Genevieve Valentine has posted a roundup of further responses to the Readercon Board’s decision not to follow their own harassment policy in punishing Rene Walling. Most notable is that a woman Mr. Walling previously harassed, Kate Kligman, has not only come forward, but revealed that she had privately alerted the Readercon Board to Walling’s history of harassment before the verdict was decided.
This is especially damning. The board’s decision to violate their own policy is unsupportable purely on principle, but to have done so while in possession of evidence that Mr. Walling is a serial harasser should make even the most sympathetic observer suspect cronyism as the primary motivation. It seems to me that, though a zero-tolerance policy may be too blunt an instrument for dealing with all instances of harassment, this case is not a boundary condition. This isn’t someone who went off his meds for a weekend and lost his shit. This is someone with a history of indefensible behavior.
Rose Fox has called for a vote from the convention committee on overruling the board’s decision. I am not familiar enough with the political structure that governs Readercon to fully understand what this means. Hopefully it is evidence that people in power are moving to do what is right: institute the lifetime ban that Rene Walling’s actions call for, and meaningfully apologize for the failure of the Readercon organizers to uphold the trust placed in them by their community.