Don’t Invitems at RavenCon

RavenCon cranks up this weekend in Richmond, VA in a rather literal way.

Artist Guest of Honor Frank Wu and Gaming Guest of Honor Brianna Wu issued a statement disinviting six unnamed people accused of “hijacking this year’s Hugo awards” from attending Brianna’s solo Gamergate panel which is scheduled in prime time Friday evening (April 24).

Sadly, the same reactionary anger has spread into the science fiction community with the hijacking of year’s Hugo awards, deliberately sabotaging them for bitter, regressive political purposes. Many of the forums that orchestrate harassment against Brianna and other women in the game industry have avowed supporters of the Hugo hijacking, many of whom participated in the voting and strongly support Vox Day.

What makes RavenCon particularly uncomfortable for us is that a number of those attending directly orchestrated or benefited from the hijacking. We’ve heard numbers as high as six.

Frank Wu has won four Hugo awards. They are near and dear to our family. And we agree with John Scalzi, Connie Willis, George R. R. Martin and others about the travesty this has been. The hijackers have contempt for the awards while also desperately wanting the legitimacy they feel it would grant them.

To put it bluntly, attending this con makes us tremendously uncomfortable. But we agreed to attend, long before Gamergate, and we will follow through with that professional commitment.

Neither of us wish to discuss the Hugo hijacking with any person responsible for this atrocious action. Both of us would consider it a professional courtesy if you didn’t attend Brianna’s Gamergate panel tomorrow.

“Don’t invitems” is how the late columnist Walter Winchell used to describe people you should not ask to the same party. Scanning the RavenCon guest list, one could make an educated guess that Brianna Wu may feel that way about Lou Antonelli, Jim Minz, Gray Rinehart, Michael Z. Williamson, and John C. Wright, Hugo nominees on the SP3/RP slates, Wright’s spouse L. Jagi Lamplighter, and Kate Paulk, organizer of Sad Puppies 4.

The same day the announcement came out, Lou Antonelli told his Facebook readers that RavenCon has abandoned all thoughts of running a panel about this year’s Hugo nominations:

I am in Virginia getting ready to head to the Ravencon convention in Richmond. The convention had floated the idea a short while ago about throwing together a panel on the subject of the current Hugo nominations.

They’ve decided not to go ahead. Here’s the official statement:

After careful deliberation, the staff of RavenCon have decided to not host this panel due to the late nature of its proposal and the volatile nature of the subject matter. RavenCon is not the appropriate… platform for this subject matter, and we do not wish to provide a platform to any side in this controversy. If, however, panelists feel the need to discuss this matter in further detail, the bar is always open.

Love the last line…

24 thoughts on “Don’t Invitems at RavenCon

  1. Diversity is sold as something that inevitably increases peace, love, and understanding, but at least in the case of science fiction fandom the opposite appears to have been the case.

    If diversity doesn’t do those things, then what good is it?

  2. Drama…

    If you dont find it, make it happen, if you cant make it happen, make it up…

  3. Oh dear lord, Six! Six puppies! When will the torment end!

    I like the part where we’re supposed to extend ‘professional courtesy’ and kindly turn a blind eye to being slagged off in a public space. That’s what passes for a call for a dialogue these days.

  4. Y’know, last May when we sent out invitations we had no idea things were going to go the way they did. Now we just have to hope for the best. Wish me luck!

  5. They don’t want to provide a platform for discussion of the Hugos at an SF con, but they provide a spotlighted platform for discussion of Gamergate?

    Real Life has turned into Facebook

  6. First thought when I read “…panelists feel the need to discuss this matter in further detail, the bar is always open,” was…

    BAR FIGHT!!!

  7. Perfectly understandable if RavenCon doesn’t want to have a panel that bids fair to dissolve into a screaming fight at their con. Feelings are running high already, and some people do not handle disagreement gracefully.

    And perfectly understandable that someone who has received death threats from Gamergate would prefer not to be subjected to Gamergaters at a convention. One can hardly blame her for being concerned. People who don’t care for her should probably hang out with those they *do* enjoy being around; a convention is an expensive place to go to seek out people whose company you don’t enjoy.

    RavenCon’s organizers (poor souls) and attendees have my best wishes for a smooth and enjoyable convention for everyone.

  8. A bar fight is unlikely. More interesting what appears to be tacit agreement from the RavenCon managers to exclude people from the venue… or have they repudiated the Wus’ comments? Since they are two of the guests of honor it seems unlikely.

    I went to Raven last year and am electing not to go this year – I will spend my scare con $ on events that aren’t exclusionary.

  9. ‘More interesting what appears to be tacit agreement from the RavenCon managers to exclude people from the venue’

    Where do you see that? This appears to be specifically for a panel the Wu is presenting, and it would seem unnecessary to ask certain folks to not attend this panel if the Con was barring them from the venue. Sounds like she just doesn’t want her panel to be derailed. Seems reasonable enough, not sure how that translates into the convention being exclusionary.

  10. Eh, people are always calmer in person than online. Panels sound like a good idea to me.

  11. If the con doesn’t want a panel likely to dissolve into a screaming fight, why have one about Gamergate? There’s an inconsistency here.

  12. @Lois: “If the con doesn’t want a panel likely to dissolve into a screaming fight, why have one about Gamergate? There’s an inconsistency here.”

    My guess is that the solo presentation — at least, that’s how it’s being described — was something set up by the programming staff specifically because they had someone heavily Gamergate-involved as a Guest of Honor, while throwing something quickly onto the schedule to deal with a live controversy with a lot of heat is asking for disaster.

    At least, that’s how I would likely take it, as a former programming person for multiple conventions — unless you can get the exact right group of people, and an extremely strong moderator, you leave the topics that are likely to blow up into screaming fights that people will remember your con for for years *alone*. A solo presentation can have disruptors simply removed — what if part of your panel is “disruptive” or supports the disruption coming from the audience?

    (And to be clear: I’d just as rapidly order someone interrupting VD repeatedly and calling him a fascist jackass as I would someone harassing Brianna Wu, if they were giving solo presentations.)

    Having seen Puppy-slated authors effectively say “You’re safe from me as regards physical violence unless you insult my integrity.” would, for example, give me great pause about getting them anywhere near an event discussing this matter.

  13. Minor correction: Having seen *a* Puppy-slated author say — only one have I seen do it.

  14. I wonder if being reluctant to provide a forum for writers/editors/artists who failed to decline a 2015 Hugo nomination going to end once the 2015 ceremony is over.

  15. Guests of Honor are more special than everyone else, at least during their stint as GoH. A significant amount of the convention program and activity is about them.

  16. Steven Shwartz: RavenCon announced Brianna Wu as a guest of honor on October 12, 2014, just a few days after Brianna’s public statement that death threats forced her and Frank to flee their home. Under the circumstances, one would expect them to feature her presenting something about all the issues she’s associated with.

    What RavenCon couldn’t have foreseen was Sad Puppies, which involves a few Virginia and North Carolina pros who are relatively local to the con, or that such a development would cross-circuit with Gamergate.

    And I bet the RavenCon committee would just as soon not be reading Brianna Wu disinviting other guests of the convention to any part of its program. That always runs the risk of putting the idea in someone’s mind “They can’t tell me what to do!” and causing exactly what you’re trying to avoid.

  17. Thanks, Mike; that’s what I thought in re: her solo presentation.

    To be clear: I have no problem with RavenCon hosting her, nor do I have any problem with her asking people not to attend her specific item. Whether they do so or not is up to them — I did not read her note as asking RavenCon to do anything at all.

  18. That always runs the risk of putting the idea in someone’s mind “They can’t tell me what to do!” and causing exactly what you’re trying to avoid.

    First thing I thought.

    But the default assumption in both cases -Hugo and GG- is that people can’t be trusted to disagree in a civil manner.

  19. Steven Schwartz. Are you aware that you just effectively said you intend to cast aspersions on the integrity of Sad Puppy authors? Perhaps that isn’t what you meant that is what your comment saying you would exclude them means.

  20. My impression of Wu is that she craves attention. Unfortunately, I think she knows exactly what she is doing by asking certain people not to show up. I think most of the people she does not want to see have better things to do than to show up at her panel. Indeed, I can’t think of any of the people Mr. Glyer mentioned that have anything to do with GamerGate. That doesn’t mean their supporters won’t show up. As I said, I’m pretty sure she knows exactly what she is doing. I have a bad feeling this is going to go along the lines of John Ringo’s appearance.

  21. I am not a gamer, a gamergater, nor do I even know what the whole thing was–that’s not my community.

    I had no awareness of the panel, nor did I have any interest in attending.

    However, a panel represented by one person with one viewpoint is not so much a discussion as a sermon.

    It seems she’s unaware of what professional courtesy actually is.

  22. ‘However, a panel represented by one person with one viewpoint is not so much a discussion as a sermon.’

    Or a lecture. Or a talk. Or a presentation. Or a seminar. Or a workshop. Or a speech.

  23. “If diversity doesn’t do those things, then what good is it?”

    Helps us survive evolutionary bottleneck situations where only one oddball has the right genes, or the right ideas, to get through it. Basic biology there, but right-wing Christians don’t believe in bioiogy… Anyway, in the context of the Hugo awards, it means that when popular tastes shift, the Hugos can shift with them. Despite Torgerson’s statements, the “Puppies” are actively attempting to fight *against* this by stacking the nominee list, the same way the Scientologists tried to back in the 1980s. Basically if the “Puppies”, already discredited and unpopular because Beale is an evil fascist, win… all they do is discredit the award in the eyes of the general public.

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