Sasquan Decides Not To Ban Antonelli

Sasquan has decided that Lou Antonelli’s letter to the Spokane PD about David Gerrold violated its Code of Conduct, but at Gerrold’s request set aside a decision to ban him for the reasons discussed in the following public statement.

The Executive Committee of Sasquan, the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention, would like to address the matter of actions taken by Mr. Lou Antonelli with regards to one of our Guests of Honor, Mr. David Gerrold. On August 1st, Mr. Antonelli participated in a podcast in which he stated that he had written a letter to the Spokane Police Department, in which he stated to them that Mr. Gerrold was “insane and a public danger and needs to be watched when the convention is going on”.

Normally, online communications between members is not something in Sasquan’s purview to referee. However, Mr. Antonelli’s letter, which requested police action against Mr. Gerrold during the time of the convention, is within our purview. As such, we found that there was a strong possibility this act was a violation of our posted harassment policy[1], particularly if the letter had, in fact, been sent.

The Executive Committee then turned the matter over to our Operations Head, Ms. Robbie Bourget, who initiated formal proceedings in accordance with that policy. During these proceedings, it came to light that Mr. Antonelli had issued a formal apology to Mr. Gerrold and admitted culpability: he actually sent the letter, not merely claimed to have sent it.

We thoroughly reviewed all available data, including email from both involved parties, social media postings, discussions with key committee members, and so forth. The inescapable conclusion was that Mr. Antonelli had violated our Code of Conduct in this matter. The recommendation was to refund Mr. Antonelli’s membership and prohibit his entry to any convention location or function.

However, after the recommendation was made, Mr. Gerrold, as the aggrieved party, specifically requested that the Executive Committee set aside this recommendation on the grounds that Mr. Antonelli did apologize, is sending a retraction to the Spokane Police Department and because, as a Hugo Nominee, he deserves to attend the ceremony.

The Executive Committee has chosen to accept Mr. Gerrold’s request, and considers the matter closed as of this time. Ms. Bourget has spoken and corresponded with the Spokane Police Department, and they also consider the matter closed. We would like to thank Ms. Bourget for the calm professionalism she lent to the proceedings, and Mr. Antonelli and Mr. Gerrold for coming to a settlement that benefits not just them, but the Worldcon and its members.

While some wonder why the committee has not taken official notice of Antonelli’s interaction with Carrie Cuinn as well, perhaps that is explained by the statement “online communications between members is not something in Sasquan’s purview to referee.”

246 thoughts on “Sasquan Decides Not To Ban Antonelli

  1. @Laura: I was one of the ones concerned, specifically wondering if Carrie Cuinn was attending the con, specifically which I gather she isn’t.

    I have some other issues about the “we won’t ban him because our GOH did a special pleading” but that’s separate from the other issue.

    And while I won’t go into detail, and it was an academic not a fan con, I was on the board that decided to disinvite a GOH because of their ongoing persistent behavior in other venues (offline AND online), especially because all of the women on the board stated that they would not be willing to take any chance of being seated near them at the obligatory dining events, especially the big GOH speech. I was also one of the people who documented the behaviors which were being bragged about in open internet community.

  2. rcade: Somebody who does crazy things in anger in email or over the phone might do them in person too.

    Or if he gets pissed off at something somebody says to him at the con, or in his presence, and grumpyposts on his social media, and his fans take offense, even if it’s only online harassment of the person he’s complaining about….there you go.

    (I was the victim of online harassment from, it turned out, a disgruntled colleague some years back–I’m glad laws and police procedures are changing to reflect the reality of such harassment.)

  3. Somebody who does crazy things in anger in email or over the phone might do them in person too. I see no reason to ridicule the concern that Antonelli might lack self-control in person as much as he’s lacked it elsewhere.

    Ghu forbid anyone actually lose their temper at a convention, but that’s not the same thing as making a false 911 call out of anger. Thankfully, Antonelli is now quite aware of how irresponsible that sort of thing is.

  4. Tuomas Vainio: As we can see from… blah blah blah… So yeah…

    So yeah. No comment from you on the real issue, just nit-picking about symantics. As usual and expected.

    And you need to look up the definition of “quelle surprise”, because you clearly don’t understand it.

  5. Laura Resnick:

    In what way was Antontelli’s misstep with Cuinn relevant to Sasquan? His behavior to her had absolutely nothing to do with the convention, or with their both being convention attendees. It was strictly a business matter.

    I can’t actually say what Sasquan meant by asking her, but I thought it was a good idea to address what happened between Cuinn and Antonelli because that obviously cast further doubt on Sasquan’s decision to treat Antonelli leniently. It’s clear that the decision was just as controversial within the committee as it is among everyone else.

    Just between the two of us, I agree a Worldcon Code of Conduct should not try to take jurisdiction over online communication between members. It’s not right. And besides, it would be a complete time sink and distraction if they tried.

  6. Rcade:

    Somebody who does crazy things in anger in email or over the phone might do them in person too.

    Somebody who is perfectly nice and polite to all their friends and neighbors might snap and go on a killing spree, too, but “might” is a poor foundation for predictions.

    I see no reason to ridicule the concern that Antonelli might lack self-control in person as much as he’s lacked it elsewhere.

    I see two:

    1. (not so much ridicule as logically disagree) Antonelli’s not a stranger to conventions, and there are apparently no reports of him getting violent in person. What reports I’ve seen indicate he gets mulish and sullen. If we’re going to predict his future behavior, then what he’s actually done in the past should be given more weight than “might.”

    You can convict anyone on “might,” and if you have no other evidence, maybe sometimes you need to. But if your “might” is based on “well, we don’t know how he acts in person,” and there actually is a record of him not assaulting people at conventions, then you do have at least something to go on in terms of how he acts in person.

    2. (this one is ridicule) when Breen & Bradley are invoked as a comparison, my ridicule-sense just naturally tingles. It’s an attempt to say that since he can be described by a very broad noun that includes child molesters, treat him as just as dangerous as a child molester. That’s when my brain starts going “yeah, ’cause the child molesters have a record of molesting children, so they might do it again, and he’s got a record of being a crank from a very safe distance, so gawrsh, that’s too dangerous to be near.”

    Could he turn out to be a violent lunatic? Sure, “could” is one of those words like “might.” It’s terrible evidence in court, but then, this isn’t court. Still, it’s pretty crappy evidence. “There’s a possibility that he might act in a way he has not been known to act before.” Sure, there’s a possibility. But it’s not even a likelihood. It’s just a “hey, it’s possible.”

    I think if they’d banned him for sending that letter, that would have been fitting — sending the letter was disruptive and potentially dangerous. But once they’ve decided not to do that, then the danger he seems to present is not an immediate one that’ll put people in danger at the show. Does he have a record of groping? Hitting? Yelling? Attempting personal intimidation? Other in-person offenses?

    It doesn’t seem like it. His record is of doing stuff from a very safe distance, and that’s not a clear and present danger at a show. “Might” he do something else? Yeah, but so might some other guy. If someone does something at the show that there wasn’t any real evidence they were going to do ahead of time, that’s one of the things they have an on-site policy and security for.

    But in the meantime, his actual record is being a long-distance pissant. So I’d say build on that, rather than on imagining that he might do something he doesn’t have any apparent record of.

  7. Somebody who does crazy things in anger in email or over the phone might do them in person too

    They might, but in 20 odd years of watching/taking part in/being online around idiots and flame wars and going to events where I meet the people I’ve see fight online, my overwhelming experience has been that those that are most likely to be crazy online, are usually fluffy little kittens (or puppies) when you meant them online.

    Then again, I’ve seen very few situations at a Convention that remotely reached the level of the stuff you’ll see on an average Friday night in any market town in England.

  8. Or maybe he’ll live-tweet photos of people he doesn’t like…from the show…stating, “Such-and-such is behaving badly, here’s their name and contact info and address and by the way we know they’re not home right now so any fans of mine who wanna break a few windows, now’s your chance!” Because he’s an asshole with poor impulse control who likes to find ways to make people’s lives miserable, and he’s got a large social media presence.

    He really doesn’t have a large media presence. He doesn’t even seem to have the Puppies backing him up here.

    But yes, he would have the physical capacity to do that, if he got mad at someone whose address he knew and who he had psycho fans who lived near there and that person had no alarm system or housesitter or family at home.

    But if anything actually happened, he’d be in legal trouble, and he does not seem to be willing to risk that sort of thing.

    So is it physically possible? Sure. Is it part of his pattern? Not really. Is “poor impulse control” really a foundation to accuse someone of doing just about anything?

    I think he’s been an asshole. But I also think people want him punished for being an asshole more that they are seriously concerned that he’s going to recruit people to break their windows via social media if he comes to the con.

  9. Kurt,

    They didn’t remotely say they couldn’t take child molesting into account, but you pretended they did and responded to that.

    I responded to what you said, not anything they said. I honestly cannot tell if you are misreading me on purpose or just do not understand.

  10. Kurt Busiek said:

    “I think he’s been an asshole. But I also think people want him punished for being an asshole more that they are seriously concerned that he’s going to recruit people to break their windows via social media if he comes to the con.”

    I can’t disagree strongly enough with this statement, and I think that much of the difficulty (not just with this situation or your comment specifically, Kurt, so I apologize if I single you out as an example here) with making a safe space at conventions is that too many people who haven’t experienced systematic or frequent harassment are willing to consign the legitimate safety concerns of others as frustration or spite.

    Lou Antonelli has a history of making people feel unsafe around him. This is documented fact. I can think of at least three incidents of harassment off the top of my head, one of which occurred less than a day after insisting that he’s a changed man and has no intention of ever giving in to his temper ever again. He has a history of stalking people. This is also a documented fact. Arguing that yes, this is true, but we really need to set a higher standard of damage he can do to people’s lives than stalking and harassment before we go so far as to not allow him into convention spaces is privileging his right to enjoy a convention over the right of all other attendees who may come into contact with him to feel safe, and I simply can’t accept that this was the right decision to make. Again, Gerrold’s pleas on his behalf, while noble, are not a factor here because Gerrold is not guaranteeing his future behavior.

  11. They might, but in 20 odd years of watching/taking part in/being online around idiots and flame wars and going to events where I meet the people I’ve see fight online, my overwhelming experience has been that those that are most likely to be crazy online, are usually fluffy little kittens (or puppies) when you [meet them].

    True, but if you deal with enough Internet flamers you will discover that it is a huge mistake to assume they will all prove to be sane people who can eventually let go of a disagreement and behave normally. In my 30 years online going back to local bulletin boards, I’ve had two people get angry with me who turned out to be genuinely deranged stalkers who ramped up the conflict in the real world. That’s an incredibly unpleasant experience to endure.

    Is Lou Antonelli a reasonable, non-abusive person in a convention setting? Probably.

    But reporting David Gerrold to the police was a completely crazy thing for him to do. So when the Sasquan executive board decided his actions were harassment worthy of a convention ban, I can understand why that decision was reached. There’s a good reason in situations like this to err on the side of caution.

  12. I responded to what you said, not anything they said.

    I was paraphrasing their policy.

    I honestly cannot tell if you are misreading me on purpose or just do not understand.

    I think you’re engaging in deliberately attaching an incorrect reading to a partial statement, and then going over the top with the reaction.

    Your argument was that the policy I described was spectacularly bad because if followed, child molesters would be free to prey on cons, even though it wasn’t remotely supported by the text and was contradicted by the stuff you left out.

    So I think I understand what you were saying, and I disagree that Sasquan’s policy — or even my paraphrase of it — means they would be unable to take the records of child molesters into account in deciding whether to ban someone from a show.

    If you want to take it literally, I said that it’s not within Sasquan’s purview to police a Facebook exchange between an editor and a writer (as they themselves noted), and preventing ire over that is not part of making Sasquan a safe experience. Even Antonelli’s Facebook followers harassing Cuinn online, which Antonelli bears responsibility for making possible, whether he intended to or not, is not something that Sasquan is supposed to police. I also said that had it unfolded in a way that suggested Antonelli was a threat at the con, then it would be in their purview, but you left that out.

    Your response was to pretend that the above would prevent a convention from taking a record of child abuse into account — even though such a record would suggest that the abuser was a threat at the con.

    Since what I said specifically contradicts that, I think I’m on solid ground to consider it nonsense.

  13. I think he’s been an asshole. But I also think people want him punished for being an asshole more that they are seriously concerned that he’s going to recruit people to break their windows via social media if he comes to the con.

    You’re being too glib about his behavior, in my opinion.

    I don’t want him punished for being an asshole. There are a lot of assholes going to Worldcon. I can be one at times and I was hoping to attend.

    I want him excluded for taking a specific action that I believe rises to the level of harassment. I don’t think it completely mitigates the concern that he’s only behaved poorly online. I’ve seen plenty of GamerGaters whose treatment of women online would be sufficient to make me wary of attending an event where they are going to be present.

  14. I think that Sasquan has done all its attendees a grave disservice by overruling the committee’s recommendation that Antonelli be banned.

    Yes, Gerrold is the main “aggrieved party”, yes, he’s the GoH and a very important SFF personage — but those of us who are “nobodies” have the right to feel safe at the con, too. And (La Resnick said it far more eloquently) sending the message that it’s okay to violate the Code of Conduct and you can escape sans conséquence if you can get someone important to intercede for you — well, to me, that’s inexcusable.

    What’s more, it leaves gaping loopholes for enforcement of their Code of Conduct policy now. Anyone who gets ejected from Sasquan due to violation of the CoC will be screaming, “But what about Antonelli??? What he did was way worse than what I did!!!” And Sasquan will have no legitimate response to that.

  15. @ rrede: ” And while I won’t go into detail, and it was an academic not a fan con, I was on the board that decided to disinvite a GOH because of their ongoing persistent behavior in other venues”

    I don’t have a dramatic or horrified reaction to disinviting a Goh—or to banning an attendee. This isn’t like being banished from Verona or sent into exile from Jersalem. A convention is an OPTIONAL weekend event, not someone’s birthplace, mother country, and fatherland.

    Moreover, there are a LOT of conventions every year. If you’re a worthwhile GoH, you’ll be asked to others. If you’re an attendee who’s banned from one con, there are dozens of others you can still attend. I don’t understand the “end of the world” tone that tends to accompany discussions of disinviting or banning someone.

  16. On FB today, Jim Hines has started a discussion that removes the tail-chasing specifics of Antonelli/Gerrold/Sasquan and instead asks the relevant underlying question that I think gets lost in real-world incidents in sf/f, which is: Who is the intended and actual beneficiary of a harassment policy at a con?

    As you can see if you follow the discussion, there definitely isn’t consensus on this–which is probably among the reasons there’s not consensus on the Sasquan decision, and among the reasons than concoms make decisions about harassment incidents which they later have to revisit.

  17. I can’t disagree strongly enough with this statement, and I think that much of the difficulty (not just with this situation or your comment specifically, Kurt, so I apologize if I single you out as an example here) with making a safe space at conventions is that too many people who haven’t experienced systematic or frequent harassment are willing to consign the legitimate safety concerns of others as frustration or spite.

    No worries, I’m not offended. I don’t think I’m doing that, but I don’t mind the discussion. I’m not trying to argue that harassment at cons is not the problem people say it is. I think it’s a big issue and cons and fans are right to want to take steps against it.

    I also think that in this case, people are building castles in the air to try to paint Lou as an imminent danger at cons. That’s not meant as a defense of his behavior, it’s focused on the very specific situation that he doesn’t especially seem to be a danger at cons. That’s not about excusing his behavior, that’s about answering the con’s question “Will people be safe?”

    Lou Antonelli has a history of making people feel unsafe around him. This is documented fact.

    From what I can tell, he has a history of making people feel unsafe from a great distance. That’s what’s documented.

    I can think of at least three incidents of harassment off the top of my head, one of which occurred less than a day after insisting that he’s a changed man and has no intention of ever giving in to his temper ever again.

    That’s an incident of his making people feel unsafe from a distance.

    He has a history of stalking people. This is also a documented fact.

    He has a history of looking up one guy’s details on one day. Is that stalking? It’s offensive and out of bounds, yes, but I think stalking has to be done on some sort of ongoing basis. I’m quibbling with your terminology not to excuse him (at all), but because I think it’s painting an emotionally-charged picture that makes the reader think Antonelli spends weeks stalking multiple people. What he did was stupid and wrong, but I’d like to keep that mental picture clear as to his actual activity.

    I’d also note that this was another example of him acting at a great distance, though he completely failed to make anyone feel unsafe.

    On the other hand, you may have a different example in mind, so maybe I’m wrong.

    Arguing that yes, this is true, but we really need to set a higher standard of damage he can do to people’s lives than stalking and harassment before we go so far as to not allow him into convention spaces is privileging his right to enjoy a convention over the right of all other attendees who may come into contact with him to feel safe, and I simply can’t accept that this was the right decision to make.

    I’m not making that argument. I’m pointing out that the stalking (if that’s what we call it) and harassment happen at a distance, and that being around him is apparently no more a danger than being around any potentially-grumpy con attendee.

    Again, Gerrold’s pleas on his behalf, while noble, are not a factor here because Gerrold is not guaranteeing his future behavior.

    Haven’t argued that, either.

    I don’t mean to act as Antonelli’s defense attorney here, because my argument isn’t and has never been that he has a right to enjoy Sasquan that trumps the con’s responsibility to create a safe environment. I think he’s behaved abominably, and he deserves a lot of shit for it. Whether he gets what he deserves, whether it goes on long enough, those are questions about punishment, and I don’t think they’re germane to Sasquan.

    My argument is that Sasquan has a responsibility to create a safe space. So their question, rather than whether Antonelli deserves to be punished or whether he’s got rights that trump others or any of that, is this: Is Lou Antonelli’s presence a danger to other congoers? It’s not about him or his rights, it’s about them and their safety.

    And the fact that Antonelli gets into long-distance attempts at making trouble for people is not evidence that he’s an in-person danger. It’s more evidence that he’s a petty coward, but even there, if the question is, does he present a danger to congoers, his various actions don’t seem to answer that affirmatively. Which is why people are throwing around “might” and “maybe,” trying to say that he could be a danger, even if there isn’t terribly credible evidence that he’s ever menaced or harassed anyone at a show.

    I don’t really give much of a shit about his right to enjoy the show, and I don’t want to defend his actions. I’m mostly trying to defend Sasquan, who people seem to want to use as a hammer to get back at that asshole Antonelli for doing asshole things, most of which have nothing to do with Sasquan or with being a danger at cons.

    The one thing that did have something to do with Sasquan and with creating a danger at the con was the letter to the police. Had they banned him for that, I think they’d be on solid ground. Dealing with it another way, well, it seems to have defused the danger.

    Will he continue to be an asshole online? I would hope not, but that’s not really the way to bet. But Sasquan’s responsibility isn’t whether he’s an asshole online. It’s whether he’s a danger to others at the show. The letter aside, there doesn’t seem to be much evidence of that.

    So that’s my argument. Is Sasquan right to think he doesn’t pose a danger at the show? Should they assume that long-distance dickery equates to in-person danger? I think they’re probably right and they don’t need to assume that.

    I don’t think making him stay home with the tool he uses to harass people, when he does, is likely to cut down on his harassment, but even so, Sasquan isn’t the SF Police, and they don’t have a responsibility to stop him from committing non-con-related asshole behavior. They have a responsibility to make Sasquan a safe venue.

    I think they’re doing okay at that.

  18. You’re being too glib about his behavior, in my opinion.

    I’ve been trying not to do that, but at the same time trying to focus on Sasquan’s responsibilities rather than on the question of Antonelli’s guilt, since I don’t remotely disagree that he’s guilty.

    I don’t think it completely mitigates the concern that he’s only behaved poorly online. I’ve seen plenty of GamerGaters whose treatment of women online would be sufficient to make me wary of attending an event where they are going to be present.

    I don’t know that I’d say “completely mitigates,” but I do think it affects the question of whether it renders Sasquan unsafe. There are certainly people online whose online behavior seems to feed off convention experiences, and things like that, but I also see the ongoing campaigns of Beale, Requires Hate and others as in a different category than Antonelli, who seems to lash out at a target once and then put it behind him. If he was still going after Aaron, for instance, I think that’d be more like Beale.

    Still. I understand your concern, and I don’t want to be an asshole either (some people may think it’s too late for that). I think I’ve said what I have to say as clearly as I’m going to be able to say it, so I should leave it as said, for whatever value it has. Other people disagree, and I’ll let them speak unencumbered by me repeating the same arguments again.

    Sorry to have roiled anyone up. I think Antonelli’s been a jerk and serves castigation. I just don’t think Sasquan is the organization to do it (except for the police letter, which they’ve chosen a different way to deal with).

  19. Okay, whatever, Kurt. You stated something that was obviously bad policy. (Call it a summary if you want. It was a thing you said, not a quote.) I cited an obvious reason for that being absurd, because obviously cons would ban child abuser (now, anyway). Clearly, we both agree on that. Great. Congratulations. Now maybe we can,h, wait, your just going to go on responding to other things I didn’t say. Sigh.

    Tell you what. I’ll just occasionally address a blank post to you. Then you can keep responding to things i didnt say, without all the effort on my part.

  20. I think there’s something that the concom and, it seems, Kurt are both underestimating about Antonelli. By his own statements, he made the report to the Spokane police on July 1st. The first public mention of it was more than a month later, and then public reaction hit. The question is, what else has he done and not yet boasted about, and how can we know?

    We can scarcely trust Antonelli’s own assessment of whether he’s done something harassing or dangerous. By his own admission, he can’t tell what other people are going to find harassing or dangerous, and it’s all about him responding in kind to what he thinks he’s interacting with. And he moves in a crowd of people who can’t, or at least won’t, do that kind of assessment for him and generate reliable results.

    If I were on the concom, I’d have argued for sticking with the ban despite Gerrold’s personal generosity on the grounds that there’s no way to tell whether Antonelli is a defused bomb yet, and reason to worry on behalf of other attenders.

  21. Kurt Busiek said:

    “From what I can tell, he has a history of making people feel unsafe from a great distance. That’s what’s documented.”

    I think you are radically underestimating how unsafe people will feel when asked to share direct physical presence with someone known for stalking and harassment online. If I was asked to attend a panel with Tank Marmot, I would not feel safe even though all of his death threats have been issued from a distance and there’s no evidence he ever did anything to anyone in person, because he’s threatened to kill people he doesn’t like and he’s right there in the room with me.

    I don’t think this is a complicated or difficult concept to explain. Saying, “Oh, you’re very probably safe with him because there’s no evidence he’s ever followed through on the threats or stalking or harassment in person,” is dismissing a person’s feelings about their own physical and emotional safety in favor of a creep who stalks and harasses people online. (In fact, said creep may very well revel in their ability to make people feel distress and fear without having to do anything, simply by conveying with his presence the fact that nobody believes the victim and nobody will stand up for their right to feel safe.) That’s pretty much what a harassment policy exists to prevent. By not enforcing their policies, Sasquan has fallen down on the job.

  22. I would think it would be a good idea for Antonelli to think long and hard about how exactly he will be keeping his temper in check if he is conspiciously shunned by a significant number of people at WorldCon.

  23. I don’t know that I’d say “completely mitigates,” but I do think it affects the question of whether it renders Sasquan unsafe.

    I can accept that. It’s a judgment call. It is easier to advocate banning someone for harassment when they have a track record of doing it in person.

    Because Sasquan deferred to Gerrold, Antonelli has an opportunity to prove that his online behavior isn’t representative of his conduct in person. I hope he does so — though if I was attending I’d give him a wide berth.

  24. Look at this the other way. If Antonelli did do something crazy at Sasquan any reasonable observer would point to his online behavior and say “Of course! He’s been acting like this all along. Why didn’t you pay attention to the signs?”

    Since this is one of a string of incidents over the past few months I think it’s reasonable to say that Antonelli simply can’t be trusted to act like a decent person.

  25. My problem with Antonelli is not that he’s been an angry asshole. Plenty of people, myself included, get angry and act like assholes. No, what bothers me is that an angry bully did his typical “revenge” retaliation and got caught, twice, flagrantly. His apologies were minimal and full of himself, rather than actually taking responsibility for the actions and their consequences. Not only that, but he suffered no consequences for his irresponsible and ill-considered actions. Look, when my son messed up badly, he sat in a time out, apologized, took responsibility for his behavior, discussed alternate behaviors for future situations, and got a punishment as well. All I have seen from Antonelli is a half-assed apology, and remarks about his punishment that led to someone else getting rape and death threats. He doesn’t take his own consequences seriously, because no one else holds him to account for them. I see a bully getting away with harassment and bullying yet again. And that’s wrong.

    It doesn’t matter that Gerrold wanted Antinelli allowed at Sasquan. The ConCom were supposed to be the grown ups. Ones that have to be mean. I was the mean parent; my ex did far more yelling than I did, but she was not the one who said “no”. I was, so I became the Mean One, and my son still thinks I’m mean…and all it is is an ability to say, “no.”, or “you’re grounded.” Behaviors have consequences. Antonelli has yet to learn this lesson, so by all rights, he should have been disinvited. Not because he could be a danger, but because he broke rules and has to pay that price. Not because people will be uncomfortable around him, but because he messed up, big time, and needs to have a public punishment that fits the transgression.

  26. @May Tree, in the course of making a rather weak analogy to the legal system:

    While prosecutors are known to sometimes give the wishes of the victim consideration, it is never the case in criminal matters that the victim is the one who decides whether punishment should be doled out to the offender and what that punishment should be.

    On the other hand, I’m pretty sure I’ve heard some language about “not preferring charges.” Any idea what that might mean?

  27. @Laura Resnick
    @ Simon: “The committee has thankfully distanced itself from the, “as a Hugo Nominee, he deserves to attend the ceremony”, remark,”

    I’m glad to see that. Because that created a terrible impression.

    Well, yes. Because the days when Hugo Nominee status automatically conferred respect upon one…well, we might want to re-evaluate that.

  28. Had I been on the exec committee, I would have voted to bar Antonelli, but now that he is coming I look forward to the inevitable meltdown at either the pre-Hugo reception or the Losers Party, where I’ll be, repping Edge of Tomorrow.

    So I guess what I’m saying is, “Follow me on Twitter!”

  29. I have nothing new to add to the conversation about Antonelli, so I’m just posting an appreciation for Nigel’s Ultravox riff.

    (There’s probably good filking possibilities in “Reap the Wild Wind” too, while we’re in that musical vein. Something about “I’ll take my time and plan on a slow revenge.”)

  30. So I guess what I’m saying is, “Follow me on Twitter!”

    I already was, but if double-following was an option, I’d do that.

  31. My own personal view is that once you start to go down the path of “public punishment” you start to make the mistake Wiscon has made, of assimilating the anti-harrassment process to a criminal process, which starts to drag in a unwieldy set of checks and balances.

    Harassment policies are about creating a safe space. Because the penalties are small – exclusion from one specific private party – and because the process is normally private – it is only exceptionally that complainants and accused parties become public – the process for making decisions can, and should be, relatively simple quick, and informal (from a lawyer’s point of view).

    In this case, I would think that Gerrold would be in a special position, not because he is GoH, but because he is the one most directly threatened by Antonelli, and the one most likely to feel unsafe as a consequence. (Likewise Cuinn could be considered in a somewhat similar position, if she were to be attending Sasquan.

    Would I have made the same decision as the committee? Probably not. Do I think that they had reasonable grounds for deciding as they did? Yes.

    My own guess is that Antonelli is likely to gravitate to a bar populated by Barflies (capital B) and be largely insulated from most of the rest of the congoers as a result, most of the time.

    (IANAL, but I do have an LL.B. “Too academic”, according to the firms I applied to for articling.)

  32. @ Ginger: “Behaviors have consequences. Antonelli has yet to learn this lesson, so by all rights, he should have been disinvited. Not because he could be a danger, but because he broke rules and has to pay that price. Not because people will be uncomfortable around him, but because he messed up,”

    I agree. I decline to speculate what a total stranger (Antonelli) might or might not do in the future (at WorldCon). It’s not relevant. What’s relevant is that there is a Code of Conduct for the con, and the concom deliberated and decided he’s violated it–and in a significant/substantial way. That he managed to violate the con’s Code of Conduct weeks BEFORE the con even takes place takes a special kind of genius, but he managed it. And so the consequences should be applied. Period. He broke the rules. That is known, acknowledged, confirmed, and reconfirmed. This shouldn’t be about what he MIGHT do, it should be about what he has done.

  33. P.S. And for chrissake, the consequences for this, if they had been applied, would have been to be banned from a four-day convention more than 1000 miles from his home.

    Not banishment from his home, his state, his nation, his family, his job, his circle of friends, his organized religion, his country club, his writing organization, his professional union, or anything else that actually matters.

    The consequences would be not being allowed to attend one four-day convention. That is hardly a tragedy from which a functional adult can’t recover.

  34. Being barred from Worldcon would probably be the best thing that ever happened to him!

  35. If being a Worldcon GoH gives you the power to compel the concom to forgive otherwise unforgiveable behavior, I am _so_ looking forward to 2016.

    What am I bid? Let the contest begin!

  36. What am I bid? Let the contest begin!

    I will give you a moldy banana if you will permit me the use of a loudspeaker during the entirety of the award ceremony!

  37. Eh, it’s not like anything can be done, now the decision’s made. Even Crazy Uncle Lou can manage not to do anything crazy in the next few days before the con, so it’s not like the concom will have a chance to discuss banning him again.

    No, now we’ve all registered our dissatisfaction or otherwise with the decision, all that’s left is the sweepstake: how long will CUL last at the Worldcon before causing an incident?

  38. @Nick Mamatas:

    but now that he is coming I look forward to the inevitable meltdown at either the pre-Hugo reception or the Losers Party, where I’ll be, repping Edge of Tomorrow.

    But if he blows up there, then the next morning he will wake up and it will be before Worldcon again, and he’ll have a chance to do it all over.

  39. Since some people might not have realized this:

    1. Sasquan might possibly be the largest convention in Spokane this year. It’s one of the largest, anyway.
    2. The Spokane Convention Center is a government-owned facility.
    3. Given 1 and 2, the chance that there would be no police presence around Sasquan was already zero.

  40. “Lou Antonelli has shown himself to have poor impulse control, a short temper, and bad decision-making skills when he’s angry. ”

    That would describe a large percentage of fandom. True, others haven’t called the cops on fannish arguments, but the fact that he’s done so doesn’t seem to me to make Antonelli much, or indeed any, more likely to cause physical problems at the con itself than literally hundreds of other people.

  41. From his stalking of Aaron, people were already pretty aware that Antonelli really IS an asshole.

    Yet one little detail of this latest chapter astonishes me – – in the podcast, Antonelli notes:

    “I really didn’t know much about [DAVID GERROLD!!] before the Hugo nominations came out.

    He’s talking about the author of The Trouble with Tribbles (et al.). And yet Antonelli doesn’t seem to know who he is.

    It’s another example of what seems to be a general trend – that the Puppies have only a vague knowledge of the field of science fiction – or much understanding of science fiction fandom.

  42. @’As You Know’ Bob
    It’s another example of what seems to be a general trend – that the Puppies have only a vague knowledge of the field of science fiction – or much understanding of science fiction fandom.

    And yet they presume to lecture the rest of the world on the history of their chosen field (cf. Our Very Own Nugget of Nuttiness).

  43. @May Tree, in the course of making a rather weak analogy to the legal system:

    “While prosecutors are known to sometimes give the wishes of the victim consideration, it is never the case in criminal matters that the victim is the one who decides whether punishment should be doled out to the offender and what that punishment should be.”

    On the other hand, I’m pretty sure I’ve heard some language about “not preferring charges.” Any idea what that might mean?

    The only place I can find a reference to “preferring charges” instead of the more common “pressing charges” is in terms of a court martial, so perhaps that’s specific to that type of proceeding.

    Here’s a writeup from a legal site on the issue:

    “The victim is not pressing charges. Why am I still being charged?”

    http://atkinsonlawoffices.com/blog/the-victim-is-not-pressing-charges-why-am-i-still-being-charged/

  44. Disclaimer:

    I’m not speaking for Macmillan, Tor, or any other professional publishing entity.

    Anyone who pretends otherwise will be mercilessly derided.

    Rich Coad:

    Reading File 770 often makes me think that *all* of fandom is insane.

    Hi, Rich.

    AFAIK, Fandom is no loonier than it ever was. I actually think the internet has made it slightly more sane, not less. The nutbars still get the most attention, but that’s normal for newszines.

    Isn’t the voting for this year’s Hugos interesting, though? The pattern of responses reminds me of something or other, but I can’t quite put my finger on what it is.

    Abi Sutherland:

    I think this is a bad decision on Sasquan’s part.

    So do I. Lou Antonelli didn’t just attack David Gerrold. He attacked the worldcon, His “I am so afraid of being persecuted by this community I’ve been harassing that I think it’s appropriate to contact the Spokane police department and encourage them to violently overreact to anything connected with the worldcon” routine has potentially put everyone attending it in danger.

    I’m not impressed by his apologies. Over the years, I’ve known my share of chronic serial-offender jerks, and almost all of them have been fluent apologizers. They have to be.

    Three observations about Antonelli. First, I’ve never seen him fact-check anything he’s said during the whole Puppy imbroglio, and he’s said a lot of unpleasant, irresponsible, and in some cases actionable stuff. He’ll back down on statements if challenged, but he doesn’t self-correct.

    He’s a journalist. He has to know from fact-checking. He just doesn’t bother to do it when he’s dealing with us

    Second: Antonelli’s operating out of the standard bag of dirty tricks: calling someone’s boss to try to get him fired, SWATting David Gerrold and Sasquan, tossing his former editor to GamerGate’s scavenging carnivores, et cetera. Now, in my experience, someone who’s new to pulling stunts like that will tend to hesitate, overelaborate, and generally do a weird job of it. Antonelli doesn’t do any of those things, so my guess is that he’s got a long-term habit of acting on his bad impulses.

    Third: he may apologize for the damage he does, but he doesn’t put any effort into fixing it.

    I have the standard fannish aversion to excluding anyone from our community, but I sure wouldn’t cry if Lou Antonelli stayed home.

    Susan:

    I read this as *David* said that Lou deserved to attend. And the Executive Board took David’s views into consideration, as he was the aggrieved party. Isn’t it better to do what can be done to make the aggrieved party whole?

    I take it you haven’t heard about the SWAT team at the 1980 Disclave.

    We are all aggrieved parties. Lou Antonelli has deliberately put the idea into the Spokane PD’s heads that there’s a significant chance that dangerous, violent things requiring their intervention may happen at the worldcon. I can’t begin to list how many ways that might go wrong. Apologizing to David Gerrold won’t fix it.

    PNH and I have been nominated for the Hugo multiple times, and I don’t recall anyone saying we had a right to attend the ceremony. I always assume that if I misbehave at a convention, I’ll get kicked out just as fast as anyone else.

    BTW, I’m going to tag Antonelli as a racist *ssh*le unless and until I see evidence to the contrary. Statistically speaking, if a heavily armed police team shows up at the worldcon, the people likeliest to get shot aren’t the ones who look like Lou Antonelli. I think we have to assume that anyone who would call out a SWAT team on an SF convention is aware of that problem, and either doesn’t care, or considers it a feature.

    DMS:

    I am utterly sick about the precedents this sets for future harassers. I am horrified that they think Gerrold is the person who’s life is endangered by someone calling the cops to be on the looking for violence. I am horrified that the official policy appears to push the responsibility for addressing harassment onto the victims and then calls that “respecting their wishes.” Which is how they phrased it when linking me to Cuinn’s post. This is so wrong. So incredibly wrong.

    Yup. Victims shouldn’t be the ones enforcing the rules. If they like doing it, that could turn bad. If they hate doing it, that’s bad too. In any event, it shouldn’t be their responsibility, and they shouldn’t be setting policy.

    cmm:

    I am a cop (ob NickMamatas: yes I have a pseud so believe me or not, your call)…

    You’re either a law enforcement officer, or you’re doing such a good imitation of one that we can’t possibly call it yea or nay.

    I’m inclined to think you’re real. Thank you for your helpful remarks.

    Tuomas Vainio:

    But doesn’t change the fact that usage of the term ‘SWAT’ to describe Mr. Antonelli’s actions is both lurid and false.

    I have to disagree. I think it’s a clear, fair, and accurate description.

    P J Evans:

    I wouldn’t argue with Sasquan’s Operations Head. Robbie is quite capable of handling things herself.

    I’d argue with Robbie if I thought it was necessary, but it’s not something I’d do for fun.

    cmm again:

    re Kurt’s question about Antonelli’s record thus far:

    What he has shown in my opinion is a pattern of spectacularly overreacting and escalating over minor provocations. Called a name online = track down name caller and try to get them in trouble at their workplace. While so far all of his huffing and puffing has been online and long distance, I don’t want to physically be in the same place and find out what a spectacular overreaction looks like in person.

    So far it’s all been action at a distance, but I don’t like where his mind goes, or the strategies he reaches for first. I also doubt he knows enough about the Spokane PD to be able to tell how they’d react to that letter of his. By me, that’s a culpable level of irresponsible.

    If you do some reading about patterns of abusive behavior, the exhibited behavior and communication of every single prominent puppy — Day, Wright, Torgersen, Correia, Antonelli, and TK are the ones I’m thinking of — sends up red flags. That doesn’t mean they are necessarily physical threats, but I wouldn’t trust any of them to be in the same place with. They all certainly show signs of potentially being verbally and emotionally abusive to anyone around them.

    “Believe people when they show you who they are.”

    Good rule. I’ll swipe that.

    I continue to be be bothered by how little hesitation the Canis Majors had about lying to and about us in their communications with the SF world. In my experience, you don’t lie that way to people you hope will become your friends and/or colleagues, and you sure don’t do it to a community you self-identify as a member of.

  45. Disclaimer:

    Vide supra.

    DMS quoted:

    “It’s not really within Sasquan’s purview to police that (as they note in their announcement, about online disagreements), and not part of making Sasquan a safe con-going experience.”

    This is a staggeringly poor argument. If MZB only abused children in her own home, that wouldn’t be in the con’s purview and banning her wouldn’t make a safer con-going experience? How many times does Lou have to attempt to disrupt someone’s life or “accidentally” set mobs on someone before they treat it like an issue of prevention rather than mitigation?

    That’s a good question, but the answer comes with a lot of history attached. Let’s skip all that for now, and go straight to the standard answer for the child abuse version of the question::

    If you have enough real evidence to warrant a convention committee taking action, you should take that evidence to the police or to Child Protection Services. With the best will in the world, con committees are not set up to collect evidence, subpoena testimony, or sort out the pertinent laws and issues.

    The only time that’s been seriously tried, the committee bungled it so badly that many fans felt themselves obliged to support Walter Breen, because the other side was running a kangaroo court. The controversy that followed is still regarded by many fanhistorians as the worst and most damaging feud that’s ever hit fandom.

    We’re not the law. We’re not law enforcement. We can’t let ourselves forget that.

  46. ‘As you know’ Bob:

    “He’s talking about the author of The Trouble with Tribbles (et al.). And yet Antonelli doesn’t seem to know who he is.

    It’s another example of what seems to be a general trend – that the Puppies have only a vague knowledge of the field of science fiction – or much understanding of science fiction fandom.”

    Is that a problem not to know about Star Trek? I’m not very impressed with the series and while I have seen Trouble with Tribbles an aeon ago, I have not much memory of it and had not heard of Gerrold before starting to read here.

    If Star Trek affectionado is mandatory for fandom, I think I’ll just skip out on my plans to go to WorldCon if Helsinki should win.

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