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Eventing Nation booted from covering Event in Unionville, PA

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    Originally posted by cutter99 View Post

    I believe EN thought they were being woke and hip and taking up the politically correct cause. Journalism can exact change when it does its job of reporting things honestly and correctly. It appears EN forgot they were supposed to be journalists and not activists.
    So sad. I am going to cross my fingers, toes and seye and hope that the land owners decide to let other groups continue to use it in the future. Even if they decide not to host that particular event.

    Comment


      Originally posted by beowulf View Post
      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.
      Another quote for this excellent post.

      I remember when I first happened across EN. My impression was that it was a fan site for eventing. It was so ad laden it took forever to load, and the content wasn't worth waiting for. As it grew and became more comprehensive in its coverage and more significant in the sport, I found myself occasionally going there to find info that I wasn't finding through other channels. However, it was never my first choice - its quasi-journalistic fan girl approach never set well with me.

      If, as a quasi-journalistic entity, EN was uncomfortable with the name of the PF event, they could have decided to call it Unionville and let that be the end of it. Instead, I guess they have made it clear that they see their organization as a platform for change. I hope this is the hill they die on, but I doubt that will happen.

      Comment


        Originally posted by Groom&Taxi View Post

        I have been away from COTH forums since early pandemic. This topic of this thread brought me back, and I haven't read the whole thing yet so forgive me if this has been addressed. My understanding from having looked up results on the FEI web site is that the FEI refers to all events (in all disciplines, I think) by the name of the place where the event is held rather than by any local name.
        This is correct. For several years that I'm aware of, the FEI names competitions by their location. Rolex (or land rover) is listed as "Lexington," Chatt Hills is "Fairburn," etc. The FEI is not trying to be politically correct by calling Plantation Field "Unionville." It's their standard naming system used for all events.

        My only other comment on this matter is that I am glad I quit writing for EN in 2014. I greatly enjoyed writing and developing the site when it was young, but as the site headed in other directions I was pushed aside and decided to step off.
        A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.
        ? Albert Einstein

        ~AJ~

        Comment


          Originally posted by Marigold View Post
          Apologies - I'm going to quote you in reverse order because one answer feeds into another.



          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.



          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.
          Ok, from reading both EN’s post and the resulting responses, it seemed as though EN had not reached out first. Thanks for the clarification

          Comment


            So, I was thinking about this a bit more. How many non-White employees does EN employ? If this is their entire staff, the answer appears to be none.

            https://eventingnation.com/our-team/...nPDF_M0UEIbGns

            It may be time for them to lead by example rather than pointing the finger at others for their business and personal decisions.

            Comment

              Original Poster

              Originally posted by MorganSercu View Post
              So, I was thinking about this a bit more. How many non-White employees does EN employ? If this is their entire staff, the answer appears to be none.

              https://eventingnation.com/our-team/...nPDF_M0UEIbGns

              It may be time for them to lead by example rather than pointing the finger at others for their business and personal decisions.
              This has been answered a few times in the thread. They stated in the comments they have a few employees that are minorities and are actively trying to add more diversity.

              does anyone know if it’s true that EN did threaten go mainstream media if they didn’t change the name? I think that’s an important part of the story if it is true but so far it just seems like a rumour? Any proof?

              Comment


                Originally posted by Jealoushe View Post

                This has been answered a few times in the thread. They stated in the comments they have a few employees that are minorities and are actively trying to add more diversity.

                does anyone know if it’s true that EN did threaten go mainstream media if they didn’t change the name? I think that’s an important part of the story if it is true but so far it just seems like a rumour? Any proof?
                The article from coth says that PFEE board members told them this. Given the aggressive nature of ENs campaign, first contacting USEF, then going around them when it wasnt moving fast enough for them, I'm inclined to believe the PFEE management. EN acted like a bunch of spoiled, entitled toddlers who increased the intensity of their temper tantrum when the previous tactic did not immediately go their way.

                Comment


                  Originally posted by Jealoushe View Post

                  This has been answered a few times in the thread. They stated in the comments they have a few employees that are minorities and are actively trying to add more diversity.

                  does anyone know if it’s true that EN did threaten go mainstream media if they didn’t change the name? I think that’s an important part of the story if it is true but so far it just seems like a rumour? Any proof?
                  Why aren't any minorities on the Staff page? That seems weird. In my company, everyone is on the Staff page. You'd think if they had minority employees they would acknowledge them given their recent focus on diversity issues. Forgive me for not trusting everything EN says, but their story changes so often....who are these minorities and what positions do they hold?

                  I also agree with the immediate poster below me....the EN article today admits he didn't go to the event first (it says John regrets not doing so) and says that he didn't "threaten" anyone, but he doesn't deny EN saying it would go to the mainstream press. Maybe he doesn't think that is a "threat" but the landowner might well see it as such.

                  Comment


                    Originally posted by OverandOnward View Post
                    So I'm gleaning from this and that leaking out in this thread that EN was not first into the pool. That the FEI dropped the name Plantation before EN did. That EN may even have been following the FEI to some extent? Not sure about that, though

                    FEI refers to many (most?) of their competitions in all disciplines by location rather than "xyz festival" or the like show producer's name. https://www.fei.org/events
                    Last edited by banmharcach; Sep. 18, 2020, 05:16 PM. Reason: sorry--see the same info has already been provided.

                    Comment


                      Does anyone know the terms of the lease that the event organizer has/had with the landowner? Although the landowner’s email said he was terminating the lease, most leases have a period for which the lease is in place and only certain clauses under which it can be terminated early. Obviously the event this weekend is still going on. Given all the improvements the organizer has put into the property for the events, I would have thought that they had a long-term lease on the property.

                      Comment


                        Originally posted by Gardenhorse View Post
                        Does anyone know the terms of the lease that the event organizer has/had with the landowner? Although the landowner’s email said he was terminating the lease, most leases have a period for which the lease is in place and only certain clauses under which it can be terminated early. Obviously the event this weekend is still going on. Given all the improvements the organizer has put into the property for the events, I would have thought that they had a long-term lease on the property.
                        Most will be renewable annually, and also have cause provisions allowing immediate termination (which IME usually include something about for cause termination including casting a negative light on the owner, certainly they do in my contracts).

                        I think it was extremely kind of the landowner to not even threaten to shut down the show this weekend. Clearly he knew the organizer and participants already invested a lot in this weekend and he isn't trying to punish them. He also clearly said he would make himself scarce and not cause any problems. Contrary to those who felt he reacted over the top, that shows a lot of consideration for the people who did NOT cause this problem.

                        Comment


                          And the other thing that really chaps my ass is how EN immediately dismisses anyone who doesnt 100% agree with their tactics a racist, as shown in the image above.

                          You don't have to be a racist to feel that they horribly messed up here.
                          Last edited by Manahmanah; Sep. 18, 2020, 06:54 PM.

                          Comment


                            Originally posted by Manahmanah View Post
                            And the other thing that really chaps my ass is how EN immediately dismisses anyone who doesnt 100% agree with their tactics a racist, as shown in the image above.

                            You domt have to be a racist to feel that they horribly messed up here.
                            I'm actively anti racist, I'll spare you the supporting details, but it is true. And this mess is 100% ENs fault for pushing too hard too fast and just wanting their way no matter what.

                            Comment


                              You could take a look here; https://www.facebook.com/MajorLeagueEventing/
                              ... _. ._ .._. .._

                              Comment


                                It's weird to see people say that EN is throwing a spoiled temper tantrum when the land owners are the ones punishing everyone for the actions of ONE publication... they could've just ignored it?? No one was going to force them to change their name.... Like you really don't see the double standard here between one entity trying to do the right thing and one entity throwing an absolute fit for no really good reason? I also wholeheartedly wish that people could take the time learn what the First Amendment ACTUALLY says... it has nothing to do with this situation whatsoever lol.

                                The bottom line is, the equestrian world is so hilariously sheltered from the real world that it's actually sad to see how big of a deal this is to EVERYONE involved. Have a lil' perspective and take ten chill pills, everyone!

                                Comment


                                  Originally posted by katherineyyyy View Post
                                  It's weird to see people say that EN is throwing a spoiled temper tantrum when the land owners are the ones punishing everyone for the actions of ONE publication... they could've just ignored it?? No one was going to force them to change their name.... Like you really don't see the double standard here between one entity trying to do the right thing and one entity throwing an absolute fit for no really good reason? I also wholeheartedly wish that people could take the time learn what the First Amendment ACTUALLY says... it has nothing to do with this situation whatsoever lol.

                                  The bottom line is, the equestrian world is so hilariously sheltered from the real world that it's actually sad to see how big of a deal this is to EVERYONE involved. Have a lil' perspective and take ten chill pills, everyone!
                                  EN was threatening to pull in the national media. The landowner generously has supported eventing for 20 years, for no personal benefit.

                                  You really think that threats of bringing the national media is OK, given the current political climate of people burning down buildings and destroying property associated with racism? They do this even when it is not warranted, statues of abolitionists all over the country have been defaced and toppled just because they look like old white dudes. Its very unsurprising that the owner decided he wanted to nothing to do with this sort of attention. He owns the property and is under no obligation to do anything for anyone, coming after him with the torches and pitchforks was a fine way to thank him for 20 years of generosity and sponsorship of the eventing community.

                                  If you had bothered to read the article by COTH, you would see that Boyd cautioned EN that the owner could withdraw permission for the event if they kept pushing so aggressively. EN responded with "there could be worse things for the sport". they knew this was a possible outcome if they didnt pump the brakes and let the negotiations calm down a little. They didnt care, they just stepped on the gas even harder.

                                  Comment


                                    I just wanted to reiterate that my previous posts were in response to people saying that the word "plantation" shouldn't be offensive to anyone because those people don't think it is. We as a modern society need to understand that just because something doesn't offend you doesn't mean no one else should be offended by it. You don't have to agree that the name should be changed, but you need to acknowledge that the name does offend quite a few people, actually, and does have an inherent negative connotation, regardless of the origin in this specific situation.

                                    The "master" definition, therefore a Master's shouldn't be called a Master's, isn't really a relevant example. The word "master" has a ton of very common definitions, only one of which is related to slavery. Plantation is pretty universally (at least to every single person I have asked) associated with slavery and only very rarely a "place that grows trees" (more common for that would be "grove" or "orchard").

                                    The venues on land that were originally plantations also isn't really relevant, you can't change the past and make it so it never was a plantation. You can change the name of a place that, tbh, doesn't really sound like it was an actual plantation anyways (could be wrong, maybe it was, no idea).

                                    As far as the owner canceling the event, I do agree that it's his property and he can do what he wants.

                                    As for if it was an overreaction or not...I really just don't understand what the whole story is now. Where are the places saying EN had been bullying PF into changing? All I have seen is that they wanted to have a discussion, that they said they wouldn't be using the name Plantation to refer to the venue anymore (which I completely understand). I never saw a thing about them threatening to go to the media or trying to bully PF into changing, I can't tell if that's true or just people interpreting things that way because it goes along with how they already feel (really easy to fall into that). I'm not saying its not there somewhere, I just haven't seen that, where have yall been seeing that? If its true, then yeah obviously EN didn't go about it the right way either. Though that doesn't change that the sentiment is still sound.


                                    One thing I don't understand...the place was originally called Logan's (or whatever the grandfather/great-grandfather/whoever name was, I don't remember). Would it not be a good compromise to change it to that? That would honor its history and origin way better than a "plantation" built by boy scouts planting a bunch of bushes or whatever, anyways.

                                    Comment


                                      Originally posted by RainWeasley View Post
                                      I never saw a thing about them threatening to go to the media or trying to bully PF into changing, I can't tell if that's true or just people interpreting things that way because it goes along with how they already feel (really easy to fall into that). I'm not saying its not there somewhere, I just haven't seen that, where have yall been seeing that? If its true, then yeah obviously EN didn't go about it the right way either. Though that doesn't change that the sentiment is still sound.
                                      It's in the COTH article.

                                      "As they proceeded, Wylie and EN owner John Thier knew the loss of the event might be the outcome. In an email shared with the Chronicle, dated Aug. 28, Olympic rider and PFEE board member Boyd Martin wrote, “The worst case outcome for us in the Eventing world is that if the landowner gets so offended with this issue that he decides to kick the event off his land and we lose the venue for the sport we love and need.” Thier responded, “There are many worse outcomes for Eventing in the US than losing the PFI venue, such as the sport not standing up for what is right.”

                                      PFEE board members also said EN invoked the threat of mainstream media coverage if the event did not change its name."

                                      Comment


                                        Originally posted by Jealoushe View Post

                                        This has been answered a few times in the thread. They stated in the comments they have a few employees that are minorities and are actively trying to add more diversity.

                                        does anyone know if it’s true that EN did threaten go mainstream media if they didn’t change the name? I think that’s an important part of the story if it is true but so far it just seems like a rumour? Any proof?
                                        But no one on the masthead or featured on the editorial pages are non-white. Again, if they want to point out problems in other areas they should still examine their own biases and situation. Surely someone on their support staff is an excellent writer, or they could actively recruit.

                                        Big papers, news media and institutions are doing it, surely a smaller, newer and less hidebound publication could accomplish it even more readily. After all, they aren't necessarily looking for someone with a doctorate degree and experience running a lab in a niche field.

                                        Comment


                                          Originally posted by katherineyyyy View Post
                                          It's weird to see people say that EN is throwing a spoiled temper tantrum when the land owners are the ones punishing everyone for the actions of ONE publication... they could've just ignored it?? No one was going to force them to change their name.... Like you really don't see the double standard here between one entity trying to do the right thing and one entity throwing an absolute fit for no really good reason? I also wholeheartedly wish that people could take the time learn what the First Amendment ACTUALLY says... it has nothing to do with this situation whatsoever lol.

                                          The bottom line is, the equestrian world is so hilariously sheltered from the real world that it's actually sad to see how big of a deal this is to EVERYONE involved. Have a lil' perspective and take ten chill pills, everyone!
                                          Uhhh... in the real world, a substantial plot of land that is cleared and suitable for an upper level cross country course in a location like Chester County, PA costs MILLIONS OF DOLLARS.

                                          In the real world, folks who spend hours organizing and holding events at a place like this do not get rich. They do it for love of the sport. It’s thankless work. Maintenance involved in creating a nice, well maintained facility? Uhhh... that’s a massive headache and super expensive. Year in and year out.

                                          In the real world, lawsuits in dangerous sports like eventing are an ever present concern for event organizers... and property owners. Carrying adequate liability coverage when it comes to hosting competitions at the upper levels? Yeah... in the real world that requires DEEP POCKETS and the cost just keeps on going up, year in and year out.

                                          But hey... the folks organizing the event, and the landowner, still worked on putting together an amazing event year in and year out at a special location in Area II. The organizers could have devoted their time and efforts to other endeavors, that probably would have been far more personally profitable. And the land owner CERTAINLY could have sold off all this open space and prime land years ago,and had it subdivided so that debelopers could build McMansions. He likely would have gotten VERY RICH if he had made that choice 20 years ago.

                                          But guess what? They supported the sport of eventing instead. And created a venue that was wonderful and special for the community involved in this sport.

                                          And then... in June of 2020 (in the midst of a highly contentious presidential political cycle and a national outcry on various issues related to race relations)... a small publication focused only on the “niche” sport of eventing, which derives most of its revenue from clicks and advertising launched into a controversy with all these folks over...

                                          the name of the event.

                                          Did EN ask the USEA area II chair person if any competitors who had attended this event had provided the USEA with formal feedback concerning an experience related to racial discrimination and feeling unwelcome onsite at this event?

                                          Well... apparently not. Hmmm. That’s odd.

                                          Did EN ask the landowner or longtime organizers about the actual history behind the name of this event... you know... the family history related to the property that had been held by one family for multiple generations?

                                          Apparently not.

                                          Nope... the brilliant young minds that call themselves “editors” at EN (a social media outlet that revolves around click based advertising strategies) actually decided to TELL a multigenerational land owner in Chester County, PA, and longtime organizers of an International Event that the name of this Event was “insensitive” and should be changed.

                                          When this strategy proved unproductive (shocking... I know...), someone at some point told either an organizer or the landowner that they might take this whole issue to the national media and the court of public opinion...

                                          at which point... the land owner said to everyone...

                                          We are done here. Time for you folks to leave my beautiful property after this season. You all are an ungrateful rude bunch.

                                          That’s how this sort of thing works in the real world when a ridiculous click based niche sport social media outlet tries to get in the face of a wealthy, multi generational, Ivy League educated land owner in Chester County, and dictate to them what that land owners property should or shouldn’t be named.

                                          Mr. Walker doesn’t NEED anyone on his property. Nor does he NEED headaches like this. EN does need clicks... and I guess they got them via this ridiculous episode.

                                          The USEA however... it certainly DOES rely upon support from people like Mr. Walker who own large tracts of desirable land in locations like Chester County PA, and the organizers of PFEE for the sport to continue on successfully.

                                          In my opinion... it doesn’t seem to really matter for EN that they bit the proverbial hand that feeds the sport. But it sure does matter that the USEA didn’t take a more proactive role in managing this debacle, and preventing this meltdown.

                                          At this point, serious folks should ignore click based outlets who are continuing to make noise about this... and turn their attention to leadership at the USEA and ask, “what happened with this situation, who was involved, and what communications went on?”

                                          That’s what serious folks in the real world are actually thinking about this whole thing.

                                          But hey... others can keep on debating the use of the word Plantation if they want to. As if that is going to solve issues related to racial disparity in our country... or help grow the sport of eventing.

                                          unreal.

                                          Hope all you social justice warriors concerned about sensitivity have fun at Morven Park in a few weeks... as apparently you hypocrites (or blithely ignorant nincompoops) have no qualms about that venue.
                                          Last edited by Virginia Horse Mom; Sep. 18, 2020, 07:01 PM. Reason: Typos from autocorrect

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