Man accuses employer of making him go to New Warriors Training Adventure

Interesting case.

SANTA ANA, Calif. (CN) – An attorney says he was forced to quit his job after a law firm docked his pay because he refused to go to a seminar where he feared he would be “stripped naked, not allowed to leave, be required to discuss details of his sex life, handle a wooden dildo, and potentially allow other men to touch his genitals.” The lawyer claims his supervising attorney told him that the New Warrior Training seminar would help him “have closer, stronger, and better relationships with men.”

According to the article, the lawyer bringing suit searched the Internet and found the information about the NWTA which led to his refusal. Wonder what he read?

Houston Press on the ManKind Project’s transparency

Chris Vogel, the reporter who broke the Michael Scinto story, files a post about the new transparency from the MKP. Like me, he has been unable to get confirmation from MKP. I do trust my source however.

Vogel interviewed Kathy Scinto, Michael’s mother, who is very happy with the prospects of a change at MKP.

“I’ve got chills,” the mother of Michael Scinto, Kathy, tells Hair Balls. “Honestly, Hallelujah. I can’t believe it.”

“I’m just so happy because that’s all that we ever wanted, and for it to actually happen is just like a miracle,” says Kathy Scinto. “It’s so wonderful.”

Mankind Project goes transparent

In 2007, I took some heat over my interest in and criticism of the Mankind Project. My initial interest was sparked by the suicide of Michael Scinto shortly after attending a New Warriors Training Adventure, the signature program of MKP. In addition to my interest in strange approaches to counseling, this program was doubly intriguing because reparative therapists and their supporters (e.g., Joe Nicolosi, Richard Cohen, Arthur Goldberg, Paul Miller) recommend NWTA as a way to reduce same-sex attractions.

Since then, MKP has made it plain that they do not recommend NWTA as a reparative therapy adjunct and they have become quite gay friendly. However, these reparative therapists have not back away from their support. For instance, Richard Cohen, in his book for parents of gay children, recommends that fathers and sons attend the weekend together.

One regular criticism of MKP relates to the secrecy of the activities on the NWTA weekends — and for good reason. Some men would surely not go if they knew of the sometimes odd things they would be asked to do. Some of the odd things are harmless but sometimes they can be upsetting. I list links to some on this blog, such as this one, called Killing Daddy. See this page for more about MKP and click this link for prior posts on the topic.

And so, it was with interest that I read a note from a reader who follows MKP. He noted that MKP is now going transparent. All of this is on my MKP page but here is a couple of sections of the memo.

Transparency and the NWTA: Next Steps

At the February 2009 Annual Meeting in Glen Ivy the Project Council approved a proposal moving MKP toward greater transparency. The full proposal is included at the end of this note, which is intended to let you know the work we’re doing to put the plan into action.

External Communications

This is the main focus of the initiative designed to increase candor regarding FAQ’s for men coming to the training as well as specifically addressing inaccurate criticism of MKP and the NWTA on the web.

· We are developing a set of FAQ’s to guide men in speaking with potential initiates about the training and the organization. You are encouraged to share information about the NWTA to the extent that it is requested, encouraging men to step into the mystery while answering questions honestly.

· The MKP public website is being revised to include the above material and appropriate “spoiler” warnings. It will include direct responses to some of the specific criticisms and misperceptions on the web (Houston Press, Haven Ministry, Rick Ross, Warren Throckmorton, Reid Baer, etc.)

MKP is going to talk more freely about what they do but they are going to respond to what some of us have published as “misperceptions.” Well, I look forward to finding out what those misperceptions are.

In any event, the proposal for transparency was apparently approved and will result in significant changes if this memo can be believed. Here is the context of the proposal for transparency and some of what is supposed to happen.

Transparency Regarding the NWTA

Context

In our Confidentiality Agreement and the processes Secret Male Ritual and Integrating the Training we ask men not to share the processes on the NWTA. As an institution we maintain this secrecy in how we speak and write about our training. In the last few years we have been criticized on blogs, on websites, and in a suit for not providing sufficient details for men to make an informed decision about attending our training. The ManKind Project has been labeled a cult by some for our refusal to disclose what we do on the training. It is likely that at least some of these attacks could have been avoided if we had provided more information about the training. The cost of these attacks has been significant to MKP and to our centers. At the same time, most, if not all, of our processes have been described in various media, and in some cases our protocols have been made available on websites.

In many contexts, MKP as an institution and we as individuals highly value transparency, and around the globe organizations are being increasingly called to provide transparency about their activities. Nevertheless we have continued to hold an expectation that we can and should keep our NWTA processes secret. Many of us are concerned that knowing more about the training will make it less effective for participants. Others who read about our processes before attending the NWTA say it was still extremely impactful. I have spoken in depth with the Leader and Center Councils about how we hold secrecy and transparency, and the overwhelming response has favored transparency.

Proposal

I believe that on balance, it will serve the ManKind Project to release our expectations of secrecy and step into transparency about our processes. I propose that MKP begin to provide disclosure about our processes to the extent it is requested by potential initiates and the general public. This means:

· Men who have done the NWTA will be released from any obligation to maintain secrecy about our processes, and will be encouraged to share information about the NWTA to the extent it is requested. This applies particularly to men involved in NWTA enrollment.

MKPers can now sing like birds about their experiences. Might as well, many of the processes and procedures are already on the web anyway. But this way, new initiates will know more directly from the people involved what they are getting into. While I still think MKP is a risky proposition given the lack of training of the leaders and the questionable efficacy of the processes, this move is a good one.

Not sure how many MKP or anti-MKP readers I still have but if you are out there, what are your reactions to this move? Do you believe it? Is it enough? Too much?

AHO!

Mankind Project says report inaccurate, offers no corrections

Last week, I reported that the Mankind Project Houston has not kept the terms which were a part of settling a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the parents of Michael Scinto. Scinto killed himself after a New Warriors Training Adventure. In an online article Friday, the Houston Press confirmed with Mrs. Scinto that she was unaware of any effort to comply with the court settlement.
Prior to that post, I wrote the Mankind Project of Houston to ask if I missed something on their website or if they plan to comply in the future. Friday afternoon, an unnamed person from MKP-H wrote back to refer me to their legal counsel “regarding your inaccurate assumptions against MKP on your blog.”
However, the emailer offered no examples of anything inaccurate. In fact, I didn’t assume anything. I reported what the court order said (a copy of which was retrieved from the Harris County court website) and what their website says.
If MKP-H has evidence that either of those sources are incorrect, then it should be a simple matter to produce it.

Accountability sought at MKP annual meeting

New Warrior brothers Fred “grow some” Saldutti and Reid “new warrior man” Baer are men on a mission. MKP’s annual meeting is coming up in Glen Ivy, CA and our boys want to find the truth. Fred wants to know what MKP is doing about sexual harrassment on the New Warriors Training Adventure weekends (so there is sexual harrassment, Fred?) and Reid wants to be the free press. Let’s listen in…

Spirit of transparency? Reid, you said you reported on the MKP annual meeting for six years but it was for the secret MKP journal. To my knowledge, there has not been an independent reporting of MKP dealings or annual meeting to date. Good luck with the transparency thing.

Former Mankind Project journal editor plans YouTube revolution

Reid Baer doesn’t go quietly.
Former Mankind Project (MKP) member-only journal editor is planning an online meeting for men who dislike MKP for one reason or another and those who are remaining in it. Mr. Baer was recently fired from the editor position for several vague reasons, one of which was using New Warrior in his online screen name. MKP claims such use is a copyright violation.
If using New Warrior online is a copyright violation then get ready for an orgy of violations. Here is Baer’s plan. He wants men who have interest or who have ever been involved with MKP to go to this YouTube page and register as a New Warrior. Currently, there are only a few names (e.g., NewWarriorObserver, NewWarriorMan2). We could all go over and be NewWarriors. Like NewWarriorDrowssap or NewWarriorEddy or something (I think NewWarriorMary would be kind of humorous). Anyway, the “event” will be 12/1 and 12/2.
MKP also recently terminated the contract of long-time MKP administrator Drury Heffernan. The reason given was the need for someone to improve MKP technological capabilities. Whatever the reasons for these changes, MKP’s numbers are dropping and the financial crunch continues. According to Baer, the organization needs to become more transparent. The release of Baer indicates that the group has opted for maintaining the secret lodge-like approach. The Houston Press article and Scinto case which triggered it have clearly had an impact on MKP.
For more information, see my page on MKP.

Records temporarily sealed in Scinto vs. Mankind Project

Last Friday (6/6/08), a Harris County, TX judge partially granted a motion to seal the Scinto wrongful death case. The Mankind Project wanted the case marked confidential and the Exhibit A removed from the settlement document. Exhibit A spelled out changes agreed to by MKP which I reported here last week. As it stands now, the case is “sealed temporarily” with another hearing to be held on July 18, 2008.