Last Sunday evening, a member of the Rusty Quill crew, Mike LeBeau, posted a series of tweets on his personal social media that included opinions on the current racial tensions in the USA and used a highly inappropriate and inflammatory hashtag.
I’d like to make it clear that Rusty Quill does not endorse or condone what was said. Having spoken to Mike at length, we believe that his statements were completely uninformed and came from a place of ignorance, not one of malice or hatred. Despite his best intentions, they displayed poor judgement and a lack of self-awareness. However, Mike’s track record from working with us over the last four years shows this is an isolated instance. Mike understands that what he did caused upset, and has already begun taking steps to make amends. It was a bad mistake that we feel can become a teaching moment
With this in mind we have chosen to suspend him for one week, effective immediately, from all Rusty Quill business including RQ Streams. During this time, we will be providing Mike with links and materials with which to educate himself on the BLM movement, the backdrop to the current protests and general resistance, and racism as a whole. It is our sincere hope that with education and self-reflection, we can ensure mistakes like these can be avoided in the future. We are also making a donation of £1500, split between two legal defence organisations – the National Bail Fund Network in the USA and Green and Black Cross in the UK.
I would also like to apologise on behalf of Rusty Quill for the pain this has caused to the Black community, our Black fans and friends, and everyone else who was hurt.
We are extremely sorry that this situation has occurred, but it does offer a chance for us to grow and learn. For example, we definitely have more work to do with regards to improving our social media processes and awareness. We are going to start by providing guidelines for all employees, emphasising the responsibilities that come with access to a visible platform such as ours and detailing appropriate ways to engage with social media. Changes such as these take time to implement, and we thank everyone for giving us the space and time to work on plans that we hope will have a long-lasting positive impact for our community and the wider industry that we inhabit.
Take care of yourselves and each other.
Alexander J Newall
CEO, Rusty Quill