…and yet another

Two weeks ago, one of my dearest friends called me to tell me this article was coming out the following week. I listened with compassion and solidarity as he told me that he was DONE. No more. Finit. Enough of this sexual harassment/assault bullshit in our convention spaces. This time the target was a close friend of his, and the (alleged) assailant, the husband of his cherished colleague.

Here’s an excerpt:

AnachroCon 2014, held February 14-16, at the Atlanta Marriott Perimeter Center, announced last week via Facebook that one of its founding members and co-chairmen William MacLeod would be leaving the con. In his original message (dated Tuesday February 18th) he stated, “The Army finally took its toll on me…. After 6 years as Chairman of AnachroCon, I (William MacLeod) am stepping down and turning convention operations over to my beloved co-chair Cindy so that I may focus on medical issues that have begun to plague me even more over the years.”

However, in the two days leading up to William MacLeod’s announcement, accusations surfaced that a member of the con staff allegedly received inappropriate and unwanted verbal and physical advances from the co-chairman. The staffer, who asked not to be named publically but was interviewed at length by a member of the Steampunk Chronicle staff, states that William MacLeod made repeated offers of sex over the weekend and fondled her at the most recent convention. According to the staffer, this was not the first time he had inappropriately touched her, and she alleges a pattern of such behavior going back several years.

A Troubled History

SpC has uncovered a string of allegations against William MacLeod, including a related sexual harassment allegation in the resignation letter of a former AnachroCon Senior Director of Promotions, Dan Carroll, who cited MacLeod’s behavior toward female members of Carroll’s staff. Carroll stated this week, “I resigned from AnachroCon because of the completely inappropriate treatment of women by the Chairman. All of the women who worked under me at the convention had asked me to address the issue. He did not seem to take these concerns seriously. It was my understanding he had taken steps to seek treatment and was working on the problem.” Carroll resigned in 2011. According to Cindy MacLeod, at the time of Dan Carroll’s resignation, AnachroCon, was not as well organized and they were still running it as a “private party.” There was no formal investigation.

A more recent departure was that of Megan Maude, director of the Fashion Track. She alleges that the problem of harassment has been pervasive at the con for a number years.  In a statement to Steampunk Chronicle, she said, “Predatory behavior was being tolerated and even encouraged by the chairman and his friends… I explained my many concerns about the safety of women at the con to Strobel [Charles Strobel, the Director of Programing and Anachrocon LLC Board of Directors member]… There was even talk of having a woman on staff whose only job would be to handle sexual harassment reports…[but nothing changed]… I genuinely don’t feel that I can safely invite any of my younger girlfriends to the con. I don’t want to tell a bunch of girls in their early to mid 20s to come to an event where I’m genuinely afraid they will be sexually assaulted.”

MacLeod has a long (alleged) history of harassing and assaulting women at his convention. Unfortunate for each of his subsequent targets over the years, no one did a thing about it before now.

Additionally, this man MacLeod supposedly spoke quite loudly for the “Cosplay is not Consent” campaign, which doesn’t surprise me in the least. As I’ve said countless times on this blog, offenders have no moral qualms about hiding in feminist ranks–just as they hide in other places like spiritual and sex-positive communities.

Enough.

Enough.

Enough.

I’m so proud of my dear friend for making a stand on this topic. This is what it takes. Every time another person stands up and says NO MORE or I’M DONE and takes action, the space in which these predators and rapists can operate becomes smaller and smaller. Standing up and saying NO MORE, no matter who is accused, and revoking their social license to operate will stop these predators from operating in our spaces.

Let’s make our convention spaces and communities safe for everyone, except those who perpetrate violence, especially sexualized violence. A good start for conventions is to have a response policy in place and posted publicly on its website, distributed in its literature, and announced at opening ceremonies. Join John Scalzi in boycotting events that do not take sexual harassment and assault seriously enough to have an action plan in place.

Join me in boycotting these events and events who continue to schedule known rapists as their musical guest and Guest of Honor (SteamCon & Wild Wild West Con, specifically), and let them know why you won’t go.

Support conventions who refuse to book known assailants like The Steampunk World’s Fair and AnomalyCon.

Read the entire fascinating article on MacLeod and the AnachroCon Controversy in The Steampunk Chronicle.

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~ by omgrey on March 5, 2014.

5 Responses to “…and yet another”

  1. I am so sick of reading these kinds of reports… when is it going to end? And the fact that groups tolerate and encourage this kind of behavior, in this day and age… My own family tolerates and encourages” rape and sexual abuse in my own family, and attacked me full-force when I came forward. My own siblings apparently don’t even care about protecting their own children! I am sure that some of my sisters went along with it willingly, but why they feel the need to try to destroy those who speak out and take a stand is beyond me. My youngest sister, Julia Graves, is married to a Methodist minister, David Graves, is in charge of a flock, and they both have and defamed me for over thirty years, even though I left home when I was 16 years old. They know nothing about me but continue the lies about our perfect family and my “lies and false allegations,” when the only ones lying are them.

    People will do and say ANYTHING to keep doing what they are doing. And woe be unto those who try to oppose them. But if resigning is the only thing one can do, then it’s important to do so, and clearly state the reasons why.

    Now that I think about it, “resigning” and “writing my resignation letter” is exactly what I did. It took all the courage I had, but I did it, over twenty years ago. I am still paying the price, but I couldn’t have lived with myself if I hadn’t of. I don’t know how these people sleep at night.

    I wish there was another island they could all be shipped to where they would have to LEAVE THE REST OF US ALONE.

    That is all we ask for… to be LEFT IN PEACE and not HARASSED CONSTANTLY by these criminals. I wish there was a hell on earth they could be sent to since they seem to enjoy making it hell on earth for the rest of us.

    • It will stop when people stop apologizing for and excusing offenders, and that is a log way away still.

      Talking about it openly and sharing stories and taking action are all steps in the right direction.

      I’m so sorry you’ve been through all this and continue to suffer because of it. When listening to the audiobook “Sexual Healing” by Peter Levine, I was astounded to hear that 1 in 4 people suffered sexual abuse as children. The number is higher for women.

      But as a society were starting to shine a light on this horror, and that is the beginning of the end.

      Keep talking.

      As you well know, I will never be silent again.

      • Couldn’t sign in… what is my pswd etc? Here’s my comment:

        Thank you so much… I just wish I knew “how to make it stop.” The attacks on me, the hurt when it’s my own family, my own mother, my own sisters who wish me dead. It makes it really hard to see anything good about oneself when one is hated so severely and for so many years.

        But as you said: “As you well know, I will never be silent again. ”

        I will never be silent either, no matter what the cost. In fact, I will NEVER SHUT UP no matter what they do! They can’t kill me now, even though they might wish me dead.

        Pastor David Graves and his wife, my sister, Julia Graves… how do they, as so-called “Christians,” live with themselves? The good ole pastor says “he has heard the same consistent stories about me all these years” so he “knows they must be true.” He is “in relation” with the abuser and “not in relation with me,” so I must be condemned. If he were Catholic, instead of a Methodist, I would have been excommunicated from this group. They are a cult no different than Scientology or Jim Jones or anyone else. They’ve all drunk the kool-aid and I’m the one that got away. And I will stay away, no matter what.

        But how to make it stop hurting? I got away almost 50 years ago, and like an emancipated slave – which we were back in those days, as women and children had no rights then – I still bear the wounds and the scars.

        What to do about that? Like a missing limb, it still hurts. It never goes away. Wishing that I could have had a truly loving family, a safe place to land. None of that for me, ever, never, and it will never come again. It never was. The only thing I have to change is me. I have to change what I wish and my wishes and dreams of “what might have been.” I wish I had a supportive sister, brother, just one supportive sibling out of eight children. Can you imagine? And they all hate me or ignore me and could care less about me. It really hurts. Got to stop all this talking about it. Until my mother died recently, I really believed it would all change one day and everything would be resolved… surely on my mother’s death bed, if not before.

        But no. Their hatred was even greater when she died as she set them up to carry the flag, and use “any means necessary” to kill me in any way they could. Destroy me and my character any way they could. They are awful people in their terrorist tactics, but I’m still here and I have to find a way to see that I AM NOT THEM, AND I DON’T DESERVE THEM.

        I have to find a way to let these people go.

        Dear God, please show me The Way.

        Thanks for letting me “let it out.” God bless you, too, OM Grey!

      • There is no way to stop it that I’ve found. It’s impossible to control the choices and behaviors of others. The best we can do is to cut abusive and cruel people out of our lives without hesitation or remorse and to accept the reality that we survived the damage they caused. Unfortunately, it is up to us to repair it. Start there, and heal.

      • You are absolutely right on target about “cutting them out of our lives without remorse.” I think the sadness is the part that gets to me. My youngest sister, who I adored and took care of all her young life was the one that hurt me the most. I never thought she would turn on me the way she has, all these many years later. I never did anything to any of them but try to protect them and take care of them, since me and my older sister were given the responsibility for all eight children… but no, they have to make me the scapegoat and now that I’m in my mid-sixties, it is clear IT WILL NEVER END. That’s the heartache here. I always thought that “one day, they would come back, I could come back, all would be resolved and I would be welcomed with opened arms.” Instead, they sent my youngest sister Julia, married to a preacher, as a gift, as a Trojan Horse, to enter into my walls and kill me there. And I did almost die, but I am still alive.

        So there… it didn’t work, and now I’m working on “reversing their curse.” I never thought of it that way, but searching last night I came upon it. Turns out I’m not the only daughter that has been cursed by her mother, and likewise her siblings. Sometimes I feel like Cinderella and the cruel step-sisters, but I was able to get out and make my own “Prince Charming” life. I didn’t have to wait around. Now if I can just find a way to let go of the sadness and grief for the last thirty years, knowing that nothing I do will ever make them change. Their hatred is their life-blood and they eat it every day for breakfast, as I eat my grief. I have to find a way to let go. Permanently. It’s love that keeps me tied to them… the love of my mother I always wanted, and the love I had (have) for my youngest sister. The others are so cruel I was never close to them and it was a relief to get away from them, even though I tried to be friends for a long, long time. But the pain of losing my youngest sister is the arrow in my heart and a wound that just won’t heal. And that is what I have to work on now. How to let go.

        “The winds of grace blow all the time; all we need do is set our sails.”

        Dear God please show me The Way.

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