A few years ago, Nnedi Okorafor won the World Fantasy Award. Okorafor is a Nigerian-American writer. The World Fantasy Award is a bust of HP Lovecraft. You can guess where this is going, because Lovecraft was a flamingly awful racist. How awful? Read the poem at that link and suppress your gag reflex.
Which obviously causes some conflict. Okorafor wrote to China Mieville for advice, since he’d also won the award, and he wrote back with a suggestion.
So where does that leave the World Fantasy Award? Well, in my case, I have always done something very specific and simple. I consider the award inextricable from but not reducible to Lovecraft himself. Therefore, I was very honoured to receive the award as representative of a particular field of literature. And the award itself, the statuette of the man himself? I put it out of sight, in my study, where only I can see it, and I have turned it to face the wall. So I am punishing the little fucker like the malevolent clown he was, I can look at it and remember the honour, and above all I am writing behind Lovecraft’s back.
It seems to me that the better long term solution would be to replace the bust on the award with someone a little less objectionable — there’s actually a petition to make the award honor Octavia Butler instead. There are the familiar arguments that his deep and terrible personal flaws shouldn’t taint his literary contributions, and I can see that…I can still enjoy Lovecraft’s writing, while deploring the man. But the problem is that the award specifically honors the man Lovecraft, not the abstraction of his work, or the genre.
It would be less objectionable and more appropriate to have the statue represent Cthulhu, rather than Lovecraft. Except for the little problem that all the recipients would be driven mad.