Diana Navon wrote this letter to Dave Koot, the organizer of the San Francisco Vegan Event Meetup who banned DxE from posting events on the Meetup group. You can read his reasons here.
Dave has received at least two letters from DxE organizers who are members of the Meetup. Both of the people are ones I thought were two of the kindest people in DxE who I considered my friends. Diana took me out for coffee and a vegan donut on my birthday last year, and consistently lavished me with praise–right up until I left DxE.
This letter was supposed to be a private letter to Dave, but it accidentally got sent to the hundreds of people who are on the Meetup. I feel compelled to refute Diana’s character assassination.
“To Diana . . . . . On August_______ 2019, you made the following false statements about me. You made them to the members of the SF Vegan Events Meetup. (itemize the statements)
Each of said statements was false and was defamatory. Many of said statements were so defamatory as to constitute in my opinion libel per se.
The true facts are as stated below in response to your letter.
I demand that within ten days from the date of this post, you retract, fully and without qualification, each and every aforesaid statement. That you retract it in the same manner and to the same audience to which you made them.
If you fail to so retract said statements, I will pursue all remedies available to me at law and in equity.
I will be posting this on my blog as a prime example of how DxE members behave.
I am going to respond to Diana by talking by refuting each of her statements:
This list of recommendations from a variety of people can give you a sense of the history of my leadership abilities. I am 65 years old and have a history of being a successful leader.
Diana, I feel so confused. How could you know all of this? The only working group I was in was the music working group. You were not in that group. You never were present with me when I attended core group meetings, was with Wayne and Paul or other leadership.
I consider all of this to be purely hearsay. One of the things that people who have told me is that if a person starts questioning the authority of core leaders, is that they will have false rumors spread about them.
In a court of law, everything you shared would be thrown out as hearsay. You were not a witness to any of this.
I would like to talk with you about Patricia. I am not in leadership but I have been a member of DxE for about three years and I’m an organizer and activist with them.
At one time, when I considered you a close friend, I confided in you what my issues were with them, and you were willing to listen and reassure me that Wayne, especially, was a really good person who you considered to be like a son to you. I wanted wise feedback, and you inspired me to trust Wayne.
I was persistent in trying to get Wayne to do mediation with me. After working with him for 2 months on helping him get the circles project get off the ground, and he praised me extravagantly. When I presented some concerns I had about how an organizer was treating me, he changed his treatment of me entirely. He said hurtful things to me and I wanted to have a chance to respond. He said he could listen to my views in 2 weeks, and I saw that as being totally unfair.
I did demand mediation at that time, and threatened him. I said, If you don’t engage in mediation with me, I will start blogging about my experience.” This is how traumatized I was feeling after Wayne’s shocking treatment. People who had left DxE had warned me that Wayne did things like “love bombing” them and then severely criticizing them. I realized that maybe what they said was true, and I wasn’t going to let him do this to me in secret.
A week or so later, when I came to the animal rights center, Wayne cordially invited me to talk. We were able to have a series of about 4 conversations which Wayne seemed to welcome. I did not make demands of him or insult him, but was really willing to listen to him.
We had a conversation on Facebook live. Wayne accepted my written criticism with great sincerity and thanked me for pointing this out. The reason we did the video was because in our last conversation, he asked me “What else can I do for you?” I said, “How about doing a live Facebook video and explain to people how we successfully resolved this conflict. I talked about this in a blog post I wrote last year.
I left Berkeley soon after this event because I wanted to be present for my family because a tragedy had occurred. Wayne was so kind and sympathetic about the death of my grandson. I really thought we were connected again–more deeply now that we had worked through a conflict successfully.
In the 9 months that followed, I did watch just about every video that Wayne posted. I wanted to support him. I always said supportive things. Even the time I gently chastised him about using the term “right wingers” as a label, he responded with gratitude. There was no sign that we had anything but good intentions between us. Unless my comments have been deleted, this can be easily proven.
I was eager to come back to Berkeley and resume our good working relationship. I knew that the circles project still needed fine-tuning, and I was glad to see what I could do to help.
I arrived on the Saturday before the Animal Liberation Conference (ALC). I saw Wayne, and he was busy on his computer. He had told me before that he was going to start being available before the Saturday Meetup because I helped him realize that he needed to be more accessible to people.
I sat by him on the couch, and he looked over at me and smiled. “Let’s catch up soon,” he said warmly.
I was not offended and went to meet all the other friends who seemed to be really glad to see me.
During the ALC, Wayne seemed to be preoccupied. I did not approach him, thinking he was busy. I did not stand in line to talk to him, wanting to give others time to talk.
The next time I had a chance to talk to Wayne was after the conference at the Saturday morning meet up. I was starting to get concerned that Wayne’s conversation which seemed to result in reconciliation was not sincere. I had heard from Boston DxE chapter how they had been given the run around by Paul Pickelseimer and Matthew McKeafry. I did attend a meeting with Paul where the group of Boston DxE members asked some hard questions–with me being perhaps the most outspoken.
None of were satisfied with Paul’s answers which still seemed vague and even amusing towards the members. I offered to contact Jeri Devereax who had been the person to go to for conflicts during the ALC. She willingly came and talked to us. She told all of us that she was disappointed in how the whole matter had been handled, and inferred that if things did not get better with DxE, she might be leaving. She has since withdrawn her support.
I did confront Wayne gently about how I thought he did not represent the facts accurately about the big action during the ALC. A young, very active DxE organizer was present and said, “oh you are wrong. Wayne was totally accurate.”
Then, I heard Wayne say these words to me on Sat. June 8, 2019, when there was about 100 people in the Animal Rights Center, I was shocked because his tone was so sharp and intense.
“Stay out of this conflict with the Boston DxE Chapter. You are always escalating conflict.” the rest of the conversation went like this:
Patricia: Will you engage in mediation with me?
Wayne: I don’t have time
Patricia: will you put that in writing?
Patricia: (shouting very loudly) WHY WON’T YOU ENGAGE IN MEDIATION WITH ME?
I was angry because I realized that all the reconciliation that Wayne acted like he was going through with me was just another love bombing technique.
Later, I apologized for shouting at him. I do think that shouting at someone like that is not correct. However, I would not call it abusive.
Since then, I have written numerous blog posts with factual evidence showing that Wayne is not the humble, kind, empowering leader he tries to presents presents himself as being. He has since stepped down. You can read my articles here.
As a whistle blower, I feel compelled to write all the facts. I was in some ways an insider because I chose to attend all the core meetings and chapter meetings, and because I needed to work somewhat closely with Wayne because he really needed my help.
If this were true, then I would not have so many friends when I was in DxE. If you look at my Facebook page in the past, especially during the 2 month period when I worked 40-60 hours a week as a volunteer for DxE, anyone can see that I was very well liked.
I helped Jon Frohnmayer and Jackie Cassandra start a new group, the Alma Gathering. They said they wanted to start a spiritual circle for DxE members, and I was the one who called several meetings and together we very harmoniously organized the weekly. group which was still going on when I attended the 2019 ALC . In fact, I facilitated the group.
So when Wayne complete changed on me and attacked me for what I considered threats to Dxe’s well being to his attention, I was shocked and upset. I really thought he respected me and valued me.
I have heard other testimonies of people who I know and trust, tell me that Wayne did the same thing to them.
In this letter it is said that one other time I pressured someone to engage in mediation. she wa swilling to have 45 minutes. This person told Paul that she didn’t feel safe around me. Paul told me that if I asked for mediation one more time, I would have to leave Dxe.
I did forget that threat–but he had it in his memory, and used it as an excuse to ban me after I pressured a “visitor” (Wayne) to engage in mediation
- Take a deep breath and tell the truth. You are on the stand to relate facts—not your opinion or an exaggeration. Listen to each question carefully and respond clearly and fully. If you need clarification, ask for it. You can respond by saying “I do not know” or “I do not remember.” Try not to ramble. If you need to take a moment to collect yourself, ask for it.