‘At the root of a lot of evil is insecurity. There is a line at which enough is enough, and I do not find it okay that a man can act like such a child, nor target women in such a vulgar way as he has done.’ – Sasha DiGiulian
Citing a “zero tolerance policy towards bullying of any kind,” Black Diamond this weekend announced it was ending its sponsorship of climber Joe Kinder.
In an apology on Instagram, Kinder admitted to having a private social media account for posting “inside jokes and memes poking fun at people.” Among those affected by Kinder’s posts was fellow climber Sasha DiGiulian, who took to social media to speak out against Kinder’s behavior.
Update: After this story was published, La Sportiva also ended its relationship with Kinder. “Despite supporting Joe for many years and our admiration for his talent as a climber, his choices and actions on social media do not meet the standard of behavior that we set for our ambassadors,” the brand wrote on Instagram.
“I have received many messages about the ridicule that someone has made about me and my career,” DiGiulian wrote on Instagram. “I have tried reaching out maturely, with no response. I find it incredibly sad that he has chosen this road. Perhaps because I am an independent female who has made a career out of my chosen path that irritates him?”
As a community we need to uphold ourselves to higher standards than permitting defamatory, assaulting behavior. I use my social media platforms to share a window into my life- both professionally and personally, yet I also believe that this channel is a platform to have a voice and stand for what I believe in. This includes spreading more love and taking a stance against bullying. I am hurt and broken hearted to say that I am a victim of a bully and it has crossed the line. I write from the hospital, where I sit praying for the health of my family. I have received many messages about the ridicule that someone has made about me and my career. I have tried reaching out maturely, with no response. I find it incredibly sad that he has chosen this road. Perhaps because I am an independent female who has made a career out of my chosen path that irritates him? The second photo in this slide is one example of a reference he has made to me and Edu going to the Verdon, which I had to cancel due to my Grandma’s health. At the root of a lot of evil is insecurity. There is a line at which enough is enough, and I do not find it okay that a man can act like such a child, nor target women in such a vulgar way as he has done. I have chosen to write about this because while joking banter can be light and entertaining, this is not “light” content. This is malicious and ongoing. Behavior like this has dire consequences on the victim, including eating disorders, the perpetuation of gender inequality, and a misrepresentation of the pillars that I am proud that our community stands for. – Update I’ve been in touch with Joe and he’s taking steps to fix his problems. He deleted the meme account and has apologized in both my and his social accounts. Personally I’m accepting his apology and would encourage all of you to do the same. This includes his sponsors who I know are aware of the situation and I’m sure he’s feeling the heat from that angle. Ultimately I want our community to be better, to respect people of all strengths, shapes and sizes for who they are. As athletes, lets use our platforms for good and work hard to push the limits of what us humans are capable of.
Black Diamond Drops Joe Kinder
Kinder deleted his fake account, but DiGiulian reposted an image he used, apparently making fun of her weight. Within 24 hours of DiGiulian’s post, Black Diamond also took to Instagram to officially cut ties with Kinder.
“Though we have enjoyed working with Joe Kinder on a professional level, his recent personal decisions and actions on social media have strayed from our core values,” the brand said.
Black Diamond has a zero tolerance policy towards bullying of any kind. In the past 24 hours, we have unfortunately become aware that this line has been crossed by one of our athletes.⠀ ⠀ Though we have enjoyed working with Joe Kinder on a professional level, his recent personal decisions and actions on social media have strayed from our core values.⠀ ⠀ It is with difficulty that we announce that Joe Kinder is no longer a member of our Black Diamond team.⠀ ⠀ We are committed to continuing to support the incredible women and men making a positive impact in our community.
In the wake of the incident, Kinder posted an apology.
“I’ve always had a bit of a harsh sense of humor,” Kinder said, “but there’s a point when it’s too much. Bullying or harmful content is nothing I’d like to be connected to and I’m not proud to have offended people.”
Social media has been an awesome way for most of us to reach one another on so many levels. My career has changed immensely with the ease of sharing stories to motivate or inform audience. It can be used in great ways or harmful. I’ve always had a bit of a harsh sense of humor as I grew up a skater-kid punk. I’d rile my friends with pranks or nicknames, as it was done out of love. Fast forward to my adult years and I still enjoy joking and never taking ourselves too seriously but there’s a point when it’s too much. Bullying or harmful content is nothing I’d like to be connected to and I’m not proud to have offended people. For a few months I had a private account that would include a small group of people on inside jokes and memes poking fun at people. (It’s deleted now so no need to search it out.) I went overboard and would like to publicly apologize, Sasha, I’m sorry. I respect women and support our current era for our women as we’re in a historical moment of time. It was not pro, kind, human, or yielding of anything positive. Social media is great and I want to share content to inspire and not cause harm. The brands I work with support women on a major level and I’m dang proud to affiliate with that. My actions are by me and I own it. I apologize to anyone that was hurt by my tasteless acts, I’m learning from this. -joe (Above are photos of people I respect and who teach me to be a better person)
Surprisingly, Kinder himself claimed to have been the victim of cyberbullying. In a story published last year in Outside, Kinder said he “contemplated suicide” following incessant online ridicule for mistakenly cutting down juniper trees in 2013, which is illegal.
“I was really upset, really sad, really depressed,” Kinder said. “Being the target of a hate mob was the worst experience I’ve ever had in my life.”
DiGiulian has since publicly accepted Kinder’s apology. She has encouraged other athletes to use their social media influence to “respect people of all strengths, shapes, and sizes for who they are.”