young indie filmmaker apologizes for inventing a quote from me to promote his film
Yesterday I discovered that young indie filmmaker Matthew Gaynor — aka @Gerald_Robber on Twitter — had attributed a quote raving about his film to me, even though I had never heard of him or his film, much less actually seen his film. I might not have learned of this egregious appropriation of my name and reputation if he hadn’t posted it publicly on Twitter. But he did.
More background here.
After initially ignoring my requests for an explanation, Gaynor (as well as Bill Lytle, partner in their production company, who seemed to think this whole thing was hilarious and “good publicity”) finally contacted me privately on Facebook. After a conversation with Gaynor, I agreed to let the whole thing drop if he provided a letter of apology for me post publicly. (Because private apologies for public deeds just don’t cut it.)
This is Gaynor’s letter in full.
To Ms. Johanson and the rest of the Indie Film World,
I write this after one of the most humbling experiences of my life, I attempted to take a shortcut in gaining my reputation and in the end it not only hurt the reputation of an author that has spent years working her way up to the point she is now but disappointed my family and those supporting me on my endeavors. I am referring to the incident that occurred on Wednesday, July 23rd. I was promoting my newly directed film and to do that I used a quote from one of our friends who is an aspiring film critic, the thought of using that sort of bored us and we thought we needed to do something better. So I used one of my favorite online authors, Maryann Johanson and attached the quote to her. We only planned on showing the people in our small town the film and keeping it pretty under wraps, so the initial thought was that this couldn’t harm anyone. Soon I learned that it did in fact harm everyone involved in the affair. By misquoting Ms. Johanson, I attacked her reputation that she had been working to build for the past decade or so, by using a quote that didn’t exist, it provided a misguided medium for those who were unaware of her to judge the entirety of her work off of one quote that she never said. As I had stated before, I approached this scenario with a brainless ideology and figured that it would not be a big deal, but it truly was. Lying on any stage at any level is something that I do not stand for and truly despise but my ambitions blinded my eyes of ethics and morals. I defenestrated all of my judgment for the sake of my own personal gain in the eyes of those who watch my work. It is sickening and it is a moment that I will never forget, at a young age I have learned one of the most important lessons and that is the way to the top is paved with long battles of hard work and ambition, it is not an elevator of lying and using the sake of others for your own gain. There is no way for me to justify my actions, or to explain them other than a teenager making a very, very stupid mistake. I am sorry for our actions and promise that this is a lesson learned and will help me in life. Ms. Johanson was kind enough to allow me to explain myself so that we can put a nail in this entire situation, and for that I thank her.
And I’m done with this.
But, seriously, Internet, what part of “Don’t fuck with me” have I ever been unclear about?