Reporting Sexual Harassment in SF/F
Please see http://www.jimchines.com/2013/07/reporting-sexual-harassment-2013/ for the most current version of this post.
Last week, I described a conversation I had with several different people at World Fantasy Con about an editor known for sexually harassing women. This generated a lot of discussion. At one point I remarked that someone should put together resources and contact information for anyone who’s been harassed and wanted to report it.
A moment later it occurred to me that, “Hey … I’m someone. I could do that.”
I want to make it as clear as I can that 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 he (or she) has done it to others. You’re not alone.
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 also 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.
- 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 Wolheim (betsy.wolheim -at- us.penguingroup.com). They can be reached during normal office hours, Tuesday through Thursday.
- Del Rey/Spectra*: HumanResources -at- randomhouse.com.
- Harper Collins: feedback2 -at- harpercollins.com
- 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.
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 or other fans. If this happens at a convention, another option is to contact the convention committee. Many (but not all) conventions are now including harassment policies in the program books.
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.
For example, to report harassment which occurred at World Fantasy Con 2010, I would start at their web site. From the names listed, I would personally start with Lucy Snyder, simply because she’s someone I know and trust.
To convention staff, I would ask and 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 when necessary.
The Con Anti-Harassment Project includes a list of SF/F conventions and their sexual harassment policies.
What to Expect:
Ideally, someone who was sexually harassed could report it and expect to be treated with respect. Her or his 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 may mean a report results in nothing more than a warning (particularly if this is the first report of harassment). And of course, there’s always the T.D. factor. You might contact a member of the convention committee, only to discover that they are (in the words of George Takei) a Total Douchebag who blows you off or tells you to get over it.
That said, when I first posted about this, everyone who responded expressed that such behavior was unacceptable. And there were a lot of responses, from fans, authors, editors, con staff, and agents.
As a rape counselor, I learned 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 can be empowering. 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
- The Con Anti-Harassment Project
- Sample Conference Anti-harassment Policy, from the Geek Feminism Wiki. I particularly like that the policy includes internal guideilnes for convention staff.
Please contact me if you know of related resources which should be included here.
I will be updating this page as needed, and doing my best to keep the resources and information up to date. Feedback and suggestions are welcome.
November 8, 2010 @ 12:05 pm
Del Rey Spectra is an imprint of Random House, so that would be the logical place to go.
Tweets that mention Jim C. Hines » Reporting Sexual Harassment in SF/F -- Topsy.com
November 8, 2010 @ 12:26 pm
[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by tobiasbuckell, Marjorie Liu, Metafrantic, Brad Beaulieu, kristen britain and others. kristen britain said: RT @jimchines: New Post: Reporting Sexual Harassment in SF/F http://bit.ly/9o8fvv […]
November 8, 2010 @ 1:01 pm
As a fan, I only remember seeing one editor-like person blatantly sexually harrassing a woman at a con. He was pretty old at the time and is now dead, so…
I’ve seen some…um…questionable behavior by influential people at cons (often pros but sometimes fans). You always wonder if you should say something or not, as the women involved did not seem to treat the attention as unwanted. Still, you have to wonder.
Jim C. Hines
November 8, 2010 @ 4:18 pm
I’ve got an e-mail in with them as of this afternoon, and am hoping to update soon.
Deirdre Saoirse Moen
November 8, 2010 @ 6:21 pm
For a convention guest or member, I’d tend to:
1) report it to convention security and/or the con operations office
2) for a panelist, I’d also report it to program ops; they need to know earlier rather than later — and don’t assume the first group has time to let program ops know….
The one time I heard about an issue of haranguing (but not sexual harassment), I heard about it from fellow panelists after the convention was over (I was head of programming and heard about it on the post-con survey). I might have been able to prevent part of the train wreck had I known sooner.
Or not. Sigh.
They were all as professional as they could be and the panelist had been reliable (with no complaints that I knew of) in the past, too.
Also: don’t assume that convention committees from one year pass information along perfectly to next year’s committee. There’s a lot of turnover.
Jim C. Hines
November 9, 2010 @ 6:20 pm
Thanks for this, Dierdre.
Jim C. Hines
November 9, 2010 @ 6:22 pm
“You always wonder if you should say something or not…”
There’s a lot of societal and cultural pressure to not say anything. It can be really hard. But I think a casual “Hey, you okay?” or something can be very helpful. If you’re not sure whether the attention is wanted, would you rather step in and risk be wrong or just walk away and take the same risk?
Reporting harassment at conventions : con-news.com
November 10, 2010 @ 10:17 pm
[…] Jim C. Hines, reacting to reports of sexual harassment at a recent con, has put together a list of resources for the harassed, starting with a list of publishing contacts (as the harasser was an editor) and continuing to more […]
Episode 21 of Galactic Suburbia « Randomly Yours, Alex
November 24, 2010 @ 5:22 pm
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