Statement on suspending The Exploding Spaceship column

← Friday Quick Updates: Edmund R. Schubert's This Giant Leap, new-new and updated events, award news, and more
Coming to Town: W. Scott Poole for In the Mountains of Madness: The Life, Death, and Extraordinary Afterlife of H.P. Lovecraft, at Malaprop's Bookstore and Scuppernong Books, reviewed by Nick Mamatas →

Statement on suspending The Exploding Spaceship column

Posted on 2016-08-24 at 1:7 by montsamu

It has come to my attention that Angela and Gerald, the authors of the Bull Spec column “The Exploding Spaceship”, violated the anti-harassment policy at MidAmericon II, the 74th WorldCon, as well as a specific “do not contact” request by one of the attendees, in effect since the previous WisCon, by repeatedly approaching an attendee who had asked to be left alone, and attempting to grab the badge of someone who placed themselves between that attendee and Angela and Gerald. In the semi-public discussion in the aftermath of these events, it came to light that this behavior was not an isolated event, and that similar reports have been made about Angela and Gerald at ConCarolinas.

Having no reason to doubt the veracity of these reports, I have accordingly suspended “The Exploding Spaceship” column, and ask convention and other event organizers to no longer honor their Bull Spec press credentials, until further notice.

Angela and Gerald were attending the convention both as fans, which they are, and specifically as representatives of Bull Spec, to take photographs and conduct brief interviews as part of an upcoming installment of their column. I apologize to those attendees who were made to feel uncomfortable or threatened by their unwanted approaches.

This is not an easy thing to do. I have known Angela and Gerald in fandom for nearly seven years, and they have been both financial supporters of and material contributors to the magazine for most of that time. We have had dinners together, gone to panels together, and I consider them my friends. I honestly believe they mean no one any harm, and that these incidents of harassment are in their point of view an expression of their enthusiasm as fans, of their earnest desire to be and feel included as a part of fandom. However, good intentions are not enough, they are never enough, when it comes to respecting the wishes of people who express the desire to be left alone, to respecting personal physical boundaries without permission, with or without a harassment policy. (For example, Bull Spec has no explicit policy for columnist behavior, a lack which will be remedied as soon as is practically possible.)

I am sure that Angela and Gerald feel confused, bewildered, and saddened by this development, and that saddens me greatly as well, though not, of course, as much as the results of their actions themselves. My hope is that in time they can come to understand where they made mistakes and learn to respect personal boundaries and requests for no contact. Until that time, I cannot in good conscience continue to publish their column. In the meantime, my phone is on and my door is always open.

Posted in Uncategorized