T.C.’s Story

I met Joe in Potsdam, Germany, at the Entheo-Science conference of 2014. He seemed nice and interested in making contacts in the psychedelic science field. A couple of years afterwards, he invited me to work on the website of this conference, which I accepted. The 2016 edition of the conference took place in Berlin; I went there to give an oral presentation and help with the organisation, if necessary. That’s when the first red flag about him has raised. My presentation was not in the programme and when I asked him about it, he replied: “Was it my mistake or yours?”, which I found weird because I was never responsible for elaborating/managing the programme. It felt like he was trying to blame me for it. In the end, my presentation went fine and I had a good conference, without much contact with Joe, who seemed very busy, but never asked my help for anything.

In 2017, I crossed Joe at the Breaking Convention, in London. We had lunch together a couple of times and we talked a lot. That’s when I started to feel like we had a friendship. He talked about his personal life, girlfriend and trips to Nepal. He said he joined several meditation retreats and it gave me an impression of a cool spontaneous guy. I also talked about personal stuff of mine. With this feeling of friendship, Joe invited me to co-organise the European Ibogaine Forum, which would take place in September 2017, in Vienna, and I accepted it. We had a few online meetings before the Ibogaine Forum and he never introduced me to the other organisers (4 in total). He spent a long time bad-mouthing the other organisers and bragging that things would work his way. It was impressive to realise that a guy who was into meditation and trips to Nepal could have such a big ego. It was all about himself and very little about actually planning an international conference.

Joe suggested me to stay at his friend’s apartment in Vienna and I accepted it. This friend of his lived with his girlfriend and I thought it was ok. When I arrived in Vienna, Joe was unreachable. I tried to call him, without success. Fortunately, the couple who received me was kind and cordial. The conference started on a Thursday evening, I arrived in Vienna in the afternoon. His friend told me that I would arrive too late at the conference, because the venue was pretty far from his apartment. I was surprised: why would Joe accommodate a co-organiser so far from the event? So, I decided not to join it on Thursday evening.

On Friday morning, I went by public transport to the conference. It took me almost 2 hours to get there. I was getting annoyed and disappointed at Joe, but when I met him, I let it go and I tried to make the best out of my time in Vienna. Once again, he didn’t share anything about the conference with me. I had no assigned tasks. Honestly, I was there as participant, except my trip was covered by the conference money. When I asked him why he accommodated me 2 hours away from the venue, he replied: “I arranged my friend’s apartment for you and this is what you have to tell me? Besides that, Vienna is not that big; it’s impossible that you took 2 hours to get to the venue.” That night, Joe slept in the living room of his friend’s apartment – the same room where I was sleeping in. I slept on the couch and Joe slept on the floor.

Things were ok between Joe and I on Saturday. We went to the conference together and we went out to a night club with other people. At the night club, he interrupted a conversation I was having with a man to ask me: “Why are you guys talking for so long?” I started to avoid Joe and I tried to spend more time with the other people. We went back to his friend’s apartment on foot at 5 o’clock in the morning. I was pretty tired and Joe’s talk was boring me. He was asking personal questions, insinuating that he knew me well, and he just wouldn’t stop talking. When we arrived at the apartment, I laid down gladly on the couch – I needed to sleep. Suddenly, Joe sat on the couch saying that he would share it with me that night. I was facing the wall. Out of nowhere, Joe hugged me from behind. I asked him to stop. He started using the things I shared about my personal life to convince me to have sex with him. I couldn’t talk. I kept thinking that I was not alone with him in the apartment, which would discourage him from insisting too much; I also would be heard if I started screaming. I had a way out, thankfully, which kept me calm and I managed to sleep for a few hours until the last day of the conference.

In my last day in Vienna, I was avoiding Joe as much as I could. He sent me some huge text messages, none of them apologising. He was ego-tripping: reinforcing how correct he was and trying to make me feel bad about myself. I managed to keep a distance from him and I left Vienna safely.

After the conference, I had to wait for more than a month to receive the refund of the money I used to cover some costs. He clearly delayed the refund to show me “who was the boss”. In one message, he threatened me: “I know a lot of people in the psychedelic field. If I were you, I would be nice to me.” It was clear I was dealing with a con artist.

With this testimonial, I hope I can help reducing the amount of distress caused by Joe. His gaslighting, lies and sexual harassment had a very negative impact on me. I hope he doesn’t affect anyone else. Be aware.