Reporting Sexual Harassment in SF/F, 2013 Edition
I first put together this resource list in 2010. I intend to keep updating and reposting it every year until it’s no longer necessary.
If you’ve been sexually harassed, it’s your choice whether or not to report that harassment. It’s not an easy choice, and I obviously can’t guarantee the outcome. But I can tell you that if someone has harassed you, it’s 99% certain that they’ve done it to others. You’re not alone.
Please also see this post by Elise Matthesen about reporting sexual harassment. Of particular note is her explanation of the “formal” reporting process vs. informal or anonymous reports.
Reporting to Publishers:
As a general rule, if you’ve been sexually harassed by an editor or another employee of a publisher, complaints can be directed to the publisher’s H.R. department. Please note that reporting to H.R. will usually trigger a formal, legal response.
I’ve spoken to people at several publishers to get names and contact information for complaints, both formal and informal. I’ve put asterisks by the publishers where I spoke with someone directly.
- Ace: See Penguin, below.
- Alliteration Ink*: All complaints, formal and informal, should be directed to steven -at- alliterationink.com. Also see their respect policy.
- Apex Publications*: “Any harassment issues related to Apex Publications should be sent to Jason Sizemore.” jason -at- apexbookcompany.com.
- Baen*: Toni Weisskopf, toni -at- baen.com. From Toni, “You would come to me with any complaint about the company.”
- DAW*: Sheila Gilbert (sheila.gilbert -at- us.penguingroup.com) or Betsy Wollheim (betsy.wollheim -at- us.penguingroup.com).
- Del Rey/Spectra*: HumanResources -at- randomhouse.com.
- Edge*: Brian Hades (publisher -at- hadespublications.com).
- Harper Collins: feedback2 -at- harpercollins.com.
- Jo Fletcher Books*: Contact Jo Fletcher directly. jo.fletcher -at- jofletcherbooks.co.uk.
- Orbit: Andrea Weinzimer, VP of Human Resources. andrea.weinzimer -at- hbgusa.com. Inappropriate conduct can also be brought up with the publisher, Tim Holman tim.holman -at- hbgusa.com.
- Penguin: Contact page links to an e-mail submission form.
- Random House: Contact page has some info.
- Roc: See Penguin, above.
- Solaris Books: Please use the Contact Page.
- Tor*: Report the incident directly to Macmillan Human Resources, or to Beth Meacham, at bam -at- panix.com or in person. Reports can also be made online at http://speakup.macmillan.com (please note that the online form is not a “formal” report unless you follow up with HR).
Publishers – I would love to expand this list with better information. Please contact me.
Reporting to Conventions:
Often harassment doesn’t come from editors, but from authors, convention guests, or other fans. If this happens at a convention, you can contact convention security, ops, and/or the convention committee. Many (but not all) conventions include harassment policies in the program books and the websites.
A convention committee doesn’t have the same power as an employer. However, if harassment is reported at a convention, the individual may be confronted or asked to leave. In addition, reporting harassment by guests (authors, editors, etc.) is very helpful to the convention in deciding who not to invite back.
To any convention staff, I would encourage you to make sure you have a harassment policy in place, and equally importantly, that your volunteers are aware of that policy and willing to enforce it. Please see the “Other Resources” section below for starting points on developing such a policy, if you haven’t already done so.
Please see also John Scalzi’s Convention Harassment Policy Pledge, which has been c0-signed by more than 700 people who will not attend conventions that lack a posted and adequately publicized harassment policy.
Science Fiction/Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) – Updated 4/25/2017:
SFWA President Cat Rambo points to the documents that the organization has provided for the benefit of the organizers of conventions or other gatherings
Accessibility Checklist for SFWA Spaces: http://www.sfwa.org/other-resources/public-relations/accessibility-checklist-for-sfwa-spaces/
Policy and Procedure on Harassment in SFWA Venues: http://www.sfwa.org/2011/11/sfwa-statement-on-sexual-harassment/
She adds: If someone feels that they have been or are being harassed at a SFWA event, table, booth, or other SFWA space, whether real or virtual, they should contact: 1) myself and/or Executive Director Kate Baker, 2) any SFWA board member, 3) SFWA’s ombudsman, Gay Haldeman, at ombudsman -at-sfwa.org, or (4) if at an event, with any SFWA volunteer there. Our events follow the Anti-Harassment Policy and make it clear to attendees.
In the case of SFWA online space such as the discussion boards or the blog, posts and comments can be reported to the moderators or webeditor as appropriate.
SFWA wants its face to face and online community to be spaces where members can come together to exchange professional information, advice, and announcements as well as accessing the wealth of resources the organization offers its members.
What to Expect:
Ideally, someone who was sexually harassed could report it and expect to be treated with respect. Their concerns would be taken seriously, and all possible steps would be taken to make sure the behavior did not happen again, and that the offender understood such behavior was unacceptable. Disciplinary action would be taken when appropriate.
This is not a perfect world. Employers are required to follow the laws and their own policies, which take time. Even a formal report may result in nothing more than a warning (particularly if this is the first report of harassment).
That said, when I originally posted about sexual harassment in fandom, everyone who responded expressed that such behavior was unacceptable. And there were a lot of responses, from fans, authors, editors, con staff, and agents. The growing conversation suggests that more and more of us are taking sexual harassment seriously and working to put an end to this behavior.
As a rape counselor, I saw how powerful and important it can be to break the silence around assault and harassment. However, it’s always your choice whether or not to report. Making that report will be stressful. It may also be empowering, but there are no guarantees. It may or may not have visible results.
First and foremost, please do whatever is necessary to take care of yourself.
- The Back Up Project See also http://backupproject.livejournal.com/
- The Backup Ribbon Project
- On Harassment Policies, via Cheryl Morgan. Discussion and examples of convention harassment policies.
- Sample Conference Anti-harassment Policy, from the Geek Feminism Wiki. I particularly like that the policy includes internal guidelines for convention staff.
- Convention Harassment Policies (from the Geek Feminism wiki)
- Bystander Intervention
- Supporting Victims of Sexual Harassment
- Crap People Say About Sexual Harassment
- Accidents are Harder than you Think (Seanan McGuire talks about the clear line between harassment and “misunderstandings.”)
- Maybe It’s Just Us (Cherie Priest on her experiences being harassed at conventions, and the way women warn one another about known creeps.)
- Why am I Afraid to Name the Editor? (Mary Robinette Kowal discusses some of the common fears that can pressure people into staying silent.)
- But He Didn’t Know He Was Hijacking Your Ship (Maria Dahvana Headley talking about her experience with harassment and the all-too-common “But maybe it was an accident or a misunderstanding” excuse.)
Please contact me if you know of additional resources that should be included here.
July 8, 2013 @ 12:36 pm
Excellent resources overall, but remember–and it might be worth mentioning–that people who witness but are not the target of, harassment can also report the harasser. Especially at cons/to con security, but most corporate policies cover that as well–basically, harassment is something which makes *you* uncomfortable, even if it’s not directed at you.
And because I know people always bring it up, if you report something and it’s actually *not* harassment (just really lame flirting, for example), nothing bad is likely to happen to anyone–security will talk to the people involved, each of them will say “Haha, no we’re just really bad at flirting, it wasn’t harassment.” and that will be it. But it might not be mutual, and that’s why it’s not bad to report it–maybe she will say, “No we were just flirting” and he will say “oh, thank god someone noticed she was being creepy, please keep her away from me.”
(also also, while I know you are specifically talking about sexual harassment, I suspect 95% of the advice holds true for ANY kind of harassment.)
July 11, 2013 @ 10:49 am
Good point, Celia. Thank you.
Conference anti-harassment campaigns do work: Three existence proofs from SF&F, atheism/skepticism, and open source | Finally, A Feminism 101 Blog
August 28, 2013 @ 8:02 am
[…] November 2010: Jim C. Hines creates a set of resources for reporting sexual harassment in SF&F, updated yearly. The 2013 version is here. […]