I messed up and I’m truly sorry

As many of you in the search community will already be aware, one of the sessions at SMX Munich yesterday included images depicting domestic violence. This is inappropriate and was rightly condemned by SMX and the community. While this situation was unfolding, I wrongly exacerbated the situation with a misjudged and cheap joke on Twitter.

I would like to sincerely apologise to the community, to SMX, my team at DeepCrawl and most importantly to the people who were hurt by my unhelpful involvement in this situation. I didn’t intend to cheapen the very serious issue of domestic violence. I am deeply sorry for this tweet and for my comment after this.

To be clear, this imagery has no place being used to make a point in a professional environment or any other for that matter. Yesterday I wrongly overlooked that in favour of focusing on the context that is lost between those in attendance at an event and the subsequent reaction on social media. I understand that this is irrelevant given the severity of the issue at hand and JP Sherman’s tweet highlighted what should have been my main focus — “Context is less important than empathy or respect.”

I have deleted my poorly judged tweet and apologised on Twitter to try and stop any further hurt and offense from being caused. I have been exposed to the issue of domestic violence in a personal capacity and I am especially disappointed in myself for overlooking this by making a joke in poor taste.

The damage has already been done, but I want to take this opportunity to bring attention to the issue of domestic abuse and raise awareness for causes that exist to stop this and other types of violence.

The prevalence of domestic violence across the world is truly staggering:

  • 35% of women worldwide are estimated to have experienced physical or sexual violence at some point in their lives. Source: UN Women.
  • In Germany, domestic violence cases have risen by 10% in the past three years, with women being the victims in 82% of these cases. Source: Deutsche Welle.
  • In the US, more than 10 million people are physically abused by an intimate partner each year — almost 20 people per minute. Source: Social Solutions.

After reflecting on what transpired yesterday, I am making the resolution to do better and have made the decision to donate to and volunteer for causes that work to prevent violence and help those who have been victims of it.

Futures Without Violence is a global charity that strives to help the victims of violence and prevent it from happening whether it be domestic violence, child abuse, sexual assault or bullying. I strongly urge you to look into this charity (and other charities who are doing great work in this area) and consider how you can help to reduce this as a problem in whatever capacity you are able to.

I understand that this apology doesn’t absolve me of responsibility or redeem me in any way. However, I felt it important to reflect on my actions, own up to my mistakes and state how I plan to be better. Speaking more generally, I hope others are able to take this approach going forward and are able to admit when they are wrong. It is easy to continue to react on social media and mistakenly double down on a stance which is clearly wrong. I know I, and others, can do better than this.