A Public Statement After This Morning's Public Statement

From Brian Keene and Mary SanGiovanni --

Earlier this morning, Brian posted this publicly accessible essay discussing the multiple allegations of sexual misconduct that have arisen within the industry over the last two weeks.

Within minutes of that being posted, we were alerted via Twitter and email of yet another situation -- this time involving allegations that author Matt Hayward sent inappropriate communications to several women.  Again, to clarify, we were unaware of these allegations until after the essay was posted. However, in tandem with Brian's previous essay, we are speaking out.  

We believe the women. We believe writer and book reviewer Cassie 'Lets Get Galactic', who has stepped forward. We believe the other women who have stepped forward since her initial statement. And we believe those who have not stepped forward. 

We have known Matt for several years. He and his wife Anna have been guests in our home. Anna's publishing company, Poltergeist Press, has published books by both of us. We consider them dear friends.

Approximately one year ago, Matt sent a series of inappropriate messages to Mary. Matt has acknowledged this and apologized for it. Mary accepted the apology because Matt was inebriated when the messages were sent, and he was going through a rough time emotionally, having just experienced the death of his best friend. Brian followed Mary's lead, and in the time since, Mary has received no further inappropriate messages from Matt. Cassie's account tells a similar story, as do the accounts of those women who have not shared their experience publicly. There is a pattern of behavior.

Again, we believe the women. And we apologize for the hurt that someone we are close to has caused you.

We hope that Matt will take this moment to examine his behavior. As both Mary and Brian know all-too-well, grief and alcohol are not excuses for behavior, but they are catalysts. We hope that Matt will acknowledge how his behavior impacted Cassie and the other women involved, how it impacted his wife, and how it impacted his friends and the larger horror community. We hope that he will examine the role those destructive catalysts played in this, and that he will understand they do not serve as excuses for the behavior. We hope that he will learn from this experience and grow. We believe that in Matt's case, change is possible. We believe that he has it in him. But ultimately it is up to him. 

In regard to our books that are published via Poltergeist Press, we would remind the public that the company is not owned by Matt Hayward. It is owned by his wife, Anna. While Matt does indeed do production work for Poltergeist Press, and is published by Poltergeist Press, the company is Anna's. We have spoken with Anna, and she was unaware of these allegations. They have impacted her, as well. We ask that the public be cognizant of that.

We fully support Anna, and we do not hold her responsible for Matt's actions. In regards to future books, Brian has spoken with Bev Vincent, who collaborated with him on Dissonant Harmonies, due to be released by Poltergeist Press next month. As the book is already in production, both Brian and Bev feel it would again be unfair to Anna to pull the book from publication, and so, it will continue to be released from Poltergeist Press.

In regard to Kelli Owen's public treatment of Cassie after she stepped forward with these allegations, we fully state for the record that we do not condone or endorse any such behavior. We find it abhorrent. The public should also be aware that Kelli's statement that she was engaged in "fact-finding" is in no way connected to The Horror Show with Brian Keene, on which she has served as an occasional guest host. We have spoken with fellow show regulars Dave Thomas and Matt Wildasin, and the four of us agree that, beginning immediately, Kelli will no longer be involved with the podcast in any way.

 Furthermore, both Brian and Mary would like the public to know that we are frustrated and stunned by Kelli's public statements, and they do not reflect the views or opinions of ourselves or The Horror Show with Brian Keene staff or our affiliates.

Respectfully,  

-- Brian Keene and Mary SanGiovanni

UPDATE 6/29/20 : As more information has come to light, we have decided to sever all ties with Poltergeist Press, including their Russian imprint. We still love and support Anna, and we wish her the best, but we cannot in good conscience be part of anything Matt is connected to, even via association.

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