Odyssey Con Loses Last GoH

Filmmaker Christopher R. Mihm today became the last of Odyssey Con’s three guests of honor to walk away from the con. He wrote on Facebook:

After extensive research gathering opinions and facts and in light of all the craziness surrounding Odyssey Con, I’ve decided it’s simply best to pull out as a guest. Sadly, this will be a bit of a financial hit against my family (which includes several wonderful, well-behaved children who deserve so much more than I can ever provide) but, I’ll make it work like I always do…somehow. If you feel particularly generous and my attempt at cynically pulling your heartstrings worked, allow me to take advantage of the situation and remind you fine folks that you can pick up my films or contribute to my latest film, “Demon with the Atomic Brain,” at my website (cough cough sainteuphoria ahem dot cough com).

Mihm and Tad Williams followed Monica Valentinelli’s initiative, who quit as GoH due to the presence on the committee of someone she knew as a harasser, and how several other members of the committee continued to support him after she raised the issue.

Valentinelli responded to Mihm’s departure with a tweet —

Odyssey Con has updated its statement and, having lost all of its GoHs, is offering membership refunds if requested before April 21.

Odyssey Con regrets to announce that Christopher Mihm, Tad Williams, and Monica Valentinelli have decided that they are unable to attend Odyssey Con 17. We respect their decisions, and wish them all the best.

James Frenkel will not be attending Odyssey Con 2017. Mr. Frenkel is no longer associated with Odyssey Con in any way.

At this time, it is planned that Odyssey Con 2017 will go on as scheduled. We will continue to offer the stimulating discussions, anime and movie programs, karaoke and live music, LAN and face-to-face gaming, poetry, cash-prize writing contests, masquerade, our famous real-food Con Suite, the notorious (and often humorous) Opening Ceremonies, and the camaraderie and good fellowship for which OddCon has become well known.

We realize some may be disappointed in this change, and those wishing a refund for pre-registrations may do so before 4/21/17

[Via Soon Lee and James Davis Nicoll.]

21 thoughts on “Odyssey Con Loses Last GoH

  1. This is a guy doing the right thing even though it’s tough. Tad Williams doesn’t need local con exposure, but it sounds like this man does. At least he’ll have an extra weekend to spend with the wonderful children.

  2. You’d have thought that after the harassment messes at Readercon, Wiscon, World Fantasy Con, ConText, and ConQuest (and, and, and…), that concoms would have realized that con attendees are serious about not tolerating harassment any more, and that they would have gotten the message that refusing to handle incidents of harassment, protecting their buddies who are known harassers, and putting them in positions of responsibility at conventions, will have some serious consequences going forward.

    You’d have thought. Clearly OdysseyCon shows that isn’t the case.

    Perhaps this will finally be the incident that tips the balance into concoms realizing that they aren’t going to be able to get away with ignoring harassment and making excuses for harassers any more.

  3. These cases are just tragic for everyone. Lets hope for a a better future.

  4. Greg Hullender: Does anyone have a link to a page that explains precisely what the man was accused of doing?

    Surely you know how to Google?

    Frenkel harassment

    brings up a substantial amount of reading material. I suggest that you start here.

  5. That must have been a very hard decision for Christopher Mihm. Mad respect for the choice he made.

    The part that still gets me is that initial Valentinelli email exchange:

    “Hi, I’m concerned about the presence of Jim Frenkel at your con because I’ve had several uncomfortable and problematic experiences with him in the past.”

    “Don’t believe everything you read, we’ve never had any complaints about him at *our* convention, he’s a man not a monster, etc.”

    “No, I mean that I have been personally harassed by him.”

    “…Oh.”

    I know it wasn’t an officially official response, but I’m still facepalming and shaking my head over here.

  6. Greg

    Does anyone have a link to a page that explains precisely what the man was accused of doing?

    Does it matter? She stated she had several encounters with him that made her feel unsafe to be around him. She’s not the first nor only person to express this.

    Would knowing the details change that? Or the concoms complete disregard of the safety concern of a GoH? Or the publishing publicly of their email exchange?

    Details to make personal judgements on it aren’t really needed and don’t really make a difference to the unprofessional way they treated a GoH. I don’t blame the others for bailing when that’s how they treat a guest who questions safety.

  7. You’d have thought that after the harassment messes at Readercon, Wiscon, World Fantasy Con, ConText, and ConQuest (and, and, and…), that concoms would have realized that con attendees are serious about not tolerating harassment any more,

    I agree, JJ. I find this whole incident pretty bewildering.

    Given everything that’s been occurring the past few years–including everything that has specifically happened with Jim Frenkel–how in the world did Odyssey Con think that having him on their committee in any capacity (least of all as Guest Liaison) would go WELL for them?

    I am glad to see the GoHs all standing up against this.

  8. In case anyone wants to help Christopher R. Mihm, here is a direct link to contributions towards his current film “Demon with the Atomic Brain.” $25 gets you a contributor credit, and it looks like $10 for a copy of the finished film.

    This is a case where the cost of taking a stand is literally a serious financial cost. So, it’d be nice to help him out!

    (And, I know this sounds like an ad, but I have zero connection to him or any of this – honestly, I hadn’t heard of these films before this announcement. I just know how important something like this can be, and a change like this in hoped-for income can really suck.)

  9. One has to hope this episode will finally get through to the less aware in fandom, but I have my doubts about the learning capacity of some, even now.

  10. @D.H. Radon

    ??? What are you referring to? The incident itself, or the GOH’s reactions thereto?

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  12. Update: OdysseyCon has acquired two new GoHs, one of whom says, in their con bio: “I learned that one of the Members had made choices that upset people in the past, and how it was handled was not the best. I believe that the damage that was done has been contained and separated from the convention.”

    I believe this is more than a little bit of doubling down.

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