San Francisco Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon 76) has reached settlement with Jon Del Arroz in the lawsuit he filed against them for having been banned from the 2018 convention and for statements made in the public announcement of that decision.
SFSFC AND JON DEL ARROZ HAVE SETTLED THE LAWSUIT MR. DEL ARROZ FILED WHICH INVOLVED HIS BEING BANNED FROM WORLDCON 76. IN CONCLUDING THE DISPUTE, SFSFC WISHES TO ISSUE THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT:
SFSFC acknowledges the importance of reputation, especially for a relatively new author, and regrets that its public statement about barring his attendance might have led people unfamiliar with Mr. Del Arroz and his work to infer that he is or was a racist. For that, SFSFC apologizes. This attendance ban was specific to the Worldcon 76 events produced by SFSFC, and Mr. Del Arroz has the same opportunity as other members of the public to register for future SFSFC events. Worldcon 76 does not tolerate discrimination in any form — including through cosplay — based on but not limited to gender, race, ethnicity, religion, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, or physical/mental health conditions. SFSFC firmly believes that healthy political discourse requires active, mutual, good faith participation by members of the community with differing opinions.
Chair, Worldcon 76 in San Jose
President, San Francisco Science Fiction Conventions, Inc.
The agreed settlement is “a full and final settlement of all claims between the parties.”
The final settlement meets Del Arroz’ demand for an apology, but rejects two additional conditions originally included in his attorney’s proposal of May 27 (copy subsequently filed with the court), which were:
2. SFSFC will agree to make an active attempt to avoid exclusionary practices in the future to anyone in science fiction based on race, religion, creed, or political affiliation by having its board attends a diversity training course (which can be online) showing completion within one year of the date of the agreement. The settlement agreement will provide for liquidated damages of $25,000 and attorneys fees if this provision is breached.
3. Mr. Del Arroz will be added as a Diversity & Inclusivity Officer to the organization for future conventions and events to ensure discrimination based on identity does not occur again.
Also, the compensation is less than the originally proposed sum of $50,000 “for the damage done to Mr. Del Arroz’s reputation, emotional distress, and financial losses.”
SFSFC, Inc. is the parent corporation of Worldcon 76, held in San Jose. Del Arroz sued SFSFC in 2018 after the Worldcon 76 committee announced he would not be allowed to attend the convention (“Del Arroz Files Suit Against Worldcon 76”. In February 2019, the court tossed four of the five causes of action in Del Arroz’s lawsuit against Worldcon 76’s parent corporation. The case continued on the fifth complaint, defamation, and focused on SFSFC’s statement on social media banning Del Arroz from attending Worldcon 76. In May, the court rejected Worldcon 76’s Motion for Summary Judgment, and in addressing five arguments Worldcon 76’s attorney made in support of the motion Judge Manoukian said that four of the defense’s contentions were not proven, and another would need to be decided by a jury. Del Arroz’ attorney at that point waived the originally-requested jury (according to a June 2 filing). Therefore, if the case had gone to trial, it would have been solely before the judge who’d just ruled against the MSJ. These kinds of litigating hazards were likely a strong incentive to settle.