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Dear Swingergal - It´s useless to attempt to reason with this sort of jackass. The depth of his chauvinism is pathetic. He can´t, in his wildest imagination, begin to conceive of a woman capable of making choices for herself - particularly choices involving her sexuality. Those are the sorts of things only men can control. Best to leave him to his sad (and probably closeted) existence.
Yes...as a matter of fact, that blog was the inspiration for this one. It started a conversation that the community needed to have. You wouldn´t be reading about it in a Philadelphia Magazine feature if it hadn´t been an effective device. Besides, a blog is only as effective as the readership it is able to attract. Still, as per the comment we posted about 45 minutes before yours, we realized that this was not the most effective tactic at the moment and have taken it down.
p.s.FYI - After receiving thoughtful advice from people we trust and respect, we have decided to take the blog down for the time being. We appreciate the honesty and directness with which people have counseled us. We all need a little perspective sometimes...
Thanks to those who are offering thoughtful and constructive comments, particularly "ThisTotallySucksForSpokane." One correction to your timeline: On the 15th, the Civic received an email which consisted of short, cut & pasted excerpts from our private email exchanges (with some bizarre changes made that did not alter the content substantially, but which speak to the weirdness of this whole situation), a handful of personal photos that we had privately exchanged (including one that was not ours), and the brief message from "Megan Wilson," as quoted in the Inlander piece. The Civic never saw the actual Craigslist ad. They never asked to see the actual Craigslist ad - which would have confirmed that it maintained our anonymity completely. The only reason they know about it at all is that we stupidly chose to be completely honest and forthcoming from the very start. The Civic based this decision entirely on an email from an anonymous source. It was the same email address used to converse with us under false pretenses, but signed with a different name. They have seen nothing else related to the matter. They never asked.A few more thoughts and responses:Backing up to Johnson´s original "business decision." Even if the anonymous blackmailer had somehow been able to achieve the sort of widespread dissemination of this information to the Spokane community - a wildly unlikely scenario until Johnson/Muzatko slanderously portrayed us as pedophiles - did anyone really think that there were patrons who would stop attending productions because they disapproved of the sexual proclivities of someone involved? Regarding the blog: It is simply a tactic designed to communicate with someone who has shut off all lines of communication. We´d rather be at the table, sorting this out, looking for a resolution. Johnson, however, continues to tarnish our names with continued assertions that "there´s more you don´t know." She continues to tell people that she fears for her safety - a nonsensical, but harmful claim, given that the only "threat" she has ever described me making was the statement "You´re ruining our lives." She is actively hurting us by refusing to clear the air of the repellent insinuations she has made. We have been left with no choice but to respond in kind.So...what do we want? Truth be told, as absurd as it sounds, all we really want is my job back. We came here with every intention of settling in and making a life here. We have no desire to pack up and drag our lives back across the country so soon - with or without a handful of cash. We´d rather stay. True, Johnson has taken such an intractable position as to make that nearly impossible, barring her departure, but we are more open-minded than anyone would probably guess. If that, in reality, is not a possibility, then yes...we intend to seek redress for the nightmare we´ve been subjected to. That would be unfortunate for everyone. We would rather hear from the board-of-directors (they´re listed here: http://www.spokanecivictheatre.com/backstage/). As much as we appreciate the symbolic actions taken by members of the community, we would rather see them take proactive action with the leverage they have as cast, crew, and staff. At the moment, it does not appear that Johnson is willing to seek a constructive solution on her own. If the Civic community wishes to stop this before it goes any further, they will have to force her hand.Finally, I´d like to address the "move on" comments from various people. I´m just not sure that you fully understand our situation. First of all, we are simply unwilling to roll over and be treated this way. Call us stubborn, but this has been handled in an unacceptable manner. Allowing people to treat us this horrendously will only ensure that it will happen again to other good people. Secondly, we are now stranded, with few job prospects, in a small town, thousands of miles from our friends and families. Moving on will require much more time than the one month that has passed. As much as we like Spokane, staying here without this job is not an option. So...we have to decide where to go. We have to sell our house. We have to pack a 24-foot truck. We have to drive across the country with our dog and our four-year old. We have to find a new house in whatever city we go to. We have to unpack that 24-foot truck and start our lives over again. We will move on, one way or another...and we will come out of this okay, but it won´t be tomorrow and it probably won´t be next month.
Allow me to offer just a little further background in an attempt to provide some perspective...We signed a three-year contract with the Civic, quit a better paying job, and moved our family thousands of miles away from our families and friends. At Johnson´s urging, we bought a house near her - largely to signal the depth of our commitment to being here for the long-term. When the infamous email first arrived at the Civic, I was given a heads-up and the opportunity to alert Johnson myself. We sat down and talked for about half an hour. I told her everything that was in the email. Her reaction was much as I expected: She said things to the effect of "Your personal life is none of my business;" "This has nothing to do with the Civic or your job;" "Let´s not fuel the fire by acknowledging this jerk in any way." We parted company laughing and talking about other matters. Two days later, we were fired without an opportunity to discuss the matter further. She immediately shut down all lines of communication. The gates slammed shut. Johnson and Michael Muzatko, the board president, then proceeded to spread defamatory insinuations - calling people, cornering individuals, speaking to the entire cast of Buddy - saying that they needed to "protect the children," leaving many people with the distinct impression that there had been children involved in whatever incident precipitated my hasty removal. At that moment, we had two options: Walk away quietly, leaving people to believe that we were dangerous pedophiles OR come out immediately with the entire truth. We chose the latter. Since that day, Johnson has continued to spread variations on the theme of "There´s more you don´t know, but I can´t say more on the advice of our attorneys," piggybacking off of her original insinuations, leaving dangerous questions and suspicions about us in the air.There was a way to handle this - a way that could very well have led to the same result without arriving at the current ugly state of affairs. Johnson´s behavior has forced us to fight tooth and nail to defend our lives, our reputations, our careers. We will move on someday soon - probably in the spring, if we can sell our house. We will pack up our lives, taking a financial loss that we can only conservatively estimate to be in the $50,000 range (lost wages, moving expenses, real-estate losses, etc.). In the meantime, we have a lot of time on our hands and unemployment isn´t paying me a whole heck of a lot less than I was earning at the Civic. We haven´t the slightest qualm about making Johnson´s life as difficult as she has made ours. We have no choice. She has only to pick up the phone or write an email seeking to remedy this situation.____________________Here, by the way, is what happens when millionaires get caught in scandals that far exceed our silly little secret (affairs, embezzling, tax fraud, etc.): http://www.prosperityagenda.us/node/4499
Much as I hate to jump into this fray, I feel compelled to clarify a few of the more important details that are being distorted or just plain false.Let´s get this out of the way first: I think it goes without saying that we most certainly did not use our employer´s email domain. Despite his/her professed ignorance on this matter, "RealWorld" goes on to talk about what a gross offense that would be. Not applicable here. With regards to the phrases "solicit sex" and "public domain," both of which were used pervasively in my termination letter and have popped up in several of the comments here: The Civic never saw our original Craigslist ad. We would have been happy to show it to them, had they asked. If they had, they would have learned two things - First, that it was completely anonymous. No identifying information was included in that ad. Secondly, nowhere did it explicitly "solicit sex." It solicited the friendship of like-minded, committed couples. "RealWorld" says "Mr. Ryan solicited sex from an anonymous person after associating himself with the Civic Theatre." This is patently false. We identified ourselves in the course of a private conversation that turned out to be based on false pretenses. I would like "RealWorld" to tell me at exactly what point it is acceptable to reveal one´s place of employment when engaging in a legal, consensual relationship that may become sexual. You´ll need to draw a big, red line in the sand for us all so that we understand how your rules govern our private lives.Also - I´m having a hard time seeing any connection between this incident and the public disclaimer issue you raise. Are you suggesting that an individual is forever acting as "an agent of their employer," once they´ve identified themselves as an employee of that employer? What if the third party finds out independently - with malicious intent perhaps - where an individual works? You´ve left precious little room for anyone to have anything resembling a private life that doesn´t somehow reflect upon their employer. If I had not explicitly identified myself as a Civic employees - If, perhaps, I´d said "I´m a musician and I work at a performance venue," - would I still be opening my employer up to liability in the event that the third party connected the dots?The continued use of "public domain" to describe the contents of these private email exchanges between private parties is fallacious...unless you consider every email, text, phone message, letter, photo, or item exchanged between two private parties an act of entering those things into the public domain. The anonymous blackmailer was not, at the time, "a nameless, faceless being in cyberspace." We thought we knew their names. We thought we had seen their faces. We thought they were a like-minded, committed couple. We were duped. And then we were attacked. Just as you could be attacked by a scorned lover or a computer hacker. When there´s money involved, or the exchange of identity data, we all know to be careful because the motives are clear. The motive here remains a complete mystery and we cannot, as hard as we´ve tried, look back and find a moment at which we should have said to ourselves "But wait...what if this is just someone looking to wage a motiveless attack on our lives?" Sorry.If anyone would like more information, please check out this site: http://thetyrannyofyvonne.blogspot.com/
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