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Eventing Nation booted from covering Event in Unionville, PA

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    Originally posted by FrittSkritt View Post
    I'm still in a bit of dismay over some of the ULRs who hve vehemently defended Plantation or [worse], passively defended them by posting photos and mumbling, "It's just a name that doesn't allude to THOSE types of plantations! They gave money to inner-city charities!" [aka the "My best friend is black" defense ]

    OTOH, Doug Payne's postings don't surprise me (the articles questioning the severity of COVID-19 and videos of him riding in a ring at home with the Gadsden flag flapping in the background gives you an indication of where he stands politically), but I've seen ULRs quietly upvoting other comments or postings from the over-reactors who are acting like Nutella's been banned from existence and dogs have been cancelled.
    You do accept that those ULRs are also just trying to make a living, I presume. Owners, vendors, local hotels and restaurants all benefit from events at Plantation Field. This is not an insignificant loss.


      The letter posted seems sort of generic. The LO just says that his family was being viewed as racist, but it doesn't say anything about that view being caused by EN or by the request for name change. Maybe his family is being viewed as racist because of some of the relationships they have with certain others?
      Rhode Islands are red;
      North Hollands are blue.
      Sorry my thoroughbreds
      Stomped on your roo. Originally Posted by pAin't_Misbehavin' :


        For the people on this thread who are unfamiliar with the property in question:

        It is literally a field. Open space surrounded by farms, farmettes and homes. This is not an estate or farm. No one lives on the property. There are the ruins of an old house from the late 19th, early 20th century that was never completed because the owner's wife did not want to live that far out. These ruins make up one of the most iconic and photogenic cross country jumps on the property.

        In addition to PFEE, it is used by the local hunt (Mr. Stewart's Cheshire Hounds. Mr. Walker is a descendent of the Stewart family), local steeplechases or point to points use the property. It has also been used for Tough Mudder events and Hot Air Balloon Festivals, plus a host of other activities. The field is a community treasure and Mr. Walker has been more than gracious in allowing diverse groups access to the property.

        Until recently, the field had no electricity, that was installed by PFEE and paid for by PFEE, which also recently installed WiFi.

        There is no running water - Porta Potties for everyone.

        For the people who ask, why can't someone else take over the lease? PFEE paid for & owns: The Electricity, The Internet, The Jumps. So when PFEE leaves, those important items for hosting a horse trial go with them. Very few start up events would be willing to front the cash to put all that back in (in the UNLIKELY event that Mr. Walker would let someone else take on an eventing lease as a result of this fiasco.) It has taken over 20 years for PFEE to get to this place in its existence. In the early years, it was mostly borrowed skid fences, portable generators and working out of horse trailers.

        For those who speculate that Mr. Walker got petulant earlier this week when EN published its now infamous piece, this has been going on since the early summer. EN did not call Mr. Walker racist, but it did threaten to go to the non-equestrian media. That was a direct threat. It was uncalled for and I believe EN overstepped its bounds. You can believe passionately in a cause but threatening others will not win them to your side, no matter how right you are. Whether you believe the name should be changed or not, EN came into this and knowingly poked the bear. First rule of combat, know your opponent. EN has had extensive access to PF and the Walker family in the past. It should have known better. EN came into this not with cudgel, but with a howitzer, expecting capitulation. EN got the nuclear response, and now everyone is fighting the wrong fight. EN blundered, badly.


          Originally posted by Albion View Post

          First of all, it's not simply a Hindu symbol. When I lived in Taiwan ~15 years ago, it was common for vegetarian cafeterias (meaning ones run by Buddhists or Daoists) to display a swastika (facing the OTHER way) to signal they were vegetarian. Frankly, it was jarring when I moved there, because a swastika DOES mean a certain thing in Western culture, thanks to WWII. Now, would I confuse your average Daoist, Taiwanese, vegetarian cafeteria owner with a Nazi? No, I would not. However, if said cafeteria owner was spouting white nationalist propaganda & displaying an actual Nazi flag, would I? Yes, of course. As far as I'm aware, plenty of people have been careful about their non-Nazi-related-uses of the swastika in Western countries where the immediate thought - even among reasoned, educated people - is 'NAZI!' Seriously, blame the racist eugenicists for casting a taint on the symbol, not quote "woke" unquote people. PS: I'm fluent in Chinese, am a professor, and have issues with how the USC professor was treated.

          As for the comment about lovely UK properties like Badminton - yeah, actually, EN should probably also be boycotting them. The Western world needs to come to terms with what colonialism & Western capitalism has wrought. OTOH, who gives a shit about a minor publication about a sport most people don't care about? We're all rich people on horses. (yes, I realize that not everyone who has a horse (I live in Montana) or who competes is "rich," but wow, our discretionary spending is a lot higher than most mere mortals, to say the least.)
          Thank you. I had heard the swastika symbol was also used in traditions other than Hindu, but since I didn't have direct knowledge of that, I didn't want to make that assertion.

          All of these situations--the word "plantation," the USC professor, and the swastika symbol--are reminders that the first step should always be to educate ourselves about the varying contexts in which words and symbols are used before leaping to a conclusion of racism.


            Originally posted by RacetrackReject View Post
            The letter posted seems sort of generic. The LO just says that his family was being viewed as racist, but it doesn't say anything about that view being caused by EN or by the request for name change. Maybe his family is being viewed as racist because of some of the relationships they have with certain others?
            So........someone comes up to you, on your property, and tells you they think your farm name is offensive and racist. A farm name that has been around for what, 80 years including 20 years as a USEA Event without any complaints or problems. We may never know the exact wording of the exchanges that took place, but if the Walkers say they felt smeared as racists, do you think they're lying? Is all of their anger just some kind of made up bullish*t? Could be, but that doesn't make much sense. What is crystal clear is that the Walkers were so angry, so upset, that they told the USEA and EN to go f*ck themselves and they regret ever letting us on their property. Reminds me of how Richland was handled. The very generous owners there were so angry at how they were being treated by USEA they shut that incredible venue down permanently, dismantled all of their XC jumps and sold the whole lot off. We are totally dependent on the generosity of these landowners for our sport, perhaps they are all unreasonable, selfish pricks, perhaps it's all their fault. Or maybe we need someone at USEA that has far, far better diplomatic and people skills than what we have now. I have to wonder what other property owners are thinking, those who are currently running shows or thinking about running shows in the future. If it were me, I would not touch the USEA with a 50 foot pole.


              Originally posted by enjoytheride View Post

              Did I say otherwise? Did anything I have said indicate that?

              The post I quoted clearly said that the land owners feelings don't matter. So ask yourself the question.
              I'm sorry you took my question defensively. Why did you take it that way?

              I have asked myself the question already, many times.
              Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO


                Originally posted by Texarkana View Post

                I'm sorry you took my question defensively. Why did you take it that way?

                I have asked myself the question already, many times.
                Because I feel like anyone saying "maybe the landowner isn't a racist, maybe the way he was approached made him feel he was being accused without merit and that caused him to clam up" is immediately labeled a racist.

                Change is hard. There's a way to address tradition and get acceptance and change without using a hammer.


                  Originally posted by enjoytheride View Post

                  Because I feel like anyone saying "maybe the landowner isn't a racist, maybe the way he was approached made him feel he was being accused without merit and that caused him to clam up" is immediately labeled a racist.

                  Change is hard. There's a way to address tradition and get acceptance and change without using a hammer.
                  Did I say those words?
                  Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO


                    It may be the worst work EN has ever done. Do you think Equestrian suppliers will be keen to advertise with them, or other venues welcome them ? Every one of them must be giving thought to who is next.
                    ... _. ._ .._. .._


                      I think a number of us are interested in EN providing data regarding what percentage of their staff are people of color as well as a listing of all the Inclusion and Diversity activities they sponsor and participate in. I don't think the Walkers overreacted at all. Based on some of the reactions I read on Social Media I would be very concerned about some idiot deciding I was racist and doing some serious damage to my property or family.


                        Apologies - I'm going to quote you in reverse order because one answer feeds into another.

                        Originally posted by TooManyBays View Post
                        If EN was truly this concerned over the name, they should have privately contacted the venue first to express their concerns.
                        They did. That's how they got barred from attending the event. They reached out privately and said that it was uncomfortable for them to publish "plantation" all over their website, and asked if the venue had a preference for alternative nomenclature (ex. FEI uses "Unionville", etc). The event responded and told them not to darken the doorstep.

                        Originally posted by TooManyBays View Post
                        Eh... I think they were trying to start drama for views.
                        For instance, before the official change many orgs have decided to not call the Washington redskins that. But they didn’t release an article publicly shaming the owner of the team. They just started calling them the Washington football team.
                        That appears to have been EN's intention (to transition to alternative nomenclature), except when they reached out privately to discuss that they were barred from attending the event. I fully expect that site to cover that event, as does much of the readership, so that's when EN was forced to publish an explanation of why they would not be present. And thus you have the current fire storm.


                          Our of curiosity... are any of the folks who are all over the internet providing explanations and excuses for this mess of a situation, by explaining how insensitive and offensive the word “Plantation” is to people of color given American history, etc, and how this change to a private property owner’s chosen farm name was necessary to avoid offending and hurting people of color... because we need to make this sport more inclusive and diverse in order for it to survive...

                          Are any of you folks planning on competing at Morven Park anytime soon?

                          Because if you are... all I can say is...

                          The SELECTIVE OUTRAGE is truly SURREAL.

                          Morven Park is a beautiful place, run by a nonprofit, funded by generous donors for decades, and it benefits the equestrian community in the mid Atlantic area across the board. I have no desire to see anything there “canceled”... but honestly... I find it the height of ironic and STUPID that this whole controversy is stirring around Plantation Field because of its name, and all of the folks talking about it have been justifying their talk online by lecturing others on sensitivity and racism and American history with respect to slavery... yet they have not one word or concern to mention about Morven Park... an event in the same area happening in a few weeks less than two hours from Plantation Field that is actually taking place at...

                          wait for it...

                          A place that was once a plantation. Where slaves lived and labored and suffered. Look it up.

                          This sort of irrational frenzy is why many folks are tired of social media firestorms like this. Because they are divisive and ugly... and not constructive.

                          And often, poorly thought out.


                            I have sat on a reply, worked and reworked it, over and over again since this thread started.

                            I am all for change and progress. I agree Plantation is a word that is inherently tied to racist roots. I see why the name ought to be changed. I grew up very close to Plymouth(Plimouth) Plantation in MA where that word has been entirely bled of its racist connotation, and even then I always thought "Plantation" as the event name was a bit off the mark.

                            But damn if I will ever support EN - I liked them very little before this fiasco, and now I like them even less. I am so at a loss for words. From the information provided, EN approached this delicate situation with all the finesse of a chainsaw.

                            There are ways to enact and effect change, that do not involve a devastating fallout for an entire group of people. Really.
                            AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012


                              To all of you so woke and outraged...

                              Where were you a year ago?

                              The connotation of the word plantation didn't happen in the last 3 months.


                                Originally posted by Equibrit View Post
                                It may be the worst work EN has ever done. Do you think Equestrian suppliers will be keen to advertise with them, or other venues welcome them ? Every one of them must be giving thought to who is next.
                                Without question. They have somehow snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. I cannot believe this couldn’t have been done in some manner. Christ Almighty even the Israelis and Arabs are getting on....


                                  EN wasn't barred from attending PF because they said they would not use the name, they were barred because they threatened the owner of the property with going to the media. If EN were so worried about about not using the name, they would have attended, not used the name, and then could have written an editorial stating that they were uncomfortable using the name, so they opted for the style used by the FEI, which calls the event Unionville. That would have opened a dialogue and would have been the appropriate method for a media publication. Instead they opted to go to war with Plantation Field Equestrian Events and the landowner. Mr. Walker has deep pockets, he could have fought it out, but eventing IS NOT HIS THING. He doesn't care about the sport. He basically let PFEE use the property as a favor to a long term neighbor. He doesn't need the grief that has been dumped on him for the last few months, so he withdraws his support. He could have told PFEE that this weekend event was off, which would have been the only thing that would have been worse.


                                    If EN did, in fact, give the landowners and organizers an ultimatum and threaten to bring negative coverage in the mainstream media if the event name wasn’t officially changed, that is going way too far and the landowner’s reaction is more understandable.

                                    I think it’s fine for them to let the organizers know they have concerns about the name, and for them to decide to refer to the event on their website by its location instead, and publish an editorial talking about said concerns. Making threats to try to force a change, on the other hand, is not taking the high road.


                                      If we're talking about words and changing every word that has a potentially offensive connotation, how about 'Master'? Google the definition of the word and you will see that the very first definition is as follows below. Surely that is just as offensive as 'plantation'.

                                      1. 1.
                                        a man who has people working for him, especially servants or slaves.
                                        "he acceded to his master's wishes"

                                      Does this mean that we are all going to burn our Master's Degrees? Petition Noelle Floyd to drop the name MasterClass? We're going to need come up with another word for 'schoolmaster'? How about the USEA classification of Beginner Novice Master Amateur? Surely that should go too. I agree that we must be very mindful and sensitive to wording things that could offend others. Offending the landowners who have graciously allowed the PF horse trial to run for 20 years on their property just to make a point is inexcusable.


                                        Leslie Wylie has committed the number one cardinal sin of journalist: She became the story.

                                        EN has committed the number one cardinal sin of journalism: They lost even the pretense of non bias reporting and coverage and became activists.

                                        You don’t get to be both activist and journalist—at least not ethically. Activists don’t get free admission, access to press areas with the perks that go with it, special access to restricted areas and to participants. An event (of any type) grants journalists access and in exchange should have a reasonable expectation of fair and balanced coverage. Nothing close to that exchange happened here.

                                        It doesn’t matter whether you agree or disagree with their motivation. The fact here is they left honest, ethical journalism way behind in an effort to use their platform to bludgeon people who wouldn’t succumb to their demands. That’s flat out wrong. This isn’t "growth," its autophagy.

                                        I predict that EveningNation has jumped the shark. One can hope at least.


                                          Originally posted by riderboy View Post
                                          Christ Almighty even the Israelis and Arabs are getting on....
                                          Er - not necessarily. They were bribed with EA-18G Growler jets and F-35 fighter planes. That should keep life interesting in the Middle East.
                                          It's a typical Netanyahu move; you arm one sect of muslims, who can then go drop stuff on another sect. Orange man fell for it
                                          ... _. ._ .._. .._