Some of you have been following the coverage of the Baen’s Bar situation (If you haven’t, click that link for a summary).
In the two days since my last update, more details have emerged. A while back, Toni Weisskopf, Baen’s head editor, had been invited as Guest of Honor to DisCon III in Washington, D.C., the venue of this year’s WorldCon (for those unfamiliar, WorldCon is where the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) vote on the Hugo Awards every year). This is pretty significant, given that Toni had been previously snubbed as a Guest of Honor in 2015, despite having the largest number of nominations to be named so in WorldCon History, because the SFWA was feuding with Larry Correia and friends over the “Sad Puppies” campaign, and it was the Sad Puppies that had nominated her. Given the history, it seemed the SFWA was trying to make amends.
Since the Sanford piece came out, however, there have been calls in the comments on Mike Glyer’s “File 770” blog coverage of the Sanford piece to have her removed as Guest of Honor (I have no intention of forwarding what little traffic I have to his website, as it truly is a wretched hive of scum and villainy; but if you really want to see what his followers have been saying, you can head there yourself. Just beware; there be monsters). Welp, they called over to the WorldCon/DisCon organizers, and demanded she be disinvited.
And they caved. For the first time in WorldCon history, a Guest of Honor has been officially disinvited.
I’ll spare you all an in-depth breakdown of why this is bullshit–Larry Correia already beat me to the punch, and I’m sure the other Baen authors, who hold a lot more clout than me, are going to come out with their own statements (when they do, I’ll update this post)–but I will say that I strongly disagree with the decision. Toni is a great editor, and an incredibly nice person. When I proposed to my now-wife at LTUE last year, Toni was one of the people who came to congratulate us. She’s done more for her writers than any other editor I’ve encountered or heard of to date (at the time of this writing, she has never published anything from me, so I say this objectively), and as far as I’m concerned, she sets the bar for the professional editing standard, and has for over 30 years. It’s rather abhorrent she’s being treated this way.
And it’s all because she allowed a forum on the company’s website, that had existed long before she was in charge, where users could express views that these people didn’t like. This treatment, from the same organization that not only defended a pair of rapists and child abusers in their midst, but helped cover for them for the better part of 30 years.
Interestingly, those that demanded her removal are still not satisfied, instead complaining that the WorldCon folks did not do it fast enough, and that it shouldn’t have taken a mob petitioning effort to remove her–they say WorldCon should have removed her as soon as the Sanford piece came out. (Again, not giving Mike Glyer the traffic; if you want to see it, head over yourself). Never mind that everybody from David Weber to Eric Flint has more or less agreed that the article was nothing more than a hit piece to get Baen deplatformed. They say she should have been removed immediately, even before she had a chance to clear her name.
Well, I can say stuff too. Not just with my voice, but with my dollar. And my dollars are no longer going to go towards supporting these people.
I won’t go to DisCon. Not that I was planning on it–the only time I really go to the East Coast is on business–but I do have friends over there, and I’ll advise my friends not to go. They’re free to do what they want, of course, but I will say that by giving them your money, you are supporting this nonsense. And if WorldCon comes to a another con that I frequent, I just won’t go that year.
I won’t buy books put out by the SFWA. If it won a Hugo Award after 2005, that’s going to be my indication to stay away. If an author announces themselves as a proud member of SFWA, I will avoid buying their books.
I will not accept nominations or awards from the SFWA. If I get one, sorry, I don’t want it. I don’t want to be affiliated with those people. Toni grew up with the SFWA crowd, and has worked in the same circles for years. If they treat her like this, what are they going to do to me if I join?
If you, my dear readers, still want to support the SFWA after this, I can’t, and won’t stop you. That’s your choice, and if you want to support them, that’s your prerogative. Just know what you’re supporting, and that your support lets these people know their behavior is okay.
Want to help Toni, or show support? Let the DisCon and the SFWA staff know you disagree with the decision. Tell your friends.
And, of course, buy Baen books.
“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” -Evelyn Beatrice Hall, Friends of Voltaire
Update: It has been brought to my attention that at the time of this writing, the venue that was supposed to host DisCon III/WorldCon has gone bankrupt, and the con organizers are struggling to find a new venue. On top of that, apparently DisCon had put up a deposit to rent the venue, and when it folded, the venue’s owner was unable to refund it. The con organizers are apparently retaining legal counsel.
And that just couldn’t happen to nicer people.
Update #3: Toni Weisskopf has issued her own statement:
“The committee of Discon III approached me this week to discuss the allegations about Baen’s Bar that were posted at Patreon. Baen is conducting a thorough investigation, which we feel we cannot rush, and has taken down the Bar while we conduct the investigation.
I do understand the immediate appeal of Discon III wishing to act quickly to respond to their community. Today they informed me of their official decision to remove me as their Editor Guest of Honor.
While I strongly disagree with the committee’s decision, I will regretfully accede to their wishes.“