Dealing with Bullies or Why I Don’t Organize Many Events

Boulder Startup Week is this week!  I’m so excited to get back to Boulder and say hello to so many good friends and startups.

Boulder, like many communities, has some interesting characters.  It’s fun to watch, participate and see just what creative projects can take hold.  Every once in a while you run into someone that doesn’t quite meet the community’s expectations.  Rather than do something that everyone can benefit from (community!), they try to break down, threaten and generally grab some power to suck from anyone that will listen.

After a member of the Boulder community was reported as threatening, I emailed them to politely ask them not to attend Boulder Startup Wee.  Here is what I said:

Hey *******,

Just saw that you rsvp’ed for a bunch of BSW events.  You have said some quite negative, dividing and downright mean things to community members in the past, I find it odd that you suddenly want to be involved.  From an outsider’s prospective, you seem to really getting a reaction from people, and will be overly positive or negative…

Either way, that doesn’t lead me to think of healthy motivations for your attendance.  Can I ask you politely to not attend the events?

Hope all is well,

Nothing too personal, just “Please don’t attend the events.”  Seems fair to me, how about you?  There is more backstory there, but this person thrives on attention, and I would rather leave their name out of this discussion.

Here is the gem I got back:

If you do not let us ,me , ************ or any of our staff.

This is what I am going to do;

File a civil rights discrimination grievance, first amendment violation complaint with the city. That will prohibit them from participating.

We will show up anyway and suit you and all of your sponsors for first amendment violations at a public event in which the city is involved.

We will come after you so hard , you’ll wished you never moved here

I will immediately contact all of your sponsors and tell them you are violating our  First amendment rights to the press at a public event.

I will bring a bull horn and a camera to all the events an d announce what a fraud and crook you are and put this scandal on the front pages.

I will turn Start up boulder in to a public relations nightmare for you Andrew , put you on TV as the Devil, and make you wished you never fucked with me.

I hear that several businesses and companies have been contacted today with some pretty serious-sounding language from said person.

I’m taking a step back and laughing a little bit here.  This is a community event – all are welcome.  If you threaten someone, well, you lose a lot of respect from the community.  Most people have chosen to ignore said person.  I feel it was important to reach out, and in a respectful way, ask him to not bring his baggage to a community that doesn’t respect him.

As an update, he just called one of our sponsors a Nazi for asking him to not attend their party.

Boulder Startup Community: time to rally together.  Support each other.  Tell the world just how awesome you are – together.

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