A week after ConCarolinas announced John Ringo as a special guest, a choice hailed by his fans but protested by a number of writers on the con program in an extended social media controversy, the con committee has announced he won’t be coming.
Their official statement reads:
ConCarolinas and John Ringo have mutually agreed he will not attend the 2018 event. ConCarolinas wants to provide a positive environment for everyone who attends our events from our guests, attendees, vendors, and staff.
We represent a diverse range of opinions and support that.
We will not tolerate harassment or bullying as stated in our policy.
Any comments regarding this may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
ConCarolinas ConCom: Jada Diaz, ConChair; Dawson Kriska, Vice Chair; Sue Lambert, Secretary and Treasurer; Luis Diaz, Director of Security
While the official statement focuses on a desire to “provide a positive environment for everyone,” both Ringo and the con chair are spinning a different story.
John Ringo wrote on Facebook:
I just got disinvited from a con due to threats to my personal safety. This is more dangerous to me than the five fatwahs I’ve had over the years from various friendly and peaceful lovers of The Most Holy Prophet. Peace be upon his beard. Allahu Akhbar.
And ConCarolinas chair Jada Hope, responding to questions from Jim C. Hines, said:
The con could not guarantee Ringo wouldn't be walking into a hostile environment. John wanted to habe fun. A reasonable request. The con could not guarantee that he wouldn't be subject to people being ugly to him.
— Jada Hope Diaz (@IamJadaDiaz) April 16, 2018
This is my personal twitter and my response.
— Jada Hope Diaz (@IamJadaDiaz) April 16, 2018
Ringo has also unspooled a long commentary on his Facebook page [Internet Archive link] seeking to turn the “safety” complaint back against the protesters who raised it about the author and his fans in the first place. (The excerpt is about half the wordage, see the rest at the link.)
And again with the ‘we do not tolerate harassment or bullying’ without pointing out who that is pointed at.
From my last email with the conchair:
“as ConChair I know this will be an extremely hostile environment and I am concerned for your personal safety. ”
It was mutual, more on that in a moment. But they very much rescinded because they were concerned for my safety.
That was how bad it was getting.
They weren’t concerned I’d grab and axe and start killing all the POCs, women, transgenders, what have you.
They were (justifiably from the comments) concerned for MY safety. And the ‘bullying’ they were commenting on was the bullying by the SJW twitter mobsters.
Why it was phrased as ‘mutual.’
‘Oh, no, John Ringo, no! You’re giving in to the Social Justice Bullies!’
You can phrase it that way. Or you can phrase it this way.
I’m a New York Times best selling author with over 7 million books in print. By far and away I was the largest ‘print’ guest on the list with the largest fan following and thus the biggest draw.
For someone like myself, cons are NOT about marketing. There is very little additional market to be picked up at any litcon, including WorldCon. Cons are places to go to talk with people who enjoy reading science fiction and fantasy and are generally smart and interesting people. To meet new people (one of the reasons I agreed to attend ConCarolinas was ‘new people’), to pick up new characters, to have a good time.
There is very little fiscal reason for someone like myself to attend. Ergo: The best reason is to have fun.
Not for any particular ‘political’ reason, prior to my being invited the guest list for the ‘lit’ side was HEAVILY weighted to the Left. Basically, the entire guest list is ‘between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders’ with the late add of a ‘token Nazi.’
I’ve been to those cons. I know what happens. Every single panel turns into a continuous shitfest. I’m constantly stopped in the hallways to be asked when did I join the Nazi party and how long have I been a Nazi. Forget intentional ‘disruptions’ that are the hallmark of the modern fascists called ‘progressives.’ It would be just another shitfest like WindyCon or (christ, can’t even remember the name of that one, I’ve deleted the memory…) Hell, I dropped my attendance at LosCon over much less furor than this.
The panels consist of someone with no background and no real professional CV spouting some idiocy they learned in a bad writer’s workshop followed by me trying to politely tell them they’re as full of shit as a Christmas turkey and pointing out the reality of writing and publishing. Then I get told ‘That’s not true!’ or ‘You’re wrong!’ with no logical follow-up and it just goes downhill from there. If I sit there mute it turns into a Communist Party Religious Meeting of people speaking Truth to Power and being told how great they are until the next person speaks Truth To Power and so on and so forth. And pretty much every truth to power boils down to ‘The Sun Rises in the West and Revolves Around Moscow Center and Bernie/Obama/Whoever is Jesus and We Have Always Been At War With Eastasia!’
…To be clear: This isn’t any loss to me. It is a loss to the con and the attendees who were looking forward to John Ringo attending. It’s even a loss to the Social Justice Bullies since some of my fans might accidentally have bought some of their books.
To me, there is NO downside.
YES! I caved to the social justice bullies and now I DON’T HAVE TO DEAL WITH TSA! WOOOOT!
And con chair Jada Hope added this response:
Caveat – I am commenting as Jada Hope – individual human being. Even though I am going to post somewhat as ConChair, this is not endorsed by the ConCarolinas ConCom.
This decision sucks. To be concerned for John’s safety to the point of looking at having security guards (possibly armed – an off duty police officer is present at the con during “high traffic hours”) – what fun would that be for John?
Like John, I hate traveling and I’d rather stay in my chair (I’m in it now as I post). And yes, we could have marched to the top of the hill and planted the flag of “Nobody tells us what to do”.
Again, what fun would this have been for John? He doesn’t need the marketing exposure.
I apologize, again personally as Jada the individually member of the human race, to everyone who was looking forward to John attending.
One thing I will address is the rumor that John and I were in collusion to pull a “Gotcha” by delaying the announcement. Very late in February John signed an agreement to be a guest. That Friday I was in a car accident and sustained a concussion aka traumatic brain injury and was under doctor’s orders to not be on the computer or phone. I posted very little from 3/2 until a week and a half ago and a week ago Thursday I ended up with the concussion symptoms coming back full force.
There was no collusion.
I can only apologize to John and his fans for this getting so out of hand.
As my dear friend Sue has said:
“Public stoning is no longer done in the town square. It is executed via social media.”