Letter to Our Supporters on the Recent Street Harassment Video

Dear Supporter,

First and foremost, thank you for your continued support of Hollaback!. As some of you now may be aware, we have been the object of some negative press and comments on social media regarding the recent street harassment video by Rob Bliss Creative. When the video was released, we doubted more than 10,000 people would watch it. We never imagined that it would be viewed more than 32 million times.

Given your passionate and dedicated support of Hollaback!, we wanted to inform you how we are directly responding to the accusations of racial and class bias.

Last Thursday, we issued a statement that makes our position clear: Hollaback! understands that harassment is a broad problem committed by a broad spectrum of individuals across lines of race, location and class. We know from the 8,000 stories we’ve collected on ihollaback.org that there is no single profile for a harasser, and harassment comes in many different forms. We are deeply invested in a movement that is multiracial, gender inclusive and incorporates place-based leadership specific to each locale. Racial, gender, and class politics is a core part of our work. While we did not create this video, we did allow our name to be used at the end of it. We agree wholeheartedly that the video should have done a better job of representing our understanding of street harassment and we take full responsibility for that. I’m deeply sorry.

What we also want to say is: We’re listening. Hollaback! is a small but determined and diverse organization, and we’ve been overwhelmed with the amount of feedback we’ve gotten. This video, created and edited pro-bono by Rob Bliss Creative, has taught us an important lesson. Although we appreciate Rob’s support, which has helped garner over $10k in donations from new donors, we are committed to continuing to show the complete, overall picture.

We are using the door opened by this conversation to expose the harassment faced by women of color and LGBTQ folks that too often is ignored by the mainstream media. That’s why we’re using the money raised to create our own video series — with the first one currently under development and scheduled to release within the next two weeks. We’re also working to create clearer messaging, respond to specific news articles, work with partners to write an Op-Ed, showcase thousands more stories through our global research study with Cornell University, and start an open and transparent dialogue with the public to voice opinions and concerns.

We are leveraging this opportunity to bring greater attention to our driving mission: giving you the power to end street harassment.

Again, thank you for believing in us, being a part of this vital dialogue, and supporting Hollaback! as we continue and extend our mission. We welcome your thoughts and suggestions as we move forward.

Sincerely,

Emily May
Executive Director, Hollaback!
www.ihollaback.org
@iHollaback

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  1. […] Thursday about the video and Executive Director Emily May (a badass whom I admire) issued a formal apology detailing Hollaback’s immediate plans to do better by creating more videos showing diverse experiences of street […]

  2. […] Thursday about the video and Executive Director Emily May (a badass whom I admire) issued a formal apology detailing Hollaback’s immediate plans to do better by creating more videos showing diverse experiences of street […]

  3. David Clark says:

    I’m so, fiercely, supportive for, and with your very special social action!!!!…. (Currently in Boca Raton, FL )

  4. […] you haven’t already had a chance to look at it, here is the Mothership’s latest statement on the viral video and and a preview our upcoming […]

  5. […] (in New York) published the following letter explaining their role in connection with the video: “A Letter to Our Supporters on the Recent Street Harassment Video”. In this letter they state the […]

  6. […] (in New York) published the following letter explaining their role in connection with the video: “A Letter to Our Supporters on the Recent Street Harassment Video”. In this letter they state the […]

  7. […] New York) published the following letter explaining their role in connection with the video: “A Letter to Our Supporters on the Recent Street Harassment Video”. In this letter they state the […]

  8. […] Street harassment is a daily reality for many women and LGBTQ individuals, however it skyrocketed to the spotlight earlier this year when a video commissioned by group Hollaback claimed to document over a hundred separate instances of street harassment as experienced by a woman as she walked the streets of New York City for ten hours while being recorded by hidden camera. That video sparked a national conversation on street harassment — what it is and why it is damaging – but the video was also criticized for its clumsy treatment of race: the woman in the video appears visibly White while nearly every documented harassment is committed by a man of colour. Hollaback has been accused of subtly reinforcing anti-Black stereotypes through shoddy methodology and selective editing: most of the examples ultimately included in the video were recorded in Harlem. Hollaback responded: […]

  9. […] a statement released shortly after the criticism began, the organisation pledged to use the money raised to develop a more racially inclusive video […]

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