In July 2012, Genevieve Valentine, an attendee at imaginative literature conference Readercon 23 (July 12–15), reported an incident of harassment by another attendee, René Walling, to the Readercon 23 committee and the Readercon board. (The committee is composed of the conference organisers; the board is the body that controlled the conference over multiple years.)
On 27th July 2012, the Readercon board told Valentine that Walling would be issued with a two-year ban, in contravention of their own policy:
- Harassment of any kind — including physical assault, battery, deliberate intimidation, stalking, or unwelcome physical attentions — will not be tolerated at Readercon and will result in permanent suspension of membership.
They initially refused to issue a public statement, but issued one later on the 27th.
There was a very large amount of criticism of the board for contravening their own policy, even by people who felt that a zero tolerance/automatic lifetime ban policy was not ideal.
On 5 August 2012, the board revised their decision to a lifetime ban of Walling, and all five members of the Readercon board announced their resignation.
BC Holmes has a more complete list of links and commentary.
- Genevieve Valentine's post describing Walling's harassment of her
- Genevieve Valentine's post criticising the Readercon response to her report
- Statement from the Readercon Board on 27 July.
- Apology and further statement from the Readercon Board on 5 August, announcing revision of Walling's penalty and resignations
- Kate Kligman's report of harassment by Walling
- The Readercon Thing, by BC Holmes.
- Link roundup by coffeeandink
- Just a Compliment, Geez, Meg Stivison at Simpson's Paradox
- Zero Tolerance, Unless Sowwies! Team Valkyrie