Harassment in SFF, My Long-Awaited Opinion

TODAY’S BREW: Whatever came out of my red coffee can

By Julie 

I’m not one that goes to every con that comes my way. They’re expensive, they’re crowded, they’re hot, bright, and loud which are my Kryptonites. Cons where I’d be working to get my name out there, to make connections in the industry, to drink at hotel bars and get friendly, that’s WORK. Trouble is, the HR manager for Writing doesn’t hang out at these events, and that’s where the harassment comes in.

I’m a good friend.

That doesn’t mean I stand beside my friends’ wrongdoings but I stand beside their good nature. I call them friends if their morals agree with mine. Of the three dickheads who’ve been outed as serial harassers , I consider one to have been a friend. We knew each other’s names and work, he’d sent books my way for fundraisers and such, and I thought he was a good guy. Turns out, he wasn’t. We are no longer friends. This is a black and white with zero gray area. If multiple women come forward claiming harassment, I believe them. I side with them.

Myke Cole was a cop who claims he doesn’t remember his sexual misconduct–all of it–because he was drunk. All those times.

I’ve got little to say about Sam Sykes aside from that he’s a presence in the SFF world who always sorta seemed like a douche to me, but I’d follow and unfollow him because I loved his “buy my book” tweets. But also, douchey. So that’s over.

Chuck Wendig is an ally to women. This is not a trait a person is born with like some magical golden fucking hair that sings or something, it’s acquired by choices, experience, mistakes. He acts on it. I don’t like giving PROVE IT examples because to me it’s the equivalent of “I have a black friend so I’m not racist,” but FINE. From work on The Pixel Project to his standpoint on the widely criticized and condemned Girl Ghostbusters (Why Four Women Playing Ghostbusters is Not a Gimmick), Chuck cares about women’s rights and equality.

When I talked to Chuck, the first thing he said to me was, “I wish I’d seen it tho.”

I told Chuck I’d do whatever I could to help him through his association with these jackasses because I believe in him. He found out about the accusations and he handled it genuinely, saying that it’s important to be vigilantly on the lookout for this behavior. Read that right here: A Statement About Recent Harassers in SFF.

A lot of famousy folks are saying their pieces about him. I haven’t said much because (and the fucked-upedness of this says something), who’s listening to me? The point is, I’m not famous. Chuck and I have been friends for years, when he was only kinda famous and I was brand new in the writing community. He could have tried to use that to his advantage, but not once was I ever made uncomfortable or offered something in exchange for his friendship. In fact, he’s always offered up his help to me and never, ever implied I owe him a damn thing for it.

It matters that I’m not famous, because I’m the voice who can say I’m just a writer and he’s always treated me with respect and thoughtfulness because it’s his nature.  

I’m the person who can say Chuck did the right thing over and over again when no one was looking, in person or otherwise. That’s dignity. That’s not a one-off. That’s a person who has morals and stands by them. And a person who has those morals is always looking to do better, not make excuses. Like I said on Twitter, Myke Cole doesn’t get to say “I was drunk.” Sam Sykes doesn’t get to not quite recall. Paul Krueger does not get to say “my bad.” These are not mistakes. This is their lack of morality. Chuck Wendig shows that he’s not one of them.

Victims, survivors, those of you intimidated, I stand by you. Your voice matters to me. I’m here to amplify it.

Published by Julie Hutchings, Pretty Scary Author

Mythology-twisting author and editor, reptile hoarder, coffee drinker, harpy. Author of The Shinigami Vampire Series and The Wind Between Worlds.

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