It’s like a master class in stuffing your foot down your throat. I’m kind of impressed at how badly FanX/ComicCon screwed up.
So an author, Shannon Hale, wrote to con organizers to complain about how a regular guest was a little too touchy, making women attendees a bit uncomfortable. Look at how the organizer, Bryan Brandenburg, responded:
Maybe it is best that you sit this one out and then wait to hear how it went. I don’t think there is anything we can say to convince you to come and quite frankly I’m not willing to try. I know in my heart that we take this seriously and I don’t think you get it. I have four daughters and I’ve been sensitive to these issues for decades, long before it became trendy with #metoo.
First thing he does is basically say, “Yeah, lady, it’s your problem, not ours, and we aren’t interested in trying to deal with it.” Second thing: the “I have daughters” defense. So if you didn’t have any female offspring, you wouldn’t be interested in protecting women’s rights? And then, diminishing #metoo as “trendy”.
That is one messy paragraph, a regular pigs’ wallow of oblivious splatter. If you’re a conference organizer, you ought to print it out, have it framed on your wall, and consult it any time you get a complaint as what you ought to never, ever do. It’s just perfect example of insensitivity.
But Brandenburg is not done! He then posted Hale’s complaint with her email address on Twitter.
Argh, argh, argh. Would you feel comfortable reporting misbehavior to this guy? He just blew up the whole con’s credibility.
But wait! We haven’t even gotten to the target of the complaint yet. The complaint was about an author, Richard Paul Evans, who got a little too chummy with attendees.
She wrote that Evans “touched me several times and went so far as to kiss my cheek. I had never met him before. … but he made me very uncomfortable and even said, ‘You’re so pretty’ after he touched me, as though he couldn’t help himself.”
Brace yourself for another exercise in podiatric autophagy.
On Monday, Evans wrote that her complaint was not true.This false reporting makes me sound creepy,he said.I told her she was pretty, kindly, as I said, ‘You’re pretty, that’s not going to hurt sales.’ I was trying to make her feel good. Again, I was congratulating her and I was in public. I have a witness to the event. I also remember her coming back with one of my books to get it autographed.
Uh, you just confirmed her account, Mr Evans. You were condescending and told a writer that her appearance, not her writing, was her advantage. And you’re not even aware of how patronizing you sound.
Guest speakers are bowing out right and left from the con right now. It looks like the wrong people are leaving, though — like maybe the organizers need to find a different line of work.