Did Anna do her research? (Podcast Movement)

TYT, particularly Anna, has had harsh words for the Podcast Movement for kicking Ben Shapiro out of their conference and then apologizing. I believe that Anna (and TYT) made a good faith argument to defend their position, but I also feel that some material facts have been left out of their assessment.

The Podcast Movement conference wasn’t just an event for podcasters. It was specifically targeted to create a safe, inclusive environment to elevate and promote underrepresented groups. This is how it was marketed to attendees.

If you look at their website, it includes an entire section on their “Statement of Intent to Create Meaningfully Inclusive Events.”

This was an event that was marketed and intended to be a safe space for underrepresented communities to network and develop their skills. People bought tickets and attended under the assumption that the Podcast Movement would live up to that standard. People did not attend so that they would have to debate their existence. People did not attend so that bigots would be given a platform to market themselves. That’s not the kind of conference they were told this was. They were told that this is a conference for promoting underrepresented voices in the podcast industry.

And so they had every right to point out that Ben Shapiro does not live up to what the conference had communicated was its goal, and, in fact, ran counter to the goals and commitments they made. Ben Shapiro has a chilling effect on people’s ability to speak about their experiences freely, because they have no assurances that Shapiro will not out them to his audience and put their safety in jeopardy. No one came to the conference to risk being outed, or to open themselves to harassment. They have no idea if they’ll be seen by Shapiro’s bigoted audience and have their physical location outed. They lose all faith in the conference to be able to maintain their physical safety. Shapiro has a documented history of filing police reports against trans people. And, in Texas, where this conference took place, the law isn’t favorable towards trans people. This is a real, present danger to attendees physical safety.

The Podcast Movement has made numerous mistakes and delivered mixed messages to their attendees and to the public. And TYT is right to criticize that. But I also think that there should be industry conferences designed to elevate the underrepresented, and that those conferences should be free from bigots, especially powerful ones who specifically target members of their groups for harassment. I don’t think it’s reasonable to demand that the underrepresented be willing to debate their existence, or put their physical safety on the line, as part of their entry cost to every industry event.

Thanks for hearing me out and for all your great work. I hope this gave you another perspective to consider. I also hope that you’ll reach out to the Podcast Movement and give them an opportunity to share their side of the story. I’m not affiliated with them in any way, so I cannot speak beyond what they’ve publicized.

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