Successful Resolution To A Harassment Complaint

Don Sakers’ “What Happened at the Con” describes how a harassment and discrimination complaint was successfully resolved at Farpoint in Baltimore this past weekend.

As discussed here before, quite a few sf conventions have adopted an anti-harassment policy within the past two years. More conrunners are interested in hearing about real-life experience administering these policies. Examples are not easy to find because of the privacy protection accorded those who file a complaint. As it is usually people with unresolved complaints who are motivated to go public, nearly all the best-known examples are controversial.

Sakers begins with a basic outline:

I want to talk about an issue of harassment and discrimination that came up at a con this weekend. I’m going to name the con, but first I want to make crystal clear that the issue was settled to everyone’s satisfaction and that the con committee has done everything within their power to make things right.

Let me say that again: the con committee made everything right. For this particular con, the issue is closed with a very happy ending.

If it’s all over, why talk about it at all? I have two reasons. First, I want to have this story out there to inspire and empower others who may find themselves in similar situations. And second, I want other cons to be aware so they can possibly avoid such messy situations.

Executive summary:

A con illegally discriminated against LGBT fans by posting a “mature content, no one under 18 allowed” sign on an LGBT panel with no such content, while posting no sign on other panels with obvious adult content. We didn’t get any satisfaction from the first con staffer we talked to. When we raised the issue to the full con committee, amends were made and the con intends to have a full track of diversity-in-sf/fantasy programming next year

Then he goes into the episode in full detail.

The complaint was resolved at the convention’s gripe session by a public discussion and the posting of this Apology from the Committee

An unfortunate misunderstanding occurred at the convention this weekend. It caused hurt feelings, and, inadvertently, violated Maryland law protecting individuals against harassment and discrimination. Farpoint would never intentionally harass or discriminate against any person. We exist to encourage and nurture our fellow fans. What happened was a mistake, and it will be corrected.

Our logistics coordinator would like to make the following statement; 

I, Karen Donnelly, publicly and sincerely apologize for posting “Adult Content” signs for panels at Farpoint and thereby  breaking Maryland law, committing harassment against Farpoint attendees. This action will not happen again.