Sasquan, Exit Stage Left

Up until a week before Sasquan, the 73rd Worldcon, I was the Events Deputy Division Head and the Co-Director of the Hugo Ceremony. Resigning was a very difficult and painful decision. I did not do so lightly. Doing so left several of my friends in the lurch, and while I don’t regret walking away, I do regret the position I put my boss Jill Eastlake, and my co-director David D’Antonio in. They were both endlessly supportive during this entire situation and have taught me a great deal about how to make Events happen for a Worldcon.

It is common knowledge at this point that Lou Antonelli wrote a letter to the Spokane PD. It is also known that he went on the Superversive SF podcast and bragged about it. While many were rightly focused on David Gerrold’s reaction, the simple fact is that he wasn’t the only person harassed and intimidated, and he wasn’t the only one to report it. As the Co-Director of the Hugo Ceremony I reported my fear directly to my superiors. I did so several times – initially rather timidly because I didn’t want to make a fuss, but later rather firmly in a way that could not be misunderstood. One of the vice-chairs, Glenn Glazer, attempted to guilt me into not pursuing the complaint, and one of the Operations Division Heads, Robbie Bourget told me flat out that I hadn’t been harassed. When I pointed this out to them, I was told that I hadn’t ever made an official harassment complaint and lots of sarcasm that wasn’t in any way close to appropriate.

Senior members of the Sasquan committee responded to a member reporting harassment and asking for help with guilt trips, denial, victim blaming, sarcasm and dismissal.

In the interest of avoiding a he said/she said situation, I have PDFd all of the emails in this conversation and placed them in a Google Drive folder here:

[EDIT – I have redacted the personal email addressed of those participating in this conversation. This is something I should have done before I posted, and I apologize for not doing so. ]

After a fair bit of crying, some time spent on the phone with Jill, and lunch with a good friend, I decided to resign. I cannot ever in good conscience support a committee that treats its members this way. Any member, including committee members and staff, should feel able to report violations of the code of conduct and be taken seriously.

Things did not improve when I got to the convention. I met with Pierre, one of the other vice chairs, who told me that because no evidence had been found online, it had been decided that I hadn’t been harassed. He told me that if I wanted to appeal this decision, I needed to speak to the Chair, Sally Woehrle. When I tracked Sally down, she gave me a number of excuses including “the convention could be sued,” “Antonelli would then become a martyr,” and “harassment is a legal term.” When I pointed out that intimidation (which is directly mentioned in the code of conduct) could easily be exchanged for the term harassment, she told me that I was bordering on irrational. And then, after all of that, she agreed that Glenn’s various responses to me were inappropriate.

It is going to be a while before I get over the whiplash that Sasquan has given me.

Deciding to speak out about this was in many ways just as difficult as deciding to resign. I was raised in and by fandom – so fandom is family to me in a very real way. Talking about this feels like airing dirty laundry, but if these sort of problems aren’t discussed, they will keep happening.  Reports of harassment will continue to be ignored and those who report them will continue to be mistreated. What good is a code of conduct if the committee doesn’t stand by it? We’re never going to make fandom a completely safe space, the world is full of people intent on hurting others. But we can, and we should do our best to make sure that our community spaces can be as safe as reasonably possible.

54 responses to “Sasquan, Exit Stage Left”

  1. Reblogged this on Heather Urbanski's Digital Portfolio and commented:
    Sharing Meg Frank’s account of her experiences this year at WorldCon because it needs to be heard and understood that harassment and intimidation can no longer be tolerated silently.

  2. That’s terrible! I’m so sorry. I, too, was harassed by a member of Arisia shortly before the Arisia I chaired. I decided not to make a fuss because I was chair and didn’t want to make accused of abusing power, though a member of my staff talked to the abuser. He later made more obnoxious statements and acts and has sounds been banned, but I wish I had pushed harder; it would have saved people pain.

    I think most cons are pretty good about in-person abuse and physical matters, but less so about undocumented statements and emails.

  3. Must. Suppress. Fist. Of. Death.

  4. I wish I could say this was an isolated case. I can’t.

  5. I am sorry you had such a difficult time, with so much denial and disdain from ppl you were working with. I did not file a formal complaint after hearing LA’s statements on that pod cast.

    Looking back, just my informal couple of TWs to @Sasquan wasn’t enough. I carelessly thought that the committee would be discussing LA’s behavior. Given the entire tense situation that surrounded the convention, and his own, admitted actions. He insulted one our Guests, (and did, conceivably, put ppl in harm’s way, if a SWATTing or other police operation came to Sasquan), would ban, refund his membership, and everybody would learn that the con comm staff and the members themselves were serious abt civilized behavior, the public code of conduct. Even though my concerns before the convention were similar to Meg’s, i did not act as I should have. That won’t happen again.

    I think many ppl proved what they can accomplish, what they’re capable of doing at many levels of con-running over the last few years. Some have failed multiple times. Some have carried heavy loads with wit & grace. We, the fans and pros who go to, help run, support bids, have to really take hard looks at the quality of the proposed con com, and none of this swapping out of major appts like con chair vs bid chair nonsense either.

    anyway, thank you for your honesty, your love of our communities, and the joy you bring to every con you work on. we just gotta make sure things keep getting better.

  6. Thank for for coming forward with this. The way you were treated was WRONG.

  7. Hey, Meg, If I could have been there with a pair of steel-toed boots I would have used them to good effect. You have integrity, guts, and are hard as the dickens to intimidate. I’m proud, very proud, of you.

    For the rest of you, I’ve known Meg _all_ her life (well, except the first ten minutes) and I know her well enough to take her at her word on something like this.

    You handled this magnificently.

  8. Solidarity, friend.

  9. Margene S. Bahm Avatar
    Margene S. Bahm

    My darling, REALLY!! If I had Known what was going on I would have gotten there one way or the other (walking comes to mind) and had a chat with him and the committee members in question about the way you were treated. It is inexcusable!

  10. I’m so sorry Meg. I figured it had to be something at this level of seriousness to cause you to resign from a job so near to completion. I still owe you a drink at Smofcon.

  11. […] So remember how Sasquan decided that even though Lou Antonelli violated their Code of Conduct they weren’t going to enforce the Code of Conduct because David Gerrold didn’t want them to?  Turns out that Gerrold wasn’t the only one feeling harassed and intimidated–and he wasn’t the only one to report it. […]

  12. You don’t need sympathy, you need to grow up.

    1. Social Justice Fascists don’t grow up. They just go on whining and being outraged, forever. While the rest of the world tunes them out.

  13. I read your long .PDF. It has a lot of complaints you felt threatened. Other people involved say there was no threat. You keep insisting there is one. It continues back and forth till you resign and walk off.
    I was expecting copies of post or messages or emails or links to them online. No such proof is forthcoming.
    I can say the Secretary of Housing is really an alien from the Planet Zatox but without an actual proof my complaints are going to be ignored.
    Unless you post the actual actions, communications or posts no one else can evaluate what you find threating. Even if 99.5% of people disagree with you at least .5% could agree with you.
    Instead you are now just another person on the Internet with a complaint no one else can see, evaluate or verify.
    So you’ll just be ignored. Just do an Eric Cartman and say “F*#! you guys, I’m going home” and we’ll all feel happier.
    Don’t let the Internet door hit you in the ass on the way out.

  14. […] Meg Frank discusses why she resigned as a Sasqan committee member in response to the handling of the Antonelli letter to the Spokane cops and what he wrote about […]

  15. Ah yes, and here comes the grumpy Social Injustice Fascist troop, right on time, always ready to mansplain someone else’s behavior. Reality check, guys: is she being ignored? No, she gets supportive comments. You don’t. Take your jackboots and billy clubs and go back to your man-cave where you can whine and moan about the evils of civility without bothering the rest of the world. Do be extra careful to protect your precious family jewels on the way out.

    1. Nicely said Miss Elizabeth!

  16. The way you were treated was horrible and unconscionable. Thank you for speaking out.

  17. But yet just a month ago, you brushed off my fears about encountering the guy who sexually assaulted ME in 2009, who was coming to the Hugo Nominees Reception, that I thought I was running. Jill was sympathetic to my complaint but I guess it’s a different matter when it’s a family friend.

    1. Eva, when Jill and I asked you clearly on that Skype call a month ago, you said you were fine with that person being in the room. If you felt like you were put in a position where you couldn’t tell us that you were uncomfortable I am truly sorry. Nobody should be pushed to work in a situation where they feel uncomfortable.

      If I contributed to a situation like that for you, I deeply, deeply apologize.

  18. I had the privilege of working with Meg during some very difficult situations. We were both focused on trying put on a successful Hugo ceremony and the success of the evening belongs as much to her and David D’Antonio as anyone else. Her behavior was professional and on-purpose throughout. So it distresses me to hear that anyone would harass her or anyone else who worked on the con committee or who attended the convention.

    The fact is this entire monstrous squabble has gotten way out of control. The name-calling, the personal attacks, the vicious characterizations — some of which have been posted in this thread — it’s not acceptable in a community that is supposed to be inclusive of all.

    We have the chance — every day we have the opportunity — to create the kind of community we want fandom to be. Is this it? A perpetual squabble over who gets to be the bigger asshole? I don’t think so.

    I think Megan deserves thanks for her hard work. The entire committee succeeded in putting on a great convention despite some very difficult circumstances. I’m grateful for their hard work, we all should be.

  19. I took the time to read through the email thread carefully (unlike the commenters above, apparently). You don’t like this Antonelli character. He thought Gerrold was unglued, and called the cops warning them that Gerrold might agitate people to the point of violence. Gerrold and Antonelli reconciled. An editor yanked one of Antonelli’s stories because she didn’t like what he did. He got mad and posted her letter online. And because of this, YOU feel “threatened.”

    You never told them “I am being harassed.” You know why? Because you weren’t—he doesn’t know you from Adam. You never explained how YOU are threatened or harassed. Antonelli’s calling the cops (because HE felt unsafe!) and posting a letter online because his story was yanked by an editor who was in a fit of pique? This rises to the level of a physical threat to you or anyone else? Please.

    And here you posted all the personal correspondence between you and the convention staff (including a section where Glenn Glazer specifically indicated “Do not quote.” So how is your petty and public posting of this internal correspondence not exactly the same thing as what Antonelli did?

    Should I now consider you to be a physical threat to me? Why not? You don’t know me from Adam. Precisely the same threshold.

    You wanted him banned, period (even though you stated several times that you didn’t want to pull his badge). They asked you specifically what you wanted them to do about Antonelli and you never explained. They said he was warned, but that wasn’t to your satisfaction. You never told them what other options you had in mind. Put him in a straitjacket? Put him in the stocks and throw rotten tomatoes at him?

    I have no dog in this fight whatsoever. But reading Glazer’s backward somersaults to understand and appease you, and your insolent replies—sorry—you really come out looking far the poorer in comparison. Posting this does not lend credibility to your contentions, it does the opposite. You appear as an entitled, whiny, spoiled brat who has never faced any true adversity. You didn’t get your way and so you’re throwing a public temper tantrum. Antonelli was never any threat to anyone—you just don’t like him and wanted him publicly humiliated. Now that would bring you some satisfaction.

    Europe is in full-blown crisis as seven million refugees from Syria’s five-year civil war sprawl over the continent. Thousands of migrants from North African strife have drowned horrible deaths trying to cross the Med in inflatable rafts. And this is the kind of petty nonsense that consumes you?

    The days of kindergarten name-calling, finger-pointing, vigilante mob justice, and faux outrage are numbered in this country. Thank god there’s an election coming up.

    1. You know, most of the people here are talking about one thing, and you’re talking about something else. Did you know that this doesn’t have anything to do with Syrian migrants?

    2. If I’m part of a mob pinned down by a gunman, he is not specifically targeting me, and yet I assure you I will still feel quite threatened. I understand Sasquan wanted to appease the GoH, but Antoinelli should have been banned from attending the con.

  20. I read some of the emails, and the con rep, Glenn, seems quite reasonable. I think he did a great job responding to your complaints. BTW, I think many of the complaints were pretty off the wall, many came across as far-fetched ravings. (Did you really think the Puppies would bomb Sasquan?…Really?) And reproducing these private emails for the world to see…?

    The content of the emails don’t help you — I encourage people to actually read, or at least scan the emails before forming any opinion — and your violation of Glenn’s trust by posting them is disturbing even to me (it seems you were friends at one time?). And believe me, I’m no Sad Puppy and I know no one involved — all I read are some of the emails.

    1. You know, when I was in highschool my senior year, we had so many bomb threats during finals week that teachers were forced to turn in incomplete grades so that graduation could happen.

      In the last house I lived in, I took my mother on an early Sunday morning walk, accompanied by our trusty German Shepherd. We had just entered the neighborhood park when the dog went on full alert. Three seconds later, I heard the pop, pop, pop of a driveby. I shoved my mother to the ground.

      When it was over, my mother said, bewildered, “What on earth did you do that for? It was just some firecrackers.”

      “No, mom,” I said, “It was gunshots.”

      She did not believe me until we walked home–right past a passel of police cruisers.

      There are times in all of our lives when individuals look at a situation and come to different conclusions about relative risk and safety. When I have talked to people who lived in similar neighborhoods, they registered surprise, but only about it occurring on a Sunday morning. Others, who live in strictly white collar neighborhoods, are usually stuck on ‘GUNSHOTS?!?!’

      Women online often experience an extreme level of private personal threats, and understandably, will thus react to group threats accordingly. If you have, over the years, received a bunch of ‘You should be raped until you die’ emails, or if you’ve been followed home by someone creepy, or if you’ve been physically harrassed at a con, you’re probably going to look differently at public threats aimed at a group.

      It’s all well and good to say, “But *I* think this is safe.”

      Maybe you actually *are* safe! That is completely valid and true.

      However, that does not mean *I* am safe.

      Or that Ms Frank is safe.

      Safety is a complex variable with many aspects and angles. Would the Con truly be harmed if they banned a guy who had a real-world self-admitted habit of calling the cops? Me, I don’t think so.

      I don’t know the exact nature of her private or even con-related threat experiences. Since I have not been reading every single puppy-related news item, I don’t know which part of Antonelli’s behavior or statements were especially frightening to her. (Of what I have seen, I found plenty of his behaviors quite frightening and worthy of worry.) Still, what I found scary and what she found scary are possibly different. But you know what?

      If I was the con co-chair, I would have asked. Asking for additional information is the very first step. Not dismissal. Not guilt tripping.

      The first step in dealing with someone who is upset and afraid for their safety is to get them to safety, then ask for more information. Period.

      1. Reading the emails I don’t think he realized she was making a complaint, I thought he was assuming she disagreed with his treatment of the situation prior. This is just my opinion. I do think he handled the matter wrongly (he should have gotten a professional involved to deal with the harassment claim) but I think it is purely a misunderstanding on his part, not anything else. (At least based on the emails alone)

        1. I don’t doubt Glazer misunderstood, but instead of asking for additional information or clarification, he went straight to dismissal mode. There are certain skills required in management, and learning to deal with very upset people is one of these skills.

          If Glazer was a random janitor cleaning a con suite, OK. But he’s the co-chair. He’s gotta up his game, and it’s not her fault if his skills are insufficient to the task.

          For over a decade, I hired people for a difficult, public-facing position. During each interview, I would ask, “Are you able to say no when policy requires it?” It was a job requirement and I hired for it.

          For a con co-chair position, mediating, fairly and kindly, is a requirement, as is information interviewing upset individuals.

  21. A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of going to the opera Salome. In it, a man harasses a woman without ever using her name. She complains to the king about it and he says, “Stop being silly! He hasn’t said your name. Those awful things can’t be proven to be about you!”

    It struck me at the time, and again reading your account and the emails, how little things have changed. As long as creepy, abusive, harassing, boundary crossing men are careful to be nominally vague they can get away with anything. People look for any reason whatsoever to disbelieve a woman who says she is being harassed. And then they turn on her, and she’s the one who pays the price.

    I’m so very sorry this has happened this way. In the better world we deserve, you would have been believed and supported.

  22. Ms. Frank, what are you thinking? These are private WorldCon emails you’ve posted. Plus, any future potential employers can now review the entire disagreement you’ve had with management. I don’t mean to be offensive, but I think you should take some steps for damage control.

  23. I made no such attempt to guilt you, despite your continuing to frame it that way. That wasn’t my intent at all.

    1. Having never heard of you, Meg, or anyone else in this discussion (linked to this thread by a friend who supports Meg), I came away with the impression that you two are speaking a different language in these private emails. Also, based on the emails alone I didn’t think you were guilting her, but I could tell as the emails progressed that she felt more and more upset by your responses because they weren’t addressing her point (which you clearly didn’t see, just as she clearly didn’t see yours). Some kind of formal process might have helped. This might be a good lesson going forward…if the conversation is not being solved in 1-2 emails, it’s time to either speak in person or formalize it. Clearly, the further exchanges of email only escalated the issue.

  24. Your posting of private correspondence reads much more on your integrity and inability to deal with adversity in the real world than it does Lou Antonelli.

    I’m sure if you’d asked, Lou would have given you a big hug and tried to make it all better.

    This entire article and divulging of private correspondence just makes you look like the lunatic that I think you might be.

    I feel sorry for Glenn Glazer and everyone else who had to deal with your ravings.

    Your best option is to delete all of this article and get yourself some therapy. You have some serious issues and it has nothing to do with anyone but you.

    1. Michael, your statement:

      “This entire article and divulging of private correspondence just makes you look like the lunatic that I think you might be.

      I feel sorry for Glenn Glazer and everyone else who had to deal with your ravings.

      Your best option is to delete all of this article and get yourself some therapy. You have some serious issues and it has nothing to do with anyone but you.”

      shows a lot about you. Instead of dealing with the topic, you make some personal statements about Meg that go beyond the necessary to make some kind of personal attack. This is a playground tactic that most of us abandoned a long time ago.

      I think you owe Meg an apology for what you wrote. Stick to the issue at hand and try to keep personalities out of it. You’ll look better.

      1. I posted that for Meg’s benefit because her reaction is one akin to the irrational fear that people have of flying yet drive on highways.

        It’s irrational. And when an irrational fear drives your behaviors you have a problem that con staff shouldn’t be expected to deal with.

        If you feel that she was being rational, that reads on you and I suggest you too need professional help.

        Wish you all well – I’m not one who sugar-coats things and I know that upsets the snowflake culture in Fandom. Frankly, I don’t care. I wasn’t mean – I was giving sound advice.

  25. Reblogged this on The Dangling Conversation and commented:
    Complaints such as Meg’s ALWAYS need to be taken seriously. Writing a SWATTING off and refusing to see how it could affect the larger group is just short-sighted on the part of the concom.

    1. It’s wonderful to see how *some* behavior is “unacceptable” if we don’t like the person, but the *opposite,* if we do. By your statements, *you* are largely responsible for the *disgraceful* behavior at the Hugo awards Ceremony, Including the “Assterisk* (as David Gerrold called them) awards. If *anyone* should be “ashamed,” it should be you. Also, you and your coterie should look up “swatting.” _Legitimately_ expressing a fear of actions (that have happened in other areas), to Police is *not* “Swatting.” No matter how you may _wish_ to call it such.
      Further, _publicizing_ e-mails that you *have been _asked_ to keep confidential,* is a serious breach of trust. One that it in any job, would be automatic termination offense. Certainly, *any Con Com,* will see it as “can we trust her to keep confidentiality, if she feels offended?” Clearly, the answer is “no,” they cannot.

      1. Mr. Antonelli has admitted his fears were not legitimate. Nor is there anything on the public record even suggesting that any reasonable person could think David Gerrold was a threat to provoke violence as Antonelli claimed.

  26. (I posted this earlier to FILE 770 where Meg’s posting has been discussed. I want to copy it here in the interest of not writing behind Meg’s back, so to speak.)

    Meg: It was a right and proper thing for you to do when you resigned from the Sasquan Committee because you felt improperly treated by them. It was completely ill-mannered of you to post those committee-level e-mails as you have. The Committee – as a whole – was trying to run a Worldcon where it was obvious from the start that no matter what they did about any given topic, someone, somewhere was going to be unhappy about it. Your posting those e-mails strikes me as you simply trying in any way that you can to cause some pain to those whom you feel weren’t responsive to your complaints. I doubt that you’ve actually caused them any real pain; only irritation. Perhaps that will be enough for you, but to me your actions just appear petulant. I’m sure that you won’t like my reaction, but I’m out here in the audience that you posted those e-mails *to*, so I think that I have a right to share my reaction with you. Resigning from a committee that you felt had wronged you? Certainly; that’s appropriate. Attempting a smear campaign against the people who stuck with the committee and ran the most successful Worldcon in history under possibly the worst conditions in our history? Not so much.

    (New comment)

    I have read all of your posting and I still don’t see what it was exactly that you felt was a threat to you in particular. Note that I’m not trying to say that no such threat exists; only that whatever it may have been hasn’t been made clear to me – an impartial observer. Was Lou an utter lout? He certainly was, but did he do something in particular to threaten you, or was it more that you felt that he created a climate that made you feel unsafe? I’d say that either of those conditions would indeed be a cause for concern,but again the case hasn’t yet been made for either of them. All I’ve read was the report that Lou wrote that letter to the Spokane Police Dept., which I think we can all agree was a stupid and malicious act. Did he also do something else involving Sasquan that hasn’t been made public yet? And if so, did that “something else” contribute to the situation you’ve reported?

    “EMoon” (Elizabeth Moon?) wrote:

    “Ah yes, and here comes the grumpy Social Injustice Fascist troop, right on time, always ready to mansplain someone else’s behavior. Reality check, guys: is she being ignored? No, she gets supportive comments. You don’t. Take your jackboots and billy clubs and go back to your man-cave where you can whine and moan about the evils of civility without bothering the rest of the world. Do be extra careful to protect your precious family jewels on the way out.”

    I find this to be sexist and offensive. “Mansplain”? “Man-cave”? “Precious family jewels”? Believe it or not “EMoon”,sexism knows no gender. Your paragraph of bile is as offensive as would be a comment from a male that “EMoon” must be on the rag…” Can you not make whatever point you’re striving for without resorting to offensive sexism? I absolutely hate that presumably intelligent people feel that they can come to a forum such as this and sink to the lowest possible level of human communication, *apparently* just to vent their own frustration. Is commenting on a blog site now reduced to this? Is a comment such as “EMoon”s the equivalent of going outside and kicking rocks around until one has cooled down enough to write in a reasonable manner?

    1. I also felt that it was unprofessional to post unredacted emails, especially since some of them contained personal opinions of coworkers and phrases like “don’t quote this” which clearly indicate a private conversation

  27. The outcome of this entire matter is quite sad. Reading these emails, I found myself wishing that someone – anyone – had clarified, much earlier, some important distinctions.

    Namely, there appears to have been two very different issues at hand here, and very different assumptions being made by both sides of the conversation:

    1) Mr. Glazer appears to have thought that one or more Sasquan convention goers were complaining that measures taken to deal with Lou Antonelli’s unfounded report to Spokane PD were insufficient, and saying that they felt unsafe attending Sasquan as a result.


    2) Ms. Frank’s actual point appears to be that Lou Antonelli’s unfounded report to Spokane PD was an act of harassment against all Sasquan convention goers, not just David Gerrold, and the complaint needed to be considered/reconsidered in that light.

    If one believed that the issue at hand were #1 – as I think Mr. Glazer believe initially – then his remarks about balancing various factors/being in a difficult position, can be read as an explanation of why he did not intend to revisit the *action taken* pursuant to the complaint re: Antonelli & Gerrold. That is to say, the complaint was that David Gerrold had been the target of harassment and the action taken that, in Mr. Glazer’s view, a) respected the wishes of the target of the harassment, and b) was appropriate to make other convention goers safe from future harassment.

    On the other hand, if one realized that Ms. Frank was, in fact, asserting that Mr. Gerrold was *not* the only target of this harassment, and that she was, in effect, making a harassment complaint herself, then the first step should have been to acknowledge the complaint and proceed through the process to determine whether harassment had occurred.

    Here’s why this is such a key difference:

    Under what I believe to be Mr. Glazer’s initial understanding of the email thread, the phrase “I ask you, Meg, not to make me make this choice,” can be seen as merely asking Ms. Frank to accept the action taken to deal with the harassment toward Mr. Gerrold. But if one realized that Ms. Frank was making a harassment complaint herself, that phrase sounds a lot like saying “please do not avail yourself of the harassment procedure, because it would make my life more difficult.”

    As Ms. Frank points out, someone making a complaint of harassment shouldn’t have to be explicit about the fact they are making a formal complaint in order to trigger anti-harassment policies. On the other hand, in this case, where harassment had already been found to have occurred and action had already been taken, it’s understandable to see how an official might misunderstand and think that a complainant is *arguing about the decision already reached*, rather than *making a complaint of their own*.

    I ultimately doubt a complaint of harassment toward anyone other than Mr. Gerrold would have been upheld in this case (Mr. Antonelli’s baseless complaint to police was not the type of complaint that would trigger a police response that would endanger/disrupt convention goers generally, IMO), but hopefully – had everyone realized Ms. Frank’s intent – her complaint would not have simply dismissed out of hand.

    This seems like a case of people simply not understanding each other, and the conversation escalating to a point of no return before anyone clarified the matter at hand.

    1. Thank you for this comment, because this is how I read this also. As I read the emails (I had been linked to this discussion by a friend and have zero knowledge of any of these participants), it became clear to me that the two people (Glenn & Meg) are talking about two different things, as you discuss. It’s sad that this escalated but my feeling is that if this process had been formalized (via a formal complaint/response) this might have cleared up the confusion.

  28. To all those who seem to think that Mr. Antonelli’s actions *could not possibly* have been an act of harassment against anyone but David Gerrold, consider this:

    What if Antonelli had made a baseless complaint to police about a *fictional* person? What if that complaint triggered a police response that disrupted the convention? Would that not be harassment because it was “against a fictional person only”?

    Filing a false police report is considered a *crime* against the *general public*. Is it really that much of a stretch that filing a deceptive and baseless report, if not an outright false one, could be consider *non-criminal* harassment against all those possibly affected.

    I ultimately don’t agree with this interpretation in this particular case, but it is hardly ridiculous.

  29. I’m not going to address the back and forth that led to Ms Frank resigning, although I will say I tend to disagree with her conclusions and tactics, but my main question is; If this Antonelli character filed a false police report, why wasn’t he arrested? Isn’t this illegal?

    1. Apparently it was just a letter expressing his concerns about safety at the convention and not an actual report.

      1. A letter to police can certainly be constitute a false report.

        We do not know what the contents of the letter were. I think most people are assuming that he did not make any false claims of fact, per se, but rather made claims that *in his opinion* Mr. Gerrold was a danger to public safety.

        1. This whole thread is part of the reason that I left fandom a couple of decades ago. I’m not just a disgruntled bystander — I have roots, specifically with Meg:

          Roughly 27 years ago, I allowed Ann (Meg’s mom) into an event at Minicon. I was a Badger, Ann needed to connect quickly with someone although she wasn’t registered. Made sense then, makes sense now. At that time I’d been active in MNStiff (I still don’t know how it’s spelled, nor do I care any more).

          I reconnected with Ann, and {condensed version} developed a friendship with her. Meg was my informal foster daughter from ’91 to ’95; I brought her to her first Minicon March 31, 1991. She was two weeks old. Meg and I go back a long time and we’re still connected.

          I’ve seen some really supportive comments here, but I’ve also seen some insulting, offensive, (possibly — I’m not a lawyer) actionable statements about Meg. I stand by her, regardless.

          At least in Minnesota, fandom has been filled with factions, politics, backbiting, and more — I’m not a psychologist, but I recognize dysfunction when I see it surrounding me. So I left some time around 1997, and haven’t looked back. I miss many of the friends I had there, but we had so little in common excepting for sci-fi that the friendships faded.

          Overall the annoying outweighed the pleasures: Too much ego, too much “look at me” became boring. Referring to non-fans as “mundanes” told me enough about the mind set of the whole group that I figured it was healthier for me to leave.

          Meg, you’ve always been a remarkable person. You taught me some important things during your infancy and childhood (ask if you’re curious — they’re private), and I thank God that you’re in my life.

  30. It seems the more this matter gets discussed, the less clear it becomes.

    This line has me flummoxed: “…someone making a complaint of harassment shouldn’t have to be explicit about the fact they are making a formal complaint in order to trigger anti-harassment policies.”

    So… someone making a complaint, *shouldn’t* have to actually *say* “I want to make a complaint”, before someone treats their…suggestion? … like a complaint. Am I reading that correctly?

    I get the feeling that I’m involved in a discussion where I don’t speak the same language as anyone else, so I’m going to go off and read a book or something. In all seriousness,I don’t want to belittle Meg Frank or her concerns. She says that she had concerns (my word, not hers) about the Lou Antonelli situation and it must certainly be indestructible that her attempt to do something about her concerns was valid. It’s just that I simply don’t understand exactly what her concern actually was, and it isn’t at all clear to me from what she posted how it was that *she* thought that Lou Antonelli had placed her in danger. I’ve been in fandom for decades and you know what? There are *plenty* of screwballs in our midst at every convention, some far nuttier than Lou. Conventions *do* try to make the environment as safe as possible but it should be obvious that there is no place, no moment in time, no situation, no set of circumstances in which anyone is completely safe. I’m setting here in my home typing on my computer, perfectly at ease, yet a dozen things could still kill me in the next minute. A plane could fall out of the sky and kill me. A heart attack could kill me. I could choke to death on the sandwitch sitting beside me that I’m about to eat. Chinese Communist paratroopers could come falling out of the sky, break into my home, bayonet my puppy, and then kill me. Donald Trump could win the Presidential election and then I’d have to kill myself. But none of these things are *likely* to happen. Well,maybe the heart attack could. I’m overweight and shouldn’t be eating that sandwich anyway. Anyway, it occurs to me that if I couldn’t understand what Meg was talking about here on her own blog a week or more after the fact, then *maybe* it just might be that Glenn Glazer couldn’t quite grasp the fullness of her concern-that-wasn’t-a-complaint when it was delivered to him in the final stages of running the largest Worldcon in history.

    I would respectfully suggest that Meg might consider giving Glenn a little slack on that point.

    1. Curt,

      Generally, if an organization has an anti-harassment policy and someone comes to a staff member and says something like “Person X did thing Y and I feel unsafe and/or harassed”, the procedure would be to connect that person to a harassment officer (or, depending on structure, someone else who is trained/charged to deal with harassment complaints).

      According to the Sasquan anti-harassment policy, all staff are told to connect such people with Operations. From there, they would, presumably, be connected with the specific staff who deal with harassment complaints (Ms. Frank took the matter directly to those people on her own).

      A trained harassment officer, or the equivalent, would – again, generally speaking – know to clarify in such situations whether the person is making a formal complaint. It is, generally, the job of the staff to inform those reporting possible harassment of their options, not the other way around, as many people do not know what options are available to them.

      In this case, the situation appears to have been complicated by the fact that there was confusion over whether Ms. Frank was expressing disagreement with the decision already made in the Antonelli/Gerrold matter, or raising a complaint of her own.

      As for how Mr. Antonelli’s actions could be harassment of Ms. Frank’s, I’d suggest you look up “SWATing”. Making a false or misleading report to police designed to elicit a police response can certainly threaten, intimate or disrupt the lives of people other than whoever is named. If someone calls 9/11 to report a violent man with a gun in a given home or office, they aren’t just harassing the man they name, but everyone in that location.

      Antonelli claimed Gerrold was a threat to public safety, could cause violence at the Hugo ceremony and should be “watched” by police. I think the odds of that triggering a disruptive police presence at Worldcon are low – which is why it wouldn’t surprise me if a complaint of harassment were rejected, except re: Gerrold himself – but it is not unthinkable or ridiculous to think Antonelli’s actions could have resulted in disruptive police action.

      Police are known to take threats of disorder/mayhem very seriously and, yes, sometimes even overreact, Someone undertaking a malicious action that results in a bunch of police with guns spread around a gun-free convention, for example, could certainly be considered an act of harassment even if the misleading report that triggered the reaction was not directed at one individual.

      In other words, harassment policies are designed to prevent and discourage inappropriate acts that make others feel unsafe or intimated. Here, there was no question the act was inappropriate. Therefore. any police action or presence stemming from this malicious report that impacted others – making them feel unsafe or intimated – would make the report an act harassment against those people.

      1. I suppose my confusion was caused by a differing idea of what “explicit” means, and by apparently incomplete reports about what Meg actually did report. Not that it’s really any of my business, I suppose. But in general a report that goes “something like “Person X did thing Y and I feel unsafe and/or harassed”,” *does* sound plenty explicit enough for me to think that some further action is warranted. And as best I can tell, Sasquan did follow their pre-existing procedures and dealt with the matter. Obviously some thought their resolution was adequate and some don’t. A better mind than mine will have to think of some way to reconcile those differing viewpoints for the future.

      2. ” Someone undertaking a malicious action that results in a bunch of police with guns spread around a gun-free convention, for example, could certainly be considered an act of harassment ”

        Because armed police that would have been there for YOUR protection are sooooo threatening… *rolleyes*

        First: if you people weren’t so pathologically afraid of weapons you wouldn’t lose your heads and feel threatened by public servants with those guns.

        Second: was Antonelli being a jerk? Yes. Was he a physical threat to anyone? Absolutely not. Prove otherwise.

        Agree or disagree with “slates”, or the politics of non Kook Fringe Left writers, or whatever, to imply that the SPs were in any way inclined to act like ISIS terrorists such that anyone should be afraid in their presence is, IMO, ludicrous on the face of it.

        Shame on you.

    2. “Donald Trump could win the Presidential election and then I’d have to kill myself. But none of these things are *likely* to happen.”

      To make it even more unlikely, Trump would have to win the election, you’d have to invent a time machine and come back to the time you posted this (within a minute or so) and tell you about it so *then* you’d kill yourself.

      Of course, if you have a time machine, you could then go back and prevent The Donald from being born or cause any any number of other actions that would make the entire thing moot.


      As to the subject of the post, I’m quite sad over how it was handled and how it turned out. The Ceremony simply wouldn’t have happened without Meg’s hard work and I tried to make sure she got credit. Perhaps one day we’ll get to run one from the beginning!

  31. Somehow, “indisputable” in my comment above became “Indestructible”. I don’t know if that was an autocorrection or if I was typing too fast.

  32. I don’t know if these were thoughts going through Meg’s mind or not but they did go through mine:

    1. After seeing a few of the things Lou Antonelli did (letter to police, bragging about doing so, editing & adding Cuin’s info to letter, tracking down a guy & trying to get him fired, etc.): if he got upset with someone at the convention might he call the police & overstate the situation & put con-goers at risk? If he did call the cops how would they react?

    2. Or because of the letter he sent if the con had a real emergency might the cops react too strongly/not quick/not strong enough knowing he was attending?

    Before the con there was no way to know.

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