(UPDATE below this original statement)
(UPDATE 2: Here’s a link to our Instance episode where we discuss this whole thing at length)
This is hard for me to do.
I work with a lot of people that I consider family more than I do collaborators and co-hosts. Without any hesitation I would tell you that Mark Turpin is one of those people. My kids think of him as an uncle or older brother. It’s been that way since we first started to work together more than 11 years ago.
As many of you are aware, Mark recently stepped down as CEO of The Yogscast, a decision tied to sexual harassment allegations that surfaced early in the month. I’ll not get into details, as those are available elsewhere, but I feel like it's important to make some kind of "statement" to the Frogpants community, especially those who listen to The Instance, of which Turpster has been a co-host since mid-2010.
What Mark did was categorically wrong. It represents a terrible lapse in judgement and abuse of his position and influence. He's admitted as much, which I think is commendable. Instead of denying the credible claims against him, he is taking full responsibility. In a world where people tend to double-down on denials, it was good to see the more honorable choice happen.
It might be obvious for many, but just to make it clear, Mark won't be a part of The Instance anymore. In fact, his availability has been less in recent years as it is, so it's a change we can certainly adjust to. But from a personal perspective, I am really going to miss it. He's one of the brightest, most well spoken people I've had the chance to work with. He's funny and insightful. He made every episode he was on better by him being there.
This just makes this turn of circumstances all the harder to reckon with. I think about the victims effected by his choices. I think about him and the heavy guilt he must feel. I worry about his amazing wife and children. None of this is good. But as stated previously, he's family. As such, I'll always have an ear for him. Any family who kicks one of their own to the curb when they screw up, even when they screw up big, is no kind of family.
Thank you for reading this. And thank you for being the best community of listeners and readers a guy could wish for.
UPDATE: Sooooo…I had a long weekend away with my wife and kids for my birthday, and it gave me time to think about a lot of things regarding this whole mess. Long story short, I spoke to some friends, readers and listeners, and in particular some female colleagues. Even a few angry folks, all about the overall tone of the statement above. A minority of people seem to think I was too hard on Mark. That was a very small group.
Most felt that it was too focused on my relationship with Mark. That it spent little time discussing the status of his victims, or the destructive nature of his behavior. That I was sounding too apologetic toward Mark and less empathetic to those victimized by his actions.
You know what? They’re right.
I’m WAY too close to this situation to even notice how my words might read to victims of predatory behavior. The thought occurred over the weekend that if it were my own daughters in the place of these women, you would have read a whole different kind of tone in my statement. I'm 100% sure of that.
I would only ask that people try and see I’m not some cold faceless company with a dozen departments ready to tackle these kinds of things for me. I am one guy, trying to process this horrible revelation as best I can, just like everyone else caught in the wake of it.
What you got on Friday was a snapshot of my emotions. I guess maybe that’s what this is too, just a few days later with more thought than I had the luxury for then. I look with pride at the Frogpants community as a place of safety, openness, understanding and acceptance. When something like this rocks that foundation, I’m heartened by how it holds together, despite the problem coming from one of our own.
Thanks for reading this extra bit. I hope it helps shed further light on where my head is, and more importantly, and hopefully, where my heart is.
This statement was written on Friday the 19th, 2019
The update was written on Sunday the 21st, 2019