Reid Mihalko Accountability Pod’s Next Steps in Winding Down

As was mentioned in our most recent posting, the formal work by this accountability pod with Reid Mihalko has moved into a winding down phase. To be clear, this is not the end of Reid’s accountability work, only the close of this work with this pod. Accountability, unlearning harmful thinking and rebuilding trust are life long processes and that work will continue for Reid long after this pod has parted ways.

This accountability process was sparked by Kelly naming the harm that Reid caused. As our pod received that information about Kelly’s choices around direct involvement, we shifted our focus on Reid’s work to accountability with the sexuality community/industry. To be clear, we support Kelly wholeheartedly in the choices made during this process. No person who causes harm is owed work by the person they harmed, and everyone’s level of engagement is theirs to choose.

Our pod has largely functioned to contain a community accountability process that uses transformative and restorative justice principles as a foundation. That was shaped by the information that we received from the anonymous reporting and by the part of the process that Kelly did consent to participating in.

We acknowledge that the re-entry of Reid into this community as a peer and colleague will raise anxiety about how the process will go, what it will look like and deep concern that this is another ‘reformed hero’ narrative. While we cannot control how people feel about Reid, we can and are committed to pushing back against the idea that Reid is the person who deserves praise or financial reward for going through this process.

To provide transparency around our current and next steps:

  • As mentioned previously, pod meetings shifted from weekly to bi-weekly, and starting in September will be on an as-needed basis.
  • We are working with Reid and others to find appropriate mentors to work with on an ongoing basis so that even without the support of a formal pod, Reid can continue his accountability walk in a meaningful, practical, and ongoing way.
  • As the bulk of the work lies with Reid at this point, he will be posting the majority of updates going forward. He next post will include more information on what he has been studying, what has been most useful for him as well as a timeline of what his next steps look like. [Update: This post is now published here]
  • There are plans for one more inter-pod meeting, however, no date has been set. This meeting should largely focus on ensuring any outstanding matters have been attended to as best as is possible and to reflect on the overall process. This was a learning process for everyone involved and there are definitely things that could have been done better.
  • Our pod intends to publish one more ‘reflection’ process detailing our own experiences over these past months. There is no set date for this post as the dates for wrapping up this particular aspect of the accountability work themselves are fluid.

Much of this process has been about Reid taking steps to rebuild trust that was lost due to the harms caused. It takes time to build new habits. Because of this, Reid’s re-entry is happening in phases so that he can work on those new practices, building them up sustainably as he begins to interact with the public more. To give that trust is an individual decision, and it is not owed. Going forward we encourage people to continue to draw their own conclusions about what is to be trusted and what is to be dismissed as performative. Community/industry members will have a wide range of feelings and responses at each stage of this process. Everyone deserves room to process their own feelings and we hope that you will not shame others or treat them poorly because of how they feel at the end of this process.

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