Matt Bruce (cw: sexual assault, pedophilia)

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Matt Bruce (cw: sexual assault, pedophilia)

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon May 14, 2018 8:46 pm

Attached are screenshots that came into my possession where Timothy Woodward tells somebody else that Matt Bruce, current NAQT member who read the Small School National Championship game, admitted to him he is "very remorseful" for having sexually assaulted [a woman while at Boston University]. The name which I blotted out is a person who I contacted, and produced an extensive statement corroborating the story (including the name of the victim, which I won't be repeating obviously). I reported this to NAQT as the evidence came to me throughout the last year, and Matt Bruce remains a member of an organization that is entrusted with the care of minors and college students without having been disciplined or removed from contact with students.

edited to remove identifying details - JP
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Re: Matt Bruce

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Tue May 15, 2018 4:01 pm

The staff has decided to reopen this thread for discussion. Due to the sensitive nature of the subject at hand, it will be moderated more strictly than most. Please do not make flippant or unserious posts, as this is neither the time or place. Speculation regarding the identity of any alleged victim or victims will not be tolerated. Please also keep in mind the board rules regarding legal threats, and if you have any questions or concerns, don't hesitate to contact me or another staff member.
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Re: Matt Bruce

Post by Important Bird Area » Tue May 15, 2018 4:34 pm

In November 2017 two community members alerted NAQT to allegations made against Matt Bruce, concerning an incident that supposedly took place in the late 1990s. Neither of the people who contacted us had direct knowledge to share; instead, they were reporting claims made by others. Because of the seriousness of the allegations, I began to investigate the charges that were made.

In late December, I was made aware of the screenshots in Charlie's post above. In early January, I spoke with Tim, and asked him if he was willing to share information about the conversation with NAQT. Tim provided the full text of the conversation, which included his statement that "I don't really have enough knowledge to rightfully say anything" about the allegations against Matt. Tim also told me:
As clarification, my acknowledgement that Matt had admitted to unwanted sexual advances comes from his own FB posts where he has lamented and expressed regret for being socially awkward and not knowing how to interact with women when he was younger, specifically in college. I assumed that the use of “mouth rape” was a slanted way of saying that Matt had attempted to kiss someone who wasn’t expecting it, i.e. the kind of thing that could come from a misunderstanding and not something that was forcible or violent.

As the allegation is hearsay and apparently from many years ago, it didn’t seem like something that I should respond to, nor did I need—nor would it be prudent--to pass along.
I also contacted a number of people in an effort to determine whether there was a first-hand source of the allegations. From what I could determine, all of the charges stem from a single source (who is not the alleged victim). I reached out to this source several times, but they did not appear to be interested in speaking with me. To this date, no one with contemporary knowledge of the alleged incident has spoken with NAQT. If anyone does have such knowledge, we would encourage them to share with us what they know.
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Re: Matt Bruce

Post by Rabbinator » Tue May 15, 2018 5:17 pm

I am extremely alarmed at a couple things here.

1. While Charlie has blotted some things out, the additional information given makes it far too easy to figure out who the victim was which violates their privacy. We absolutely cannot allow things like this. The protection of the victim is very important and if we don't do more to protect them, it will prevent others from coming forward about misconduct for fear of being tracked down.

2. Sexual assault/harassment is a VERY serious thing. It is not something to be aired openly on a board by someone who heard it through the grapevine. There are better ways to go about this and, as a result of this, those better ways need to be made even better and more obvious.

3. If we create a community where every person who has made a mistake is put in blast, the other people in the community will not be willing to admit to their mistakes nor can we help them to grow from them. While all of these cases are serious, it's very true that some are more serious than others. Something done years ago in college is not the same as someone doing something now, nor is it the same as possibly doing something to children. If we are going to create a safe community we must be careful of our words and actions, because they cause ripples throughout our entire community.

4. I don't think I'm wrong when I say that most women in quizbowl have experienced some form of misoginy or harassment, whether it be from outside our community or from within it. We must create a way to address these issues where the perpetrators are held accountable but can also learn from what they've done. In some cases this may constitute a police report or a ban, in others a suspension and/or statement. And I think a lot of that needs to be left up to the victim, not to random people who have heard things third or fourth hand.

Protecting our community and the kids within it is very important and should not be taken likely. That means we need to be sure that we are setting our best examples, going through proper channels, and being mindful of the information we are making available.
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Re: Matt Bruce

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Tue May 15, 2018 5:40 pm

The blotted out name is not the victim, it's a different source who interacted with the victim.
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Re: Matt Bruce

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Tue May 15, 2018 5:46 pm

2. Sexual assault/harassment is a VERY serious thing. It is not something to be aired openly on a board by someone who heard it through the grapevine. There are better ways to go about this and, as a result of this, those better ways need to be made even better and more obvious.
I pursued the chain of command at the company I was working for at the time, with more evidence than what I'm presenting here, after having been sent these screenshots and an extensive narrative that was truly horrifying, and after having followed up with multiple avenues of research into this information, none of which fundamentally disputed its veracity, and nothing happened.
Charlie Dees, North Kansas City HS '08
"I won't say more because I know some of you parse everything I say." - Jeremy Gibbs

"At one TJ tournament the neg prize was the Hampshire College ultimate frisbee team (nude) calender featuring one Evan Silberman. In retrospect that could have been a disaster." - Harry White

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Re: Matt Bruce

Post by Rabbinator » Tue May 15, 2018 5:50 pm

Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) wrote:The blotted out name is not the victim, it's a different source who interacted with the victim.
Well you did a shit job of protecting the actual victim when you decided to post the information you did. :)
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Re: Matt Bruce

Post by Rabbinator » Tue May 15, 2018 5:54 pm

Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) wrote:
2. Sexual assault/harassment is a VERY serious thing. It is not something to be aired openly on a board by someone who heard it through the grapevine. There are better ways to go about this and, as a result of this, those better ways need to be made even better and more obvious.
I pursued the chain of command at the company I was working for at the time, with more evidence than what I'm presenting here, after having been sent these screenshots and an extensive narrative that was truly horrifying, and after having followed up with multiple avenues of research into this information, none of which fundamentally disputed its veracity, and nothing happened.
Unsure what company that is, but if they did nothing you could have brought it to the attention of the board administrators before creating such an ill thought out post.

Your intentions may be good, but your execution was not. I recommend editing your original post to delete information that could be used to track down the victim, and if you're not satisfied with how certain companies have handled what you've made them aware of, alert other appropriate people privately. Coming on here insinuating with little to no provided proof that Matt Bruce sexually assaulted anyone is libel, insinuating that he poses a danger to minors is alarmist, and not speaking with the board administrators in how to go about making your concerns public is irresponsible.

If the accusations are true and there is a threat to welfare here, obviously it needs to be taken care of. But you seem to have publicized the bare minimum to cause a stink, but not enough to make a difference in anybody's safety or well being.
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Re: Matt Bruce

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Tue May 15, 2018 6:08 pm

(The opinions expressed in this post are my own, and are independent of my role as an NAQT writer/editor)

Irrespective of the very, very serious allegations made above, Matt seems to have a history of making what appear to be masturbation jokes about his six-year old son on social media and public posting about whether he would have intercourse with a celebrity who just turned 18. If I were running a high school tournament, I personally would not want Matt anywhere near it.
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Re: Matt Bruce

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Tue May 15, 2018 6:38 pm

I in fact welcome Bunnie's perspective (although I dispute certain details of it) as symptoms of the fact that there is so little quizbowl can do other than have a whisper network, and when somebody is told a series of incredibly disturbing criminal allegations, the nature of which make that person deep in their core feel they can't in good conscience sit silently on this information forever, the only recourse available is to either report the subject of the allegations to a whole host of decentralized organizations, one of which they are a member of and whose self-interest is to protect themselves, or else to spread that information via the whisper network. There is no obvious authority to take recourse with, and in that absence one is left to navigate the way forward using their own sense of right and wrong. My sense was that this information suddenly appearing in my inbox last fall was far too serious to not pursue further research (and all of the research left me horrified, and convinced this was far more than just some clueless quizbowler making clumsy advances at a girl), as an employee it was my responsibility to report to the upper echelons of the company, as a former high school coach finding out this person was not sidelined by the company in public appearances around students it was my right to feel horrified and outraged, and as somebody who ceased to work for that company, it was now something that would make me be able to sleep a little better at night making the community aware of something that had already been whispered about for decades. I never revealed any identifying information about the victim, and the closest thing to that is blotting out the name of a source, who I don't believe for a second you could actually figure out from the screenshot I posted. Posting the other research I did would put other people in a far more compromised position, so I chose not to do so. All of this is destined to be flawed because this is a new territory being navigated, but until something better comes along I know that this is something I couldn't not act on.
Charlie Dees, North Kansas City HS '08
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Re: Matt Bruce

Post by Rabbinator » Tue May 15, 2018 8:15 pm

Jesus Christ Charlie how many female [people fit the description in your original post]?? Are you that dense that you think I'm here to sweep shit under the rug and whisper about rape in back alleys instead of just legitimately worried that victims will be dredged up because of your shitty attempt at anonymity?

I'm glad you were shaken to your fucking core, but don't pretend you were trying to do some sort of great justice by jumping on here. If you read beyond what you wanted to read you'd find my post actually includes many points as to how to avoid these open secrets without jumping to post on the boards. You know children can read these, right? Children that don't always think about not tracking people down and asking then inappropriate questions? You're not showing any respect for the victim so don't pretend you are.

People like you are why some of us stay quiet and refuse to come forward.

Edit: To add on to the above, don't try to blame the fact that Quizbowl is decentralized for your wanting to post on the boards. You've been sitting on this for months? Great. You could have assembled a group of influential Quizbowl people in an email or group chat and emailed your concerns all at once so nobody would sweep it under the rug. You may have done this for the right reasons but you did it in the wrong way and you need to own that.

edited to remove identifying details - JP
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Re: Matt Bruce

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Tue May 15, 2018 8:32 pm

The board staff has the power to edit out information they don't see fit to have on their website, and while I strive to exercise my own reasoned judgement about how much the information I have needs to be filtered, if they differ with my judgement it would also set a good precedent were they to decide to wield that power on their own, given that there is obviously a swelling undercurrent of quizbowl discussion that is dissatisfied with the status quo of open secrets and no clear path forward on how to dispel it.
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Re: Matt Bruce

Post by Rabbinator » Tue May 15, 2018 8:35 pm

Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) wrote:The board staff has the power to edit out information they don't see fit to have on their website, and while I strive to exercise my own reasoned judgement about how much the information I have needs to be filtered, if they differ with my judgement it would also set a good precedent were they to decide to wield that power on their own, given that there is obviously a swelling undercurrent of quizbowl discussion that is dissatisfied with the status quo of open secrets and no clear path forward on how to dispel it.
I call on the admins to further censor Charlie's post to protect the alleged victim and to enact proper protocol for how to deal with these situations, including but not limited to how to properly protect a victims identity.

Charlie, pawning this off on the admins is a low way to go. Do better and be better or don't do or be anything. If you don't understand how you've risked the victim's identity with what you've posted then you're not smart enough to play Quizbowl.

Edit: Admins beat me to it. Thank you, and thank you for going ahead and editing mine to reflect the OP. :)
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Re: Matt Bruce

Post by jonpin » Tue May 15, 2018 8:38 pm

Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) wrote:The board staff has the power to edit out information they don't see fit to have on their website, and while I strive to exercise my own reasoned judgement about how much the information I have needs to be filtered, if they differ with my judgement it would also set a good precedent were they to decide to wield that power on their own, given that there is obviously a swelling undercurrent of quizbowl discussion that is dissatisfied with the status quo of open secrets and no clear path forward on how to dispel it.
In fact, I was "wielding that power" at just about the same time you were making this post. I very much support having information like this in the public sphere, but Bunnie is absolutely correct that the amount of detail in your original post regarding the identity of the victim was more than would be wise to have out there. As such, I have removed it (as well as removing the corresponding text from a later post in the thread). I would like to remind everyone what Rob said earlier:
Auks Ran Ova wrote:The staff has decided to reopen this thread for discussion. Due to the sensitive nature of the subject at hand, it will be moderated more strictly than most. Please do not make flippant or unserious posts, as this is neither the time or place. Speculation regarding the identity of any alleged victim or victims will not be tolerated. Please also keep in mind the board rules regarding legal threats, and if you have any questions or concerns, don't hesitate to contact me or another staff member.
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Re: Matt Bruce

Post by Rabbinator » Tue May 15, 2018 8:43 pm

And for what it's worth, maybe instead of continuing to fixate on this whisper network we could actually be coming up with solutions. We could come up with a way to report these things? There's a lot of blasting here with no way to fix any of this. So let's get out shit together and come up with a solution that doesn't feel bad.
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Re: Matt Bruce

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Tue May 15, 2018 8:50 pm

Rabbinator wrote:And for what it's worth, maybe instead of continuing to fixate on this whisper network we could actually be coming up with solutions. We could come up with a way to report these things? There's a lot of blasting here with no way to fix any of this. So let's get out shit together and come up with a solution that doesn't feel bad.
As Alex mentioned here, representatives of the game's major organizations are working on developing a solution for this as we speak.
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Re: Matt Bruce

Post by Rabbinator » Tue May 15, 2018 8:51 pm

Auks Ran Ova wrote:
Rabbinator wrote:And for what it's worth, maybe instead of continuing to fixate on this whisper network we could actually be coming up with solutions. We could come up with a way to report these things? There's a lot of blasting here with no way to fix any of this. So let's get out shit together and come up with a solution that doesn't feel bad.
As Alex mentioned here, representatives of the game's major organizations are working on developing a solution for this as we speak.
How can the rest of the community be involved in this?
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Re: Matt Bruce

Post by Cheynem » Tue May 15, 2018 9:27 pm

I'm not sure if more statements from NAQT are coming, but I find the (helpful) statement Jeff posted to be somewhat abrupt. I realize they could not confirm the hearsay account. But what ultimately did NAQT conclude? Is this still an "open investigation"? Was the matter resolved to NAQT's satisfaction? Did the fact that Matt Bruce continued to be publicly prominent at NAQT tournaments during this reflect anything?
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Re: Matt Bruce

Post by ninjernacci » Tue May 15, 2018 11:20 pm

Can I request a content warning on this thread (either from the admins or from the creator), or at least on the OP? I feel like this thread is dealing with things that are 100% not good for some people to see.
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Re: Matt Bruce

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Wed May 16, 2018 2:56 am

ninjernacci wrote:Can I request a content warning on this thread (either from the admins or from the creator), or at least on the OP? I feel like this thread is dealing with things that are 100% not good for some people to see.
Seems reasonable; I've added one.
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Re: Matt Bruce (cw: sexual assault)

Post by Rabbinator » Thu May 17, 2018 3:54 am

I think it's important that we have some individuals who are as impartial as possible do an investigation here as well, examining the sources from Charlie and others as well as contacting Matt and anyone who can confirm or deny or shed some light on the situation from back then. I would also be very interested to hear what NAQT found and hoe they ended up at their conclusion.

How can we go about starting this procedure as soon as possible?
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Re: Matt Bruce (cw: sexual assault)

Post by Cheynem » Thu May 17, 2018 12:30 pm

Yes, I think what NAQT still needs to explain/clarify:

1. The status of any investigation into Matt Bruce (sounds like they concluded their investigation, but this was never made totally clear)
2. What, if anything, they plan on doing in response to the accusations
3. Making a public announcement about how people can report similar examples of misconduct and what the process for that is

3. of course is something that probably every quizbowl organization needs to do (and I think PACE at least is working on that). You can also debate if NAQT, PACE, or other organizations should publicly (or at least semi-publicly) share a "misconduct list"--i.e., if staffers have been banned for serious displays of misconduct (especially involving harassment or violence), I think this should be at a bare minimum relayed to other organizations but also arguably publicly announced--these are people who could staff or play local or regional tournaments as well.
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Re: Matt Bruce (cw: sexual assault)

Post by Rabbinator » Thu May 17, 2018 3:29 pm

Cheynem wrote:Yes, I think what NAQT still needs to explain/clarify:

1. The status of any investigation into Matt Bruce (sounds like they concluded their investigation, but this was never made totally clear)
2. What, if anything, they plan on doing in response to the accusations
3. Making a public announcement about how people can report similar examples of misconduct and what the process for that is

3. of course is something that probably every quizbowl organization needs to do (and I think PACE at least is working on that). You can also debate if NAQT, PACE, or other organizations should publicly (or at least semi-publicly) share a "misconduct list"--i.e., if staffers have been banned for serious displays of misconduct (especially involving harassment or violence), I think this should be at a bare minimum relayed to other organizations but also arguably publicly announced--these are people who could staff or play local or regional tournaments as well.
I've been struggling with a good solution to keeping local events informed of people with histories of misconduct, because it becomes a question of "what is serious enough?" And also whether or not the spreading of such information constitutes libel/slander. Would we have just a list of people? Would it include what they have been banned for? What is a bannable offense? These are the questions we need to answer as a community to keep us all safer.
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Re: Matt Bruce (cw: sexual assault)

Post by Important Bird Area » Thu May 17, 2018 10:13 pm

NAQT's officers have decided that Matt Bruce's staff assignment for the 2018 High School National Championship Tournament will consist of statistical and/or control-room tasks that do not involve direct interaction with teams.

Our investigative process that began last winter is still ongoing; we would welcome any additional information that the community would like to share with us.

We have not thus far been able to reach a conclusion regarding the veracity of these allegations; the most direct evidence that we now have is a third-hand report ascribed to a source (not the alleged victim) who is not currently willing to speak to us directly (this is the "extensive narrative" mentioned in Charlie's post from Tuesday afternoon). On that basis alone, we are not willing to censure someone who has specifically denied the allegations in question. However, to minimize the likelihood of disruption to the 2018 HSNCT, we have decided that it will be best to carry out the staffing decision mentioned above.

Please note that we have received no reports of improper behavior on Matt's part at quiz bowl tournaments.

We have not yet made a determination about potential staff roles for Matt at NAQT events in 2019 and beyond. We will re-evaluate his status closer to the spring 2019 tournament season on the basis of the information available to us at that time.

We would like to reiterate that we take these disturbing allegations very seriously, and we would encourage any community members who would like to share additional related information to contact us (please contact both NAQT Vice President of Operations Emily Pike, emily.pike@naqt.com and NAQT Vice President for Logistics Joel Gluskin, joel.gluskin@naqt.com).
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Re: Matt Bruce (cw: sexual assault)

Post by Rabbinator » Fri May 18, 2018 6:02 pm

Are there people from the team around the time of the allegations that can speak to them? Even if it's character witnesses, it's better than just a first person account from the accused and no statement from the alleged victim.
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Re: Matt Bruce (cw: sexual assault)

Post by Important Bird Area » Wed May 23, 2018 10:42 pm

In light of recent reports concerning Matt Bruce's internet writings, NAQT's officers have decided that Matt will not be staffing our 2018 High School National Championship Tournament.

We have an open, ongoing investigation into the allegations concerning Matt. While that investigation remains open, Matt will not be staffing future NAQT events. Members of the community who wish to share additional information related to these allegations are encouraged to contact NAQT (Jeff Hoppes, VP for Communication, jeff.hoppes@naqt.com; Joel Gluskin, VP for Logistics, joel.gluskin@naqt.com; Emily Pike, VP of Operations, emily.pike@naqt.com).
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Re: Matt Bruce (cw: sexual assault)

Post by Rabbinator » Wed May 23, 2018 11:37 pm

Are any of these reports/allegations actually substantiated at this time? Or proven in any way? It's interesting that Matt went from having a background role to not being able to staff. Was this decision made based off public pressure or actual facts one way or the other?
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Re: Matt Bruce (cw: sexual assault)

Post by Auroni » Thu May 24, 2018 12:02 am

Rabbinator wrote:Are any of these reports/allegations actually substantiated at this time? Or proven in any way? It's interesting that Matt went from having a background role to not being able to staff. Was this decision made based off public pressure or actual facts one way or the other?
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Re: Matt Bruce (cw: sexual assault)

Post by Haaaaaaaarry Whiiiiiiiiiite » Thu May 24, 2018 12:13 am

(CW: Pedophilia)
Rabbinator wrote:Are any of these reports/allegations actually substantiated at this time? Or proven in any way? It's interesting that Matt went from having a background role to not being able to staff. Was this decision made based off public pressure or actual facts one way or the other?
There are quite a few somewhat sketchy posts on his blog.
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Re: Matt Bruce (cw: sexual assault)

Post by Amiable Vitriol » Thu May 24, 2018 1:10 pm

Haaaaaaaarry Whiiiiiiiiiite wrote:(CW: Pedophilia)
Rabbinator wrote:Are any of these reports/allegations actually substantiated at this time? Or proven in any way? It's interesting that Matt went from having a background role to not being able to staff. Was this decision made based off public pressure or actual facts one way or the other?
There are quite a few somewhat sketchy posts on his blog.
People on the Discord are continuing to uncover similarly disturbing content. If those leading the NAQT investigation aren't already, the #misconduct channel is a discussion that should be followed. General CW pedophilia, however.
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Re: Matt Bruce (cw: sexual assault)

Post by asakiara » Tue May 29, 2018 2:47 pm

Auroni's already linked, but I think some very specific posts here should really be pointed out.

Christ. Previous CWs apply.
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Re: Matt Bruce (cw: sexual assault)

Post by Cheynem » Wed May 30, 2018 12:48 am

(While I work full-time for NAQT, I am not speaking for the company here.)

I appreciate the difficult situation NAQT is in. This was not an easy or welcome problem to encounter, especially in the middle of nationals season. That said, there's three points/questions I would like NAQT to address as soon as possible:

1. What is the process going forward? Has the investigation into Matt's behavior stopped? Is it still open? What is being taken into consideration (including the blog entries)? What do you see as options? Is Matt going to be allowed to staff future events or work for NAQT in general?

2. Was anyone at NAQT aware of the accusations against Matt or the disturbing content on his blog? If so, do they have any explanation? I'm not asking for anyone to face mob flagellation but some acknowledgement that people besides Matt could have done better as well would be nice.

3. Finally, an opinion. I do not know Matt that well. In my personal interactions with him, he has been pleasant. Thus this is not me having an axe to grind or settling some old score:

I believe it might be best for everyone if Matt moved on from NAQT (or at least became a non-public or active member, if such a thing exists). A lot of the quizbowl community has lost any trust in Matt after these accusations and revelations, and by proxy some trust has been lost in NAQT. The accusations are horrifying--I do not know if they are true or not (they at least deserve some more investigation). But beyond the accusations, the revelations of Matt's blog and some of the public excerpts are also horrifying to me. I have long been aware that Matt overly shares information sometimes in public forums--while there were occasional Facebook posts I found somewhat inappropriate, I didn't think a ton of it.

The blog entries were another story altogether. I realize they are over a decade old, but they were also written by an adult college graduate. It would be one thing (a gross thing) if the entries "just" discussed which public figures Matt found attractive or some admittance to watching legal pornography. But there's a pervasive and disturbing trend in the blog entries in which Matt discusses ogling women, especially younger women, speaking about going to public places to watch them, or most disturbing of all in a quizbowl context, talking about finding women attractive at quizbowl tournaments. That's pretty disturbing to me--you have a person who is flat-out admitting to ogling participants at events run by the company he works for. When combined with the accusations and other comments on the blog, you can see why many, including myself, think Matt should, at a bare minimum, not be working in public settings for NAQT anymore. In that case, he should probably resign altogether.

As I said, I do not know Matt well. I do not know if the truly odious misconduct allegations are true or not. I do not know if he has changed his behavior to some extent and perhaps himself is appalled by his words in the blog (people can change). That isn't really my place to analyze, but simply to hope. Rather, I simply have to say that the trust in him as a public representative of quizbowl and NAQT is gone--the genie cannot be put back in the bottle. I do not say this to encourage a kneejerk "good PR" move ("fire Matt and NAQT gets back our trust immediately!"). But simply that...if I were one of the people Matt talks about ogling at a tournament, if I were a teenage girl playing a NAQT tournament or the relative of one or the friend of one, I don't think I could trust him again.

That's my opinion and I welcome other thoughts.
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Re: Matt Bruce (cw: sexual assault)

Post by heterodyne » Wed May 30, 2018 1:05 am

I agree with Mike's post, especially that the best option for everyone is for Matt to step down from NAQT membership. I'd like to add that several of Matt's blog posts seem to suggest his blog was read regularly by NAQT members. They were written in a different time, so I can't say for sure, but I have trouble believing the content was any less concerning then. If NAQT members were indeed aware of those posts, it seems they should take some time considering why this raised no alarm bells and determining how to keep it from happening again.
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Re: Matt Bruce (cw: sexual assault)

Post by Haaaaaaaarry Whiiiiiiiiiite » Wed May 30, 2018 1:05 am

Cheynem wrote:2. Was anyone at NAQT aware of the accusations against Matt or the disturbing content on his blog? If so, do they have any explanation? I'm not asking for anyone to face mob flagellation but some acknowledgement that people besides Matt could have done better as well would be nice.
I can confirm that according to Matt, "I know a fair number of TRASH people read this weblog, as do NAQT folk." I know that Dwight has linked to his blog (and presumably read it), as well as a few other former NAQT members. He certainly made no attempt to hide his blogs and the entries therein from his friends.
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Re: Matt Bruce (cw: sexual assault)

Post by jmarvin_ » Wed May 30, 2018 1:13 am

Mike and Alston display great restraint and grace in stating things so calmly. I am far from alone in being outraged that such an openly disgusting individual—whose brazenly well-documented predilections for underaged women were well-known to at least Dwight Kidder—has remained unquestioned in NAQT for years until external complaints arose. There are many who are outraged to the point of public or private speechlessness. I am incensed that, when an internal investigation ran into a wall of privacy, it gave up and was content with the status quo, failing to even find the troubling documents that some folks on the discord dug up in a few hours (and that at least Dwight already knew very well!). NAQT made the right move in barring him from staffing HSNCT, but they need to answer for why it took public badgering from many angles to get them to, why the response has always been just enough to satisfy the outrage, without telling us more, and why the responses and actions seem to never come until the evidence is too damning and face needs to be saved. If NAQT thinks that this sort of thing has no place in their organization and in their community, we need to know how they are committed to this explicitly, because what they've done so far has not been convincing.
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Re: Matt Bruce (cw: sexual assault)

Post by Benin Rebirth Party » Wed May 30, 2018 1:39 am

Haaaaaaaarry Whiiiiiiiiiite wrote:
Cheynem wrote:2. Was anyone at NAQT aware of the accusations against Matt or the disturbing content on his blog? If so, do they have any explanation? I'm not asking for anyone to face mob flagellation but some acknowledgement that people besides Matt could have done better as well would be nice.
I can confirm that according to Matt, "I know a fair number of TRASH people read this weblog, as do NAQT folk." I know that Dwight has linked to his blog (and presumably read it), as well as a few other former NAQT members. He certainly made no attempt to hide his blogs and the entries therein from his friends.
I agree that Matt should no longer be an NAQT member or staff NAQT or any other event involving children. I think it's pretty disgusting that several NAQT members and other prominent members of the quizbowl community read Matt's blog and raised no concern -- the pedophillic nature of the comments sure weren't because things were different back then. I hope the truth comes out as to how much exactly NAQT knew without the need of Harry's excellent sleuthing skills, and appropriate apologies plus a plan on how to deal with similar instances in the future can be laid out. I do think however, with the correct response from their leadership (and I'm not super sure what that would be), the community's relationship with NAQT can be fixed at least a little and nobody else deserves to be fired.
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Re: Matt Bruce (cw: sexual assault)

Post by A Very Long Math Tossup » Wed May 30, 2018 2:14 am

I fully endorse everything written by Mike, Alston, Harry, John, and Joe. Even if the allegations in Charlie's original post cannot be proven, the blatant and public sexualization of underage women is deeply disturbing and warrants a reconsideration of Matt Bruce's involvement in quizbowl.

Perhaps Matt's more questionable posts were simply unnoticed by the members of NAQT who read his blog. I sincerely hope this is the case. However, if it is not, then they are to blame for his continued involvement in NAQT. These people owe the entire community an apology. If you are one of these people, I offer the following message:

Perhaps you were scared of making a scene. Perhaps you didn't want things to be awkward. That's understandable, but do you know what else is awkward? Being leered at while you're trying to play a tournament. Being reduced to an object. Being scared to be in a room alone with someone. If you could have prevented even one occurrence by making a scene, you should. have. made. a. fucking. scene.

If you don't think these things happen in quizbowl, you are sorely mistaken. I urge you to read Chloe Levine's essay on gender in the quizbowl community, particularly the following quote from page 87:
Chloe Levine wrote: One respondent asserted that until two years ago, a certain team had an end-of-year tradition in which they, along with their adult cis-male coaches, ranked all of the women in Quiz Bowl based on appearance. ... One respondent was solicited by a teammate for inappropriate pictures as a freshman. One respondent knows a cis-woman who was asked, at Quiz Bowl, to remove her clothing. Many, many non-cis-men referenced crying in at least one of their comments.
The less these things happen in our community, the better, and every one of us has a responsibility to reduce them. Burning a few bridges is a small price to pay.
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Re: Matt Bruce (cw: sexual assault)

Post by CPiGuy » Wed May 30, 2018 2:45 am

The idea that someone who said the things Matt B. said in those blog posts was at any quizbowl events at all this year makes me uncomfortable, and I am neither a woman nor underage, so I can only imagine how someone who is actually in the demographic who he discusses would feel about his presence there, let alone his presence in a position of authority! I don't want to talk about the assault allegations, as I don't know anything about their possible veracity, but quite frankly those blog posts alone should permanently disqualify their poster from ever interacting with children in any position of power, ever. I will be extremely disappointed if NAQT allows Matt B. to staff any future NCTs, and I personally think he should resign or be expelled as a member of NAQT. Further, I think NAQT owes us an explanation of how, if as many people claim multiple NAQT members were aware of these blog posts and other horrifically distasteful internet behavior (seriously, if Matt B. made a masturbation joke about his own six-year-old son in a public Facebook post, I can only imagine the things he might have said at MSNCT and HSNCT), Matt was allowed to continue staffing NAQT's tournaments. As Matt M. said above, I understand that those people may have declined to act for any number of understandable reasons, but as he said as well, those people made a mistake in not acting sooner and need to apologize for that. I'm not calling for anyone else's head, mind you, but mistakes were incontrovertibly made, and the people responsible need to think about what led them to make those mistakes and how they might change that in the future. I can't say it any better, so I'll just quote Matt M. here:
A Very Long Math Tossup wrote:Perhaps you were scared of making a scene. Perhaps you didn't want things to be awkward. That's understandable, but do you know what else is awkward? Being leered at while you're trying to play a tournament. Being reduced to an object. Being scared to be in a room alone with someone. If you could have prevented even one occurrence by making a scene, you should. have. made. a. fucking. scene.
Actually, after thinking about it for a bit longer: scratch that, I'm totally calling for people's heads. If anyone (especially any NAQT member) has known for the last fifteen years that Matt Bruce is a LITERAL FUCKING SELF-ADMITTED PEDOPHILE, and didn't take any action to stop him from staffing a national tournament for actual children, many of whom are teenage girls, then that person should resign their NAQT membership, because they clearly don't know how to put on a good national tournament (hint: a good national tournament is one at which there are no pedophiles.). If they knew about it and actually, honestly, didn't think action was necessary, they should never show their face at an NCT again. Extra double bonus shame points to any men who didn't speak up because it didn't affect them personally, or because Matt was a good friend and who cares whether he ogles the girls he reads questions to? My point is, apparently a small group of people have been aware that this guy's a pervert, and they either didn't care enough to do anything about it or they didn't want to do anything about it. Either way, they should be fucking ashamed of themselves.

Get Matt Bruce out of quizbowl, now. And then get everyone who knew about it and enabled his continued attendance at, and presumable creeping on (or, God forbid, worse harassment of) female attendees of, NCTs out of quizbowl with him.
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Re: Matt Bruce (cw: sexual assault)

Post by vinteuil » Wed May 30, 2018 3:54 am

I can't imagine NAQT continuing not to take inaction at this point, but I would urge them to consider that at least some parents and coaches will find out about the material that's been dug up here. If there's no action taken, that would be, at best, a huge hit to NAQT's bottom line. At worst, it would be a monumental PR disaster for all of quizbowl.
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Re: Matt Bruce (cw: sexual assault)

Post by alexdz » Wed May 30, 2018 8:46 am

A Very Long Math Tossup wrote:Perhaps you were scared of making a scene. Perhaps you didn't want things to be awkward. That's understandable, but do you know what else is awkward? Being leered at while you're trying to play a tournament. Being reduced to an object. Being scared to be in a room alone with someone. If you could have prevented even one occurrence by making a scene, you should. have. made. a. fucking. scene. ...

The less these things happen in our community, the better, and every one of us has a responsibility to reduce them. Burning a few bridges is a small price to pay.
I endorse this message 158 percent. Victims of abuse and harassment are in every community, in every role, and of every gender, age, race, religion, etc. Those of us with knowledge and the privilege to do something about it (by which I mean both actual institutional power and the social privilege that comes with being, say, a white man) MUST do something about it so as to empower those who have been abused or harassed to feel like they are welcome.
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Re: Matt Bruce (cw: sexual assault)

Post by Fuddle Duddle » Wed May 30, 2018 10:02 am

I endorse the above posts, especially Mike's, Matt M.'s, and Jacob's. NAQT: Matt Bruce may have been irreplaceable 15 years ago, but he most definitely is not in the Year of Our Lord 2018. If you weren't willing to fire him over the accusations Charlie mentioned upthread, you sure as hell should be over the blog posts (and the fact that you didn't years ago is incredibly disturbing). You have nothing to lose by firing him, whereas every day you keep him on staff you forfeit more and more of the community's trust. Given that you rely on being an organization the community trusts to get your questions written, your NCTs staffed, and your tournaments played to a standard that the public has come to expect, I know what course I would advise.

I know I, for one, am actively reconsidering whether to staff, play, or write for this organization while my decision to do so would help enable a predator.
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Re: Matt Bruce (cw: sexual assault)

Post by Amiable Vitriol » Wed May 30, 2018 11:16 am

There haven't been too many underage girls participating in this thread, so I'll chime in. The existence of Matt Bruce does in fact make me feel incredibly unsafe. I'm just one person, but if NAQT continues to implicitly support him by retaining him as a member, I can't imagine attending NAQT events in the future, and I imagine that goes for a significant number of other girls hoping not to be ogled as well.
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Re: Matt Bruce (cw: sexual assault)

Post by Taper or die. Can you do any less? » Wed May 30, 2018 11:27 am

This man should go.
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Re: Matt Bruce (cw: sexual assault)

Post by Cody » Wed May 30, 2018 11:44 am

While I think it is extremely important to put pressure on NAQT about removing Matt Bruce, I think we, as a community, should also recognize that this process won't be instantaneous—and that's okay. NAQT is not running any more tournaments in the near-term, and has a meeting over the summer where big decisions (like this) get voted on. On the other hand, silence doesn't help (even understandable silence given the 352-team tournament NAQT just pulled off), and I do think NAQT would be wise to give the community a timeframe.

I will personally note that I am deeply appreciative of NAQT as a host and a staffer, and I have greatly enjoyed working with them. NAQT always treats its hosts & staffers well, and they've always done right by me. But, if Matt Bruce is still contributing to NAQT in any capacity* at the beginning of the school year, I will never host or staff an NAQT event again.

Lastly, I would be disappointed if Matt Bruce resigned. Resignation is the easy way out for NAQT; I want to know that NAQT is capable of doing the right thing in this situation and will follow through and do it.

* beyond existing questions in the NAQT question bank
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Re: Matt Bruce (cw: sexual assault)

Post by Sylvia Pankhurst » Wed May 30, 2018 11:50 am

All those who read his blog and said nothing, revel in your complicity.

If Matt Bruce is so essential that NAQT cannot function without him, burn it the hell down. It's built on rot.
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Re: Matt Bruce (cw: sexual assault)

Post by The Bold Ideas of Bernie Sanders (I-VT) » Wed May 30, 2018 11:53 am

CW: Pedophilia

I was about to make a point about how Conor's post was inflammatory, excessive, and unhelpful due to misuse of the term pedophile, but just to check I ran through Matt's blog posts one more time. I somehow managed to miss this one, on which should be shed excessive light:
Matt, about some chess tournament, wrote:Round 3: Sunday, 10 a.m. White against a 12-year-old girl. She wore a Hello Kitty sweatshirt with sleeveless shirt underneath (she was climate-controlling a lot, taking the sweatshirt on & off). Sweatpants had "ANGEL" written across the butt. Hair pulled back, just the slightest hint of makeup and blush. Embarrased smile on her face, trio of girls about her age that she hung out with (one her sister, one not). [...]
Only here's the thing: Where I come from we always go over the game with our opponent after it's done. Apparently in California they don't do that. I offered to go over the game with *REDACTED* but she wanted to hang out with her friends instead. I haven't been rejected by a 12-year-old girl since... since I was 11?
This post is predatory, pure and simple. It also bears freakish resemblance to Humbert Humbert. If NAQT knew about this, Matt shouldn't be its only loss.
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Re: Matt Bruce (cw: sexual assault)

Post by Auroni » Wed May 30, 2018 12:02 pm

Get this... thing out of quizbowl.
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Re: Matt Bruce (cw: sexual assault)

Post by AKKOLADE » Wed May 30, 2018 12:15 pm

Ignoring absolutely everything else, I have no idea how someone who wrote the second post Kiara featured up thread has a place in a game or company that involves middle school and high school students, whether that position is volunteer or member. I'm hopeful that NAQT will resolve this quickly and will do a better job of communicating then they've stereotypically done.
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Re: Matt Bruce (cw: sexual assault)

Post by Potatoes » Wed May 30, 2018 12:18 pm

He really needs to go. I can't recommend anyone use NAQT sets until he does.
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Re: Matt Bruce (cw: sexual assault)

Post by Calculus? » Wed May 30, 2018 12:20 pm

Toronto has hosted a number of NAQT tournaments over the past few years and would like to continue to do so in the future as they’ve always been enjoyed by our players. For the sake of my own mental health I have tried to stay away from these discussions. However I cannot in good faith continue to support NAQT and their tournaments, nor can I encourage other schools in the Canadian circuit to do so, if Matt Bruce remains a member of NAQT. It would be a betrayal both to myself and to every woman in the Canadian circuit, not to mention everyone ever harmed by monsters like him if I did.
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