From Facebook, posted 30 May 2022 12:20 PM
I received an apology from the Yakira Heistand, the Balticon Chair and all I could do was reply thank you. How do I feel about this? Complicated and I am still trying to put words together. But this is what I have so far.
I am utterly heartbroken at how events have played out at Balticon this year with our panelist, Stephanie Burke. Ms. Burke has been a long-time panelist and we have invited her back year after year because of her engaging commentary and insightful additions to our programming.
An incident was reported to us regarding Ms. Burke. The plan was to quietly ask her to step down from her panels for the weekend while we had a chance to investigate. However, an overzealous volunteer decided to remove her from an ongoing panel in a way that caused her embarrassment. This is inexcusable and we deeply apologize.
Multiple investigations are ongoing, and, per our bylaws, BSFS cannot comment on an active investigation. If, after investigation, we find any of the complaints were valid, we will take appropriate action per our Code of Conduct. However, please be assured that, in addition to interviewing independent panelists and audience members and trying to build a more complete picture of the inciting incident, we are also putting together better methods on how to handle complaints during a convention.
I offer Ms. Burke my deepest apologies for her embarrassment and the way the complaint was handled.
Yakira Heistand (she/her)
Balticon 56 Chair