Consent is something the Board and Certified Facilitators of Cuddle Party take seriously. It is the foundation of what we do.
In January 2018, a news story came out about the Cuddle Party co-founder, Reid Mihalko, alleging that he had coerced a woman into sexual acts in 2009. He subsequently issued a public apology, acknowledging the harm he had caused, and agreed to enter into an accountability process. Reid announced that he was stepping down from booking or teaching any events for an undetermined amount of time, citing, “As I receive new information from my community about other harms I’ve caused to people, it is irresponsible that I teach sex ed until I’ve done some serious self-analysis and deep, deep work on myself.”
We as a community and as an organization are dismayed by Reid’s actions. Consent is the cornerstone of what we do at Cuddle Party. We have dedicated our lives to building a world where touch and affection can be shared in ways that are enthusiastically welcomed and where no one is obligated to do things they don’t want to. At Cuddle Party events, we create spaces where No is respected and honored and never has to be explained. Reid’s actions are antithetical to our values and the vision we hold for the world.
Due to these recent revelations, Reid’s facilitator certification has been revoked. This means he cannot facilitate Cuddle Parties.
(Reid has not held a leadership role in the organization since 2008, and this will continue to be true.)
Many of us are friends with Reid, or looked to him for leadership, and are processing feelings of anger, sadness, confusion and betrayal. It has been a difficult and eye-opening experience, particularly as we all work diligently to bring consent culture to the wider world through safe, non-sexualized cuddling. We believe accountability is important and valuable and we are consoled by the seriousness with which Reid is taking this issue. We hope his accountability process serves to heal the harm that has been caused, even as it does not restore Reid to a leadership position in any way in the Cuddle Party organization.