147. Sometimes you fuck up big time. I just did.

Part of my job is making decisions.

I make a lot of them. It’s something I get a lot of credit for, and it’s something that I count as a strength of mine — the willingness to make decisions instead of standing back and letting others do it.

I do it as a CEO of a company. I do it as an organiser of larps. I do it as a chairman of an NGO. I do it as a husband and I do it as a friend.

I make decisions, and I’m quite good at it.

But sometimes I’m wrong.

Most often, I misjudge something relatively small. Thinking “Hey, this person will like this”, when it turns out they won’t. Saying “We can get this done”, and it turns out we can’t.

Sometimes I misjudge bigger things. And sometimes I fuck up things big time and only learn the magnitude of it afterwards.

But it can also be a crazy big fuckup that turns out to be an even bigger fuckup when looked at with 20/20 hindsight.

This is one of those times.

I’ve just been handling a situation involving accusations of sexual abuse against a member of our company. Trying to skirt the thin line between believing the victim (which we do at our events) and looking at available “evidence” (which we also do, in the cases where there is any available).

For a variety of reasons that aren’t really relevant for this post, the whole thing ended up with the accused resigning. He made a public statement (on facebook) about it, and I shared that statement along with a note about him having resigned.

And that was wrong of me on several levels.

The statement contained a link to a timeline detailing private conversations between accuser and accused. And by sharing that statement, I indirectly shared that timeline, which was a major mistake.

Some fast readers commented on my post, saying “You can’t share that link!”. After four posts within the space of a few minutes, I realised that they had a point. I then removed the post and made a fresh one, that had a bit more info and also curiosity as to how to be public about a case while still preserving privacy.

I had managed to indirectly share the identity of not only the abuser (who was quite open about being accused in his own post), but also of the victim.

And that was — to put it mildly — a big fucking mistake.

There are several reasons why I didn’t spot that before doing it, but they are neither here, nor there, and none of them were anywhere near good enough reasons anyway. The important part is that I messed up big time, and have since then ended up in facebook discussions and messenger threads that are moving with all the speed of social media at its fastest.

I thought I was doing a balancing act that made sense and was fair.

It turned out that I wasn’t. Instead, I was putting a big stick of dynamite in my pocket and lighting it on fire while saying “Don’t worry. I’ve got it under control.”

To those, who have been affected by this, you have my deep and enduring apologies. To those, who have have lost their trust in me because of this, I can only say that I am sorry.

I made a decision. It was wrong. VERY wrong.

Under no circumstances whatsoever is it in any way ok to — directly or indirectly — let the names of victims in sexual assault accusation cases be known.

I will keep working trying to make the communities I am part of into safer spaces, even while acknowledging that right now, I was someone who moved the needle in the wrong direction.

I can not take it back. I can only try to learn from it and hope that others can learn from it as well.

And the only thing I can say right now is that I am dreadfully and terribly sorry.

Written by

Director, The College of Extraordinary Experiences & Coach at McKinsey

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