The Hugos, Jonathan Ross, His Family And Neil Gaiman

Bleeding Cool ran a summary of the twitterstorm that kicked off in the light of Jonathan Ross being announced at the host of this year’s Hugo Awards at LonCon, WorldCon in London, with our own particular take. It got linked to from a few places.

In the aftermath of Jonathan Ross withdrawing, a few events occurred. We waited for things to settle a little before compiling a few.

First, LonCon made a public apology to Jonathan Ross, saying,

The events of this past weekend with regard to the Hugo Awards Ceremony announcement have been a source of distress and concern. Recognising that, several apologies are in order.

The Chairs of Loncon 3 wish to apologise publicly to Jonathan Ross and his family for the situation that occurred over the weekend. We invited him in good faith, as a creator and fan, and a high-profile member of our community, to be Master of Ceremonies at the Hugo Awards Ceremony, and he graciously accepted, offering us his services as a volunteer.

Having invited him to take the role, we failed to brief him about the recent debates in fandom, and failed to help him deal with the controversy which ensued after we announced his participation. He and his family have had a horrible few days, and it was our fault for putting him in that situation.

The Chairs of Loncon 3 also apologise to all those inside and outside Loncon 3 and our wider community who were affected by these events. We regret any and all offence caused to those who disagreed with our choice of Jonathan Ross, those affected by the exchanges that followed on social media, and those who are disappointed that he has now withdrawn. In hindsight, we did not consult widely or promptly enough within our own Committee or with external parties before making and publicising the decision. The Chairs and Committee remain committed to the letter and spirit of our Code of Conduct.

We have learned important lessons, and these can only help us in our continuing work to make Loncon 3 as great a convention as possible, and welcoming to all aspects of SF fandom.

Jonathan Ross’ seventeen year old daughter, Honey Kinney, responded to one prominent critic, SF author Seanan McGuire, saying,

 

 

Jane Goldman, Hugo award winner and wife of Jonathan Ross wrote.

Reading all your yay! women! tweets this morning, while you rudely ignore a real, live 17 yr old girl … whom you hurt deeply with your words, is jaw-dropping. You falsely accuse her father of sizeism, she gathers the courage to speak to a bullying adult with 12.5k followers … and you ignored her and casually blathered on about the Oscars. Don’t worry about the three real women whose weekend you ruined (me and my daughters). Women like you. Who worry about what to wear and get called fat. And feel loved and protected by the man you slandered, and who were brought to tears not by imaginary words, but by your ill-considered poison. You owe my daughter a reply.

The next day, Seanan McGuire replied,

 

 

 

 

 

 

But Jane Goldman had, by then, deleted her twitter account. Jonathan Ross wrote,

 

Neil Gaiman who was asked to invite Jonathan Ross shared his own, very supportive, experiences with the man, and responded with his own take,

I sympathise with anyone who felt that Jonathan wasn’t going to make an appropriate Hugos host, and with anyone who spoke about it to the convention committee, but do not believe a campaign aimed at vilifying Jonathan personally was wise or kind. And for those who thought that making this happen was a way to avoid SF and the Hugos appearing in the tabloids, I’d point to the Streisand effect, with a shake of the head.

I have won Hugo Awards, and I am incredibly proud of all of them; I’ve hosted the Hugo Awards ceremony, and I was honoured to have been permitted to be part of that tradition; I know that SF is a family, and like all families, has disagreements, fallings out. I’ve been going to Worldcons since 1987. And I know that these things heal in time.

But I’ve taken off the Hugo nominee pin that I’ve worn proudly on my lapel since my Doctor Who episode, The Doctor’s Wife, won the Hugo in September 2012, and, for now, I’ve put it away.

The Streisand Effect, to quote Wikipedia,

The Streisand effect is the phenomenon whereby an attempt to hide, remove, or censor a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely, usually facilitated by the Internet.

It is named after American entertainer Barbra Streisand, whose attempt in 2003 to suppress photographs of her residence in Malibu, California, inadvertently generated further publicity.

Because, yes, as for avoiding tabloid scrutiny of the awards… I’m not sure that’s worked out too well.

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This is the sound of me shaking my own head, slowly, back and forth.

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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