Why I’ll never give another personal interview again
Well, that might be overstating it but today, I’m resolute. I’ll never reveal such personal information about myself and my family again. Let me rewind a little Voyeurs and give you some perspective….
A few weeks back I gave a pretty personal interview to Alysha Stirling of student web publication, Fashion North. We spent three hours chatting over coffee in my second home, the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Newcastle. Alysha is a student reading Fashion Journalism at Sunderland University and was pleasant, friendly & told me how she had followed my career and held me in high regard. So far so good.
Now I accept full responsibility for letting down my guard and sharing details about my family when you all know that’s something that I don’t do. I’m fiercely protective of both Bo and Plankton. I keep them where they want to be kept which is at home, watching Top Gear and there’s a very good reason for that, it’s to protect my disabled son.
I liked Alysha. I really did. She came armed with pages and pages of questions and we talked at length about a variety of subjects, my career, and how I gave up a senior management position within the NHS after discovering the extent of my son’s multiple disabilities and how this would go on to affect his education and ultimately our lives as a family unit. I felt relaxed enough to talk with her about this subject and I take responsibility for making myself vulnerable.
What I didn’t expect however, was the personal attack from a Senior Lecturer at Sunderland University. Yes, it’s someone I’m familiar with, and yes, it’s someone who for reasons I’m not entirely sure of, seems to have a real problem with me, but this is business, not a playground. Now I’ve been in this business for a little while now, this ain’t my first rodeo. I’m well aware of the bitchiness that goes with this role. The blogging community can be tricky, people seem to believe that they’re fighting for work and that their peers are competition which must be eliminated. That’s just not true; we’re all out there working as hard as each other. We all have a different audience, reach and serve a different demographic and on paper we should all be able to adapt and get on, which a lot of us do. Business is about compromise, not fighting to get your own way or force your opinions on to others.
Anyway, I digress. The Fashion North piece was published and shared as with anything else, and it discussed my role within the fashion industry as a single, self made entity. There were specific highlights picked out by Alysha from our three hour conversation and compacted into a short 1400 word article, obviously there was some generalising, I guess to fit it into the paramenters allowed. Within 48 short hours, all traces of the article were removed and I had vanished from the website as quickly as I had arrived and was replaced with an article on another Blogger.
I contacted Alysha – whom I discovered had ‘unfriended’ me on FaceBook – Fashion North, and the University Fashion Programme Leader in that order, to try to find out what had happened, and hit a stonewall. Completely ignored and unfollowed by of them until I eventually had a cold email from the Programme Leader to simply say that it couldn’t be discussed. Ouch.
After tweeting about my disappointment (I tried not to, I really did), I took a call from someone. Let’s call them W. Blower. W. Blower clued me up on what had actually happened behind the scenes, saying it was unfair for me to be treated like this without being given the opportunity to have a say on it. Kudos dude, you’re absolutely right.
What’s shocked me about this most, was not just the absolute bullshit crap stories made up about me, but the fact that people are stupid enough to be taken in by his horseshit without making a judgement for themselves based on things that they already know.
I felt it necessary to write this post because I was prevented from having a voice. I’ve not been given the opportunity to exercise my right to an argument after being so spitefully shut down by an individual with an acute dislike for me. I’ll be honest Voyeurs, I would have expected more professionalism from a large educational institution, the unfriending, the stonewalling, it all smacks of sixth grade. In what other aspect of life are you shut down for requesting an answer? None Voyeurs, the University didn’t believe that I deserved, or had the right to an answer. That’s one of the awesome things about blogging; you have a voice, and a platform.
Sidebar: I’m fine with people not liking me, but when people have convinced themselves that you’re a monster based on their own destructive lies about you, that’s not ok. Never put up with hate, or people who bully based on hate; it’s definitely not ok.
That Voyeurs, is why I’ll never give a personal interview again. Except to you guys, right here, in my online home, because you’re all awesome.