Yesterday, a web site reported that YouTuber and musician Mike Lombardo was under investigation for exchanging explicit images with underage fans of his music. Some of Mike’s music has been released through DFTBA Records, a record company we own, we’ve been friendly with him over the three years we’ve known him, and many of Mike’s fans are part of the nerdfighter community. (Mike himself, on several occasions, took pains to point out that he, himself, was not a nerdfighter, for whatever that’s worth.)
Obviously, we were distressed to learn about this, and quickly removed Mike’s page from DFTBA, partly because we don’t want to make any money from this sort of publicity and partly because we didn’t feel it appropriate to continue our business relationship given the situation. (For the past year, Mike has released his music through other web sites, but until today we still sold some of his older work.)
In thinking about this terrible situation, it’s important to remember that no one has been charged with a crime, and that we don’t (and can’t and shouldn’t) know the full story. Crimes are investigated and prosecuted by law enforcement and the judicial system, not by Tumblr. It’s also very important never to blame victims in situations of sexual abuse and assault. We’ve seen very little of that in the conversations about this in our community, and we’re very glad of that, but it bears repeating.
Sadly, some people feel as if their trust in our community has been violated. For most of us, nerdfighteria has always been a place where it’s safe to be nerdy and enthusiastic and *yourself*. For all of us, this has been a reminder that communities—online and off—can never truly be insulated from difficult and painful and reprehensible realities.
The respect that creators are given by their communities is something we consider sacred. It should never be taken advantage of or violated. Seeing that happen has been very painful for us.
However, we have also been stunned by the way this community has come together to support the people affected. As we remained in silent shock last night, it was so inspiring to watch healthy discussions, messages of love, and intelligent thoughts spread across our community. That’s why we could never lose faith in Nerdfighteria, not because bad things never happen, but because people stay strong and loving and supportive and thoughtful in the face of it.
Thank you for being all that you are.
John and Hank