My question involves civil rights in the State of: Michigan
I apologize about putting my question here, but I could not find another forum that dealt with my issue. I used to work as an actor with the Michigan Renaissance Festival in Holly. Not to name names of individual people, but both management staff and other actors have been involved in this. Most of the harassment stems from a former friend of mine (a direct co-worker I was with all the time) who basically got everyone else on her side once I left the festival, but it now also includes lots of other employees who have jumped on her bandwagon.
During my time there from 2004-2007, I was always treated with a lot of disrespect (typical theater attitudes) but when I tried to handle my concerns in an adult fashion by sitting down and logically working through problems with the management, I was not given the chance to tell my side of the story, and attempts at meeting with the entertainment director on a one-on-one basis was always blocked. She was always either busy, out of the state, or not taking calls. I eventually gave up and decided that my best option, for my peace of mind, was do do what everyone else in a similar situation does: I quit. I thought that once I severed all legal ties to the organization that the harassment would stop. It didn't. Just before I quit, I stopped being able to login to my email account. It was only after the fact that I learned that several disparaging emails were sent to various members of the staff under my name, calling them expletives, etc. Ordinarily, when friends of mine have had their accounts hacked, they were able to explain it to people and they understood. In my case, however, nobody was willing to hear me out. The next thing that happened is that someone put together an unofficial cast website and put my name on it, and the site supposedly "talked down" on a particular actress's fictional character (?) I never saw the site but later got an email from the entertainment director once I got back into my account - she ordered me to take the site down. It was in this email that the director asked me to either resign or be fired. To this day, everyone believes that I was fired. Not true. Regarding the site, I said I had nothing to do with it, and this was the first thing I'd heard of it. Once again, accusations with no basis of reference.
Between 2007 and the present day (a span of 5 years and counting) I have had no professional dealings with the festival. When I attend with family and friends as a paying customer, I am super-polite to the staff and ANY cast member that I run into. However, left to her own devices, my back stabbing former friend literally ran havoc with my good name, trashing me to anyone and everyone who would listen. In 2008, before I realized the extent of the damage to my reputation, I was in the process of starting up my own costume sewing business, when I started running into people I used to be slightly friendly with while working at the festival, who basically told me in outright that nobody was going to buy anything from me in this state. Of course, attempts at delving deeper to get people to answer as to why this was, I was shut down. I cannot understand why and how one person could hold so much influence over others, with no just cause or evidence to back up her claims.
Between 2008 and 2010, I had my business website, Etsy shop, two Facebook accounts, and another email HACKED. There is only one person in this world who is so hateful and spiteful enough to go to these lengths to stop me from being heard - problem is, she also has an advanced network of loyal cronies who do her bidding and yes, this includes two ex-boyfriends who are computer networking geniuses. In 2011, I attended the festival in costume for the first time in ages, and while I was sitting on a park bench at the gateway, waiting alone, for my family to show up, I was approached by the new entertainment director, who is a CLOSE personal friend of this girl, who did this:
He sees me. Approaches, looking around, like he's being watched. Sits down, still hasn't said a word. Waits, looking around, then says this. "Are we going to have any problems out of you this year?" I calmly replied, "How so? I don't really quite understand." He said that I "was accused of calling several ladies of the court (queen's court) whores." I said, "I'm sorry, no, I did not, I have no problems with anyone, however, my accounts have been hacked recently." Which is true, my Facebook account was hacked in October of 2010 and then a few more times after that. He basically kept acting shady and eventually said, "okay well, glad we cleared things up" and then walked away like nothing happened. On the advice of a lawyer friend of mine, I immediately called the management office but was told it would have to wait until MOnday because weekends the general manager was busy with running the festival. I did call back on Monday, I asked point-blank (but very politely) if Mr. Entertainment Director had been instructed by Ms. General Manager to have a discussion with me about my potential behavior at festival, which, I added, had been very polite and involved witnesses to the fact. She said no, he had in fact not been instructed to say anything to me, and that she would have a talk with him."
The harassment has slowed after that but is still ongoing.
Please advise, as I am now considering moving to another state and literally cutting all ties with people I know here.