I’D LIKE TO MEET THIS MAN. HE FIGHTS

I’D LIKE TO MEET THIS MAN. HE FIGHTS: Can Monica Nieporte and William (Bill) Lawhorn’s Careers and Reputations Survive Jason Sanford?

In my last article I exposed amateur journalist and z-list science fiction author Jason Sanford’s misleading recent article about Baen Publishing’s webforum, “Baen’s Bar”.  In this second (of at least three) articles, I deal with the aftermath. A third article will deal with some of Sanford’s writing that is, in my opinion, sexually problematic, racially insensitive and offensive to people with some disabilities. There may be a fourth article but I am still investigating. Anyone who has felt that Jason Sanford has dealt with them inappropriately in any way (but especially at conventions), is invited to get in touch in confidence via the email on the, ‘About’ page.

Since Jason Sanford’s article misinformed but zealous readers of his have inundated the organisers of WorldCon 2021, a science fiction convention, with complaints to the extent that Baen Publisher Toni Weisskopf has been uninvited from being a guest of honour. The problem is that the allegations are, largely, just not true. At the same time, darker and darker information is emerging about Sanford. I have received a statement from lawyers for Sanford’s employers, the Ohio News Media Association (ONMA) trying to distance themselves from the scandal. However, given they are a media organisation, given Sanford uses his employment with them to advertise himself and given his followers standard of tenuous-guilt-by-association, that position seems untenable. These events can only reflect badly on ONMA, Sanford’s boss Monica Nieporte (ONMA President) and Discon III Chair Bill Lawhorn.

….

So, to analyse ONMA’s claims. Was Sanford’s article written as part of his paid employment for them? No. Are they legally responsible? No. Does it raise questions about their reputation and integrity? Yes.

Jason Sanford is a self-defined journalist. He works for a media organisation in a creative role. So, the conduct in which he has behaved unjustly is directly related to his work and his suitability for same. Furthermore, Jason’s online profiles such as his LinkedIn profile (currently down) advertise his personal brand with his work for ONMA in tandem with his science fiction work. Finally, Jason himself and his friends take the view that associating in any way with someone who has behaved (in their view) unethically is complicity. So, WorldCon 2021 had to be inundated with complaints until Toni Weisskopf was removed. Now, Monica Nieporte finds herself in a symmetric position.

By Jason Sanford’s dystopian ideology, Monica Nieporte is morally responsible for all of his acts and omissions that are thought to be unethical until she fires him. Her difficulty is that now I am looking deeply into Sanford. There are other problems. The details of his problematic writing are something that I will include in my third article. I will need to put the allegations to Interzone, the magazine that has (up until now) been enabling him.

Source: Matthew Hopkins News

Hat tip: I’D LIKE TO MEET THIS MAN. HE FIGHTS: Can Monica Nieporte and William (Bill) Lawhorn’s Careers a…

Marginal Revolution Trek

Not many people know this obscure episode, because it was shot during the third season as an “extra,” to be used in a fourth season that never materialized.  But here is the basic plot line.  Kirk and the Enterprise visit a planet that, by mistake, received errant TV transmissions of “The Beverly Hillbillies” centuries ago.  The inhabitants of that planet, being highly impressionable, have since organized their society along those principles and with Appalachian clothing, albeit with less couth manners.  These creatures are mostly backward, but they have two special powers.  First, neither Vulcan neck pinches nor phasers “set on stun” affect them, and second they have the ability to just walk through the otherwise protective shields of the Starship Enterprise.

Marginal Revolution

There are quite a few Star Trek posts at the website.

Burdens of Proof

Brad R. Torgersen writes on the disinviting of convention guests of honor, based on what they might do.

I won’t devote too much time to rehashing this past week’s slanderous sabotaging of Larry Correia (at Origins) which bore an eerie similarity to the slanderous sabotaging of John Ringo (at ConCarolinas.) In each instance, it was a political hit job. And in each instance, there was no proof offered to substantiate the lies which preceded both Larry’s and John’s disinviting.

What’s concerning is that conventions — indeed, almost all institutions of various descriptions — are being placed in the position of either bending to the will of what are essentially mobs, or facing threats of both bad PR and, potentially, painful legal annoyance. In each case, the institutions almost always take the path of least resistance. It’s far easier to eject a guest who has attracted the mob’s attention, than stand your ground and endure the mob’s ire; as a “defender” of the alleged wrong-doer.

None of this — in 2018 — happens without social media, of course. One might argue that Social Justice Zealotry could not exist without the anonymity and virility that social media provides. Pick your target from behind the safety of your keyboard, light the digital torch, rally your friends to the cause, and off you go to pillory whichever offending party suits your fancy this week. Proof? A preponderance of evidence? P’shaw! Mere legal trickery by the hated cishet white male misogynist transphobic patriarchy! Everybody knows that villains use proof and evidence to hide from justice. It’s time for more direct and drastic steps to be taken, so as to ensure that the evil-doers are brought to heel!

I think by now the professional consensus is that Origins committed a huge blunder, by disinviting Larry Correia. The plaintiffs didn’t have to like Larry, nor did they have to like his politics. But Larry had done absolutely nothing to warrant disinvitation. There were no provable violations of any code of conduct Origins might have put forth. Larry was simply . . . kicked out, because a pack of SJZs wanted him kicked out.

That’s a rotten precedent for any institution — regardless of its mission — to set. Letting an unaccountable gaggle of shit-slingers decide who can and cannot be a guest at your convention?

During a separation board’s deliberations, the question must be asked: did the institution itself obey its own rules, regarding the gathering and presentation of evidence, and is this evidence in fact qualified such that it can be taken as legal fact — versus merely the say-so of specific individuals who may or may not have been under oath, when they said what they said?

I hope that conventions (going forward) might begin to ask themselves similar questions, with similar emphasis on the disqualification of rumor, speculation, political hatchetry, slander, character assassination, and other forms of dishonesty. Any institution which expects to enjoy the participation of guests and consumers alike, needs to be able to forge an atmosphere of trust.

At a recent LASFS board meeting, the topic of conventions responding very badly to complaints came up. I suggested the first rule of dealing with any complaint of this sort is, “Don’t Panic”. Perhaps the decision makers should be issued towels?

Harassment at an Anime Convention – some thoughts

The Journey of Fandom Facebook group has a post about the woes and rumors of woes surrounding Anime Matsuri. It sounds like the convention could use, at least, some help organizing things.

The first comment on the Facebook post is:

[Ron Newman] should it surprise me that the ‘Lolita community’ (whose existence I was unaware of until today) might attract sexual harassers?

This seems to be one of the things you’re not allowed to say. The immediate response (well, 3 minutes later) is:

[Marc Brunco] I hope you’re not trying to imply that wearing Lolita fashion is to blame for being sexually harassed?

Which causes Ron Newman to back down, tail between his legs. He rallies a bit with:

[Ron Newman] it does strike me as a community whose events should be run entirely by women, though.

No, you’re not allowed to say that, either:

[Evan Reeves] See, but even that is sexist. Do not attach gender to behavior. There is nothing wrong with men enjoying and participating in Gothic Lolita fashion. There is a BIG problem with anyone harassing others, especially sexual harassment.

Well, I guess it’s cool that we can no longer label men as harassers, or even likely harassers, since that, too, attaching gender to behavior and is therefore sexist.

Phooey.

Guys, there is a concept in the law called “an attractive nuisance”. This is defined as any feature which would tend to lure people into a dangerous situation. The classic examples include a swimming pool. It is attractive because people like to swim and play in the water. It’s a nuisance because sometimes people drown in said water.

So the swimming pool analog of Marc Brunco’s comment is, “I hope you’re not trying to imply that wearing Lolita fashion wanting to go swimming is to blame for being sexually harassed drowning?”

Um…. no.

For the Lost In Space fans, that’s not what he’s saying. The presence of a “Lolita community” can very easily be seen as an attractive nuisance. (Perhaps even in the sense Jubal Harshaw uses the term.)  It’s not the fault of members of this community if and when they are harassed.

It is, however, the fault of people who have the job of recognizing possible problems at an event. They should be aware that they are maintaining an attractive nuisance, and should take steps to anticipate and prevent problems, and to deal with them quickly and effectively if and when they occur anyway. But if social mores prevent us from recognizing when an attractive nuisance exists, we can’t take steps to anticipate and prevent problems.

So in the modern sensibilities, convention organizers are damned if they do, and damned if they don’t. They’re not allowed to recognize the possibility of trouble that might be drawn to particular groups, but Campbell help them if said trouble happens anyway.