About Alexis Kennedy

Adam Myers
Sep 23 · 13 min read

Why talk about this?

I’ve seen various suggestions that these matters should not have been raised publicly; that they should have been taken up with the individual, with a HR department, with the police, with the courts.

  • People who’ve been harmed feel safe and welcome at our events;
  • The standards of acceptable behaviour are higher than ‘has not committed a criminal offence’.

Covert workplace relationships

Alexis acknowledges that he had relationships with two employees while he was at Failbetter. However, his version of the story is inaccurate and omits important details.

  • Two and a half months after the party, on 15th January, Alexis and Lottie had a one-to-one. That’s the standard term at Failbetter for a line management meeting. They also had one-to-ones on 29th January (three months after the party) and 29th April (six months after the party).
  • Three months after the party, Lottie was listed as one of Alexis’s direct reports in the minutes of the monthly board meeting.
  • Our HR software shows Alexis signed off all of Lottie’s leave requests until May 2016, when arrangements began to be made for his departure. At Failbetter, leave requests are standardly approved by people’s managers.
  • In the minutes of the May 2016 board meeting, Lottie’s name appeared in a list of people who needed to be assigned new line managers. Everyone else on this list reported to Alexis.
A quote from Alexis on our company Slack, including the line, “as her manager, I’m pro”
A quote from Alexis on our company Slack, including the line, “as her manager, I’m pro”

Treatment of Olivia

I didn’t know about Alexis’s relationship with Olivia until after he left Failbetter, but I noticed the change in how he treated her, as well as her mounting sadness and distress. A few things I remember: raising his voice when speaking to her, swearing at her in anger (including one case where he said ‘fuck you, Olivia’ in a company Slack channel), and demanding a style of communication from her that was supposedly more appropriate for senior staff but which other (more senior) employees were not required to adhere to.

  • ‘let me be really frank about this. A salary increase that big for a minor role change will look like a negotiating position. It looks like a negotiating position to me.’
  • ‘I have a better idea of the value you add than anyone’.

On why people believe

Alexis has an explanation for why so many people in the industry have believed the allegations. He says they were primed by a bunch of unfounded rumours in an echo chamber, perhaps spread by a single person. That isn’t true.

Response to concerns

I found out about Alexis’s relationship with Lottie at the company’s Christmas party, where they flirted very heavily. That was on 2nd December 2015.

A quote from Alexis in the company Slack, including: “That may sound menacing”
A quote from Alexis in the company Slack, including: “That may sound menacing”

Abuse

Alexis says he never abused anyone. I do not believe that to be true.

  • After AdventureX announced that Alexis would not be welcome at their events, someone contacted me saying that they finally felt that someday maybe they could go.
  • I know several people who experience fear and anxiety when they attend industry events because of the possibility they’ll encounter him.
  • I know multiple people who ask friends or colleagues to go to their conference talks to support them in the event he attends.
  • Multiple people who’d had little direct contact with him in years have broken out in tears while telling me about his role in their lives.
  • One person developed chronic IBS in the wake of their relationship with him. This syndrome co-occurs with depression and anxiety; they attribute it to the impact of Alexis’s behaviour on their mental health.
  • Multiple women who had relationships with him have described feelings of guilt or shame, fear, anxiety, self-loathing, and a diminished sense of their own worth.

Summary

Alexis’s behaviour at Failbetter was extremely problematic, and went far beyond the minor misjudgement he sought to portray.

  • Access to persuasive and specific evidence from others, including much that has not been shared publicly.
  • Experiences with Alexis in which he demonstrated a willingness to manipulate or intimidate others, to abuse power, to deny verifiable truths, or otherwise behaved in ways that lend credibility to the reports.

    Adam Myers

    Written by

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