Jun 28 2013

Let Me Tell You a Story

I’ve told this story several times since the events happened in 2002, but the telling has always been fairly private. That’s how these stories move, you know. However, today is a good day to say things out loud. Increasing the number of targets for backlash isn’t the worst thing a person can do, provided they’re up for it. I’m not sure I’m up for it, but I’m not sure I can handle telling these stories in private anymore either.

It was 2002. World Fantasy Convention was held in Minneapolis that year. I was there, along with the rest of my writers group and a bunch of friends who were in another writers group. One or two people had book contracts that year. We were green and a little nervous and not so terribly mature as we turned being snubbed by big editors into a faux competitive game.

The number of details I remember seems funny, but I suppose it shouldn’t. When things that are that wrong and that disappointing happen, you either try to forget them forever or they stick with you. This one stuck with me.

On the second floor of the hotel, the floor with meeting rooms, there were a number of “converational groupings”, couches and chairs around coffee tables. One of these provided a place for our crowd to meet up in all the comings and goings. Nobody had smart phones or text plans then, so it was handy to have a place where messages could be dropped and lunch crowds could be formed. Ours was also a short distance from the bathrooms, outside the main line of traffic, but somewhere that everyone had to pass at some point. There was a wooden pillar. And a big painting on the wall.

At some point, the crowd dwindled to me, my husband, a writer friend, and his wife. Due, I think, mostly to the proximity of the bathroom, Tor editor Jim Frenkel saw us. He stopped by to talk to my writer friend. This friend had several books under consideration by Frenkel. Frenkel liked the books and was moving to present them for consideration to the folks at Tor who green-light purchases.

The conversation went on for a bit. My husband and my friend’s wife wandered off to do something more interesting than talk about the publishing business. Frenkel shared some gossip. We talked about his wife, who was having a hard recovery from the car accident they’d both been in. Frenkel enthused over my friend’s books.

Then Frenkel turned his attention to me. Did I write? Oh, yes, though nothing at that point that he’d be interested in. Just short stories. Well, Frenkel considered himself the proprietary editor for my friend’s writers group. But that wasn’t my writers group. Well.

The attention to my writing was flattering. Frenkel was focused (really not his style), leaning in.

Then he asked me to tell him about my relationship to my friend. It wasn’t one of those, “So, how did the two of you meet?” moments or “How long have you known each other?” It was a matter of leaning further in and lowering his voice, focusing even more. The words were heavy.

Jim Frenkel was asking me to confide in him about my (intuited into existence) sex life. After suggesting he would be interested in my writing. While I was standing next to the friend whose career prospects were in his hands.

There is no template for what to do under those circumstances. Miss Manners doesn’t tell you how to enforce your boundaries when someone is potentially putting two people’s careers at stake. So I went with the absurd. I leaned back toward Frenkel and lowered my own voice.

“Sometimes…we send each other…emails.”

That was the end of that bit of the conversation. Frenkel has only once, in the rest of the time that I’ve seen him at conventions, expressed an interest in seeing my writing. I had to remind him that we’d met before. On the other hand, he continued to champion my friend’s work, though Tor decided not to buy it. So I got away easy.

Other people haven’t gotten away so easily. One of them, someone I admire, was sexually harassed at friends’ WisCon book launch party by Frenkel. She reported it. She was told by Tor that it was the first official report of harassment by Frenkel. Somehow all the other reports have never managed to rise to the level of “official”. So today, people started naming Frenkel as the problem, as a long-term problem.

I can’t say that what happened to me rises to the level of sexual harassment. On its own, it’s just one bit of inappropriate weirdness. But it’s weird enough that I’ve talked about for nearly 11 years, and it’s part of a pattern that I’m told has gone on longer than that.

So today I’m telling my story.


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  1. 1

    Thank you for sharing your story. I think that sharing stories like this is both important and brave. I think one of the things that people who don’t experience harassment (and microagressions also actually) often don’t really grasp is how much those of us who do have to weigh lots of factors when deciding how to respond in the moment and how to respond after the fact. The positions of social and economic power often held by harassers is really important to their ability to get away with bad behavior. Your story does a very good job of illustrating why people who are being harassed often don’t respond in the ways that others might expect. Frenkel had power over you in this situation because of his power over your friend and his potential power over your own writing. That kind of power often keeps people from responding to creepiness with “Hey, knock that off!” in the moment and I appreciate you spelling that out here.

  2. 2
    CaitieCat, getaway driver

    Thank you for having even more courage than we already thought you had.

  3. 3

    Reading this was creepy as hell. It is nearly word-for-word what happened at my second convention, which was Wiscon 2010, eight years after your encounter with him.

    It went exactly that way: Joan’s accident. Her difficult recovery. (Sympathy.) What was I working on? Do I write novels? (Flattery.) Where did I meet my then-new-boyfriend? Did I plan to marry him (we had just started dating)? (Weird, personal.) He followed me (alone) to the bar and offered to look at the next book I wrote. I told him my boyfriend was likely wondering where I was and needed to go. He paid for my drink.

    I didn’t feel harassed, per se, but it did strike me as very strange and imposing behavior. The questions about my relationship were very personal. He would ask questions, and then his acknowledgement of my answer was always a little sarcastic, a little sneering. Particularly the one when I said I needed to go.

    He was friendly when I saw him again at the end of the convention, when I joined him and John for a breakfast meeting to discuss the book they were working on together. I didn’t think much of it after that, but I can’t say I was surprised when the reports started circulating later that year.

    I honestly still don’t know what to make of it, but reading your story here makes it seem…calculated. I’m just not sure what it was calculated to *do,* exactly.

  4. 4
    Stephanie Zvan

    Thank you, Christie. I know what happened to me. I mean, I’ve been telling the story all this time. But still, having the validation that I didn’t just misunderstand something I know damned well I didn’t misunderstand–that helps.

  5. 5

    Reading this was creepy as hell. It is nearly word-for-word what happened at my second convention, which was Wiscon 2010, eight years after your encounter with him.

    …Holy crap, that’s disturbing. It sounds like he was PRACTICING. That over all that time, he got his creepiness honed to a fine art. And like any other form of grooming, it’s designed to fly under the radar so that every… single… target thinks they’re alone and has no opportunity to recognize that a pattern exists.

    This is what reporting does, breaking the veil.

    Stephanie, I’m in your debt. Christie, I’m in your debt. Also MRK, who I’ve followed for years, and Elise, and Scalzi for backing them up. NOBODY should have to handle predation alone.

  6. 6
    Stephanie Zvan

    And a thank you to Michael and Sigrid, whose book launch party this was (plug) for assisting Elise to report and naming names, respectively.

  7. 7
    Karen Locke

    Utterly creepy. Man should be taken outside and have a few choice words lodged into his brain.

  8. 8

    Thank you for speaking up. Every time one of us talks about this, it gets a little easier for the next victim of harassment. Yay for Elise and Mary and Michael and Sigrid and Scalzi. Also yay for WisCon and Tor for taking it seriously.

    You know, we don’t have to get to the point where the harassers know that they’ll be reported. We just have to get to the point where they know there’s a real danger of it.

  9. 9
    Jenora Feuer

    Hmm, no actual blog entry at Making Light yet, but Patrick Nielsen Hayden has a link to Scalzi’s commentary on this in his ‘Sidelights’ (with his added alt text of “One of the many reasons this is important is that chronic harassers are often very canny about hiding their behavior from people who are actually in a position to make them stop.”). Given the Nielsen Haydens work for Tor, and given their understanding and previous stances on this sort of attitude, I suspect there’s going to be some commentary there before too long.

  10. 10
    Stephanie Zvan

    One of the things making me very happy today are the F&SF professionals with real standing saying, “I have worked with Jim, and I have liked him, but this is not acceptable.”

  11. 11

    As a con volunteer concerned with the reporting side, I want to draw attention to Jim C. Hines’s response to this. (posted in the Pharyngula Lounge also)


    I am beyond furious.

    In 2010, in response to a series of specific incidents involving an editor in the community, I posted a list of resources for Reporting Sexual Harassment in SF/F. A number of people made reports about this individual.

    I thought those reports had made a difference. I was wrong.

    What follows is an account and essay from Elise Matthesen describing the process of reporting an incident that took place this year at Wiscon. While I’m not in a position to name names on my blog, I will say that the individual in question is the same one I was hearing about in 2010.

    I ended up speaking to this person a while after I wrote that original blog post. He seemed genuinely contrite and regretful. I thought … I hoped … that he had learned, and that he would change his behavior.

    I was wrong.

    From what I’ve learned, nothing changed. Because the reports weren’t “formally documented,” this person was able to go on to harass other women.

    Please read Elise’s essay. I’ve bolded one section about filing a formal report. If you’re aware of the situation and want to do so, I’ll be happy to do whatever I can to help hook you up with the appropriate contacts.

    My thanks to Elise for her relentless work on this.

    Also this discussion of informal and/or confidential reporting in the comments (begins here):

    June 28th, 2013 at 10:38 am · Reply

    I am not sure if i get it correctly. You posted your list of ressources and it seemed to me that those were such that a complaint there should generate a formal record. Following to this, the Individuum was reported (several times). Did they complain to different ressources?

    Does “confidential report” mean it doesn’t get recorded? If so, the word “confidential” has a yet unknown additional semantic no dictionary is telling me about. If a confidential report has no impact, it can be delivered to the parkometer instead :-( .

    June 28th, 2013 at 12:02 pm · Reply

    I’m not sure, but the sense I got was that if you make a “confidential report,” the harasser will get talked to about it, but nothing goes on his record and there is no formal punishment. It also means that the person who was harassed doesn’t have to have their name down on paper about anything, so there’s no fear of retaliation. Even if nothing official comes from it, it can feel good to tell someone what happened.
    June 28th, 2013 at 12:52 pm · Reply

    That seems to me like the combination of the disadvantages of a formal report (the accused knows you complained) with the disadvantages of no report (the accused can continue as if nothing happened). The only confidential thing about it is the purpose :-( .
    June 28th, 2013 at 1:09 pm · Reply

    The confidential report doesn’t include any names, so the accused doesn’t know it was you that complained, just that someone did.
    Jim C. Hines
    June 28th, 2013 at 1:31 pm · Reply

    Without going into details, it sounds like “confidential” meant nothing formal was recorded in this individual’s file with HR. I believe there were some consequences at the time, but whatever happened, it obviously wasn’t enough…

    That can’t happen. A confidential report should be just as formal as any other account and not an excuse for the report to be dismissed and go unrecorded. Consequences shouldn’t be contigent upon the wronged person giving up even more of their security!

    *I* am beyond furious and as a sometime staff member, I am ashamed. I should have learned about handling harassment complaints DECADES ago and the only way I can even attempt to repay you all for opening my eyes, Stephanie, MRK, Elise, Ophelia and Rebecca and every other person among MY COMMUNITIES who has to decide whether to shut up and take it, is to make sure this shit never flies on my watch again. NEVER.

  12. 12

    By the way, though Elise herself didn’t name Frenkel in her original post, he was named with her permission. Comment source on Jim C Hines’s blog

    Jim C. Hines
    June 28th, 2013 at 1:32 pm · Reply

    Kisekileia – I’ve also spoken directly with Elise today, and she confirmed that she was comfortable with the name being shared.

  13. 13

    One of the things making me very happy today are the F&SF professionals with real standing saying, “I have worked with Jim, and I have liked him, but this is not acceptable.”

    I’ve been really happy to see how the sci fi writing community seems so willing to call a spade a spade in a lot of instances. Granted, I’m on the outside looking in reading other sci fi writer blogs, but I sure hope this is the case.

    I can only imagine how many problems we could rid ourselves of if this was the attitude more people in the movement adopted, coupled with a complementary attitude of contrition and willingness to change for the better.

  14. 14

    I am writing for TOR now, my first urban fantasy series. I doubt any editor would come on to me (fat and middle aged) but now I’m forewarned in case he shows up at Worldcon. I’m glad actual names are being shared, though it is awkward to talk about it if you are a writer seeking a potential sale, or write for the publisher. You were brave to come out with this.

    I have another question … you don’t have a “lounge,” but I’d like to ask an unrelated question about another blog, basically an opinion. I had asked this question on Pharyngula (delurking, as I hardly ever do, given that some accused me of being a “mole” when I first posted–i.e, when I mentioned my mental illness, they assumed I was faking it to be accepted, or some such) , and got a sarcastic question in reply. Is there somewhere here I can ask for opinions (NOT JAQing, as I am an unabashed feminist and supporter) without getting wildly off topic?

  15. 15
    A Hermit

    Pteryxx @ 12

    Wow. Anyone who ever asks “why don’t you just report it” should be made to read that post.

  16. 16
    Silver Fox

    Things that are weird, through the years or in hindsight, often turn out to be something that was worth paying attention to — even if there was nothing to do about it or more to think about it than “weird” at the time. Weird isn’t terribly far from creepy.

  17. 17

    This is an interesting coincidence, given that today way the first time I shared the identity of my “creeper” (harasser? what are necessary and sufficient conditions for a harasser?) in my professional discipline with a male colleague in my discipline. A number of female colleagues know … but they already had different priors about that kind of thing.

    The very fact of naming the experience without having someone deny it is odd. The deck is mostly stacked against it. But here we are, and we know what happened to us, and what are you going to do about it?

  18. 18

    and of course there’s one person (commenter Todd at Scalzi’s blog) already accusing Elise of “bias” because radical feminism (because this makes it kinda like being anti-gay and reporting a gay man, donchaknow); also, OMG lynch mobs.


  19. 19

    MRK’s blog has one of those OMG lynch-mob fellows too. She’s already answered him effectively:

    Now, you are correct that a person should be able to defend him or herself from a report. That’s why there are formal procedures to go through and why Elise’s post covers how to do that. That’s true for an isolated incident. What I’m talking about today is a long term pattern of behavior, with verified witnesses, and why, even knowing about the full details, I was still afraid to say anything. And why?

    At least in part because I knew that someone would come along and tell me that saying his name was “unfair.”

  20. 20
    Yet Another Anonymous Coward

    One of the dictionary definitions of lynch is “to subject to scorn, defamation, or ridicule by violent attack in speech or writing,” so the term is not entirely inappropriate to describe some of the remarks that have appeared in blog comments. Let’s just stay away from the “kill by mob action” definition…

    I don’t know this Frenkel person; he sounds kind of creepy. Has he used his position of power to demand sexual favors? Is he one of those guys who will make a pass at anyone with the right plumbing and a pulse? The one is unmistakable sexual harassment. The other may just be creepy. The one maybe deserves a lynching in the sense of scorn and ridicule. The other isn’t quite so clear cut.

  21. 21
    Stephanie Zvan

    Hey, anonymous coward, you know what is entirely inappropriate? Suggesting that a bunch of women can’t figure out the boundaries between being hit on and being sexually harassed so you have to come in and ask, in your anonymous cowardly fashion, whether a whole bunch of them over many, many years maybe, you know, just didn’t have any idea how the world works.

    Frenkel has been reported for sexual harassment repeatedly. He has been confronted over his behavior and tearfully said he’d change. The people he’s chosen have been grown women with years upon years of experience dating–given the number of women, far more experience than you have even if I’m being generous. There is no iffy-ness to this situation. There is simply a problem that should have been dealt with several years ago.

    And don’t ever use “lynch” in that sense on my blog.

  22. 22
    Janet Coburn

    Also to Anonymous Coward:
    There are two legally recognized forms of sexual harassment: quid pro quo and hostile work environment. Quid pro quo is the one everyone knows about, trading benefits for sexual favors or retaliating for refusal. It is sexual discrimination and sexual harassment in the eyes of the law and everyone–including you–knows it’s bad.
    But hostile work environment is also illegal discrimination and harassment. It consists of a repeated pattern of aggressive sexual behavior (including verbal, nonverbal, visual) that a reasonable person would find offensive and impedes the victim’s ability to do his/her job. It is clear-cut. Making a pass can be done creepily. Not taking no for an answer is ungentlemanly. By all accounts I’ve heard, the person has committed a repeated pattern of aggressive sexual behavior that many reasonable people found offensive, and since he is an editor and they writers, it certainly affects how they do their job. It is not just creepy or skeevy or being a dick. It is illegal sexual harassment.

  23. 23
    throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble

    One of the dictionary definitions of lynch is “to subject to scorn, defamation, or ridicule by violent attack in speech or writing,” so the term is not entirely inappropriate to describe some of the remarks that have appeared in blog comments.

    Lynch mob has a historical connotation. It is hyperbolic and insensitive to real tragedies faced by many in our culture who are yet still living. Using it to describe people who are speaking out is a way of stating that they’re irrational extremists. Calling a group of people a ‘lynch mob’ serves no purpose except to diminish their claims based on emotional reasoning rather than the evidence and testimony presented for their case.

    Also, please inform us also what the dictionary definition of ‘n*gger’ says and then tell us how it’s not effectively racist and therefore not damaging, or that it presents a cogent description of events…

  24. 24

    One of the dictionary definitions of lynch is “to subject to scorn, defamation, or ridicule by violent attack in speech or writing,” so the term is not entirely inappropriate to describe some of the remarks that have appeared in blog comments. Let’s just stay away from the “kill by mob action” definition…

    There is no such definition of the term. The word “lynch” as a verb means “extrajudicial killing by a mob”. It has no other definition.

    Not only an anonymous coward, but a lying anonymous coward.

  25. 25

    Since I was ignored, should I presume that I was #1 considered to be a troll, that somehow my question triggered someone to assume a new person is asking something in bad faith, or #2 no one was interested?

    Is there any point in a long-time lurker posting at all? Do I have to show my credentials as an FTB lurker since PZ was over at the other place? That I read this blog, Pharyngula, and Butterflies and Wheels every day? Or, by merely saying that, I am obviously an MRA pretending to be a 54 year old, fat, bipolar, liberal woman who has been married 27 years to another atheist, is a SF writer for Tor and has three dogs and two cats?

    i have actually posted here before. But I’m wondering if there are any safe places anywhere where you can come out of lurk-mode without being assumed to be acting in bad faith?

  26. 26

    sueinmn, this may sound sarcastic to you, but I mean it honestly: it strikes me as odd as a writer of speculative fiction that you can come up with only two possibilities, neither of them notably charitable.

    I’m a semi-lurker. It took a long time of reading and getting a feel for reactions before I hit the “Submit Comment” button. I had to get over feeling “ignored” if no one replied to one of my comments. I had to wince when my writing was unclear, and I was called on it. These things happen–you type and feel like you’re in a conversation, but it’s not the same as sitting across the table from someone so that silence is a snub. Among the people who haven’t answered you are those who haven’t yet read this comment thread, those who don’t feel the need to say “Gee, I don’t really know,” (a bystander effect–surely someone better equipped will come alone sooner or later), those who wonder if it’s worth it to ask if you’re willing to try again at Pharyngula (with your saying that “they” responded a certain way). Some are wondering–having lurked at Pharyngula and B&W–if you’ve not followed links to the A+ forum or other blogs. Some may think that a perfect “safe place” doesn’t yet exist in the atheist/skeptic blogosphere; maybe you’d prefer Shakesville?

    I actually fall partially into several of those categories. For me, trying Pharyngula again was successful and led me to comment more elsewhere; there are still commenters that I avoid/ignore at PZ’s place, but enough others make up for it. Following links led me to Iris VanderPlum at Perry Street Palace and the Feminism 101 sites. I could be overall less social than you are. It could be that I’m more comfortable with distance at the beginning of a communication “relationship.”

    So…plenty of information there, sue, but it still kinda boils down to “Gee, I don’t know,” doesn’t it?

  27. 27

    FWIW, sueinnm, I just saw your first and second comment in the same read (this is my first read of this partiular thread/comment section). After seeing your first comment, I was scrolling through to see if anyone responded… only to get to your second comment.

    Anyway, I would certainly be interested in hearing what your question is, and would read it charitably as non-JAQing off – in fact, I’ve never considered any questions to be JAQing off based on their content alone; it’s invariably the surrounding context (and most often the way the questioner responds to responses) that causes me to judge a question as JAQing off.

  28. 28

    One of the dictionary definitions of lynch is “to subject to scorn, defamation, or ridicule by violent attack in speech or writing,”

    what dictionary are you using? not even M-W, that holy script of descriptivism, notes this alleged usage. And certainly none of the more prescriptive dictionaries would acknowledge that as a valid definition.

  29. 29

    I’d like to ask an unrelated question about another blog, basically an opinion. I had asked this question on Pharyngula [...] , and got a sarcastic question in reply.

    you asked if ppl thought HPFM was a bit “what about teh menz”, and you got asked by one person why this is a problem, given that “what about teh menz” is problematic not because it’s about men, but because it’s a hijack of conversations about women (which isn’t what is happening at HPFM), while a number of other people gave you detailed responses.

    what else do you want?

  30. 30
    Yet Another Anonymous Coward

    Jadehawk, Flewellyn:
    The dictionary I used was Merriam-Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, 2000. The same entry is in Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, 1981. My 1984 printing of the OED lists the usage, but appears to consider it illegitimate. I don’t buy new dictionaries all that often, so decades-old sources are what you get. There is no Academy of English, so descriptive is all there is.

    throwaway, extra beefy super queasy:
    Those who raise the issue have the perception that the group is rushing to punish wrongdoing outside of proper channels, without allowing investigation or defense. Clearly you don’t see it that way, but it’s often useful to understand the point of view of those with whom you disagree.

    Sorry, someone else will have to take that bait.

    Janet Coburn:
    Offensive to the subjects, certainly. It is not clear from the accounts that I have read that the behavior meets the standard for harassment. The repeated part usually requires the same victim. To successfully assert creation of a hostile work environment, it will be necessary to establish that a bunch of conditions are met. It’s hard to do in the arms-length business relationships that supposedly exist between writers, agents, editors, and publishers. It’s not impossible, but it’s hard.

    Stephanie Zvan:
    There are always grey areas, sometimes huge ones. The incident that you described was creepy to you. As presented, it sounds creepy to me. Maybe Frenkel was fishing for some titillating tidbit, or maybe it was something else entirely in his mind. We don’t know. Regardless of what was on his mind, his actions in that incident as told do not appear to constitute harassment. Even so, the story is brought up in the context of a sexual harassment report.

    The guy may be a loathsome human being. In and of itself, that isn’t a cause for punitive action. Elise Matthesen made a proper report of specific behavior that after investigation may turn out to be cause for punitive action. Or not. Until the process is complete, the answer is unknown.

    Ms. Matthesen also did great service by writing a How-to guide to help others to navigate the process. One would hope that it will give those who need it encouragement to deal with the process.

    Meanwhile, the blogosphere is full of commentary on what a horrible guy this Frenkel person is. Lots of innuendo about sexual predators and worse, but the specific behaviors attested to do not meet that level by the standards used by society at large. So yes, it is possible that a self-selected group has come to conclusions that some other group would not agree with.

  31. 31

    There is no Academy of English, so descriptive is all there is.

    lol. ok then, i guess you’re ok with the part where pagan = atheist?

    sorry, no, just because ppl tend to misuse a word often enough to make it into a purely descriptive dictionary for a while doesn’t actually mean that this has suddenly become an acceptable use of the word, especially given the extremely toxic standard meaning.

    the specific behaviors attested to do not meet that level by the standards used by society at large

    feh. most rape isn’t rape “by the standards used by society at large”. that’s hardly a convincing argument.

  32. 32
    CaitieCat, getaway driver

    feh. most rape isn’t rape “by the standards used by society at large”. that’s hardly a convincing argument.

    Exactly. How many fucking times do we have to fight off Yet Another Fucking TRADITION! Argument?

    Just because a given thing is the way we’ve always done it, does not make it necessarily a good idea. At some point in our past, our ancestors decided to do something novel with their shit, instead of just sleeping beside it. Had they not done so, because “sleeping beside it is what we’ve always done!”, our world would be even crappier than it is, pun intended.

    Bullshit argument, Spock. Try again. Give your IDIC a little rub before you start, maybe that’ll help you be more logical.

  33. 33
    CaitieCat, getaway driver

    Though I suppose if Roddenberry had some ugly crap he wanted to sell today, he’d probably call it an iDic.

  34. 34

    it is possible that a self-selected group has come to conclusions that some other group would not agree with.

    this is boring. of course there will be “some other group” that will disagree that something is sexual harassment; this is true regardless of what the action(s) under discussion are; they could be blatant quid pro quo, and there still would be “some other group” that would not agree that this was anything wrong. that too is not an argument for anything other than existence of denialism.

  35. 35
    Lyda Morehouse

    “…Well, Frenkel considered himself the proprietary editor for my friend’s writers group….”

    OMG. He was talking about Wyrdsmiths, wasn’t he? I’m…speechless and horrified to think that Frenkel was, in effect, using my name as an entryway to his harrassment.

  36. 36
    Stephanie Zvan

    He was, Lyda. Though thinking about it more, he may have been considering himself proprietary agent rather than proprietary editor. I’d forgotten he did both back then.

  37. 37

    I’m not clear on what was said that was harassing. He asked about your relationship? I guess the harrassment was non verbal? I”m not trying to be being snarky I just want clarity. I am a woman and from what you said I don’t even get ‘creepy’, just your interpretation of a sentence.

  38. 38
    Stephanie Zvan

    Glow, try rereading the second-to-last paragraph.

  39. 39
    Stephanie Zvan

    What is it about anonymous cowards that they never seem to have anything interesting or insightful to say, or even anything that indicates having read the post or comments with anything but their own interests in mind?

  40. 40

    Because if they were honest and said ‘shut up, lying b****’ they’d lose their figleaf of credibility? Oh, and probably get banned. *nodnod*

  41. 41
    Matthew S. North

    “There is no template for what to do under those circumstances. Miss Manners doesn’t tell you how to enforce your boundaries when someone is potentially putting two people’s careers at stake. So I went with the absurd. I leaned back toward Frenkel and lowered my own voice.
    “Sometimes…we send each other…emails.””

    LOL, Good job! You handled an uncomfortable situation with a misogynist A-hole perfectly. I’ve been bouncing around the blogs at FTB for a couple of hours to learn more about the harassment women have been going through for the past few years. I was shocked by some of the big names like, Shermer, Krauss and Nye. But then though it’s just another example of men with a measure of power and authority caving into their base instincts. I was particularly disappointed in Shermer and Krauss both of whom I’ve respected and admired for a long time. Everyone knows about the vicious, sexist Internet bullying and harassing by on-line trolls but this is insidious and been in the dark for too long. You would take for granted, at least I did, that freethinkers and humanists wouldn’t be abusing women. The Freethought community will change for the better now that this out in the open.

  1. 42
    Link Love | Grumpy rumblings of the (formerly!) untenured

    [...] beyond the pale.  It needs to stop.  Here is Maria Dahvana Headley, Cherie Priest(!), Kat Howard, Stephanie Vahn, the original Elise Matthesen post… I’m sure there’s more we’re missing.  [...]

  2. 43
    Harassment and the Back Channel — Radish Reviews

    [...] Stephanie Zvan: Let Me Tell You a Story [...]

  3. 44
    How To Be An Ally, Speaker Edition | Geek Feminism Blog

    [...] aware of his behavior for years. There have been previous complaints about it stretching back to at least 2002. After Matthesen came forward last week, Segrid Ellis and Mary Robinette Kowal both came forward to [...]

  4. 45
    WisCon: The Frenkel Decision — The Radish.

    […] I think WisCon 38′s administration was relying on the same sort of social pressure to keep Jim Frenkel away in lieu of an actual ban.  The problem there, of course, is that the man had been getting away with harassing women at conventions for decades and his activity was the driving force behind Jim Hines’s efforts in 2010. And Stephanie Zvan wrote about an incident from 2002. […]

  5. 46
    WisCon's flaky response to harassment incident sparks Internet uproar | buzzcarl

    […] Blogger Stephanie Zvan claims have had a “creepy” conversation with Frenkel in which he inappropriately tried to […]

  6. 47
    Debunking the Fairy Tale of WisCon, Feminism and Safe Spaces | Geek Melange

    […] be back at WisCon, not after all the press, the revelations that Frenkel had been an industry missing stair for decades, and with WisCon being the sort of con that was supposed to be looking out for […]

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