The 2018 Parsec Award winner alleged to have “a history of extremely disturbing behavior” has not been identified, and whoever it is, the Parsec Awards committee has decided they can keep the award.
The Parsec Awards Steering Committee met on Dec 18, 2018 to discuss the feedback received after the press release of 2018 Winners was distributed to the mailing list. It was suggested that awarding a Parsec to a particular content creator gave legitimacy to their behavior and through that award the Parsecs would be responsible for promoting that behavior. The situation was unprecedented in our experience with The Parsecs and having no relevant policy we felt that the situation required a thoughtful response.
The Committee reviewed the General Information, Nominating FAQ, Eligibility Criteria and Rules stated on the Parsec Awards website as well as existing procedures for certifying nominations and the judging process. We found that the 2018 Parsec Awards were processed and judged in accordance with the stated policies and procedures.
The Parsecs are awarded to the podcast based on the media presented to the audience in the feed. The extent to which we are able to provide this “level playing field” for all podcasts regardless of popularity or exposure is the strength and value The Parsecs provides to the podcasting community. As the medium of podcasting has grown and become increasingly corporate we feel the mission of The Parsecs, to identify excellence in speculative fiction podcasting, is ever more valuable.
We are a volunteer committee of six individuals, give or take, and many volunteer judges, each devoting countless hours to podcast listening. It is the goal of The Parsecs to judge solely on the merit of the content and not on gender, heritage, religious belief, sexual orientation, politics, or other factors not in the podcast as presented to the audience. To do more would be to fail at our core purpose.
There is neither precedent nor procedure for The Committee to intervene in the results based on information outside of the stated policies. We feel that doing so would undermine the integrity of The Parsecs as being judged solely on the merit of the content. It would also be a disservice to the judges, who lend their time and credibility to evaluate so many hours of content, to discard their work.
The Parsec Awards 2018 Steering Committee
Bruce Press, Chair
Update 12/20/2018: Brian White reveals the mystery for the rest of us:
Champion won the 2018 Parsec Award for Best Speculative Fiction Story: Large Cast (Short Form).
Gawker covered the allegations about Campion in 2014:
Last night, a Brooklyn-based literary blogger/podcaster/personality named Edward Champion suddenly began attacking the novelist Porochista Khakpour on Twitter, after Khakpour tweeted about Champion’s private threats against her. Before the night was over, Champion had been kicked off Twitter, and several other writers and literary agents had come forward to tell stories of Champion’s threatening and bizarre behavior….
[Thanks to Camestros Felapton for the info in the update.]
I thought Alasdair Stuart’s blog post on the subject was pretty good: https://alasdairstuart.com/2018/12/20/the-2018-parsec-situation/
Pingback: Industry News, January 2019 – The Dream Foundry