SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (News4Utah) – The co-founder of FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention announced Thursday he is stepping down in the wake of how he handled a sexual harassment complaint.
Bryan Brandenburg said he wanted those who were offended by his response to feel heard, so he’s taking “an extended leave of absence” from FanX which he helped start five years ago.
It was September of last year that a male author allegedly made unwanted advances toward a female author during the convention.
And then another writer who wasn’t involved, Shannon Hale, emailed Brandenburg about the convention’s harassment policy.
She says his response seemed dismissive of her concerns, as he referred to the #metoo movement as “trendy” and he even suggested that she sit this year’s event out.
In his response Brandenburg inadvertently posted Hale’s personal e-mail address on Twitter.
“It was a bad thing that I did — and I want to make it right,” said Brandenburg.
“My actions offended people, deeply,” he added.
Brandenburg said he was saddened by all of the divisiveness this caused within his organization.
“If it takes me walking away, to see something survive, it’s my baby. And I would rather see it thrive than to have it go through the trauma that it’s going through now,” said Brandenburg.
He said he didn’t want to distract from FanX which is why he’s taking that extended leave of absence.
“Maybe we can be on track and be a family again,” said Brandenburg.
He says his goal now is to make sure those he offended know that they have been heard.
Though author Shannon Hale posted about her exchanges with FanX, she did not respond to News4Utah on Thursday for comment.