abuse, though thankfully uncommon, do serious damage to legitimate survivors who need the strength and support of their communities. We’d like to ask that these unfortunate events don’t discourage you from believing survivors in the future, though understand that this is a serious and significant betrayal of the trust of many in our community.
We would like to express sympathy for Ed McDonald in the wake of recent events.
In light of the above, it is asked that members of the Fantasy community:
- Do not name the individuals behind the allegations – even if you suspect who they are. The individuals do not deserve any further attention. Their names have not been mentioned here on purpose.
- Do not pursue the individual(s) behind the allegations. Do not cause them any distress. Doing so may impact pending legal action.
- Welcome Ed McDonald as a member of the community. Any further harassment will not be tolerated.
To prevent gossip, the following overview has been provided to summarise these events:
- A number of social media accounts across multiple platforms have been linked to either one, or at most two, individuals behind the allegations.
- These accounts use different personas (including names, real world locations and background information).
- These accounts have pretended to be different individuals to spread falsified allegations in open and closed groups, and in private chats.
- These accounts have made comments in support of posts made by each other, as well as shares and likes.
- At least one account is in a position of authority in a public internet forum. This authority was abused throughout this case, and ultimately Ed McDonald was banned from the forum after he tried to defend himself against the allegations.