The Readercon Mess
Much of the SF/F community has posted about the Readercon mess, where Rene Walling harassed and stalked Genevieve Valentine throughout the convention. BC Holmes has a roundup of links and discussion here.
Readercon’s official statement announced that Walling had been banned from Readercon “for at least two years.” Honestly, my first reaction was relief that they had done anything at all, given how often this sort of behavior gets ignored or excused. But then I read further, and discovered that Readercon has a zero-tolerance policy about sexual harassment:
“Harassment of any kind — including physical assault, battery, deliberate intimidation, stalking, or unwelcome physical attentions — will not be tolerated at Readercon and will result in permanent suspension of membership.”
There was no question that Walling’s behavior fell under this definition. The board at Readercon simply chose to ignore their own policy. I’m sure they believe they had good reason. I’m equally sure it doesn’t matter. Whatever you might think of zero-tolerance policies, Readercon made a promise to its members that sexual harassment would not be tolerated, and would be dealt with in a certain way.
They broke that promise.
I’m not going to write a long rant here, both because I’m still recovering from the last rant, and because so many others have made the points I would have made (usually better than I would have done). Here are a few links I wanted to highlight:
I hope other conventions are paying attention and taking notes on what to do and what not to do in order to create a safe environment for their attendees.
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