I refer back to my comments regarding the attitude and behaviour of Gary Wescott. when I said, with privilege and position in the public spotlight comes responsibility.
It is interesting how things come to light, when one or two people have an experience it can be thought of as a one off, but when openly discussed it turns out that others share the same experiences and the bigger broader picture emerges.
I have had a communication from an Expedition Portal member who it is best remains anonymous. The forum administrators will be able to confirm this communication and its content, whilst maintaining his anonymity.
He writes, QUOTE " I read your post in the thread today and felt compelled to send you a note after reading your experience with Gary and your group. I'm like a lot of people who grew up reading their articles in Off Road magazine and Four Wheeler magazine and looked up to them as ambassadors of the sport.
As I got older, I became involved with a variety of off-roading related organisations including an organisation that has a Hall of Fame for off-roading related endeavours. I was on the nominating committee for this organisation for several years and one year the Wescotts were nominated. I figured their approval would be slam dunk until the discussions and review started.
Wow. What an eye opener. Many of the other members of the committee were long time industry insiders - magazine editors, businessmen, etc.. Story after story came out about Gary's behaviour - similar to what your experience seems to have been with him. Needless to say, they were not inducted and my opinion of them (Gary specifically) changed after that day.
I can certainly sympathize with your feelings - it sounds like you're not alone!" UNQUOTE.
The Wescotts are in the public eye worldwide, and embrace that in their way of life. Whether they like it or not that comes with a responsibility to every other overlander who are judged on what the Wescotts do and say. It would seem that Gary Wescott has made a name for himself that is overtaking his image. After all the Wescotts and Turtle Expedition have done over many years, heavyweights in the sport and industry are not prepared to give them an award due to Gay's behaviour. That says so much.
Yes , rude and hostile, I met Mr Wescott and his truck parking somewhere in Cartagena Colombia, at the starting of Transamazonican Rally , many years ago, I was taking pictures and put one of my feet in the bumper truck in order to gain a better point of view and I was threaten and scold by this man that I admired. Whith this kind of behavior i don¨t know how he has been succecsful in their trips.
One of the things I've noticed about people who travel long distances for long periods of time alone or in pairs...they tend to become less friendly to those who aren't into the things they are. Lack of sustained relationships (besides each other) tends to have that effect. I've run into others on the road who come off as less than friendly. I just decide to be friendly back since I don't know what they're going through at the time.
For the record, the Wescotts do have sponsors, and that entails a certain responsibility.
I meet Gary a few months ago. He was very nice and even invited me into his camper to talk.
They are people too, everyone has off days, even you. It gets exhausting having people come up and talk to you every single time you stop. I have a large rig and it is every single time, and sometimes you just want to pump your gas, or eat your lunch without being bothered. For people to say that the Wescotts need to be held to a higher standard because they have sponsors is I think ridiculous, think of it as a self correcting problem, right?
They didn't build this truck and write articles to be "overland famous", they did it because they like travel. The website and their "fame" is just a way that they are allowed to keep traveling.
(QUOTE) They are people too, everyone has off days, even you. (UNQUOTE)
Have you also considered that perhaps Gary Wescott was actually having a good day?!!
Also, you are making it sound like you are saying that Gary's behaviour is acceptable. Surely not? I am sure you would not behave like that would you?
Let me remind you that not long after you saw Gary Wescott he was on the internet on the SRMN site being (in the words of the renowned Stephen Stewart) rude and hostile to a prospective member of the struggling SRMN, causing him to be very upset and go elsewhere, and other prospective members watching to quietly disappear. Gary was put on moderation. Over the following week Gary does everything he can to show that it was not just the one 'off day' he was having. Yes Case and Christina, this is the same person you say was nice to your face. Yes, this is a fellow overlander who it could be said has little or no respect for other overlanders or sponsors.
Lets discuss your point......
(QUOTE) It gets exhausting having people come up and talk to you every single time you stop.(UNQUOTE).
Of course it gets exhausting when people come up to talk, I have experience of it. I am not sure why you mention that you have a large rig, in my experience size does not matter. But I would not be rude and hostile to people. So you have prospective clients approach you to interested in the vehicles and kit that Upper Crust supply to feed your family and it annoys you! But lets consider the Wescotts situation in respect of sponsorship, as you mention.
You said, (QUOTE). "They didn't build this truck and write articles to be "overland famous", they did it because they like travel".(QUOTE)
Because they were already high profile, since 1987 they have had their base vehicle supplied and sponsored by Ford. Body conversions, suspension, kit has all been supplied as freebies or cheapies in return for good publicity. That is good publicity, not bad. They are a mobile billboard, a mobile showroom on behalf of their sponsors. Their sponsors naturally expect a certain level of exposure and a certain level of behaviour from the Wescotts who are 'salesmen' for the products. This includes when prospective customers of the sponsors approach them to look at their mobile showroom. The Wescotts accepted these offerings. They have themselves said in a published interview that they could not afford to travel extensively if were not for their sponsors enabling them. So in return certain standards of behaviour should be expected. We should not be hearing of rudeness and hostility and bad behaviour left behind in their tyre tracks. That sort of behaviour then becomes associated not just with the Wescotts but also with the sponsors. Case and Christina, do you do that? Do you tarnish the name of Upper Crust with bad behaviour? No, I am sure you do not because you have standards and you have respect for the local populations and for fellow overlanders following you. You also value the good name of your business. So why do you say it is ridiculous?
You state, QUOTE "For people to say that the Wescotts need to be held to a higher standard because they have sponsors is I think ridiculous..." UNQUOTE. I disagree,so let me give some examples to illustrate my point....
Example 1. If you were a high profile sports person sponsored by say, Nike, you would be expected to conduct yourself to a certain level in case you brought Nike into disrepute by association. High profile sports people have come into conflict with their sponsors because of bad behaviour, drug taking etc.. Have you never ever been aware of this? Why shouldn't heavily sponsored overlanders not be expected to give a good impression of the sponsors associated with them?
Example 2. Have you ever seen advertisements on TV with a well known star or personality promoting a certain product? Then it is discovered that the product is made by child slave labour, and then the star is tarnished by association.
Example 3. Look at that the other way round, a product is promoted by a well known star or personality who turns out to be a bad person. The product is tarnished by association.
Example 4. Ref number 3, on UK TV there was a series of adverts by a leading automobile insurance company. The presenter was a much loved and well known actor. One day he was in court and convicted of speeding. Their product name was tarnished by association. The next day the insurance company had cancelled the remaining very expensive adverts and issued a press statement of dissociation with the actor. Your statement indicates that Upper Crust would have continued to sponsor the actor.
Example 5. An extreme one this, to illustrate my point. In the UK we had a star personality called Jimmy Saville. He could do no wrong. He had TV shows. He was entertained by Lords and Ladies and I think a couple of Prime Ministers. He helped at hospitals. He was even given free access to places he should not have been allowed. What he was really doing at the hospitals received serious complaints but nobody listened because he was a god and could do no wrong. People fell over each other to sponsor him on charity walks etc.. I facts he raised millions. Then the truth came out. He was a big time child molester. And his crimes had even been enabled by the people who thought he was a jolly good fellow. Suddenly everyone ran as fast as they could in the opposite direction to dissociate themselves from him.
Have you noticed the key to all this? Products names and reputations can be damaged by association with bad behaviour.
So I say again, you Upper Crust has said, QUOTE "For people to say that the Wescotts need to be held to a higher standard because they have sponsors is I think ridiculous..." UNQUOTE.
So to take that statement to its logical conclusion, as I see it, if Upper Crust Expeditions were sponsoring the insurance advert or Jimmy Saville, you would be happy to continue sponsoring because it is ridiculous to say that they should be held to a higher standard. 'Child molester proudly sponsored by Upper Crust Expeditions'. Really? Businessmen would call that commercial suicide. So you see product association should matter. This is your family's livelihood so, in my opinion, not a good business model to be following. But it is your choice.
You are being a nice person to say that Gary Wescott was probably just having a bad day. It is natural to give the benefit of the doubt. This is what happened with the nice people who are the industry insiders, magazine editors, businessmen, et., who each individually thought their personal experience was just Gary Wescott having a bad day. It was only when they came together to discuss the Wescott's possible nomination for the award, that they realised they only saw the top of an iceberg! These are some of the people who sponsor, support, publicise and enable the Wescotts. If nominated and given the award these people stood to get even more publicity and free adverising, but when realisation dawned they dropped the Wescotts like a hot potato. So you see, the people who sponsor, support, publicise and enable the Wescotts were not impressed. But you think they were being ridiculous?
So I am interested to know why you disagree with the heavyweights of the industry. The way I read your argument is that you say that you would be happy to sponsor and enable and therefore associate Upper Crust Expeditions with someone who regularly behaves badly to people in other countries, and other overlanders. Therefore you also appear to be saying that if you were heavily sponsoring the Wescotts you would be happy to nominate them for the award, despite all the reports of bad behaviour and despite seasoned businessmen backing away. Presumably you have a different business model. I have a grounding in retail and before I retired I had a UK limited company selling a well known brand of 4x4's, and I certainly would not have been risking my company reputation by associating it with rudeness hostility and general bad behaviour.
Let's have a refresh here to remind ourselves of the words of our forum member who was actually on that nominations panel....
QUOTE... "I'm like a lot of people who grew up reading their articles in Off Road magazine and Four Wheeler magazine and LOOKED UP TO THEM AS AMBASSADORS OF THE SPORT. ..... I was on the nominating committee for this organisation for several years and one year the Wescotts were nominated. I figured their approval would be slam dunk until the discussions and review started. WOW. WHAT AN EYE OPENER. Many of the members of the committee were long time industry insiders - magazine editirs, businessmen, etc.. STORY AFTER STORY CAME OUT ABOUT GARY'S BEHAVIOUR..... needless to say, they were not inducted and my opinion of them (Gary specifically) changed that day". UNQUOTE
I repeat what I said previously, the Wescotts are in the public eye worldwide and embrace that in their way of life. Whether they like it or not that comes with the responsibility to every other overlander who are judged on what the Wescotts do and say. That includes sponsors.
There is an old saying that there is no such thing as bad publicity. This no longer applies in the modern world. Any marketing od sales director worth his salt knows that business and product reputations can be damaged or ruined overnight by the wrong associations. This was probably in the minds of the industry insiders when dropping the Wescotts from the award. Imagine the headline, 'Travelling the world being rude and hostile and behaving badly towards people in many countries around the world. Proudly sponsored, supported and enabled by XYZ motor corp, Bits of Kit corp and Upper Crust Expeditions'.
I hope that gets you thinking about the sponsorship angle. Let's hear what you think.
There is still the matter of tarnishing the reputation of other overlanders by behaviour......
The Yak, sorry to say it but I came darn close to falling asleep reading what you typed. You can get off of your high horse now. The Wescotts should be able to amend their behavior or defend themselves.
I dont know if I would go that far but shorter posts are much easier to read. I know I have drain bramage but I'm still around here.
Yes. I do like to mess around with languages. Even though I barely feel competant in English somedays. Yes, I typed things the way I wanted them to be. I got it from my mother.