WisCon and Crossed Genres

Jul 18th, 2014 | By | Category: News & Announcements

Today the convention WisCon released a WisCon Subcommittee Statement on Jim Frenkel. For those who aren’t aware, multiple complaints were made against Frenkel regarding his harassing behavior at WisCon 2013 (there were a number of other significant problems regarding WisCon’s mishandling of the situation).

(There are reports of previous harassment by Frenkel. In this June 28, 2013 post Mary Robinette Kowal cites knowledge of another claim against him. Kowal’s post also provides a screencap of tweets from Patrick Nielsen Hayden following the 2013 complaints, announcing that Frenkel is “no longer associated” with Tor Books, for whom he was an editor. And in this post from the same day by Elise Matthesen about reporting one of the 2013 incidents, Jim Hines mentions “a series of specific incidents” involving Frenkel from 2010.)

Essentially, today’s post states that Frenkel will be banned from WisCon for four years. However, they call this decision “provisional”: Frenkel can appeal the decision, and/or can “… present substantive, grounded evidence of behavioral and attitude improvement between the end of WisCon 39 in 2015 and the end of the four-year provisional period”. Frenkel could theoretically be back within a year (or however long an appeal would take).

The statement also says: “These are official WisCon actions, and will not be affected by future philosophical or policy discussions.” In other words, as Rose Fox points out, “Frenkel can appeal the decision in case he thinks it’s too harsh, but no one else can appeal it for being too lenient.”

It’s the opinion of the co-publishers of Crossed Genres that the decisions of the WisCon subcommittee are insufficient and fail to uphold the promises made by the “World’s Leading Feminist Science Fiction Convention”. They have chosen to place the importance of a repeat harasser’s potential redemption higher than the importance of safety for victims of harassment. Already a number of people have stated that these decisions completely fail to make them feel they’ll be safe at WisCon, and that they don’t intend to return. (Kate Nepveu has a pointed and apt summation.)

Crossed Genres has attended WisCon, with tables in the dealer room, each of the past two years. In 2014 we had what was (in dollars) our biggest convention ever. We’ve also been pleased to support our authors as they’ve attended WisCon as panelists, had readings, etc. This year also saw a panel and party at WisCon for our latest title, Long Hidden.

Unfortunately, we have decided that Crossed Genres cannot in good conscience continue to support a convention which we don’t believe places enough emphasis on the safety of its con-goers. Because of this, Crossed Genres will not attend or participate in WisCon for the foreseeable future. (We will most likely choose another convention to attend. Suggestions welcome!)

– Bart R. Leib and Kay T. Holt
Co-Publishers, Crossed Genres Publications

(Thanks to Heather Massey for her help obtaining relevant links used in this post.)

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