A letter to the contestants from Sharrin Spector and Pat Bailie
Dear Class of 2018,
Thanks for your patience as we worked with Bikkja Amy to find out more about the recorded materials that were made available to some of the contestants. Our hope is always that classes work together and can focus on their own experience as part of the class and not get involved in controversy in the run up to the IMsLBB Weekend. But things happen and our next goal is to work to create the most equitable solution for the entire class.
So here are the facts as we could put together:
1. During the 2017 IMsLBB Weekend there were recordings made of the interviews of the IMsL Contestants.
a. One of last year’s contestants violated the privacy and consent of those in the video that was made of their own interview by not having their permission to film anyone seen or heard in it and is clearly in violation of the releases signed by all attendees over the weekend.
b. Another attendee from last year, who is a contestant this year, audiotaped the interviews of all the IMsL Contestants without their permission as well. It was shared that the attendee had asked if they could record the interviews from a staff member who was not responsible for the contestant or judging aspects of contest. We have not been able to collaborate that this discussion happened with the staff member and all the staff are aware of bringing these issues to Sharrin if they come up. Although audio recordings aren’t specifically called out in the releases, Sharrin feels the audio recording breaks the anonymity of privacy and consent of the weekend releases.
2. These recordings made their way to the this year's contestant class and were shared with just some of the contestants. At this point, Bikkja Amy was brought this matter to our attention and we got involved in the discussion.
3. We talked about a plan moving forward during the March contestant meeting and decided since some of the class had heard the audio recordings, we would reach out to the 2017 class, explain to them what happened and ask their permission to share the recordings with the rest of the 2018 class. Bikkja Amy took those steps and not all contestants agreed to release their interviews but those that agreed will be made available to the entire class.
4. Next steps are:
. Any member of the class who listened or watched the audio and video recordings we are assuming you did not know the history of how these recordings were obtained and used them in good faith that they were a resource so there will be no actions needed moving forward. You are free to review and use the audio recordings that the 2017 class has agreed to release. If you reviewed some of the ones that were not approved for release, there is no way to equalize that part so please do not share those with other class members from this point forward.
a. For the two contestants who violated the release guidelines on recording last year, a report will be provided to the judges of these actions and the judging team will determine how to address or not address these consent violations in their judging process.
5. Moving forward, this is a reminder that once the deadline on the applications passed and you were announced as part of the 2018 IMsLBB class, all your social media, public comments and actions during the run up are being watched and open to questions from the judges. Our hope is that you work together as a group and support each other. The IMsL/IMsBB title is about building community and showing leadership. We know there is lots of stress over the last few weeks but we hope you get a chance to take a deep breath, assume the best intentions of your classmates and remember this is an amazing opportunity and hope you can find some fun and growth through the process!
We hope that this provides you some of the details on what happened and what actions were taken once the situation was discovered. Please direct any questions to Bikkja Amy and feel free to reach out to the former titleholders like Elisa and Girl Complex to find out more about interviews and all the other aspects of the contest from their perspectives. Please also remember that Bikkja Amy represents us to the contestants and works hard to provide support to all of you. But also remember, that this is a volunteer position and that all of us deserve respect no matter how intense a situation.
Thank you for your hard work and we are already proud of the work you have done and can’t wait to see all of you in April!
Sharrin Spector, Executive Producer, IMsLBB Productions LLC
Pat Baillie, Board President, IMsL Foundation