I was going to write about something completely different today, but I can't in good conscience keep silence about this.
You may have heard about Ed Kramer, one of the founders of Dragon*Con, and his recent arrest. If not, there's a couple of articles that will get you up to date. This has a good overview, and this has the recent developments.
To sum up, Kramer has been avoiding going to court on child molestation charges since 2000. Claiming his health doesn't allow him to sit in a courtroom. At the same time he's been healthy enough to travel across the US, and ended up being arrested in a hotel room where he was alone with a 14 year old boy.
The official word from Dragon*Con is that he has nothing to do with them, and hasn't had anything to do with them since his 2000 arrest. -Now it has emerged that he still gets money from Dragon*Con, since he owns a reported 34% of the for-profit convention.
This has led to this article. Please read it, and especially this comment, that seems to give evidence that Kramer was wanted as a guest at Dragon*Con as late as 2008.
I had heard about Kramer before, and as I understand it his name surfaces from time to time. But from what I gather, it was news to everyone that Kramer still gets a lot of money from Dragon*Con. I heard about it two days ago, and has been following things since then.
I'm not surprised that Kramer's defenders have jumped in to attack those that brought this to light. We saw the same thing with the Readercon "incident" last year. But what does surprise me is the lack of comment from some corners of the US SFF community. (Although to be fair quite a few people have written about this.)
Where are all the people who at once jumped up and called for a boycott of Readercon until the case was "solved" to their satisfaction? (Something I stand behind by the way.) Where are the high-profile people who since then has written plenty of articles on "Con-creepers"? (Also something I support.) Aren't these people concerned that money from a major SFF Con is used to keep a person who is accused of multiple accounts of child molestation out of jail? Isn't child molestation worse than creeping out grown women?
The silence is starting to become telling...
Well, to be honest I'm really not that surprised at the silence. When it was made public that Mel Gibson had "ranted" at, and threatened, his ex on the phone (, he said some pretty horrible stuff,) my Twitter stream was filled for almost a week with people who talked about how horrible he was. (And Hollywood would have nothing to do with him.)
The same week Roman Polanski was fighting extradition from Switzerland, extradition to go back and serve his sentence for drugging and having sex with an underage girl. My Twitter stream was silent. (And Hollywood took out ads in support of Polanski, demanding he was allowed to "make movies in peace".)
From the outside it seems that in the US creeping on a woman, or yelling at her over the phone, is worse than molesting children...
From the information about Dragon*Con I have available to me, this is a no-brainer. I'd avoid it like the plague. -I know a boycott would hurt innocents (, vendors, local business, etc), but for me that is secondary to the fact that supporting it in any way helps a child molester stay out of jail.
So I want to call on everyone who has been vocal about sexism, racism, and other social issues, in the SFF community to speak out. This isn't something that you can keep silent about if you have a shred of integrity.
Personally I think that if you keep silent about this you have lost your right to speak up about other issues (, -I know I won't be listening to you if you do).
And if you really want to show that all your talk about social issues isn't just grandstanding to get "Brownie-points", you'll make an announcement that you will have nothing to do with Dragon*Con until they make sure that Kramer gets no money.
If letting Dragon*Con "die" is the only way to stop giving Kramer money, I think the SFF community should stand back and let that happen. (And maybe start up a replacement Con, so the only one suffering is Kramer.)
ETA: Stephen R. Bisette has posted more about this today. (Including a screenshot showing Kramer was to appear as Guest of Honour in 2008.)