The TORcott Just Became Less Painful – but losing Schlock will suck.

Aside from the extra hoops I’ll have to jump through to get my hands on John C Wright’s earlier works, the biggest pain point for the TORcott originally, for me, was Brandon Sanderson. I had enjoyed the Mistborn series, and though the second Way of Kings had followed the first in a lot of unnecessary angst to drag the book out before finally coming to a decision, I was at least mostly looking forward to the third one.

Mostly.

There were a few hints from the “strong women characters” he kept writing that he was not as conservative as his previous “I won’t write gay characters because religion” position hinted at, but at least he kept most of the politics out of his writing and public persona. His bringing Mary Robinette Kowal of “the twelve rabid weasels of SF should just die” fame on to “Writing Excuses” and ruining it in the process with her vapid lack of anything new and less time to hear anyone explain in depth should have also been a hint.

Well, from what Jon Del Arroz has posted, and I’ve verified it, I won’t have to worry about missing out on an author I want to read anymore. He’s gone full retard… well, SJW, and added his name as an official co-signor on an open letter to FanX (previously SLC Comic con) – and may cancel his appearance if FanX doesn’t address the concerns of the open letter sufficiently.

Over what?

Improperly handling a sexual harassment complaint.

Read that letter – it’s archived. Notice something? Actually, something missing? Something like what the actual harassment was that was so heinous that the staff of FanX dismissing it is a horrible betrayal of women and emblamatic of rape culture, ad nauseum? Worse, at no point do they even identify who is accused or accusing. It’s just “the sexual harassment report”.

We, attendees and participants of FanX, ask that the organization address our concerns. Like many fans of the conference, we are deeply concerned about the mishandling of the sexual harassment report and dismissive stance from the co-founders. While we appreciate that steps are being taken to rebuild trust within the community, our confidence in the current harassment policy and in the organization’s resolution to enforce this policy has been damaged. We ask that you hear and address the following breaches of confidence. We are all accountable to the public, each other, and ourselves.

One: In a public statement, and without disclosing her name, apologize to the victim who filed the sexual harassment report for disclosing their private report to the media without their knowledge or consent. Admit that the victim’s trust was violated, and promise future attendees who may report incidents that they will never undergo the same scrutiny or mishandling. Assure everyone that all reports will be heard, evaluated, and confidential. Keep the victims’ names confidential at all times.

Two: Hire a professional with experience writing, implementing, and upholding sexual harassment policies. Clarify the consequences for breaking the policy and reiterate that those consequences will be upheld. Removal and banishment from the conference should be among those ramifications.

Three: Address harassment complaints quickly. The past complaint was filed in October, and the complaint was not investigated until January. This shows a lack of concern and a reluctance to address the situation, as well as disregard for the seriousness of the issue.

Four: Recognize that trust is earned not through words, policies, and statements, but by a proven track record of implementation and action over time.

Our concern for the organization’s mishandling of this report has never been centered upon taking offense. Our fight has always come from a well-meaning place of making the convention safe for everyone involved. This can only happen if harassment is taken seriously.

To rebuild trust and support, we suggest that the organization devote their attention to these outstanding issues. It is our hope that we may unite together against sexual harassment and provide a safe environment for our family and friends. Please receive this list of recommendations in the spirit it is given, with care and concern for all FanX employees, volunteers, guests, and attendees.

Sincerely,

Robison Wells
Shannon Hale
Bree Despain
Emily R. King
Ally Condie
Dean Hale

Co-Signed by:

Brandon Sanderson
Maureen Johnson
Dan Wells
Howard Tayler
Annette Lyon
Mette Harrison
J. R. Johansson
Jessica Day George
Courtney Alameda
Lindsey Leavitt
Sarah M. Eden

Predictably, the con folded.

I had to do some digging, here (archived) (and full of the expected #metoo word salad), and here (archiving was blocked, the bastards).

What is all of this about?

Wells said he has personally spoken with women who said they filed complaints of harassment at Comic Con. He said the complaints involved author Richard Paul Evans.

“The first one of them was kissed on the face on the mouth, it is not entirely clear where he kissed her but it was this region right here,” he said, gesturing to his left cheek and mouth area. “It was unwelcome, it was unwanted.”

In a previous interview with Fox 13, Evans addressed the complaints.

“I kissed a woman on the cheek,” Evans said. “This is something we did in church for two years, twenty/thirty times a day in Italy. And it’s like, it’s just habit, I do it with my friends here. I do it with my friends back East. And Utah– they are a little bit stiff about that. I did it, won’t do it again. It obviously caused a problem with this woman.”

A man with European manners and customs hugged a lady of his acquaintance and kissed her on the cheek. And when a complaint was filed, it wasn’t immediately treated as horrible oppression. And they made comments that implied at least one accuser was riding the coattails of a current fad, and maybe should get a grip. (aside – how fucking provincial and us-centric can you get?)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah author Shannon Hale and others are decrying the organizers of FanX, formerly Salt Lake Comic Con, over co-founder Bryan Brandenburg’s response to Hale’s inquiry about the organization’s harassment policy.

Authors have now been announcing their intent to withdraw from the event.

In a message to Brandenburg, Hale, who had been invited to the convention as a special guest, stated she could not depend on the convention’s organizers to enact an anti-harassment policy.

“FanX is going to act in the interest of the abuser and assume the best of him and the worst of the accuser. I am so disheartened,” Hale wrote.

Brandenburg responded with an assurance that there is a new policy, which he said was managed by and met the satisfaction and scrutiny of two women on his team. But the next paragraph in Brandenburg’s response struck a chord with Hale and others who weighed in on Twitter Monday:

“Maybe it is best that you sit this one out and then wait to hear how it went. I don’t think there is anything we can say to convince you to come and quite frankly, I’m not willing to try. I know in my heart that we take this seriously and I don’t think you get it,” Brandenburg wrote.

Hale posted a screenshot of that paragraph on her Twitter account Monday morning, and said she was disappointed in the way FanX handled an undisclosed sexual harassment accusation.

“I’ve been communicating with them privately, hoping they’d step up. Just got an email response. Please play sexism bingo with this paragraph,” she wrote.

The FanX Twitter account responded with its own tweets, which have since been deleted.

“You said you didn’t want to come to FanX because we wouldn’t apologize for not publically [sic] banning someone. Mr. Brandenburg responded with ‘Maybe it is best that you sit this one out.’ Context is everything,” one of FanX’s deleted tweets said.

Attached to that tweet was a screenshot of part of the email exchange between Hale and Brandenburg, and it revealed Hale’s private email address.

“Wow. FanX is now coming at me. They have published my full email without redacting my private email address, but they did cut off some of the sexist comments Bryan made at the end. And what I asked for was public clarification after you dismissed harassment as ‘hugging,'” Hale wrote.

Yeah, leaving the email in was stupid – at least if it was actually a private one and not a public-facing one. I haven’t checked, but accusations of “doxxing” have been made in the past when publicly available info, at least in one case directly from the person’s social media profile and website, has been republished.

So they went full grovel.

In response to my poorly chosen words about the #metoo movement being “trendy”, I came off insensitive to people’s pain, and I am sorry. After today’s events, I admit that I am not fully aware or educated about the importance of the #metoo movement, and this is something I am actively working to change. I need to improve on listening and making people feel validated. 

Howard Tayler of Schlock Mercenary has also jumped aboard. I’ll actually miss Schlock Mercenary far more than Sanderson’s works.

2 thoughts on “The TORcott Just Became Less Painful – but losing Schlock will suck.

  1. A combination of TOR/Piratebay and Adblock/Ghostery ensures that I can enjoy whatever content I want without directing any money towards people who hate me.

  2. Yep, I’ll miss that fellow science dude and his amorphous Sergeant in Space. Too bad. No money for Howard’s books anymore now that he hates me.

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