by Megan Fox
Organizers of the Worldcon sci-fi convention are involved in a targeted campaign to ban Jon Del Arroz, a well-known Hispanic conservative science fiction author (and BleedingFool.com contributor), even going so far as to alter the terms of his membership so that he would not be allowed to attend. Megan Fox writing for PJMedia has the full story:
Jon Del Arroz won’t be going to the Worldcon science fiction convention, even though he is the leading Hispanic voice in science fiction and he bought a ticket.The multi-award nominated military science fiction author was banned publicly from the upcoming festivities in San Jose, California, without ceremony or explanation by Worldcon’s Incident Response Team. “At this time we are converting your membership to Worldcon76 to a supporting membership as you will not be permitted to attend the convention. On your personal blog you have made it clear that you are both expecting and planning on engendering a hostile environment which we do not allow. If you are found on the premises of the convention center or any of the official convention hotels you will be removed,” the organizers wrote.
After sending that private email message to Del Arroz, they publicly denounced him on Facebook, Twitter, and Worldcon’s main website. Del Arroz was not given a reason for the banning even though he sent several messages inquiring about the alleged “incident” that triggered it. “Worldcon 76 has chosen to reduce Jonathan Del Arroz’s membership from attending to supporting,” they wrote. “We have taken this step because he has made it clear that he fully intends to break our code of conduct. We take that seriously….racist and bullying behavior is not acceptable at our Worldcon.”
The “racist or bullying” behavior was not explained and no evidence that it occurred was presented. Worldcon refused to tell Del Arroz what they objected to on his site. PJ Media reached out to Worldcon and was told there would be “no further comment” on the banning. Further investigation shows that Del Arroz had contacted Worldcon organizers to ask for help several weeks ago with concerns that his safety as a conservative author at the convention was being threatened by other attendees.
In August, Del Arroz was in talks with Convention Chair Kevin Roche about renting a table to sell his books at the event. Roche did not mention any concern at the time about Del Arroz and did not seem hesitant to take his money. However, by November, Del Arroz had alerted Roche to threats to his safety after receiving targeted harassment against his family in his home (including receiving a spring-loaded package of glitter shaped like penises). Roche did not respond.
Del Arroz reported that the doxing and pranking began when members of the Science Fiction Writers of America found out he would be attending Worldcon. File 770, an industry publication like Gawker for nerds, had been roiling about Del Arroz and his doubleplusungood opinions back in December. After one debate, Del Arroz received these emails from a File 770 user.
“Worldcon refused to even acknowledge the very real threats to my person and family made by science fiction professionals and anonymous stalkers,” Del Arroz explained. “Based on that and what I saw with Diversity & Comics with the threats to frame him for a crime at a convention, I saw no other solution but to take precautions to have evidence in case someone attempted to harm or frame me similarly.” Del Arroz believes that email exchange kicked off a coordinated email and social media campaign to have him banned from Worldcon.
Del Arroz believes that the banning is politically motivated since he is not only a science fiction author but a strong conservative voice at The Federalist and Dangerous (Milo Yiannopoulos’s new venture) who routinely speaks out about the blacklisting of conservative voices in science fiction.
“With Worldcon’s statements about ‘intent’ to violate their rules, and failure to specify rules, this is a clear targeting over my politics because I’m a vocal Christian and Hispanic Trump supporter,” says Del Arroz. “The left claims I should be banned for controversial political opinions, but the only opinion I espouse on a regular basis is that artists should not be blackballed for their politics. That shouldn’t be a controversial topic. It is imperative that artists be free from fear of retaliation of their industry in order that they might create great works of art. This is the ultimate free speech issue.”
Read Megan’s entire report here. She provides the latest updates to this story and even includes Twitter responses from other fiction authors and even a recent censorship hit on Del Arroz from Facebook.
UPDATE: Trevor Bierschbach did a little more digging over at Frags and Beer and received absolutely no clarification from WorldCon. He writes:
Unfortunately the lack of clarification or transparency from WorldCon has left the internet to do what it does best, dig and speculate. I did find a post that a few have pointed to on the convention’s Facebook page mentioning Mr. Del Arroz’s intent to use a body camera for his own protection. The social media post indicates that this violates the convention’s CoC in two places. I was unable to find these two places, but I did find two sections in the current CoC that seem to say a camera and video would not violate it. As noted these are from the Code of Conduct page of this writing. There is some indication this may change.
Photographs and videotape footage by attendees are generally allowed in all common areas of the convention with the exception of the Art Show. Specific rules regarding these matters may exist for selected events, such as concerts. Please consult the Pocket Program for information relating to specific events.
Individuals may take pictures and videotapes for private viewing or sharing with friends. We ask our attendees to be courteous to those they wish to take pictures of, especially if you wish to place those pictures or video clips onto a personal Web page or similar Internet archive. In this case, ask your subjects for their explicit permission to do this.
Both seem to point out that taking video, as long as it is for private use, is fine but they request people ask permission. It is not shown anywhere currently that this is a requirement.
On the convention’s Facebook page there is a post admitting that the section of the CoC regarding video is confusing and it will be looked at. It appears, without having more clarification, that Mr. Del Arroz was banned from the convention because he intended to bring a camera, which as far as we can tell is not against any convention policy at the time of his statement of intent. Included in my request for clarification on Mr. Del Arroz’s infractions I asked why it wasn’t considered to just tell him not to wear a camera. I also asked if it was convention policy to preemptively ban individuals who have not yet done anything to violate the CoC, but both received the same non-response as noted above.
More on Trevor’s investigation can be found here.
We’ll continue to watch this story closely.
Follow Megan Fox on Twitter @MeganFoxWriter
Follow Trevor Bierschbach on Twitter @tjbierschbach