To my beloved FBA Family,
In my mind, I imagined I would be penning this letter several years later than this. I imagined more that I would be writing this letter as a letter of celebration, celebrating a move to a career in opera that would be burgeoning and great. I imagined this as a fond farewell. Unfortunately, it’s a few years too early, and the sentiment of this letter is not as fond as I would like it to be. True, there are a great deal of you about whom I have nothing but good things to say: this community has been wonderful to me, and some of my closest friends in the furry fandom have been made within these walls. But ever since the conclusion of MFF 2016, there has been a battle raging behind the scenes of the FBA, one that some of you had no idea existed, some who only got glimpses of it, and some who saw the whole thing unfold before their very eyes. I was in the latter category, and I watched the whole thing rage from afar.
I dare not go into the details, but I will say that it unveiled something very apparent to me: the biggest problem within the FBA community has never truly been solved. That problem, is its unwillingness to acknowledge toxic behaviors from people in the good graces of its management. For those who have not paid attention, the signs are there when you know where to look: an errant Tweet on FBA Twitter that seems just a little too pointlessly antagonistic to be the character. A snide comment or “joke” in the general chat. A factless, objectively unreasonable comment said in private. And yet, some have made themselves content either to pretend it is not happening, or to make excuses, and pin the blame on the people who are victimized by the aggressor whenever possible. This has been festering for the better part of a year and a half, and if this surprises you I am sorry that I am only now bringing it to your attention.
But as it went on, something else occurred to me: this is not just endemic to this battle I have mentioned. This has been the story of every piece of FBA drama from the project’s inception. This is why Zach got chased away and we got Trivol. This is why Chains packed his bags and we were saddled with KZ. This is why everything that happened with Avios got as out of hand as it did. I could go on, but I think by now you understand my point: the league has suffered a culture of unwillingness to properly deal with its demons originating from the top, long after Buck Hopper entrusted the league to us. I'm not the first person to bring this up either, as numerous other people have brought it up too.
Hopefully, I will be the last, because this cannot continue. Toxic behaviors cannot be the bread and butter on which a community such as the FBA thrives: I believe too much in its mission to allow people to be creative to think that this is the best we can expect of it, and yet it is a truth that exists now. There may be no easy solution to quelling toxic behaviors around the league. This is a difficult conversation, I will not lie. However, it is one that the FBA as a league absolutely must have if it is to survive beyond this season, and it is one that cannot be glossed over like it has so many times in the past. There must be a conscientious effort to improve the lot of the league, to truly rid it of its pervasive favoritism culture.
And maybe this league has taken its first steps: it is far better about expelling toxins than it used to be during the Buck Hopper years. However, it has not expelled enough of these toxins, and it has taken its toll on me personally and creatively. I have spent countless nights ranting to people who either are unwilling to acknowledge the problems, or who have no power to do anything about what ills plague the FBA, and I have spent too long rationalizing why I am still here to myself and to others. Recently, I have finally hit my limit: I cannot bear one more day or night of this, and it is finally to the point that I cannot create any content related to the FBA no matter how many ideas I have and no matter how hard I try to get it on the page. I have to step away, or it will be my undoing.
Some of you will tell me not to worry, that I can just come back later. However, I have a problem with this line of reasoning: every time I have taken a suggested break, I return, and nothing has changed, and I just resume my anger after a week or two. Because of this, I will not return until the FBA has the conversation I mentioned above and begins to make a truly conscientious effort to deal with these toxic behaviors that have made contributors feel awkward and unwelcomed and uncomfortable. I refuse to return to an FBA that is business as usual: to me, that is just another way of brushing the problems under the rug, and I just cannot do this anymore.
Some of you may wonder what will happen to the characters I have created over my tenure in the FBA. As of now, I plan to at least give Agundio and Josh’s stories some kind of close before the playoffs end, but on Josh’s end I cannot guarantee anything. For everything else, I do not yet know what that will bring. The committee can expect a communique from me about what shall be done with my characters in the coming weeks. In the meantime, I will be logging out of Agundio and Will’s Twitter accounts: the only communique you will get from me on Twitter is the San Jose Thrust Twitter, in anticipation of handing it off to its next primary contact.
And as for the many friendships I have made in this League over the course of my years here… Some of you already know I have written this letter, and a smaller selection have seen it. Thus, some of you know what I intend already. For those that do not, I will be communicating with you in private on other platforms, primarily through my Twitter, my Discord, and my Telegram. If you should decide to initiate contact first, please forgive me if I do not get back to you right away: emotionally, I'm all over the map right now. I promise I will try to get back to you sometime.
I always feel like someone is hanging just around the corner to tell me how trite it is to use songs to convey my feelings, but usually songs are the only thing I have to explain how I feel. Thus, I leave you with these lyrics by Cole Porter, from a song cut from Can-Can:
Who spread the rumor Paris was fun?
Who had such fantasies?
Who ever knew Paris minus you?
Who said gay Paree?
Who said of all towns under the sun,
All lovers here should be?
Who failed to add, Paris could be sad?
Who said gay Paree?
I thought our love so brightly begun
Would burn through eternity
Who told the lie, love can never die?
Who said gay Paree?
Who said gay Paree?
I’ll see you all on the flip side.
Yours, with love,
Characters need to take a break from acting every so often. Here's where you'll find them hanging out. Just watch out for the fanfics.
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