I spent the weekend in Atlanta to attend Ian Somerhalder’s Empoweresque event to benefit the IS Foundation. Normally I wouldn’t travel that far just to go to a party (let’s be honest, I can’t afford to be that kind of jet-setter; I have bills to pay) but this once I decided to do it. It was a fun weekend with old and new friends (particularly my awesome pal Maria who drove me around like a maniac), and it was totally worth the fact that I’ll be on the Ramen diet this week. :)
I’ve supported the Foundation since it was just an idea. I’ve donated and raised funds and done my best to spread awareness. It was fun to get the chance to celebrate that with friends (including lots of Twitter pals) and volunteers.
I was disappointed on the plane ride home to read a tweet from someone who has long been a very vocal & active supporter of ISF, who said she’d no longer be contributing because she felt the event didn’t live up to what was promised. I guess it’s just surprising to see someone say something like that publicly, particularly given the fact that it was less than 24 hours after the event, so it’s unlikely that they had much communication with the organizers before the public outcry. Charity is a very personal choice, and if you have a problem with an organization, I guess it’s my personal opinion that you should reach out to that organization to try to resolve the problem before you start to publicly disparage it. I mean… it’s a charity. The people involved donate their time and resources. It requires a bit more sensitivity than a for-profit company.
That said, that’s just my opinion. I tend to have them. I am allowed to voice mine just as you are allowed to voice yours. (Though, I don’t personally attack you when you voice yours.) I wasn’t at the event as press, so my opinion is the only one I’ve got a responsibility to.
I mean, sometimes, you go to a benefit dinner to support an organization you genuinely care about, and you pay tens of thousands of dollars for a plate of food, a crappy comedian, and your name in the program. From what I saw, the people who attended Empoweresque got a heck of a lot, given the charity of it all.
I can only speak to my experience of the event. I know that volunteers spent the entire day setting up and organizing. I know that there was an incredible spread of food and drinks available (like, better than I see at most network parties in LA). There was an amazing show with dancers and… I don’t know, what do you call the people who hang from sheets and twist around? Trapeze artists? Ha. I know celebs at the event took pics with fans even when they’d been told not to, and that when most of the cast left, Ian stayed behind to take pictures and walk through to mingle with fans (despite a super painful knee injury).
I also know that people stole VIP bracelets, which lessened the experience for people who had paid for their time in the cabana. That’s a shame. I still don’t think it’s the fault of ISF — again, it’s a charity event. As an organizer, you don’t expect people to be stuffing bracelets in their bras and handing them out to friends. (Seriously, that’s actually what happened. Gross.)
You also can’t anticipate an injury. Ian was limited by a pretty severe knee injury he got while filming a big stunt sequence on set. I don’t think that anyone expected it to be as big of a deal to the attendees as it was that he couldn’t mingle as much as he’d hoped to. (Honestly, I’m just speculating here — I didn’t get a chance to talk to Ian at the event for more than a brief hello because he was super busy. The rest of the celebrity guests were there to support Ian, not to be a part of the fan event, so I’m not sure why there are people complaining about them.)
Luckily, the organization is lending an ear to everyone that’s got a problem, and they’ve made an email address available. The executive director is addressing concerns and complaints on an individual basis. When something goes wrong, that’s the absolute best you can expect. Nobody’s saying “Oh well, better luck next time!” They’re acknowledging the organizational missteps and making sure every voice is heard so that this stuff can be remedied and won’t be repeated.
It’s a bummer to see that people are making personal attacks against others, including me, on Twitter. I can’t speak about anyone else, but my feelings are hurt. (Yep. I have feelings. It’s a bitch.)
Everyone I met there was super nice, so to see animosity directed at me from people I’ve never spoken to… I guess it’s just weird and hurtful and I can’t wrap my brain around how that kind of bullying accomplishes anything. I can understand when people don’t like my opinion on the show or whatever, and they debate that, but to make personal attacks when you don’t know me is just such a weird route to take in all of this. I didn’t target you personally, I don’t work for the organization, I didn’t harm you, I didn’t get in the way of you enjoying your evening. I just expressed sadness that the organization I care about is losing loyal supporters over what I feel is a matter completely unrelated to the integrity and goals of the organization.
- a softer world
- amy @ la times
- bea @ blogspot
- found magazine
- frantic artillery @ itunes
- heart trust fundraiser
- is foundation
- jenna @ tumblr
- johnny active @ itunes
- kb @ tumblr
- meagan @ blogspot
- michael j. fox foundation
- missed connections
- mount nevis hotel
- sarah @ hellogiggles
- stamos @ hellogiggles
- tierney @ tumblr
- to write love on her arms
- zap2it work