There is a fuss going on at the moment with author Monica Valentinelli pulling out of Odyssey Con two weeks before the Con is scheduled to happen because of she feels “unsafe” around former Tor editor Jim Frenkel. According to reports at File 770 she made mention of this a while ago to the Con organisers and then she assumed her accusation and “unsafeness” would suffice to have Jim banished from anything relating to Odyssey Con. The kerfuffle stems from Monica’s discovery that Jim was still involved and hadn’t been banished with her magical imprecation.
Now this strikes me as incredibly poor form by Ms Valentinelli to dump Odyssey Con into this predicament 2 weeks out. Especially as they offered to remove Jim from any panels she was also on and otherwise make sure she didn’t have to interact with him and her feelz would be protected. Apparently this was insufficient fawning on the Con’s part.
What I am wondering though is, has Monica considered the wider implications of this sort of diva behaviour? If you were organising a Con would you invite her as Guest of Honour? I wouldn’t given this is her idea of professional behaviour. More than that, this will likely cause any rational Con organiser, even if only unconsciously, to be less willing to invite any women as Guest of Honour. Who wants the headache of someone flaking at the last second because they have decided their feelings of “unsafeness” trump any consideration of professional behaviour or the enormous problems it will cause other people? Monica in her betrayal of the trust shown in her has made it harder for women everywhere. What if a guest you have invited and planned for decides to “Pull a Valentinelli” at the last second? I suppose it isn’t fair to generalise this to all female authors, as much as it would be more reasonable to generalise this to any sort of grievance peddling group instead.
The people I feel most sorry for are the Jagi Lamplighters, Sarah Hoyt’s and other female authors of the world who are actual professionals and would never engage in this sort of childish tantrum, but whose prospects are damaged by one ridiculous drama queen and idiots who are enabling her behaviour.