Jim Hague’s April 27 comment about John Ringo on this blog, now removed, was responded to by the author yesterday in a Facebook post, “On the Subject of Slander”.
The comment’s allegations about the author’s conduct at FenCon 2013 were also contradicted by the FenCon committee in a statement today signed by Julie Barrett, Chair of Dallas Future Society (DBA FenCon) and the board of directors.
We have been made aware of allegations regarding John Ringo’s behavior at FenCon X in 2013. The con committee agrees that no such incidents took place. As Mr. Ringo mentioned on his Facebook post, we were aware of his family obligations and respectfully gave him free time to attend to those. To that end, we were protective of his privacy and tried to keep him and his family free from interruptions.
No incidents of any kind were reported over the weekend. We received no complaints about any of our guests, Mr. Ringo included.
Our Guests of Honor do not participate in judging the FenCon Short Story Contest.
All our parties take place in a controlled area of the hotel, and no party matching that description was held. We’re a small convention, and rumors travel fast. We very likely would have heard about it.
As far as we are aware, Mr. Ringo did not have a security detail present. At the very least, a detail such as the one described would certainly have caught our attention.
Mr. Ringo and all our guests of honor and program participants did a fantastic job and appeared to greatly enjoy themselves.
FenCon is committed to providing a safe and congenial environment for all its members and maintains a strict conduct policy. We encourage people attending the convention to report incidents as soon as possible so that we may investigate and respond in appropriate manner.
Hague’s comment is quoted at the beginning of Ringo’s post.
So Mr. Hague’s comments are demonstrably false. Sad that people feel the need to lie about others because they disagree with their political viewpoints. This is an ongoing issue that I’ve run into with people on my supposed ‘side’ of things on the political spectrum that I find ugly and disappointing.
Thank you for this statement. And this makes the comments truly disgusting slander. Regardless of if caused by whisper-games or by malicious intent.
As I recall, Hague claimed to have witnessed most or all of the things he described, so he wasn’t engaged in whisper games. Just, apparently, making shit up.
Yes, it appears Hague was just lying–possibly targeting File 770 because Mike was known to be busy migrating the blog, possibly just “lucky” in his timing.
I’m glad that Ringo didn’t do what Hague said, and appalled that Hague would make up such a horrible story about someone.
And this is why you can’t believe everything wholesale. Remember folks, there are always 3 sides to every story.
Their “truth,” your “truth,” And then the facts.
… and possibly because he knew the local commentariat would believe the story without question.
@J.C.: He was wrong. There’s a reason I didn’t comment on that story – I couldn’t find anything to back it up, and I didn’t see anyone else coming forward to say “yep, I remember that.” I suspect I wasn’t the only Filer to find it an unlikely story. This isn’t a puppy kennel, where lies and half-truths are accepted as factual if they throw dirt on the correct people.
I’m just popping up to say that this Hague character sounds like a sleazebag who slimed his way into the comment section, and I for one am personally planning to purchase, and maybe even read, a John Ringo book as a result of this particular brouhaha — or maybe as a result of File 770’s balanced coverage. OGH is usually great about making the BS comments disappear swiftly, even when the site is undergoing technical difficulties.
Either way, I hate slanderers, especially the kind that makes me sympathize with people I’d normally disagree with. Or maybe I’m actually sympathizing with Mrs. Ringo, because I’m planning to meet my recently discovered genetic brother next month. Wishing her a long and happy relationship with her birthdaughter.
An easy error for you to make based on some other blogs but luckily this isn’t MHN or MGC.
This is not the first time Jim Hague told this story. He gave a similar account on the RPG.net forum in 2013 shortly after the Con. He was a frequent poster there, and had written about his experiences at a previous FenCon as well as the one in 2013. This does not show his story was accurate, in whole or in part, but does show that the story was not created in 2018 on File 770.
@JC Salomon —
Ummmm, yeah…. you mean like that bogus story about Cam supposedly being Toby Fields that so many puppies were crowing over for days (weeks?), right?
One small part of Hague’s story is demonstrably true, by Ringo’s own words. I read Ringo’s post, and he specifically states that two buzz-cutted friends of his with printed T-shirts were indeed following him around for at least part of the con. And that in turn makes me go “hmmmm” at the con’s statement that “As far as we are aware, Mr. Ringo did not have a security detail present”, since Ringo himself says he did in essence have exactly that.
But, of course, that’s just a very small fragment of the whole.
Ha — now I confused myself because of various idjits’ habits of calling Cam “Fieldsy”. I meant Toby MEADOWS, of course. 😉
kathodus — And yet, there it was… Can you point to anyone on the site who said, “this is bullshit?”
We weren’t a ‘security detail’. We were just two friends at the Con with John, who happened to:
A) have short hair. Myself due to the natural thickness of my hair and the fact that I get very hot when working if I don’t do the “Number 1 clipper special’ monthly. Also, I’m lazy and prefer to not have to worry about styling said unruly mass. My fellow ‘buzz-cutted, jack booted goon’ is active duty, full time, Army Nat Guard, on leave for the weekend. His haircut was regulation, not preference.
B) we did make the shirts by hand that morning, more as a joke to amuse John than anything. We riffed on ‘Rico’s Roughnecks’ from Starship Troopers, and included a list of other friends on the back as KIA. It wasn’t anything John asked us to do.
C) There were two, count ’em, two of us, not a gang, as was alleged. At no point did we identify ourselves to the Con as John’s ‘Security detail.’ There was no ‘uniform,’ aside from the shirts which we wore for one day. Again, we are friends of his and fans, and went to the Con because he was going to be there. As such, we spent most of our time with him when feasible. He didn’t even know we were going until he saw us there on the first day.
There are several things that Hague mentions that are ‘demonstrably true’: There was a FenCon in 2013. John was there, as was his wife. There were people in Ringo’s Rougnecks Tee shirts. Those people were around him for most of the Con.
Unfortunately, it’s the details that cause the problem, such as the slander and allegations of bad behavior.
(We made new shirts, though, now that we have a better catchphrase, so that’s a positive)
@Our new friends: Yeah, we don’t all subscribe to comments or keep an eye on posts that, at the time the allegations were posted, was almost 2 weeks old, with the previous comment being a full week old. If more of us *had* read it at the time, maybe we’d say something like: “hey, you got any evidence to back this up? It doesn’t really sound like the sort of thing a group of people should or even *could* cover up.”
Given the issues Mike was having with his ISP around that same time I think it’s at least understandable that action on his part was delayed while he tried to fix the site, too.
Also, he’s literally just posted the refuting evidence in this case because he’s not interested in grinding axes, but rather reporting fandom news.
Read any good books lately?
@Contrarius: Presumably the concom knew those two men were merely… extremely attached fans of Mr. Ringo, and not a security detail per se. Particularly if they weren’t armed and weren’t acting offensively.
I certainly have no love for Ringo, but there’s no reason to lie about things he’s done/not done. And he is well within his rights to politely ask Hague to STFU — as it seems we all ought to.
Thankfully we here on File 770 don’t go for wild rumors like that whole-cloth kerpupple claiming Cam was Toby. Unlike that one, nobody here bought Hague’s story.
I could see how that part of it might be true… Or at least a plausible misinterpretation of Ringo having groupies/entourage/handlers/whatever you want to call them. Whether it gets called a “security detail” probably depends on what the word “is” means [wry smile], but I’d be willing to accord Jim a small point.
But that’s about it. He starts out with an unprovable “my story got rejected because…” grievance, which is not a good look for an author unless they’ve got a lot of evidence and credibility, and it’s not even in a situation where that is factually possible.
The big thing for me is that, reading John’s response, I believe him! Not for what he says — any fiction writer worth his salt can make up a story — but HOW he says it. It’s not the usual kind of bluster, the “how dare you accuse me of X” that pops up whenever an alt-righter gets called on shit. It’s relatively low-key, modulated, and calmly sincere, especially relative to John’s usual level of rhetoric. It is NOT his typical style. If it’s all fake, adopted-voice, he is a MUCH better and more versatile writer than I ever imagined.
I’m closely acquainted with a lot of people in the kink community. I know some closet kinksters, even. None of them sound like John when he reluctantly (it seems) talks about his intimate life. If that’s fakery on his part, he’s effin’ good.
Some very few writers out there are good enough to lie utterly convincingly. I don’t think John is that good. I think that in the face of a baldfaced lie, he is telling us the straight dope as calmly and straightly as he knows how.
– pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. Dragon Dictate in training! ]
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Ringo’s account of his wife meeting her daughter is very moving.
And I’m happy to believe that. But you can see how you might have looked like one, right?
As for the rest of it — since it’s the responsibility of the person making a positive claim to provide the evidence, and since in this case Jim Hague has produced no corroborating evidence or witnesses at all (aside from the easy misunderstanding about security, which again is a very minor thing), I’m also happy to believe that the vast majority of what he said was complete bunkum. If it isn’t, it’s up to him to prove it; in this case, if it were true, it shouldn’t be too hard to come up with at least a few witnesses — which he hasn’t done.
Too bad the folks who labeled Cam as Meadows weren’t so willing to acknowledge those false claims and their consequences.
It’s a shame people feel the need to make up scurrilous stories about Ringo or anyone else. I just want to point out that any false stories posted on this blog are libel, not slander. A trick to remember which is which is that slander is spoken. Defamation can be either.
The constant referencing the Cam/Meadows business sounds a whole lot like that “but what about”-ing that we deplore when it’s used to deflect from a point our team is making.
It really has nothing to do with this. Except for *us* trying to virtue signal how much better we are than *them*.
pax / Ctein
I can’t point to anyone on that thread who knew whether it was bullshit. I suspect those of us who saw the story at the time and thought it smelled funny didn’t call bullshit because we had no way of knowing. I considered asking for verification from the accuser, but I’d never seen them post before and it was not my circus, nor were my monkeys involved.
@Ctein – I agree there’s a danger of falling into what-aboutism, but it’s hard not to be a little eye-rolly at the same crowd who still pretends Dave Freer’s descent into paranoid lunacy never happened being outraged at this, when this very site posted the rebuttal to what was, ultimately, a comment left here, not a sanctioned article. Freer never acknowledged his malicious attack, and the rest of the puppy legions chose to cough and look the other way in embarrassment when his stupidity (to give him the benefit of the doubt) was exposed.
ETA: I also think some of us are still upset at the gleefulness of Freer and the MGC’s commentariat while Freer tried to ruin an innocent person’s career.
@Ctein – more than what-aboutism. Freer’s attempt to imply his target abuse children *IS STILL THERE*. Nor was this a random comment by a drive-by commenter but a comment by one of the blog owners. And he double-downed on the claim AND claimed that people pointing out the problem with what he was saying were engaged in a witchhunt against him.
And that’s just a recent example from this year. Freer, Torgersen and Correia have each made claims about individuals that were reckless with the truth and intended to paint those individuals in a bad light and have done so repeatedly over several years. They’ve been more than happy to host false and/or grossly insulting comments about others on their own blogs and typically have only shown an urge to moderate comments on the basis of people challenging them as individuals.
Each of them is now using a defamatory comment by an infrequent commenter here as a pretext to attack Mike and this blog even though Mike did something they have been unwilling to do – delete the offending comment and present the opposing view in good faith and (again in good faith) attempt to reduce the impact of the defamatory comment. For this Correia is reviling Mike despite Mike demonstrating a level of integrity and commitment to doing the right thing that I have never seen from Correia.
I agree. The only person who needs to feel embarrassed that the comment was on this site is me. I know other people feel it reflects badly on the community, but it’s not their mistake, and nobody really needs to defend it, or raise a counterattack to distract from it.
The comment put the site in the position of originating a story, and there was no support for it beyond the bare assertion by the author. What I should have done was immediately apply to it the requirements I have for stories I originate, but among the things that slowed my response is how long it took me to realize that’s the situation which was playing out.
Eh. Kinda, but not really.
It was specifically written in a way to make John look bad, and imply a certain image. “A gang of buzz-cutted, jackbooted goons” was the phrase used, more or less. Sounds ominous and invokes images of white supremacist/Nazi thugs.
“Two fans in matching tee shirts and sneakers” doesn’t invoke the same feelings.
But, I’m not going to belabor the point. I mainly wanted to point out that no matter what JH got even slightly correct, those details were used was to bolster the Big Lie, and is not a reason to doubt the official statement.
Chris Smith – “Two fans in matching tee shirts and sneakers” doesn’t invoke the same feelings.
Not at all. Just the merest hint of fashion crime…
OGH, sometimes things happen. It’s unfortunate that scurrilous comment stayed up as long as it did, but there were also a lot of other things going on at the same time. You are doing your best to expose the error.
If Correia and the rest of the manly whinery are unsatisfied, well, there’s a two word phrase that applies.
And I am part of the kinky community and have most of my friends in it. I absolutely believe Ringo in what he writes regarding this.
The problem seems to be that there are two sets of people involved here. There is Ringo, and then there is a wider set of people trying to make hay from the situation as an attack on Mike specifically plus a vague “File 770” entity. Admittedly there’s some overlap because Ringo has made a silly threat to include Mike in legal action, and I hope that at some point Ringo takes a breath and realises that threatening to sue the place that someone said something about him isn’t a good look – he wouldn’t think of suing Facebook or twitter and the only difference there is the size of their pockets. Ringo has been better served here – comment removed, his side of the story presented – than he probably would have been had the comment been on FB or twitter.
As for the other group, such as Larry Correia on his own site and JC Salomon in some articles here, they are trying to exploit the situation for the transparent motive of settling old grudges – and while Ctein is right that bringing up their past behaviour or toleration of that behaviour in others is whataboutery, in this case I think it’s a pretty valid reply to them – but not to Ringo, and that’s an important distinction.
I absolutely believe Ringo in what he writes regarding this.
I’m actually surprised this has to be said (but I totally understand why you did, Hampus). Clearly Ringo is telling the truth about that weekend and it is just as clear that he is the target of an ugly lie. Lies, because apparently the only fact in that comment was that Ringo was at that con.
@Chris Smith – Thank you for your comments and your demeanor, coming into a possibly hostile group and treating us with respect, whatever your feelings. It says a lot.
Nobody called it BS at the time b/c hardly anyone was still reading the very stale thread, and many people couldn’t even SEE the thing what with the server problems.
I am willing to call the fashion police on these two fans (and side-eye the KIA list, even if they’re all friends; seems a bit dismissive of real KIA lists of actual military personnel to me, speaking as an Army brat), but not the real ones. Particularly since a) the accusation was a lie and b) according to Chris, they weren’t even wearing boots, which leaves… matching t-shirts and short haircuts as a sign of private security? You’re gonna see that on everything from company softball teams to the gay pride parade.
I’ve no problem accepting John Ringo’s account. Mike absolutely did the right thing in deleting the original comment.
The assorted others trying to make hay out of this is who I’m complaining about.
+1 to what kathodus said.
As you will see from my above remark, I think your comments on this thread and others are simply hypocritical. When combined with your eagerness on Ringo’s FB to discuss the legal basis for Ringo being able to sue Mike, rather than the person who made the comment, your motives are clear. If someone who is genuinely aggrieved by the situation and who doesn’t have a history of animus towards Mike/this site wants to come over and complain, I’ll listen. You, not so much.
Thank you. No one else seems to be seeing it. Kinda depressing.
‘Taint the content. It’s the process.
A yea from you balances all the nays, for me.
pax / Ctein
I resent being given false information. I also and especially resent that said false information is now dominating the conversation.
In my view, Camestros has every right to bring up the Fieldsy stuff, as he was one of the people who, due to the conspiracy theory that he was Toby Meadows, was insinuated to be abusing children. Anyone else… I understand the distinction Mark is trying to make, but I’m not sure that now is a good time to make that point. It isn’t as if this is the only chance we’ll ever get to do so.
I never rule out the possibility that I’m having a bout of xkcd 386!
I was at that convention. I did not attend any of Ringo’s panels, but I did discuss him with two young men in the con suite (as you do) who may have been the “security detail.” They were polite and friendly, even when it became clear in the conversation that they were rather right-er than I was politically.
Additional note: if you look at a FenCon program book, any year, you’ll find that the winning story of the year’s short story contest is published there. Publication lead time will make it clear that the whole contest is over and done with before the GOH arrives, nor are guests asked to judge the story contest at long distance. The short story contest is judged each year by literarily-inclined members of the concom and staff, and more than one person reads each story submitted.
What Mark and Cam said. There’s a difference between minimizing the libel itself and pointing out the hypocrisy of many people’s response to it.
The libel itself was malicious, stupid, completely unjustified, and a bit baffling — I mean, what would lead Hague to believe he could get away with it?
The gleeful and hyperbolic pearl clutching about Mike/Filers’ roles in the post, on the other hand, is transparent, ludicrously out of proportion, and grossly hypocritical.
Both elements deserve responses.
Apparently frivolous lawsuits is the newest Sad Puppy campaign.
Before people get too smug about File 770… there were some of us who at least seriously entertained the possibility it was true. You can see the evidence in the same thread.
I admit to being that gullible immediately after the accusation was made. I at least entertained speculation about it being true. There have been enough cases of missing stairs and other longtime known predators coming to light recently that it seemed plausible – not proven, not guaranteed, just plausible – this was another.
I found Ringo’s account considerably morepersuasive, however, even before it was corroborated, and whilst being aware how extremely self-serving and slanted his last convention report was. This was not written like the Ravencon report, to make Ringo out to be a hero (One could argue he throws in a bit of that in his own story time, but he includes that AFTER he had already demolished the allegation, and also, frankly, he *was* helping with a good deed there.) Nor was it written like the reports I have seen from men trying to defend against true accusations (see Roy Moore or Bill Cosby.)
To follow up on what Lenora Rose said, I assumed (wrongly, as it turned out) there was some vague basis for the story and it’d gotten thoroughly mangled.
That how Ringo’s books get treated here–I’m not a fan, but I know enough to know some of the assertions made about them recently weren’t accurate–and since folks have this intense tendency to treat books and characters in books as near-reality, I assumed they’d made the same intuitive leap (also wrongly) in reality.
Perhaps would this be a good time to mention my strong dislike for puppy-adjacent and other such polite corollaries of Niven’s Law, which I rather loathe.
I hope we’re not being smug…but it’s always worth looking in the mirror and checking. People I respect are disagreeing with me so I have to consider if I’m missing a point.
I certainly entertained the possibility that it was true as well – but it’s not as if I, you or anyone else immediately dashed off to cause trouble for Ringo elsewhere or e.g. wrote a big article to spread the accusation without checking the story. Instead Ringo has had the opportunity to respond and put the record straight, and he’s been given a very fair hearing when he did.
Is the above smug? Hmmm, maybe it is a bit. Is it unfair to Ringo? I don’t blame Ringo for feeling aggrieved that this story was told about him and people didn’t immediately dismiss it out of hand – but I’m not sure that is what should happen either. Was more skepticism required? Maybe but that feeds into a wider conversation about tackling missing stairs that I’m really not sure I’ve got answers for.
What Lenora Rose said. I also was briefly concerned that it might be true. Which I sincerely regret. I do find Ringo’s statement MUCH more plausible than the accusation.
Mark: I was reacting more to the people above who were saying “I didn’t believe it” and then extrapolating to imply that all File 770 didn’t believe it, not to the comparison with the FieldsyFlap.
I’d rather take the moral high ground on the areas where we are unambiguously doing better than the puppies than try and claim all moral high ground whether warranted or not.
I think this overstates the impact of the post. I mean, I read it a few days after it was posted. I assumed that if it was true, it would be corroborated, and if it was not, it would be debunked. The fact that the community didn’t arise as a mass and condemn the post as a scurrilous attack on Ringo and demand proof immediately as some kind of criticism is not valid, especially in light of the hypocrisy on the part of those driving the outrage.
An inflammatory comment was made, buried in the back end of a thread on a post that was already off the front page. The response wasn’t to dump it on the front page, write multiple posts about it and start up the rumour mill on every forum, mailing list and blog that Ringo bangs little girls. The reaction was, by an large, people saying ‘gross’ until people will evidence to the contrary made themselves known and the post was removed. I don’t think there’s collective guilt earned in how this played out, and there’s certainly not any kind of wrong doing on Mike’s part.
Late to the party because I didn’t see the original comment, but my partner and I were at that FenCon. If anything along those lines had been going on, we would have been aware of it, and I would have mentioned it in my journal entry. I don’t believe I’ve met Jim Hague, and based on this report I don’t want to.
And I see that someone has beaten me to the “Slander is spoken. This is LIBEL.” reference. 🙂