a garden in riotous bloom
Beautiful. Damn hard. Increasingly useful.
"This town ain't big enough for the both of us" 
rosefox: A sci-fi landscape and the words "DISSENT IS PATRIOTIC". (fandom-dissent)
In January 2011, [personal profile] sinboy and I were in charge of Arisia's green room and staff den. A member of Arisia's security staff called Morgon harassed multiple people in the staff den, including one of our staffers. When we called the head of security to come get him, she downplayed the problem. Morgon was only kicked off the staff on the last day of the con, after it also came out that he'd been using his security badge to bully his way into private parties.

In June 2013, J and I had to recap the events in detail because Morgon wanted to get back on staff. In response to our reiterated complaints, Arisia finally banned him from being on staff—though not from attending—and gave him a wide path to reinstatement: "After Arisia 2014, he is welcome to ask the EBoard to change this decision if: he apologizes for his actions at Arisia 2011, he has a position lined up and agreed to pre-con by the area-head responsible, and he presents a letter from a doctor saying he is capable of volunteering for that position."

I asked to whom he was supposed to apologize—the people he harmed, perhaps?—and was told he was expected to apologize to the executive board because "Morgon has shown absolutely no remorse for his actions, and the thought is that if Arisia can request this step as a condition of his possibly volunteering in the future, there might be a teachable moment."

This is why I haven't attended Arisia since 2011. I didn't and don't give a shit about whether serial harassers get teachable moments. (I also don't feel it's the place of a convention to request any kind of medical documentation of, presumably, a person's mental health.) I felt absolutely unsupported by Arisia's executive team at the time and after.

Arisia was one of the first cons I went to, and I loved it. It was a great big party full of wonderful people. In 2011 we spent an entire week cooking in preparation for feeding all the people in the staff den and the green room. On my volunteer timesheet, under "hours", I wrote "ALL OF THEM"; my div head looked at it, nodded, and signed off. We roped in friends of ours to help. We were thrilled and excited. And then those friends were targeted and harmed by another staff member, and the con let us all down.

In one of our many, many emails to various people on Arisia's executive team about this, J wrote, "All Arisia has to do is address the issue, and not sweep it under the rug." But they failed to do that, and thereby failed us and the people on our team and in the space we were responsible for.

Crystal Huff's open letter about Arisia's mishandling of her serious allegations against the organization's president (who reportedly just resigned in response) is getting a lot of attention. I've seen several posts about it. And on more than one of those posts, I'm seeing comments along the lines of "Arisia mishandled my complaint too".

Since Crystal's post went up, I've been looking through my emails about the incident in 2011. During the 2013 recap, I wrote to the new head of Staff Services:
This one set of incidents--not just Morgon's behavior but the complete lack of backup from [the head of security at the time] and the general chain-of-command fumbling that led to Morgon keeping his badge and ribbon well after he was known to be violating Arisia's code of conduct--was the immediate cause of Arisia losing two dedicated, hardworking volunteers who might otherwise have contributed a great many more hours to the convention, and of Arisia's community losing two people who had previously been very involved in the convention's social aspects. I have participated in Arisia panels; Josh has helped to throw parties; we have both recruited other people to be on staff, at least one of whom left when we did, and the notes, recipes, and spreadsheets we created during our years working on the Green Room and Staff Den are still in use by present-day staff.... We are, in short, exactly the sorts of people Arisia should want to keep around, and I'm pretty disgusted that there is any suggestion that the convention will or should value the presence of a serial harasser on staff and the perpetuation of bureaucratic tangles over the contributions of volunteers and community members like us. I'm not angry at you, obviously, but the situation reeks and is a great reminder of why I'm not involved in Arisia anymore and am unlikely to get involved again.

Please don't contact me about this again unless it's absolutely necessary. I didn't know just how angry I still was about all of it until I started writing this email, but I am still really, really angry and have other things I need that energy for right now.
Five and a half years later, I'm still angry and sad. And now, seeing all those other comments, thinking about all those people who've been driven away from a space they used to love and be dedicated to, I'm angrier and sadder. What a waste. What a fucking waste.

Do better, fandom.
27 October 2018 01:36
julian: Picture of the sign for Julian Street. (Default)
Yes. It is so *very* much a waste.

I have an acquaintance at my old church who is, I am vaguely aware, on the Arisia concom (I now see she's one of the assistant con chairs), and something she said at one of our church annual meetings last year, while we were hashing out some new processes around safety, indicated to me that Arisia was, at the time, having a hearty thrashing about its code of conduct and processes surrounding it. I guess they haven't actually... succeeded with it yet, though.
27 October 2018 01:40
rosefox: Green books on library shelves. (Default)
Yeah, that thrashing about has been going on for a while. Unfortunately, in at least one case it seems to have been used to say "your complaint can't be dealt with because it wasn't submitted in accordance with our new procedures", which is really missing the point.
27 October 2018 02:35
julian: Picture of the sign for Julian Street. (Default)
Indeed it is, and by a country mile.
27 October 2018 01:54
sovay: (Sovay: David Owen)
Your green room remains the best green room I have ever encountered at Arisia.

What a waste. What a fucking waste.

27 October 2018 02:02
rosefox: Green books on library shelves. (Default)
Thank you. <3
27 October 2018 04:19
ckd: two white candles on a dark background (candles)
27 October 2018 04:29
rosefox: Green books on library shelves. (Default)
Thank you.
30 October 2018 23:42
tamidon: (Default)
I agree
31 October 2018 08:04
rosefox: Green books on library shelves. (Default)
You should take some of the credit!
31 October 2018 11:47
tamidon: (Default)
you guys did the best staff den/green room I have ever seen, and one of the best temp pop ups I' ve ever seen. When I came back after the debacles , I had to redo staff den under extreme limitations (1 crock pot, 1 microwave,1 fridge, nothing else) and had to do the best I could.The current green room is really good, but the hotel limitations mean they just can't do to the extent you folks did. Also, we're a lot larger now.
1 November 2018 17:53
rosefox: Green books on library shelves. (Default)
I have no doubt you did the best you could with what you had.

I saw that you and Mark have resigned from Arisia. I hope you find a measure of peace.
27 October 2018 03:38
pameladean: (Default)
I'm so sorry about all this. It feels almost like the kind of situation where one makes a general post offering condolences to all affected, as if somebody had died. Though it's not as sudden as that, of course, to people who knew about the previous issues. Anyway, I'm very sorry.

27 October 2018 04:30
rosefox: Green books on library shelves. (Default)
Thank you. I certainly hope Arisia gets up off its deathbed; it can be saved, if enough people want to save it.
27 October 2018 06:58
ironymaiden: (gah Haley)
I knew that there was probably going to be a flood of these stories :(

I'm sorry you have to feel those feelings again, thanks for sharing.
28 October 2018 06:37
rosefox: Green books on library shelves. (Default)
It's always the way, isn't it?

Thank you.
27 October 2018 16:19
coraline: (Default)
what a fucking waste, and a mess, and a loss. the shortsightedness of "we can't afford to lose this abuser" in the face of how many many many people you lose BECAUSE of the abuser, in addition to the horribleness of the statement in the first place is just gobsmacking.
28 October 2018 06:38
rosefox: Green books on library shelves. (Default)
It enrages me on every level.
28 October 2018 07:43
siderea: (Default)
Wait, did somebody actually argue "we can't afford to lose this abuser" wrt to Morgon? I was under the impression he wasn't so much valued as a contributor, as woobified.

I could totally off base on this, because I don't have any inside knowledge and am not well patched in. That said: I keep getting the impression that nobody's doing any sort of cost-benefit analysis at all. Okay, maybe with Crystal's perp, but AFAICT neither Morgon nor Maura's perp were of any particular stature or use to the org. They were, to be cold-blooded about it, completely expendable randos.

It's despicable when cons protect famous pros or thought-to-be-irreplaceable smofs from their own crimes, but at least there's a logic to it. This just looks monumentally stupidly pointless, coddling entitled man-babies at the expense of women and others who actually contribute.

I'm on dangerous ground, I know, arguing this, because fundamentally the newest newb to walk through the door has every right to be protected from harassment and assault from even the president of the con. But – perhaps it's my feudal roots showing – I keep finding myself thinking, "Christ, they can't even do nepotism right." Though nepotism isn't the right word. "Having some fucking loyalty to your people" is the concept I'm stabbing at.
28 October 2018 07:52
rosefox: Green books on library shelves. (Default)
I don't know about "we can't afford to lose", but the email I received did specify wanting to leave open the opportunity to give him a "teachable moment". No mention was made of trying to make Arisia a place we might want to attend or volunteer at.

That said: I keep getting the impression that nobody's doing any sort of cost-benefit analysis at all.

That is my impression also, and leaves me frankly despondent. I've been writing about this for years.
28 October 2018 19:17
yendi: (Default)
"Use" is clearly debatable, but as to "stature," Maura's perp was in charge of Program AV under the Technical Services team (see https://staff.arisia.org/index.php?title=A%2718_Org_Chart#Technical_Services) for the last two years, and was in this position on the upcoming con's chart until today.

Incidentally, the con keeps a list of people who are not allowed to volunteer, be hired for staff positions, or be hired for management positions. Maura's perp was A) on that list, but only for management (i.e., he still could be a volunteer), and B) was given an "exception," so his presence on the list didn't matter anyway. All of those cons took place after Maura's complaints were on file.

(Morgon is banned from any volunteering or work for the con at all, but still allowed to attend, I believe.)

As you noted, it shouldn't matter, because everyone should be protected, but there's definitely a tendency for people in positions of power or with friends in similar positions to get extra leeway and fewer punishments.
28 October 2018 19:28
rosefox: Green books on library shelves. (Default)
and was in this position on the upcoming con's chart until today

I take it some long overdue housecleaning is happening.
28 October 2018 20:27
yendi: (Default)
Possibly? I resigned from the con yesterday morning (before Maura's post hit), so am not privy to much beyond what's publicly shared.
28 October 2018 21:23
siderea: (Default)

I stand corrected! Thanks for the further info. Oy.

27 October 2018 16:59
The first con I attended (in the 70s in California), I was harrassed by Harlan Ellison. It was also the last con I ever attended.

For deacdes, I have mourned the fact that I was alienated so early from con culture. So many people I know and respect love cons, have deep connections to fandom, and have clearly had their lives enhanced immeasurably by their involvement with cons/fandom. I have been envious, and occasionally wondered if I should give it all another try.

By reports like Crystal Huff's and yours make me think that maybe, just maybe, it all worked out the way it should have for me.

I am so sorry for what this means to you. You were one of the shining lights of the Readercon debacle, and I trust your insights on any such situation. For you and everyone who has been nurtured by cons, I wish you all better days ahead.
28 October 2018 06:39
rosefox: Green books on library shelves. (Default)
I'm so sorry Harlan did that to you.

Cons and fandom have been tremendously wonderful for me, and have also been tremendously stressful. At Readercon we're doing our best to tilt the balance of the two in the right direction. I don't know what more can be done, given that some people do terrible things and other people feel the urge to protect people who do terrible things. But we are at least making an effort.
27 October 2018 17:14
fairestcat: Dreadful the cat (Default)
I’m so sorry you had this experience. The more reports of Arisia failures I read the angrier I get.

While I have never been to Arisia, there is a significant overlap between Boston fandom/poly and Ottawa/Toronto fandom/poly, and this is having a lot of painful fallout for people I love. All my love to you and yours during this.
28 October 2018 06:40
rosefox: Green books on library shelves. (Default)
Thank you. And yeah, Arisia has a long reach—something like 4000 people go every year.
29 October 2018 17:16
fairestcat: Dreadful the cat (Default)
Marna just posted on exactly how painful and personal some of that fallout has been. Short form: one of the people setting himself up as a potential rebuilder of Arisia is a predator as well.
28 October 2018 03:33
minoanmiss: Red pillars inside a Minoan palace (Palace Pillars)
I don't even know what to say. Arisia was my first con and I am horrified in unfolding layers as I hear more and more awfulnesses.
28 October 2018 06:40
rosefox: Green books on library shelves. (Default)
Yes, likewise.
28 October 2018 12:10
asterroc: We Can Do It Sinfest - Up Yours (We Can Do It Sinfest - Up Yours)
I’m guessing that since this post is public, you won’t mind my sharing it with JY, as she still attends Arisia, and I wanted to send her something about this whole debacle.

I read about half of Huff’s post, and couldn’t stomach the rest bc of how similar it felt to the situation w my ex-advisor, but yours I could get through (the difference for me is whether it focuses on the feelings of powerlessness, or the attempts to take action and use one’s agency). This fight is worth fighting in whatever way we can.
28 October 2018 19:29
rosefox: Green books on library shelves. (Default)
Yes, please feel free to link to it and share it.

I'm sorry this situation is so stressful for you too.
29 October 2018 19:26
yarrowkat: (Default)
i am friends with a woman who is to be an artist Guest of Honor at Arisia this year, Beth Leggett (fan art/ cover artist). she is weighing whether or not to withdraw from participation at Arisia. May I share this with her?

ETA: she is attending after all - because she feels they are trying hard to actually do better, and she feels herself to be in a position to help pave a better path forward. she's donating all sales of her custom Boston Harbor piece to the Boston Rape Crisis Center, and is in near-constant dialogue with the organizers. I'd still like to share this, so she has a more complete view of the history of problems like this in that space, if that feels okay with you.
29 October 2018 19:45
rosefox: Green books on library shelves. (Default)
You're welcome to link and share it as widely as you like. All my sympathies to your friend—that's a very hard position to be in.
29 October 2018 20:46
Thank you for posting. I'm unfortunately not surprised that there are so many more cases of reports being shoved under the rug or just flat out ignored. I really care about the con, and I really want it to be salvageable. But as of now, they have not done enough. Hugs.
1 November 2018 17:54
rosefox: Green books on library shelves. (Default)
Thank you.
31 October 2018 19:35
drwex: (Default)
Thank you for posting this, as well as for the work you did in the past. The Eboard has resigned and there will be new officers.
1 November 2018 17:54
rosefox: Green books on library shelves. (Default)
That's a good start.
1 November 2018 17:58
drwex: (pogo)
I hope so. I am campaigning to be one of those new officers - part of why I'm going around reading peoples' stories of things I had no knowledge about before.

(and trying not to despair before I even start)
1 November 2018 18:15
rosefox: Green books on library shelves. (Default)
Feel free to email me if you'd like to talk about what it was like to do this for Readercon in 2012—I was in a similar position to where you are, and served on the board temporarily after all the board members resigned.
1 November 2018 18:24
drwex: (Default)
Thank you for the offer. I don't know if I have your email address these days.
7 November 2018 05:35
rosefox: Green books on library shelves. (Default)
rose@readercon.org is the best one to use for con-related matters.
This page was loaded on 21 April 2019 at 07:09 GMT.