We screwed up.
In several ways.
We screwed up in allowing the interview with Hugo Schwyzer to be published. This was a mistake not because guest bloggers on Feministe aren’t allowed to have differing opinions or even differing values than the rest of the crowd–hell, that’s part of the value of bringing in new voices. But we don’t see Feministe as an appropriate venue for the rehabilitation of a figure with Schwyzer’s history (and, for that matter, present). His professed reformation notwithstanding, his history of abuses, his treatment of women in general, his treatment of women of color in particular, and numerous other deeply serious offenses that he himself attests to have created an environment around him that many women–Feministe bloggers included–find threatening, triggering, and/or flat-out despicable. Of course readers are free to go to Schwyzer and form their own opinions; allowing that environment to be brought to Feministe was a mistake. While we wish Schwyzer all the best in his recovery (which we appreciate as a lifelong process), it’s not our job to affirm it–we don’t endorse him or invite him to find his redemption at our house and at the expense of our readers’ well being, and we apologize that we implied otherwise.
Our other–arguably bigger–mistake was in allowing discussion on the subject to be shut down. Discussion, debate, and criticism aren’t just welcome but encouraged. We have a few basic guidelines we try to stick to, and we vary in our personal moderating preferences, but the idea is to encourage discussion while trying to keep it clean and open, not to stifle it–certainly not to shut it down entirely. We want to sustain a community here, not a soapbox, and that means welcoming thoughts and opinions and arguments–within reason–regardless of our own feelings on any particular matter. We’ve had fails in the recent and not-so-recent past, and we’ve done things right. Please continue to keep us honest, and please take this opportunity to continue discussions that needs to be discussed.