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Deb Geisler
debgeisler
..:::. ..:.:.

December 2016
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Deb Geisler [userpic]
A vicious abuse of power.

Worldcon 75’s shameful public accusations against one of their former volunteers – accusations without legal standing or proof, by an organization with a position of power over the regulation of volunteers – are a hideous breach of their responsibility as the World Science Fiction Convention.

As a former Worldcon chairman, I am completely, utterly, shockingly appalled that the convention's leadership would choose to publicly attack this volunteer they fired. If the convention felt it had made a legally and fannishly justifiable action in firing this volunteer, it should have remained silent.

That the convention has chosen this particular tactic of public vilification indicates to me, at least, that it wants to so damage this former volunteer’s reputation that nothing he says will be believed and so that he can no longer engage in the activities he so enjoyed in fandom.

Choosing to use the bully pulpit to shred our fannish volunteers in social media is a cowardly, stupid, and fannishly reprehensible action. (Oh, and hey, good work on not letting him reply on your page in his own defense.)

I hereby state that under no conditions will I attend the 2017 World Science Fiction Convention. Further, I will sell my membership in the convention to the first person (who is not affiliated with the committee of Worldcon 75) who offers me $1. Drop me a private message, and it’s yours.

[Edit, 9:58 a.m., 9 October: the membership has been "sold." The purchaser is making a donation to the SFWA medical fund in lieu of payment. I'm really pleased about that.]

Comments

Thanks for saying that. But sorry, I wouldn't touch a membership even if it was offered for one cent.

Agreed 100%. A Worldcon concom, or any concom, should not be engaging in behavior that resembles character assassination, doxing, libel, slander, etc. I think Finland has dropped somewhere below North Korea on my list of places I'd like to visit.

I've just read up on this. I see the con's press releases have been consistently mischaracterizing what the volunteer said, but that's not their big mistake. They chose to accept his work while placing severe restrictions - like prohibiting him from attending staff meetings, sheesh - that would make it impossible for him to do his job. If they thought he was that toxic a person, they should never have offered him the position.

And if he was only offered it with these impossible handicaps, he should never have accepted it.

Because it couldn't be done. As events have proved.

They tried to add still more handicaps to an already unacceptable (well, it would have been to me) list. That he was willing to accept the first set of restrictions speaks to how much he cared.

The convention leadership pretty much destroyed that.

There is perhaps no worse sin in running volunteer ventures than to cause unnecessary harm to those who offer us loyalty and caring. This group has done that.

They should have kept their mouths shut and stayed away from social media. Instead, they climbed up on the bully pulpit to shred someone.

I'm still planning on attending. Someone has to keep WSFS running properly.

I have full faith that the WSFS division will run things as they should.

I have too many things I care about in the Business Meeting to NOT attend.

I may use the rest of my time to tour Helsinki and visit with friends.

Well said!

Teddy

Ironically, I forgot I'd offered to help them with Program Ops advice and had therefore been added to their volunteer list until I just got a message from them to the volunteer alias asking for help at the Helsinki Book Fair. I responded asking them to remove me from the list as I was no longer interested in volunteering for or associating myself with the convention.

This is all sad, but I can't help thinking, "And this is how they treat their volunteers? Screw that."

I have a full attending membership to said Worldcon. The fired volunteer in question was, ironically, 50% of the reason I upped my membership and planned to attend. I still plan to try to go because of the other "50%" of my reason, which, also ironically, has almost nothing to do with the actual convention and mostly to do with peripheral stuff. I am, however, disgusted for the way folks overreacted to an innocuous post.

I have been in said volunteer's shoes and even lost employment because of it. I can only hope that the people who made the mess are fired. They have already smeared themselves.