Tuesday, August 11, 2015

A Very Lucky Puppy

Update on the Hugo mess after the cut...

No doubt anyone truly interested has already seen/heard the news that Lou Antonelli will not be banned from attending Sasquan, despite deliberately breaking the convention's "no harassment" policy.

The Executive Committee of Sasquan, the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention, would like to address the matter of actions taken by Mr. Lou Antonelli with regards to one of our Guests of Honor, Mr. David Gerrold. On August 1st, Mr. Antonelli participated in a podcast in which he stated that he had written a letter to the Spokane Police Department, in which he stated to them that Mr. Gerrold was "insane and a public danger and needs to be watched when the convention is going on".

Normally, online communications between members is not something in Sasquan's purview to referee. However, Mr. Antonelli's letter, which requested police action against Mr. Gerrold during the time of the convention, is within our purview. As such, we found that there was a strong possibility this act was a violation of our posted harassment policy[1], particularly if the letter had, in fact, been sent.

The Executive Committee then turned the matter over to our Operations Head, Ms. Robbie Bourget, who initiated formal proceedings in accordance with that policy. During these proceedings, it came to light that Mr. Antonelli had issued a formal apology to Mr. Gerrold and admitted culpability: he actually sent the letter, not merely claimed to have sent it.

We thoroughly reviewed all available data, including email from both involved parties, social media postings, discussions with key committee members, and so forth. The inescapable conclusion was that Mr. Antonelli had violated our Code of Conduct in this matter. The recommendation was to refund Mr. Antonelli's membership and prohibit his entry to any convention location or function.

However, after the recommendation was made, Mr. Gerrold, as the aggrieved party, specifically requested that the Executive Committee set aside this recommendation on the grounds that Mr. Antonelli did apologize, is sending a retraction to the Spokane Police Department and because, as a Hugo Nominee, he deserves to attend the ceremony.

The Executive Committee has chosen to accept Mr. Gerrold's request, and considers the matter closed as of this time. Ms. Bourget has spoken and corresponded with the Spokane Police Department, and they also consider the matter closed. We would like to thank Ms. Bourget for the calm professionalism she lent to the proceedings, and Mr. Antonelli and Mr. Gerrold for coming to a settlement that benefits not just them, but the Worldcon and its members.

[1] http://sasquan.org/code-of-conduct/
I have very mixed feelings about this. My first thought after seeing the original comments made by Antonelli was that Sasquan definitely needed to ban him. I also thought the Spokane police should fine Antonelli for filing a false report.

After seeing his apology to Gerrold, I thought that was the end of it and oh, maybe Antonelli's not such a horrible guy after all. Then I saw what he did to an editor who decided to prudently distance herself from Antonelli. In short, he got the letter from the editor before he apologized to Gerrold, telling him she wasn't going to publish his story after all. After he made his public apology, instead of saying, "My bad behavior cost me a sale" he posted the letter, edited, on Facebook and included the name of the editor and the publication. This had the completely predictable response of sending his rabid fans after the editor. Those fans sent her rape and death threats, and according to her, Antonelli ignored her attempts to get him to stop it privately. It wasn't until she tweeted about it publicly that he told his followers to stop "castigating" her. He also failed to apologize to her directly, instead posting some sort of apology on his Facebook page, which she doesn't follow.

She declined to have anything to do with the issue as far as Sasquan is concerned, because she is not attending Worldcon.

I know if I were attending Worldcon, I'd want to have this guy identified so I could leave any room he enters.

I'm pleased the convention committee actually spoke to the Spokane police about the incident, and I'm pleased that they managed to come to a decision after what was, reportedly, some heated debate. I'm not sure I'm pleased about the final decision, but that's why I'm not involved in such things. I guess I'm a bit upset that it appears his truly reprehensible behavior is going to have very little "real-world" fallout, except perhaps the fact that he won't be able to use his real name while submitting his writing to publishers in the future.

Then again, maybe the Spokane cops will deliver a nice fine to him while he's at Worldcon, for wasting their time and public tax dollars. I can dream.