I’m posting about this mostly because it’s turned into kind of a shitstorm and because I’m trying to distract myself from anxiety things as well.
I just read this account, presumably the Popwrapped side of how things went down.
There are a few problems with this post.
Firstly, the idea that because Popwrapped was supposedly conceived, although not executed first, that it’s somehow more legitimate. If the people who are involved with Popwrapped had been paying attention, they would have seen this is already a moot point. The idea of “first means only” was already tossed out when LeakyNews launched a short while after Hypable, the first multi fandom news site that I know of launched. Melissa posted then too, because there was some dissent on the web over whether LeakyNews was trying to cop Hypable’s idea from Andrew Sims. Bottom line on that was that all parties more or less agreed that a multi-fandom news site was probably the future of entertainment news. With fandoms as varied as they are now, who wanted to check eight different sites to check up on Doctor Who, Hunger Games casting, Pottermore news, books and music, and a ton of other things. It made sense to have it all in one place. That was not necessarily a unique idea, and the basic conclusion of the Hypable and LeakyNews shakeup was that the two sites had different writers and methods, so you could pick the one you liked best or use both. The LeakyNews position on Popwrapped was pretty close to the same thing. Follow them if you want, just be sure you’re not following them if you don’t want to, since the account was switched but followers couldn’t tell that unless they looked into it.
Secondly, Zachary Jayden made a choice to drop a bunch of money on video and photo coverage for Leaky. Leaky has always used volunteer press for the most part, so I seriously doubt he was directed to do this. If he truly did make out a schematic for coverage and had it approved, then the volunteers would still be covering alongside him. According to that account, he mad up a press plan, but never specifically got it approved by anyone. As a photographer myself, you can make all the plans you want, but unless you have some sort of official approval, you’re not getting organized press coverage. You probably aren’t getting organized anything at Leaky, because the core staff isn’t truly large enough to manage absolutely everything, and the conference day to day is largely managed by volunteers. The staff still work, but asking them to help you figure out a press coverage plan is ridiculous, and Melissa’s alleged response to that is exactly what I would have expected: if you want to do it, then do, but I have other things to handle.
On the concept of “stealing” the twitter. Even if Jayden was entitled to the twitter because it was originally the UltimateGleeks twitter (don’t follow LeakyNews closely enough to confirm or deny that myself, but it sounds right from what I recall), the way he went about things was 100% wrong. The idea of changing a twitter handle with little to no warning to followers is the theft of an audience, whether you have the handle or not. People that may have had no intention to follow Popwrapped were now following it anyway, and weren’t even aware of it, to boot. If Jayden and the Popwrapped crew had been clear about this to start with, openly stating what was happening and that the twitter was changing, I think it would have been much less of an issue. I firmly believe that the way the handle was changed and not the fact that it was is the issue at play.
On the “accidental” instagram handle switch: If it truly was an accident, then why not delete the accidental image post, change the handle back, and work out details the correct way for the instagram? Excusing the change because it was an “accident” is complete crap, because even if the initial switch was an accident, the change was willfully left in place with no apparent effort to correct it.
On all of the things Jayden did for Leaky: Ultimately, that again was a choice. If you don’t get something out of a choice that you wanted, you can’t just decide that you should. Volunteering is just that, volunteering. I know several people who have volunteered for Leaky, and it’s often hard work and lots of confusion. It happens. That’s what he was signing up for. Asking pity for hard work insults everyone who volunteers because they want to help the conference and does the work without complaint.
On any claim that dislike for Jayden is based on rumors and lies: I did encounter Jayden personally in line for the Thursday Starkid signing. It wasn’t a pleasant experience. He was going along the line trying to convince everyone to follow his personal twitter, had cards with his own contact information, and seemed very self important in general. Although he didn’t necessarily do anything wrong, he felt wrong to me. That kind of pushing of personal agendas seemed to have no place at Leaky, and after I noticed the name on the card, it all made sense. I’d heard about Jayden before, and sure enough, he was up to his old tricks, hawking contests for “x” number of new followers. Supposedly there was a pair of Starkid shoes in it for the winner, although I have yet to see the shoes, so who knows if anyone actually won them. In addition to that, I’ve seen first hand the way Jayden treats Glee fans. I have several friends who have gotten nasty messages from him filled with profanity for doing things like asking to be credited on a spoiler lifted from their blog and posted to UltimateGleeks or responding even mildly unfavorably (such as retweeting with “really? Is this news?” or something of the sort) to the UltimateGleeks tweets of Darren Criss in sweatpants with a vulgar caption commenting on his crotch. In the short in person experience I had with the man, he seemed to value himself over anything else, and would do just about anything to inflate his follower count. When me and a friend asked where he got his badge ribbons at Leaky, he told us to follow his twitter and LeakyNews for info on ribbons. There was maybe one tweet about ribbons at all, and it was from the LeakyNews twitter. He may not be a fraud, as there’s no proof of that that I’ve found, but he’s definitely self important and seems to care more about his own popularity than any fandom
Yes, the Leaky Cauldron, Melissa, and LeakyNews have had their own share of hiccups over the years, but I haven’t seen anything on LeakyNews’s part that I would consider Slander or lies.