This is my independent personal archive of the American Council of Witches 2015 internet scandal. It has gotten rather long, and therefore I have placed it behind a read-more cut.
As of March 8th, 2015 – 1:30PM, this post WILL NO LONGER BE UPDATED. It will also be un-stickied from the blog.
If you don’t wish to view the entire post, here’s a brief breakdown:
Some shady stuff went down. Name calling ensued from both the council and non-council. Some good natured people were taken advantage of. Even people who got on the council were taken advantage of. The majority of them, I honestly feel were doing what they felt was a right, and in theory the whole idea of a council is a good one. Unfortunately, Wicca alone is a nice broad spectrum. And that’s just one type of Paganism, which is even more diverse. It is my sincerest hope that the people involved learn from this situation the things NOT to do, and how not to handle the public. I honestly believe the entire thing can be salvaged, and a good start is deadheading the garden. Be honest and up front with their intentions, even if the simple answer is “We don’t know.” It’s a lot better than how the entire ACoW situation was handled.
I will be very honest here and say that when I first heard about ACoW 2015, I was legitimately interested in what was going on. How it would affect the pagan community in America, how we would be viewed, and yes my interest had been piqued in how to get involved. However, when I first saw their Facebook page (which at the time was the ONLY avenue of information on them I could find) already there were problems. Already shenanigans had been going on. So I watched. When I heard about a Facebook group being started, I was interested. Until I got a good look at what little I could see. I understand that many people prefer to stay in the broom closet, and that’s their prerogative. HOWEVER – I legitimately feel that if you are going to start a public group, then it needs to be public. People need to be allowed to express their differing opinions without fear of getting banned for doing so. THIS is the environment I found when I came across ACoW 2015. THAT is what turned me off of the entire situation.
In the end, the website was taken down. The man behind the scenes resigned. The Facebook page is going to come down. And the Facebook group changed it’s name. And has gone underground for now.
EVERYTHING FROM HEREON IS ARCHIVED FOR INFORMATION ONLY. THE AMERICAN COUNCIL OF WITCHES 2015 HAS CLOSED IT’S DOORS. AS SUCH, THIS ARCHIVE WILL NO LONGER BE UPDATED. THANK YOU.
Okay, so it’s likely that I’m going to get banned from their Facebook page for helping raise awareness of wrongful comment deletion and such.
As of 9:53AM EST I am officially banned from posting and commenting on the ACoW2015 Facebook page.
So, this is my masterpost where I will compile my full archives of the debacle.
I am using a combination of screenshots and the website Archive Today.
You can link back to this post using this tiny url I created for it: http://tinyurl.com/mxybbds
Official American Council of Witches Facebook group. (I have no information from that source of my own, as my attempt to join was swiftly denied. If anyone has any sources to add, please let me know down in the comments, or e-mail me at email@example.com)
Let me give you a little background on WHY I’m doing this….
I was alerted to them deleting comments when a member of a Facebook group I am in asked a rather good question, then was banned. Her comments deleted, lost to cyberspace. So, I started taking a closer look at the ACoW page. I found a post with 49 comments, approximately 80% of which were asking questions and wanting answers. The questions were all respectful and straightforward. And to answer them would have been good PR, would have helped ease the minds of naysayers, and given them more credibility. Instead? It was straight up DELETED.
Here is the first page I archived, showing the post: https://archive.today/HN5A1
Here is the same facebook page, archived again the following day, with the post in question REMOVED with no explanation as to why: https://archive.today/pPgjp
Here is the page as it is today, March 3rd, 2015: https://archive.today/lIyCb
MARCH 4th 2015 – 1:05PM EST – Main facebook page archive: https://archive.today/ZUUw1
MARCH 6th, 2015 – 9:53AM EST – Main Facebook page archive – https://archive.today/kxEMh
MARCH 6th, 2015 – 8:26PM EST – Main Facebook page archive – https://archive.today/yrgrx
As you can see in the 3/6/15 8:26PM update I’ve posted, there’s a new post on the page. Here is the direct link to the post on United Pagan Radio. If the link goes down, here is the archived copy. It is Robert’s (RA) resignation letter.
March 7th – 3:54PM – New Post on the Main Page from Elwin Herman, Chairwoman of ACoW, in the wake of RA’s resignation : main page archive – https://archive.today/iMetW /// Elwin’s Post – https://archive.today/OPMeb
According to Elwin Herman’s post, Robert Aaron is to blame for about 99% if not the full 100% of the entire situation. This smells to me, personally, like a bad jug of milk. I don’t doubt many council member’s sincerity. I really don’t. Very few of them had control over the main page. HOWEVER – By accepting the position of chairperson, she set herself up to take the fall should anything happen. Just from what I have read of Mr. Aaron’s posts, as well as that rather snippy and quite frankly very teenage-girl-like resignation blog post, he is a persuasive writer. He knows where to land the punches for the most dramatic emotional response. He knows his Fluffy Bunny demographic VERY well… And that is part of the problem. Fluffy Bunny pagans want to see the absolute best in everyone. Everything is all “Love and light and peace and happiness and rainbows and unicorns!” – But the world doesn’t work that way, no matter how hard we want it to. No matter how hard we wish it to be. Unfortunately, that’s Mr. Aaron’s demographic, and they’ll believe anyone who comes out and says they want to make things better for the world, and bring everyone together in peace and harmony and rainbows. Just from Ms. Herman’s final post to the Facebook page alone, there were sooooooo many red flags already in place BEFORE they ever started. And whether I believe she was duped, or went with it knowingly doesn’t really matter. The fact is that people WERE duped. Their optimism was weaponized, all for the sake of stealing the words of others, slapping a name on it, and trying to get rich quick and famous fast. Robert Aaron has lofty ambitions, is not afraid to slander people, and will use his poor health to brownie points. He plays the “pity me, for my health is poor and I must go to the hospital once more” card with such ease that it’s actually frightening.
Will I remove this post when all is said and done? – NO. It is going to remain, as a stark reminder buried in some obscure corner of the internet that this was a good idea, in all honesty. In theory, it could actually work… when you get the right people together, with the right intentions. Not just good ones, but the RIGHT ones. What those intentions are? Only time will tell us. Will we see a united pagan council in my lifetime? Most likely not. We are a diverse people, becoming even more diverse with every breath we take and every day that we live. No, this post will remain. It will be unstickied, but remain. A digital footprint of what NOT to do should such an endeavor ever be attempted again.
*Please note about screencaps: I removed names and profile pictures on anyone Non-council associated unless they are considered a Public Figure (such as radio hosts, magazine writers, etc.). Known council members remain because it is my personal belief that if one wishes to be on a council/committee/group that wishes to be a public face for a cause, then those who sit on the council/committee/group then become a public figure for that group. Unfortunately, pic/name blotting is impossible to do on Archive Today pages.
After Lady Destiny’s Ban was lifted – (1) Deirdre Hebert – All will be revealed on March 1 … You are…
One of my own posts, posted last night on March 5th – https://archive.today/4HgmU
MARCH 6 – POSTS WE NO LONGER CAN SEE
This is not a complete listing, but is all that I have.
The ever changing “For anyone who might not have noticed yet…” post
Morning of March 3rd – (1) For anyone who might not have noticed yet,… – American Council of Witches 2015
Evening of March 3rd – (1) For anyone who might not have noticed yet,… – American Council of Witches 2015
March 3rd – 5:07PM EST – https://archive.today/EotjF
March 4th – 5:02PM EST – https://archive.today/cM99x
MASSIVE COMMENT DELETION – March 6th – 9:54AM EST – https://archive.today/YUI8Y
March 7th – 10:25AM – Two new comments, one of which does raise a rather good question from RA’s resignation letter – https://archive.today/SPKeU
ADDITONAL SCREENCAPS FROM THE “For anyone who might notice…” POST – MOSTLY REPLY THREADS.
Reply thread 1
Reply Thread 2
Reply Thread 3
Reply Threads 4 & 5
MORE Missing Replies?!
Where is reply number 6?
10 Replies? More like 8!
MARCH 6, 2015 SCREENCAPS “For anyone who might notice…” POST – REPLY THREADS
Commentary by screencapper and myself added to a few.
ATTEMPTS AT DAMAGE CONTROL
Archived link for Dale Lewis’s post to page – https://archive.today/Cscyl
Screencaps of FULL replies.
THE MISSING PODCAST INVITATION POST SCANDAL:
Before deletion: (1) American Council of Witches 2015
After deletion: (1) American Council of Witches 2015
Post Restored: American Council of Witches 2015
Screenshots: (these were done as replies and don’t archive via archive today, and i thought these were especially important, as they do point out important info that may be removed later down the line)
OUTSIDE MY OWN SOURCES
March 3rd – Council Member Robert Lowe/Stone listed among the bios – https://archive.today/8Qfv1
March 4th – Council Member Robert Lowe/Stone NO LONGER listed among the bios – https://archive.today/VPw9I
March 4th – Council Member S. J. Tucker added to the first page, first listing – https://archive.today/oj1G0
More links and pics to come as I archive more info. This post is gonna be a sticky, so I can easily find it again for updates.
DONE POSTING AND EDITING THIS POST. THIS POST IS NO LONGER GOING TO BE UPDATED.
ALL SOURCES CONFIDENTIAL UNLESS OTHERWISE REQUESTED.
THIS FINAL UPDATED OF THIS POST WAS ON: MARCH 8, 2015 @ 1:30PM – EST.