Worldcon 76 Settles with Jon Del Arroz: Issues Apology, Will Pay Compensation

San Francisco Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon 76) has reached settlement with Jon Del Arroz in the lawsuit he filed against them for having been banned from the 2018 convention and for statements made in the public announcement of that decision.

Under today’s settlement, SFSFC will pay Del Arroz $4,000, and is publishing the following statement on its website and Facebook page:

SFSFC AND JON DEL ARROZ HAVE SETTLED THE LAWSUIT MR. DEL ARROZ FILED WHICH INVOLVED HIS BEING BANNED FROM WORLDCON 76. IN CONCLUDING THE DISPUTE, SFSFC WISHES TO ISSUE THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT:

SFSFC acknowledges the importance of reputation, especially for a relatively new author, and regrets that its public statement about barring his attendance might have led people unfamiliar with Mr. Del Arroz and his work to infer that he is or was a racist. For that, SFSFC apologizes. This attendance ban was specific to the Worldcon 76 events produced by SFSFC, and Mr. Del Arroz has the same opportunity as other members of the public to register for future SFSFC events. Worldcon 76 does not tolerate discrimination in any form — including through cosplay — based on but not limited to gender, race, ethnicity, religion, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, or physical/mental health conditions. SFSFC firmly believes that healthy political discourse requires active, mutual, good faith participation by members of the community with differing opinions.

Kevin Roche
Chair, Worldcon 76 in San Jose
President, San Francisco Science Fiction Conventions, Inc.

The agreed settlement is “a full and final settlement of all claims between the parties.”

The final settlement meets Del Arroz’ demand for an apology, but rejects two additional conditions originally included in his attorney’s proposal of May 27 (copy subsequently filed with the court), which were:

2. SFSFC will agree to make an active attempt to avoid exclusionary practices in the future to anyone in science fiction based on race, religion, creed, or political affiliation by having its board attends a diversity training course (which can be online) showing completion within one year of the date of the agreement. The settlement agreement will provide for liquidated damages of $25,000 and attorneys fees if this provision is breached.

3. Mr. Del Arroz will be added as a Diversity & Inclusivity Officer to the organization for future conventions and events to ensure discrimination based on identity does not occur again.

Also, the compensation is less than the originally proposed sum of $50,000 “for the damage done to Mr. Del Arroz’s reputation, emotional distress, and financial losses.”

SFSFC, Inc. is the parent corporation of Worldcon 76, held in San Jose. Del Arroz sued SFSFC in 2018 after the Worldcon 76 committee announced he would not be allowed to attend the convention (“Del Arroz Files Suit Against Worldcon 76”. In February 2019, the court tossed four of the five causes of action in Del Arroz’s lawsuit against Worldcon 76’s parent corporation. The case continued on the fifth complaint, defamation, and focused on SFSFC’s statement on social media banning Del Arroz from attending Worldcon 76. In May, the court rejected Worldcon 76’s Motion for Summary Judgment, and in addressing five arguments Worldcon 76’s attorney made in support of the motion Judge Manoukian said that four of the defense’s contentions were not proven, and another would need to be decided by a jury. Del Arroz’ attorney at that point waived the originally-requested jury (according to a June 2 filing). Therefore, if the case had gone to trial, it would have been solely before the judge who’d just ruled against the MSJ. These kinds of litigating hazards were likely a strong incentive to settle.

93 thoughts on “Worldcon 76 Settles with Jon Del Arroz: Issues Apology, Will Pay Compensation

  1. Aaron Pound: Pretending it is not any kind of a victory for JDA is the delusional part — he got part of what he asked for. He got an apology. He got to be a jerk and enjoy the settlement-created illusion of being paid for it (although, of course, it must have cost him plenty of money he’s not going to recover.)

    I’m sure that on the defendant’s side it probably did look like a choice a “lawyer advises them to make when they know they are going to win but it will cost them more than the settlement amount to do so.” That’s the purpose of wise counsel, to present that option. That really has nothing to do with the perception of what JDA achieved in the settlement.

  2. Eric Ashley: “Don’t be evil”, and “decide to be a better person”. Excellent advice! You should try it. A good start would be to not misrepresent other people’s actions.

  3. Tom Becker: Like Eric Ashley says, he hasn’t been around for a while — because he certainly didn’t want to drop by while JDA was under the cloud of having lost the other four-fifths of his suit.

  4. @Mike: He got an apology that Worldcon clearly got to write, and which “apologizes” that people may have misinterpreted what they said. That’s the weakest of weak sauce.

  5. Oh, cute! He made a sockpuppet with my first name on it… It seems something I said stung him.

    /looks at t. for the $1 bet I won.

  6. “However, I advise anyone thinking on this to NEVER write a plan or statement that could be used later to accuse you or your organization of retaliation. You can think what you will, but never record such thoughts.”

    Eric, I advise you to look up the legal terms “pattern and practice” and “disparate impact”. Doesn’t matter if you admit retaliation if your deeds show you’re retaliating.

  7. SDN: Doesn’t matter if you admit retaliation if your deeds show you’re retaliating.

    In this case, there was no “retaliation”. Worldcon 76 rightly excluded JDA from the convention due to his promised CoC-violating behavior. They were just unwise to make a statement which could be misconstrued as saying that the exclusion was being made for racist behavior.

    JDA’s bad behavior has been legion, and while minorities and LGBTQ have been the main targets of his bad behavior, he has also targeted white people, so it would be hard to make a case that his bad behavior is simply due to racism. But it’s not hard at all to make the case that his bad behavior is due to him being an a$$hole.

  8. I just got the weirdest email from Worldcon 76, presumably because I was a supporting member. Nothing says “totally not a racist” like an email with an all-caps subject that’s eight lines long.

  9. Reminds me of the very recent defamation case in Australia.
    A Cabinet Minister sued the National Broadcaster for defamation, for alleging in an online article that he was the accused and likely guilty rapist in a historical case which could not proceed because the person making the complaint had taken her life before the relevant police force could begin their investigation. The article actually reported that a letter had been sent to the Prime Minister and other politicians naming the minister as the accused in a historical rape allegation. The Cabinet Minister strongly denied the allegation.
    The Cabinet Minister withdrew his suit after mediation.He received $10K for his costs in mediation, and a clarification added to the article (stating that the broadcaster regretted that some people may have misinterpreted the implications of the report) which remains online.
    The Cabinet Minister claimed this as a ‘humiliating defeat’for the broadcaster.
    Others have described it as a monumental ‘self-own’.
    In his little way, JdA has achieved a similar self-own. Enough in it to make claims of victory, which some people will believe, but others will see right through.

  10. @Ken Richards: I have an observation about your comment. I’m not sure what if anything it means:

    Like the news story in the settlement you mention, you do not name the person in question, though it was easy to learn who you refer to.

    I think that would be the “self-own” element: That in order to refute a blind yet obvious allegation, he had to name himself as the alleged assailant.

    Here’s an interesting bit from a clearly anti-defamation-law article:

    A news organisation might carefully avoid naming a person, as the ABC did, but it could still be liable if a reader would have known who that person was. Porter was named in social media chatter around the ABC’s story – whether that sort of speculation constitutes identification is questionable, but not inconceivable.

  11. @Aaron

    I can see your argument, that the defense attorney might well have advised his client to settle just to make the case go away. (And might have been saying that for some time.) From the plaintiff’s side, you should ask yourself what he really wanted. Did he ever reasonably expect $50k, or a position as diversity officer? I doubt those were really important goals for him. His lawyer should have told him from the start that proving that level of damages would be a heavy lift. Probably what he wanted was a public statement from the convention, which he got. He might very well be genuinely satisfied with the settlement. So I think I largely agree with Mike Glyer.

    I’m just learning about this case today. Now I’m curious and might go back and look at the earlier proceedings.

  12. J. on June 5, 2021 at 11:21 pm said:
    I just got the weirdest email from Worldcon 76, presumably because I was a supporting member. Nothing says “totally not a racist” like an email with an all-caps subject that’s eight lines long.

    If you read the terms of the actual settlement you will see that SFSFC was required to send that exact email to all members of Worldcon 76.

  13. I got the same e-mail, scanned it and deleted it. I knew exact who and what Jon Del Arroz is and don’t need a court-mandated e-mail to tell me.

  14. Tom Becker,
    I saw people here saying how they should work on hurting another man because he was ‘an a-hole’, but that they needed to be more skillful at dodging the legal bullet. Sounds rather like the advice the junior criminal gets in the Big House. “Look kid, here’s how to rob a convenience store without being caught.” I have different advice…don’t rob convenience stores.

    Don’t be evil.

    Mike Glyer, I haven’t spent a lot of time caring about Arroz. But it is good to see him win against the censors and deplatformers and liars and defamers. Like Ray Bradbury said….lot of people running around with matches. Of course, I actually agree with you lot about the need to censor. I just want to censor the unAmerican and ungodly.

    Eric, nope. I’m of Viking descent. Arroz is Hispanic of some kind. Of if you want your head to explode, you can read my books on Amazon. For max splodage, try the short stories ‘Can a City Boy Survive?’ which is Prepper fiction and the Zombie short story ‘Count All the Votes.’

  15. Yeah, I don’t know who wrote that email (and I doubt Kevin will ever say) but it’s pretty much a fake apology. (Which I might condemn in other contexts, but Jon Del Arroz deserves neither a fake apology nor a real one.)

  16. JDA’s goal was publicity. That’s always his goal. Unfortunately, it seems that just because he looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and hangs out with a whole lot of ducks, publicly implying he’s a duck can get an organization in trouble. And so he got exactly what he wanted.

  17. I’m especially tickled by the sock puppets who want me to know that only because of this news item have they heard of JDA and are now reading [name of his book].

    JDA has obviously listened to Alec Baldwin giving the “Always Be Closing” speech from Glengarry Glen Ross.

  18. It’s kind of depressing that Jon’s sockpuppets haven’t heard of his books before this. My imaginary friends have read all of my books.

  19. Did he ever reasonably expect $50k, or a position as diversity officer? I doubt those were really important goals for him.

    First, when has JDA ever actually been reasonable?

    Second, if he thought he would win, sure. The relative values placed on a settlement almost always reflects an assessment each of the parties made about their chances of victory. If JDA thought he would win, he wouldn’t have settled for an amount of damages that probably won’t even cover a fraction of his attorney’s fees.

    As a side note, I don’t specifically know about California, but I know in the jurisdictions where I practice, the filing fee goes up the more damages you are claiming, so if the same is true in California, JDA paid extra to have a high dollar amount listed as the damages he was seeking – which you don’t do unless you actually think you can get it.

  20. @SDN

    Eric, I advise you to look up the legal terms “pattern and practice” and “disparate impact”. Doesn’t matter if you admit retaliation if your deeds show you’re retaliating.

    It is much, much harder and my advice is sound. As for your advice on P&P’s as they are generally referred to, yes I am well versed in them and how to specifically avoid the appearance of them. However to establish a pattern, which is required, you need multiple instance of objectively similar situations in which to draw an inference. The key being it must be shown in the pattern and practice.

    @kathodus

    JDA’s goal was publicity. That’s always his goal. Unfortunately, it seems that just because he looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and hangs out with a whole lot of ducks, publicly implying he’s a duck can get an organization in trouble. And so he got exactly what he wanted.

    I would disagree, he lost money on this, money that would have gone a lot further advertising his brand in other ways. He likely filed the suit on advice and a feeling that he would be handed a quick victory and once he started down this path was shocked that he was both losing and that Worldcon and the dozen or so defendants he went after, fought back. He eventually lost all but the defamation causes of action and he was being expected to spend some real money, money he is not likely to recover continuing the case.

    However, I suspect he felt like he had to continue or be labeled a poser or face the wrath of the go-fund-me backers from whom he funded this enterprise with. Bowing to peer pressure he kept at it and then tried to send as many signals as possible that he was willing to settle. The change in format away from jury, his ridiculous, but honestly lowball starting offer is evident enough that he was both worried he was going to lose or win but get nothing but the apology anyways.

    Did he win anything? Not really, people in his spectrum of politics are still making fun of him and arguing that he should have done more or continued fighting. What I suspect he has not come to realize is just what a chilling affect being known as the guy who sues people can have. Aside from the obvious of who wants to walk around a yard in shorts with a dog that randomly bites people; there is the real worry that your communication with him can get exposed in discovery. You have to ask yourself “are your private conversations with him safe?”. His shot at street cred may have been blown up in his face because his victims fought back.

    As an aside, a thought occurred to me, that $4k may have been to refund the backers perhaps?

    Eric, nope. I’m of Viking descent.

    With a French name… right.

  21. Aaron Pound: My 2018 post “Update on Del Arroz Suit Against Worldcon 76 reported he paid a $435 filing fee, which is the higher fee for a “complaint or other first paper in unlimited civil case (amount over $25,000),” — but the filing fee for a limited suit would have been $370 — so the “extra” was only $65 more.

  22. eric – no not the sockpuppet one: I’ll listen to the argument that JDA “felt like he had to continue or be labeled a poser” — the trouble is, JDA chronically markets himself by creating social media conflicts which he closes out by claiming victimhood. So everybody knows he’s a poser — that’s his game. It’s hard to believe he was worried about that being exposed.

  23. @Eric Ashley: That is ridiculous. Who robbed a convenience store? JDA’s the one walking away with cash. He provoked the Worldcon into canceling his membership, and then used that as an excuse to sue them.

  24. Mike, you can actually go to Amazon, and search my name, and come up with my author page.

    And it is what it is. This is how you can tell I’m real. Arroz seems like a good guy, and a decent enough writer who got attacked by evil people and got justice. Some people like his writing, some don’t. I do like Flying Sparks. But I’m not going to do the lefty thing, and say he’s the greatest writer since John C. Wright.

    As to what I’m reading now or recently since all things here tend to book threads you told me last time I was here. And I’ve said my piece. You lot can choose reality or not as you like.

    Warping Minds & Other Misdemeanors…..not bad, light urban fantasy. Illusion magician.

    Modesty….you the useless member of your family have to stop the evil, super capable other members of your family from destroying the world. Greg Curtis.

    The Decline and Fall of Western Art by Brendan Heard….nonfiction. Useful and deep attack on Modernism. Much of modern society is just ….useless. stupid. nasty. pathetic. This helps explain why.

    Enemies Foreign and Domestic….Thriller. Especially timely today with the Federal Empire out to crush America in service of the Usurper.

    Second Sect???….Tao Wong….fun cultivation novel. He struggles with a bad mistake in his cultivation which is killing him.

    ChronoTemplar….has some pretty dark thoughts about human nature, and is a good book about defending humanity from a System Apocalypse by creating a system of warriors and not just one hero guy doing it. Also a Do Over story.

    And I’m really enjoying Arktoons. None are bad, most are good, and some are great. And I say that as a guy who used to have 1700 plus comics in plastic bags and boxes. My recc’d for you is by Lucianho …..something. Hammer of Freedom. Very stark. Brasil in 2045.

    And not one of those books was paperback or hardback.

    And if you’re really desperate, you can read my books. That or a cereal box.

    Bonnie, you know what ungodly and unAmerican is. If George Washington and Jesus Christ would both punch you in the face, you need to turn to Reality.

  25. @mike,
    “JDA chronically markets himself by creating social media conflicts which he closes out by claiming victimhood.”

    That behavior seems endemic of the crowed he runs with and there does not seem to be any negative consequences from going for the victim card. If anything these folks seem to thrive on the feeling or perception that they are being oppressed without realizing that they are just reaping the consequences of their personal actions.

    The poser-ness to them, IMHO, comes from having a foolish chance to throw a punch and not taking it, to not show “strength”. Its not going down in self righteous “glory” certain in the knowledge that you were “right”. To not show integrity to your ideology by “holding the line”. Its all performative. The goal is not really to win, (because as we have seen these folks have no plan for what to do if they manage to win) its to demonstrate confidence. as near as I can tell these guys imagine they are the Spartans at the last battle of Thermopylae. These guys are a reactionaries, so they react.

    I think where he loses his cred is that he is not willing to completely screw up his life in some signal of virtue to the cause, nor is he picking his battles to ensure that he has at least one finger on the scale.

    @Tom Becker

    He provoked the Worldcon into canceling his membership, and then used that as an excuse to sue them.

    I Think you give him too much credit. He thought he was going to pull his covert stunt and style himself as a ‘worldcon James O’Keefe’. He is not very imaginative after all and he wanted to ‘prove’ that he was being singled out because of his race/politics/gender and probably never thought that people did not really care one way or the other about him. That he was just a nuisance jerk no one wanted to personally associate with because of his personality and habits, likely never crossed him mind.

    His getting banned probably came as a shock to him and this was a hastily devised counter attack. It probably started out as a subjection or comment from a follower of his, grew into a chorus and he convinced himself he had a case (this is always the pitfall of anyone deciding to sue). It evolved into a 4 year, expensive, PR campaign that really has not paid dividends. He is not any closer to any professional groups, he has not been brought on to any more conservatives papers. He is just on the same trajectory he was on before, its not hurt him, aside from financially, but its not paid off either.

    I’ve decided to put a calendar note to self for two years from now and look back on this. We will see if future me will even be able to remember this case.

  26. I’m back very temporarily.

    According to one of the genetic sites, some of my closest relatives who took the test are nationals of Sweden. The name ‘Ashley’ is not on that side, but I thought Ashley was an English name, not French???

    I don’t have French ancestors. So unless this goes back to the Norman Invasion …?

  27. It’s kind of depressing that Jon’s sockpuppets haven’t heard of his books before this. My imaginary friends have read all of my books.

    Okay, Cora, that one made me cackle.

    May I live my life so that no one ever first hears of me from a nuisance lawsuit, that’s all I ask.

  28. The first time I ever heard of Harlan Ellison was because he was involved in a nuisance lawsuit, which I suppose is the most esteemed science fiction-related company JDA will ever be counted amongst.

    Not sure that’s the side of Harlan Ellison I’d want to have anything in common with, though.

  29. If George Washington and Jesus Christ would both punch you in the face, you need to turn to Reality.

    You and JDA need to turn to reality then.

  30. I’m not sure there are many debates I want to happen less than an exchange of “no you’s” about who Jesus might punch.

    It was tacky and offensive in the first place, and it doesn’t get better with repetition.

  31. @Eric

    Bonnie, you know what ungodly and unAmerican is. If George Washington and Jesus Christ would both punch you in the face, you need to turn to Reality.

    I appreciate your answering the question, but that answer is a bunch of gobbledegook. Maybe give an example of someone who falls into those categories? (As I recall, the only people Jesus really got mad at were the Pharisees and the moneylenders. For my money, Jamie Dimon, Jeff Bezos and most any modern CEO would qualify for the latter category.)

  32. Eric R. Ashley: I just want to censor the unAmerican and ungodly.

    Okay, then first you’ll be wanting to censor the unAmerican insurrectionists who attempted to overthrow the U.S. government at the Capitol building on January 6. Then you’ll be wanting to censor the unAmerican religious fanatics who want to shove their religion down everybody else’s throats.

    Let me know when you’ve got that accomplished, and I’ll be happy to talk to you about who else needs to be censored.

  33. @ Eric: I just want to censor the unAmerican and ungodly.

    This Australian atheist does not tolerate discrimination in any form — including through cosplay — based on but not limited to ethnicity, religion…

    Please take your cancel culture elsewhere.

  34. Eric R. Ashley: I just want to censor the unAmerican and ungodly.

    1) Science fiction traces its roots back to Mary Shelley, Jules Verne, and H. G. Wells. All of them were un-American, and to some extent ungodly. In addition, the Hugo Awards are named after an immigrant.

    2) Classic liberals, who you are accusing of censorship, are strongly against censorship. The First Amendment is a pillar of classic liberalism. It guarantees freedom of speech and of the press, not just for you and JDA, but BayCon, Worldcon, and everyone else. They get to make their own decisions as to who speaks at their events, who they give awards to, and the rules for their events.

    3) The First Amendment also prohibits any establishment of religion. You are free to censor your own speech and publications as much as you want. It’s a free country. But censoring other people is right out. Their views on religion are protected just as much as yours.

    4) “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.” — Sinclair

  35. When and if fascism comes to America it will not be labeled “made in Germany”; it will not be marked with a swastika; it will not even be called fascism; it will be called, of course, “Americanism,” Professor Halford E. Luccock of the Divinity School of Yale University

    Eric R. Ashley: “I just want to censor the unAmerican and ungodly.”
    How ‘American’ of you, First Amendment much?

  36. Lesson from this case: Harassment by lawyer works wonders. (One only need look at the record of a recent past president as well.)

  37. “The greatest writer since John C. Wright”
    That just reminds me of the blurb for Douglas Adams’ The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul: “Funnier than Psycho! More chilling than Jeeves Takes Charge! Shorter than War and Peace!”

  38. I just caught up to this settlement news.

    SFSFC was given the option of going to trial, an incredibly expensive process that could easily exceed $40,000 in additional legal costs, or pay one-tenth of that and end the matter.

    Anybody who has ever been through the wringer of being sued would take that deal, even if it could be spun by the other side as a victory.

    SFSFC didn’t need to keep fighting in court to show the world why it banned Jon Del Arroz from Worldcon. He does an excellent job of that all by himself.

    Now Del Arroz is out tens of thousands of dollars in legal expenses, by my guess based on personal experience with how quickly litigation vacuums up your money. Whatever Del Arroz paid his lawyer, it was a lot of money he could’ve spent instead on actual promotion of his book career.

    This isn’t a victory for him and it isn’t a victory for SFSFC. It’s a victory for the lawyers. Same as it ever was.

  39. Eric R Ashley:

    This is how you can tell I’m real. Arroz seems like a good guy, and a decent enough writer who got attacked by evil people and got justice.

    This is not, actually, the approach I would take to claim reality, as it suggest a disconnect from reality. I actually have read one of Arroz’ books, and while my opinion of his talent or lack of talent is irrelevant, taking a stance on his quality as an author is not an effective approach to convincing others of your sincerity.

    I’m really thrown by that “good guy” comment, though. Because Arroz’ behavior has been really problematic, has been recorded publicly, and I’ve witnessed and experienced it myself. If you feel that his conduct is consistent with being a ‘good guy,’ you are either deeply disconnected from reality, or have an ideal of ‘good behaviour’ that is deeply problematic. Saying the things a sockpuppet would say doesn’t really do much to convince me you’re not a sockpuppet. And whether or not you are a sockpuppet, your sense of decent conduct is skewed.

  40. @Mike

    JDA has obviously listened to Alec Baldwin giving the “Always Be Closing” speech from Glengarry Glen Ross.

    I had a tech support job where my manager had the tag from that speech in his signature, and would occasionally quote the non-sweary portions of the speech in an attempt to motivate us to upsell to the customer.

    (Job was for technical support for HP home desktop computers – so if you ever called tech support for your HP and got the hard-sell, that’s why).

  41. Pingback: Jon Del Arroz’ Attorney Provided His Services Pro Bono | File 770

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