So, I’m not going to Wiscon next year.

There are lots of things I could say, but mostly they’ve already been said. I’m glad the concom appears to be rethinking their decision, but the fact that it had to be rethought at all is, well, I’ll settle for disheartening, though a stronger word would probably do better.

I wrote a much longer post, but really, everything in it has been said by others. But to me, it all boils down to Wiscon very clearly not having a functional harassment policy. There appear to be quite a few reasons this is the case, and none of them say anything good about how Wiscon is being run.

And the fact is, I love Wiscon. I go nearly every year. Hell, my whole family loves going. I was hoping, up until I saw the committee’s announcement last week, that they’d handle this. And then, desperately, that they’d handle the reaction–clarify somehow, or (way better, because even with the ambiguity about one or four years removed, it was still a bad call, and why do we care when or whether a serial harasser can apologize or not, exactly?) issue a new decision, because better late than never, right? But the comments and blog posts that I’ve seen over the last few days have removed all doubt on that score. The dysfunction on display has been such that even if the committee issued a new ruling tomorrow, I would have no faith they’d understood what had happened and why, and no faith that any future cases would be handled any better.

(And frankly, the stuff coming out just now about how Frenkel apparently lied about the nature of any NDA he might have had with Tor? Only makes things worse. First of all, like I said above, we care about him making an apology why exactly? This keeps Wiscon attendees safe how? And second of all, the guy’s a known serial harasser, and you take his word for this? And you’re shocked when it turns out he lied? Hello?)

Anyway. The end result of all this is, I’m not going to Wiscon next year. And won’t until I see a functioning harassment policy and very possibly a new set of names on the concom.

3 thoughts on “Wiscon

  1. S
    Steve P says:

    I surfed into your page because I’ve read John Scalzi’s books and he recommends you on his page and your book sounds really cool. Congratulations on your Hugo btw 🙂

    But this Wiscon thing sounds a little weird. It raised my interest because I haven’t been to a con in years and was a little amazed and horrified to read that people were getting harrased at cons. My things have chaned since I was in college years ago.

    So I Googled a bit and then followed the links over to theangryblackwoman.com where everyone is saying she has the smoking gun proof that she was harrased and she has a photo where she writes:

    “See back in 2009 when this picture of Frenkel staring at my breasts was taken…”

    There’s just one little problem. In the photo his eyes are CLOSED! Well at least his left eye is. You can’t see his right eye in the photo but peoples’ eyes generally work in sync.

    So anyway, I’m staring right at the photo and his eye is closed. Closed as in not staring.

    Granted this is just one photo, there’s probably heaps of other ‘evidence’ and he could have been staring before or after he closed his eye(s) but given that she made a big deal out of it, everything else she’s written (in a rather convoluted style) is totally undermined.

    It all makes me wonder if this Frenkel chap is just a victim of defamation.

    1. Ann says:

      Given that there are way more incidents than just that one, no, he’s not just a victim of defamation. That’s one small incident in a longer list. Also, you know, there’s this thing called blinking. Capturing someone mid-blink is pretty common, and just generally I doubt he was standing there with his eyes shut for some inexplicable reason. Honestly, the “but his eyes were closed” thing is reaching pretty hard. Also, I was unaware that a convoluted writing style undermined one’s credibility. I’ll have to remember that.

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