Soon after the 2021 Hugo Awards finalists were announced, Chris Logan Edwards asked in comments here, “How is ‘George R.R. Martin Can Fuck Off Into the Sun’ not a violation of the DisCon III Code of Conduct?” That eye-catching phrase is attached to a Best Related Work finalist whose complete title is “George R.R. Martin Can Fuck Off Into the Sun, Or: The 2020 Hugo Awards Ceremony (Rageblog Edition)”, Natalie Luhrs (Pretty Terrible, August 2020).
The specific issue is that DisCon III disseminated this phrase on its website, in press releases, and on YouTube – and in doing so the committee itself (not Natalie Luhrs’ blog publication) violated their own Code of Conduct.
The applicable parts of DisCon III’s Code of Conduct are —
We do not tolerate harassment of convention attendees in any form. Behavior that will be considered harassment includes, but is not limited to…
Comments directly intended to belittle, offend, or cause discomfort including telling others they are not welcome and should leave…
We require attendees to follow the CoC in online interactions with the convention (including the volunteer mailings, wiki, and other online facilities), at all convention venues and convention-related social activities.
I sent Edwards’ question to several committee members together with the request, “If your immediate thought is that the Hugo voters can trump your Code of Conduct, please explain why you think that.”
DisCon III’s decision to broadcast this phrase on their own platform means they also are committing to having it repeated over and over again in all their venues. As Elio M. García, Jr. explained in another comment here:
Websites around the world have amplified that a member of the WSFS should fuck off. Every official publication that lists the nomination is telling a member of the WSFS to fuck off. The Hugo Nominees discussion panel will have people talking about how GRRM (and Robert Silverberg) should fuck off. On the night of the ceremonies, the screen, the presenter, the sign language interpreter will be announcing to an audience of hundreds that specific members of the WSFS should fuck off.
(Garcia is webmaster of Westeros, a George R.R. Martin fan site not run by the author.)
Tonight Adam Beaton, the Worldcon’s Outreach Division Head, emailed the committee’s reply to my question:
Our response for publication is, “DisCon III does not publicly comment on potential Code of Conduct matters.”
Have a great day, Mike!
The leadership is going to find out how hard it is to administer a Code of Conduct they are unwilling to publicly account to themselves.