In which Mary takes off her gloves and discusses the OdysseyCon fuck-up.

Ahem. Here is where I take off my gloves, set down my fan, and jab someone with my parasol.

Odyssey Con. What the fuck are you doing?

When your Guest of Honor comes to you and tells you that a member of your concom has made them uncomfortable in the past and that she feels unsafe, you do not tell her that she’s wrong. When she decides that this reaction, coupled with the presence of the person in question is enough to withdraw, you certainly do not then post her emails without her permission.

Let me explain.

The problem here is not, actually, with the harasser. I actually believe that there is a path for redemption for people who are willing to take it. This fellow… who knows. Maybe he can, maybe he can’t.

But you. What you have done is the problem. You have demonstrated that the safety of your guests is not your concern. No, wait. More specifically, you have demonstrated that the safety of your female guests is not important. You have done this by telling them that their complaints don’t exist or are exaggerated.

Maybe you don’t realize this, but women’s concerns are always dismissed as being a product of hysteria. You know what the root of that word is, right? You see what you’re doing? You are saying that we are unreliable witnesses. THIS is the problem. This is the environment that you are creating at your con.

Why the hell would any woman go there, when you have just demonstrated exactly how you will treat someone who expresses a problem? You will dismiss their concerns as an over-reaction. You will publicly castigate them. You will share their personal details.

The fellow who has a history of harassment isn’t the problem here. Not by himself. You are.

And you are much, much worse.

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19 Responses

  1. Ken

    In the realm of “responses so horrible you wonder if they are trolling,” I offer you two statements by Odyssey folks (1) (paraphrased) “really you’re being unfair to yourself by not coming,” and (2) “we have not been made aware of anything he’s done wrong at our conventions.”

  2. Sally

    This is new levels of fuckery never before plumbed.

    I would need all the angry emoticons to type my reaction.

    It’s truly the enablers who are the worst, allowing these men to go about their creepy way. One man is a problem who can be dealt with and possibly be redeemed. An entire concom is institutional bigotry.

    1. Sherrie

      I had the exact same thought!

      This is so fucking classic. I wish I could say I’ve never seen this sort of thing before, but it’s all too common.

  3. FBSA

    Well said.

    I’m a straight white guy, and /I/ wouldn’t feel safe at a con that lets this perv work with guests of honor. A con should be a safe place for awkward people to hang out, enjoy themselves with people who share their interests, and argue about which woman Supergirl should dump Mon-El for (she can do so much better than an alien frat-boy). It shouldn’t be a place where some pervert with an overinflated ego ruins everybody’s day by playing grab-ass with a woman without her consent. It’s wrong, it’s hurtful to the woman who gets perved on, and it ruins everybody’s day by saying in massive block shouty capitals, “THIS PLACE IS NOT SAFE!” This is why cons need ironclad harassment policies, no matter what entitled bastards whine about. It’s the only way to make sure that everybody’s comfortable and having a good time, which is kind of the entire POINT of a con.

    Good to know to avoid Odyssey Con, thank you for the PSA. 🙂

      1. FBSA

        Exactly.

        ffs CW, Kara has her pick of perfectly suitable girlfriends and you have her date the bipedal equivalent of a piece of soft white bread soaked in cheap beer? She deserves better.

  4. Atrus

    *slow clap*

    And really, on some level I can even understand wanting to keep their problematic friend on the concom, but what the heek they were thinking in putting him up as a *guest liaison*?

    1. Mary Robinette Kowal Post author

      Yeah, on some levels I understand that, too. But it’s still the wrong choice.

      I do believe that there is a path back from being abusive, but it requires a lot of effort including therapy and time and not putting oneself in position of authority. And even then, no one is required to actually believe that change has occurred or to magically feel safe. Meanwhile, the friends of said person shouldn’t make things worse by pretending that it never happened. A) That’s bad friending. B) That’s societally why this shit keeps happening.

      So, sympathetic to the impulse. It’s a dumbass move.

      And once they’ve been alerted to the problem, doubling down is just like planting a flag saying “Abusers! Here is a safe haven!”

  5. Marie Brennan

    There was a phrase back in the days when Anglicans were trying to get rid of popish influences in the church, where they talked about cutting it out “root and branch.”

    Guys like Frenkel are the branch. Guys who aid, excuse, and ignore them are the root from which new branches spring.

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