A Statement from Earp Curse Con
We are a diverse group of individuals — most of us friends prior to even starting this — who came together to put on what was a tremendously successful con by all objective measures. 400+ different people from 30 different countries had the opportunity to meet our guests and participate on gaming calls. We did this out of our love for all things Earp, including the fandom. This was our first time doing this, and it was not without mistakes. But we are exceptionally proud of the work we all did.
One of the biggest complaints we heard with other virtual cons, and cons in general, was that the same people always get access to meet the guests, often by purchasing expensive VIP packages. We wanted to create a fair process that would give as many people as possible a chance to join calls with our guests, so we developed a lottery system. We even posted the code we used for that system. We also decided, as a team, that we would not enter the lottery for calls to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest and would throw the fairness of the lottery into question. And honestly, we weren’t doing this for us, we were doing it for all of you. From what we have heard, many new Earpers from around the world had their first opportunity to chat with members of the cast. We are proud of that.
Unfortunately, our work is now being questioned, so we would like to make a statement regarding the allegations against Earp Curse Con by one of our founding team members, Sakari. The actions we took were not personal and everything we did was with Earp Curse Con’s best interests in mind. As we noted previously, many of the allegations are inaccurate, at best, and some are outright false. The video does not paint an accurate or complete picture of what happened before, during, or after the con.
First, we would note that over the last week, we have made numerous attempts to address the situation that led the team to cutting ties, even including in our initial cease and desist letter. This includes two additional emails attempting to explain the serious concerns that led us to take action. And there were multiple incidents, even before the con weekend, that we attempted to address at the time they occurred. Specific examples of our concerns were often ignored or waved off.
In her video, Sakari references the non-disclosure agreement she signed. What she fails to note is that she breached this agreement on multiple occasions — not by speaking out about the con, which we never attempted to stop, but by releasing information that we were not prepared to release publicly. In one instance, she told a Twitter group chat confidential information relating to autographs. Not only did this breach the NDA, but it gave a small group of Earpers an unfair heads up to information others did not have.
Sakari also said she and some friends traveled to one of our moderator’s houses over the con weekend. On its own, this was not a problem. However, she misled the rest of the team about her whereabouts during the weekend, and she took advantage of being there to chat with one of our con guests. We had put very strict policies in place that listed the specific individuals who were authorized to join calls — the only members of our team allowed on calls were our IT support or our volunteer coordinator. No other team members were allowed on the calls. The only exceptions were for IT checks, scheduling, and wrap up calls that had been pre-approved with the guests.
To make matters worse, Sakari and the moderator chose to surprise this guest with her presence, without seeking the guest’s prior consent, as the guest returned from a break, and then proceeded to chat with the guest for a few minutes, delaying the next block of purchased 1-on-1 calls. We also have reason to believe she was present during some of the gaming calls, without prior consent or a legitimate business reason.
At the conclusion of the guest’s day, Sakari joined the call to thank the guest, which she was not scheduled to do, and admitted that the rest of the team did not know she was there. This delayed the pre-scheduled wrap-up call with the team and may have caused confusion because Sakari was not prepared to answer the guest’s business-related questions.
When Sakari eventually joined the team wrap-up call, it was clear that other people were present in the room with her as she kept turning to address them. She did not appear to be wearing headphones/earbuds nor taking any steps to prevent these unauthorized individuals from hearing what should have been treated as a confidential business conversation. This was another breach of her NDA and we felt it showed a tremendous lack of business judgment.
When we learned of these policy and NDA violations, we immediately took steps to block Sakari’s access to our electronic systems while we investigated. This included blocking her and the others we learned were present from our social media channels. All of these individuals were subsequently unblocked. This may seem like an extreme step, and perhaps it was, but we felt it was necessary in that moment.
The breaches of confidentiality were, frankly, the final straw after repeated incidents. As previously noted, we feel this is primarily an internal issue and we will not go into the details of every incident that occurred. However, we do want to address a few additional points she made in her video.
With regard to Twitch, we had asked her to help moderate the chats. However, when she joined one of the Twitch chats she changed a setting and one of our other team members had to fix it. She was asked to not make any further changes. This may have been an honest mistake but she denied doing it, even after having been shown proof.
With regard to our request to change the social media account email addresses, this was just good business practices. These accounts were connected to her personal email account and should have been switched to an official Earp Curse Con email address as soon as they were assigned. Additionally, particularly as the con drew closer, other members of the team needed unfiltered access to questions and other information coming in through social media that impacted their work. We also wanted to ensure questions and comments were being addressed in a timely manner, a common complaint with other virtual cons.
Sakari also claimed she was not given access to the lottery system. She was given access in July. It was not hidden or blocked from her. For security reasons, it was only accessible from accounts on the earpcursecon.com domain.
In her emails to us, as she did in her video (and, to our understanding, in the Zoom meeting she held with a group of mutual friends), Sakari brought up race, including a warning about how it would look if the information went public. Half of our team are people of color and this statement outright erased them.
We do acknowledge that we made a mistake in taking steps that appeared to erase Sakari from the con and for not doing a better job of acknowledging the contributions she did make. We are not some large corporation - we are a group of friends who did this as a labor of love. And, as individuals, we were extremely hurt by Sakari’s actions both toward some of us as individuals and in breaching the trust we placed in her as a member of our team. So some of our initial response was from a place of emotion just as her response to our actions was. Had she taken the time to speak with us, rather than airing her grievances in a Zoom call and publicly on social media, we believe this could have been resolved among us once the initial emotions settled. With the exception of the initial cease and desist email, every email we sent her expressed our appreciation for her work.
When we released our initial statement regarding parting ways and acknowledging Sakari’s contributions, we left her name off, not with the intent of erasing her but as a way to protect her privacy because our internal dispute was not yet public. Had she asked us, we were prepared to immediately release another statement referencing her by name.
While we believe our actions in parting ways with Sakari were warranted under the circumstances, we want to apologize to her for not acknowledging at the end of the con, the work that she did in helping to develop Earp Curse Con, even though she was no longer a part of the team.
We thank you and all of our guests for participating in what was otherwise a fun and successful convention. And thank you to everyone behind the scenes, including Sakari, for all their hard work.
- Earp Curse Con