Crystal Huff’s Arisia Statement Evokes Strong Response

As reported earlier today in the Pixel Scroll, Crystal Huff told why she is calling it quits with the Boston convention Arisia: “Why I’m Not At Arisia Anymore: My Rapist is President. Again.” Her 6,000+ word statement explains the charge and a great deal of other history. In the hours her post has been online it’s generated a powerful response.

Two of Arisia 2019’s guests of honor, Daniel Jose Older and Malka Older, say “we’re not GoHing the con as things stand” —

Nalo Hopkinson told Huff that Arisia 2020 had asked her to be GoH and her post had helped her decide —

The Arisia committee, inundated with messages, promises a reply this weekend.

Claire Rousseau and Jim C. Hines have written insightful comments about the issues raised in Crystal’s post.

Claire Rousseau’s Twitter thread starts here.

Jim C. Hines reblogged Crystal Huff’s post with some introductory comments:

…Conventions have gotten better in recent years about establishing policies on abuse and harassment. When it comes to following and enforcing those policies, the record is spottier. I know of some instances where conventions have done an amazing job of following through and working to promote the safety of their attendees.

Crystal’s experience, when she reported this to Arisia, was … well, it sounds like she’s correct when she says she doesn’t think Arisia was prepared to deal with this situation. It’s one thing to create a policy. It gets messier when the accusation is against someone you know. Possibly a friend. Possibly an officer in your organization….

People are reevaluating their plans to attend or work on the con.

Marie Brennan responds to Huff’s statement in “On Arisia”

…This is not a con I can trust with my safety, or that of anybody I know. So while I did not have any existing plans to attend Arisia — just a vague “ooh, I should do that someday!” intention — I now have very firm plans not to attend. Not this year, not next year, not any year until and unless this is made better. And if you’re an Arisia attendee, I encourage you to rethink that plan.

Kate Nepveu has ended her participation in the con:

Effective immediately, please remove me from the org chart as Tiptree Bake Sale staff and from programming as a participant. I will not be attending Arisia until Noel Rosenberg is removed as President of Arisia, Inc. and Division Head of Operations, and is banned from the convention….

Many people have tweeted their concerns or outrage to the Arisia committee, including these writers, editors, and conrunners:

Some additional comments on Facebook:

Richard Man

We were at Arisia one to whatever it was at 1993. Always thought it would be fun to go again, but not until this situation is redressed.

Glenn Hauman

Well, now I don’t feel nearly as bad as I did for not going this coming year. The convention I thought I knew has been changing even more that I thought, the staff member near and dear to my heart has been dead for a decade. I think I can let this one go now.

Nick Mamatas

File under “Geek Culture Must Be Destroyed.” It’s horrifying, what the convention put Huff through to make sure the rapist could…be in charge of safety at the convention. And now he’s President of it.

Juliette Wade

I won’t be attending this convention.

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25 thoughts on “Crystal Huff’s Arisia Statement Evokes Strong Response

  1. Did Arisia assume Crystal would stay silent?

    Or did they assume that, if she went public, no one would care?

    Either way, not smart and not right, on top of everything else they’ve done wrong on this.

  2. Factual correction:

    The at-con IRT is not under security (The Watch), nor Ops; they are their own entity. Post-con, incidents do go to the eboard. When an incident involving an eboard members comes before the board, that member is not a part of the discussion or decisions.

  3. I agree that making a policy work is the difficult part of things. We had an incident at the convention on which I worked this past weekend (October 19-21) and I was the one who had to confront the offender. We had had to tell this person that he could not attend any of our club’s meetings because he would not take no for an answer when several of our women members told him to leave them alone. We allowed him to attend the convention and he behaved himself for two years but this year, he stalked these women again. He didn’t touch them but he followed them. I was the one who was told about this. I tried to put out the word to all con staff to be on the lookout for him but nothing came of that. I finally saw him late the night of the report and because I could not contact other staff or the women he was bothering, we could not follow the policy we have in place. So, I laid down the law to him that if I got another report, I would find him and take his badge and he was have to leave.

    I saw one of the women after I had spoken to him and she said it must have worked because he ran away when he saw her entering the con suite.

    Unfortunately, she changed her story when talking at the dead dog party. I was not there but was told what she said. She said that he was stalking her at the con suite. This clouds the issue. She said one thing to me and another to that group of people. Several of the people who were at the dead dog are my housemates.

    I know this guy bothered her and another woman. I believe her but why would she tell one story to me after I told her I had talked to the guy and another in the group setting? This is disturbing to me. I did what I thought was the best thing I could do at the time not having any back up or an advocate for her present.

    This will get sorted out because we will not sell a membership to this guy ever again. The biggest problem here is that I had no way to use the policy we have to deal with him. For my own safety, I didn’t try to take his badge since I had no back up. I did have a witness to what I said but that person is not a staff member and could not act as an advocate because he was not aware of the situation until he heard me talking to the guy.

    All of this being said, when a convention allows a known rapist to chair the con, there can be no excuse. I don’t even understand how this can happen.

  4. This kind of issue has recently been a problem for the convention on which I work. I agree that implementing the process for dealing with an offender is difficult. We have to look at how we deal with this kind of thing again. I was faced with having to confront the offending party by myself and I gave him the lowdown in no uncertain terms but I was not comfortable with trying to get his badge away from him. I had a witness to what I said but he was a con member and not someone I would have wanted to have to help me deal with a situation that could have become physical. The offending person will not be allowed to attend the convention in the future.

  5. Jesus, this really got my blood pounding. I feel like I want to murder something. My heart goes out to Crystal Huff who was forced to go public with this and I understand how much it must have cost her.

    And Arisia, I do not even have words for you.

  6. With this, and the detail that Ms. Huff well recorded and provided, it is more than clear that the people running Arisia just have NO idea WTF they need to do.
    Unless and until they change this, big time, and remove all the idiots who let this get to this point, this is a con that no one who gives a damn about attendee safety should ever go to.

  7. The Cabal that has run Arisia for decades is finally under scrutiny. Those who left the convention years ago were never listened to when this first came to light 8 years ago. The advise that the perp be band was considered too punitive, especially if the victim wouldn’t go to the police about the matter. Will they invite back those leaders who walked out over the first exposure of the incident? Bet they won’t, because they’ll never admit they were wrong.

  8. @Andre Lieven: With this, and the detail that Ms. Huff well recorded and provided, it is more than clear that the people running Arisia just have NO idea WTF they need to do.

    And let’s be clear: they have NO damn excuse for not knowing what to do. I find it impossible that they could not have been paying attention to the changes in attitude in fandom, or the way bad things in conventions can no longer be kept quiet. This smacks of willful and arrogant ignorance.

    My suspicion is that their response this weekend will be to double down. I’m hoping I’m wrong, but it’s likely they’re refusing to realize how badly the feces have hit the rotary impeller.

  9. I admire Crystal Huff so much for going public with this painful story and the various SF people who have placed doing the right thing above their status or wallets. I thinks these principled stances will have good effects beyond the con in question.

  10. The resignation was made on the Arisia Corporate Members mailing list (which I am unfortunately not privy to, though perhaps it’s time I joined the corporation), and was then reported by Kris Snyder on the Fans of Arisia (Unofficial) Facebook group. Kris is Head of Programming, as I recall.

  11. Plain awful. People trap themselves into actively avoiding doing the right thing for everybody. I get that good people can genuinely like people who have done bad things (or who have been accused of doing bad things) but by failing to act (or worse) they aren’t HELPING the accused person either – not in the long run. Instead in a spirit of misguided loyalty, they compound the problem.

  12. There’s an idiot on the SMOFS list explaining how cons can’t act if there hasn’t been a legal judgment, because they, you know, “risk making themselves legally responsible.” Not exact, probably, but pretty close.

    No concern at all, apparently, about being responsible for bad events after they’re clearly in notice, and have refused to act.

  13. Lis Carey: The SMOFs list can always be counted on to disgrace itself when it comes to discussing code of conduct enforcement. So many there still obviously think they shouldn’t have been invented to begin with.

  14. …and we are already at the stage of “but how do we protect the menz?”

  15. Good ol’ SMOFS-l, constant as the North Star. Also constant: me being glad I dropped that list more than a decade ago.

    And I hope Arisia doesn’t think their problems have been solved by the rapist stepping down. Their entire leadership has some “mea culpas” to hand out and frankly they all need to go sit in a corner and think about what they’ve done.

  16. I still think they’re probably going to try to sweep it under the rug, though, especially given all the *other* reports of trouble reporting and dismissiveness coming out of it. You don’t get to that level of cover-up by accident.

  17. I’m really tired of seeing men complaining about Rosenberg being railroaded and saying that Huff is lying about the rape. It’s really not about the rape anymore, it’s about Rosenberg making agreements with other cons Safety/IRT/Ops people to stay away from her and then not doing that. You CANNOT have a man in charge of safety that can’t keep his word to other safety teams. Huff filed a complaint with con safety, con safety talks to Rosenberg and says ‘look, she’s filed a complaint against you, stay away from her” Rosenberg says “okay” and then hunts her down and makes sure she sees him. THIS is why he should not be allowed to in any Con Com or corporate con structure. He is incapable of keeping his word in a safety situation and therefore should not have any responsibility regarding complaint to his home convention. It’s so far beyond just being accused of rape, even if that isn’t true, he’s absolutely guilty of stalking and breaking COC at other cons.

  18. WTF: this isn’t an apology. Not even “I am sorry – I got caught, but I am sorry this episode is distracting.”

    “As a matter of transparency, I sent this to the corporate list a few hours ago.


    ———- Forwarded message ———
    Date: Fri, Oct 26, 2018, 15:56
    Subject: [Arisia DH] My role in Arisia
    To: Arisia Corporate , Arisia Divheads List

    I take issue with what Crystal has said, both about me and about Arisia,
    most of which is at best misleading and at worst flat out untrue.

    Nevertheless, it is clear that I cannot lead Arisia at this time and I
    have become too much of a distraction. Therefore, in the interests of
    Arisia I am resigning as president effective immediately. I have also
    tendered my resignation as Division Head for Operations for Arisia ’19,
    and the Convention Chair has accepted my resignation.

    I make this decision with a heavy heart, as I know what the truth is
    regarding these accusations. I have worked on this convention for more
    than a quarter century, and have been served on the Eboard for a number of
    those years.

    -Noel Rosenberg”

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  20. Even if the good of the con were the only consideration (obviously it is not and should not be), how exactly is Rosenberg’s experience and institutional knowledge somehow deemed more of note than Crystal Huff’s . I’ve heard of her from here in Podunk, Canada. She’s a good exemplar of BNF. If the logic is that we have to minimize loss of institutional knowledge (and not, y’know, side with victims and prioritize con safety) she still wins.

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