Fear And Loathing In SLC: How A Social Justice Mob Got To Brandon Sanderson

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Vague accusations of harassment. The media dials in on it like white on rice, escalating the sound of the severity with each article even though they’re only sourcing themselves. No details or evidence of what happened. Big celebrities jump on the train, condemning anyone remotely involved.

No, I’m not talking about GamerGate. This is about FanX Con in Utah, a geek media convention with high profile celebrities from David Tennant to Brandon Sanderson.

Well, maybe not Brandon Sanderson this year. He’s not sure he’s going to attend anymore, after co-signing a letter with several other authors who are up in arms, as he stated on his blog:

For now, I am still scheduled to appear at FanX this fall. My team and I have been evaluating whether or not this is a position we can still take—and it will greatly depend on how FanX responds to this letter in the next few weeks.

So what happened at FanX? It must be very serious for a bunch of well respected authors to write a letter threatening to remove themselves from a convention, one would think. But this is 2018.

Flashback to last year, OdysseyCon had SJW Monica Valentinelli who flaked as guest of honor of a convention because she learned that a man was going to be there who had been falsely accused of sexual harassment at WisCon years prior, and cleared of the charges. Just his being there, not that he did anything was something that triggered her to the point of blowing up the convention. It didn’t stop Tor from firing him, nor every “respectable” author in the community from dog piling on him at the time. He was guilty of the accusation, and this is how the SJW Inquisition rolls. OdysseyCon even banned him from attending just to appease her. But it wasn’t enough. It’s never enough. This set a precedent for the way social justice crazies go after conventions to try to force them into submission.  

FanX Gets Harassed By The Mob

Fast forward to FanX. This time, they have a repeat guest named Richard Paul Evans, author of the Christmas Box. Last year, he was on a panel with a woman named Shannon Hale and afterward allegedly gave her a hug and a kiss on the cheek. That is the entirety of the accusation. Some of the news reports call it simply a “hug”. There was no hard evidence of what transpired, only hearsay, in which in the name-and-shame era of the seek and destroy SJWs, is enough to permanently destroy someone, and to destroy anyone remotely associated with them. It looked absurd to the general public.

FanX apparently thought it was absurd as well. One of the organizers stated on Facebook at the time: “From our point of view, we could not publicly ban RPE. We had no proof. We would be sued for libel and defamation from Riachad. Then it would get out you would be banned and humiliated at FanX for kissing a guest on the cheek and touching her.”  A valid concern by the organizers. If I were Richard, I certainly would sue for defamation against the con if I had hugged someone in passing as colleagues and been eviscerated for it by the convention and by the press subsequently.

The situation died down for a couple of months and then the SJWs came out in full force in May. Richard was finally banned, and like clockwork, the usual suspects started moaning that “it’s not enough”. There were demands made to change the code of conduct policies to be more vague, more witch-hunt prone, to which FanX summarily ignored as they didn’t have any real problems at their convention, and their policies are fine for any sane individual. An email was exchanged where the alleged hug victim, Shannon Hale, demanded more be done—even though the man who she literally couldn’t even was already banned. The FanX group was tired, and told her she should likely sit this con out if she was looking to cause trouble.

She went public, and started tearing the convention to pieces. At that point, all the SJWs pounced the con, threatening boycotts, guests bailing, similarly to OddyseyCon. The convention just didn’t want more trouble, so the SJWs created it. Just like they did at Worldcon this year. Just like they did at ConCarolinas. Just like they did at Origins. It’s a trend to where it’s constant.

“I don’t even want to go to conventions anymore,” one female regular con-goer told me yesterday evening, when asked about FanX. “You can’t just have fun anymore. Everyone’s just looking for a fight.”

And that’s what’s going on. The big name authors then jumped on the bandwagon for political points, culminating with Sanderson using his platform to try to bully this convention into…. what? There’s no specifics anyone wants. The  “evil” RPE is ALREADY banned for his hugging and cheek-kissing ways (hopefully all conventions ban the country of Italy next. The nerve of those harassers!). But everyone seems to demand that the conventions take absurd steps to where any accusation can get anyone banned at any time. They want the con to turn into a feminist police.

So far, the convention has held out and not made public bowing statements to the mob of authors acting like high school bullies as they threaten to ruin everyone’s fun for the sake of their zealotry, but with this kind of pressure, for how much longer? 

The Pressure Has Pushed Sanderson Left

Sanderson himself has been veering further left over the last several years, which is probably what led him to join the author-bully mob in targeting this convention. Last year, he released his book Oathbringer. Whereas he used to not include homosexual characters in his books for stated religious reasons, he’s been pressured for years over that fact, and inserted a scene to signal homosexual relations despite it being wildly out of place in the book. His editor at Tor Books, Moshe Feder, is an extremist who regularly attacks Republicans/Christians/Conservatives on social media, including speaking about me last year by throwing shade, “obviously isn’t smart enough to be a good writer,” when I had never interacted with him. I reached out to Sanderson’s assistants for clarification/apology, they refused to. It seems it’s okay to harass conservative authors on social media without comment to try to defame/destroy them, but not to kiss a woman on the cheek in a friendly way. 

One can only speculate why Sanderson has started to signal about social justice causes. His associations with Tor and by proxy surrounding some of the absolute most extreme people in the industry perhaps made him lose touch with his core audience who turned to Sanderson as the last bastion of fun fiction without politics that traditional publishing had to offer. Now it seems no one is safe in the era of identity politics.

It’s a sad day for fandom, as Sanderson is one of the top authors in the field, and has mostly stayed out of the political fray until the last year or so. But the pressure mounts on everyone with the way our culture war is shaping up. The pressure to destroy others who aren’t lockstep and are approved targets becomes too much for many. I hope, as a long time fan, that Sanderson can see past the mob and not fall further down this track of SJW lunacy. And call on Sanderson to retract his statement about FanX and take this no further. No good comes with this path. 

If you like books that don’t virtue signal, just have fun characters, read my book For Steam And Country. It’s got a diverse cast and a strong female lead… but it doesn’t matter. The characters are the characters and everyone can have fun with them. And the characters don’t sit around and shriek sexual harassment if someone hugs them. They go kick ass cuz that’s way more fun to read. Check it out here.

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17 thoughts on “Fear And Loathing In SLC: How A Social Justice Mob Got To Brandon Sanderson

  1. I used to love listening to Writing Excuses, until Mary Robinette Kowal joined. I liked her as a guest, but as a regular, her presence seriously changed the dynamic, and not just because it was not as much fun (I still don’t understand how a professional puppeteer could be so un-funny in person).

    • Likewise. Incidentally Mary and Brandon both have always been very kind to me. I like them very much as individuals. I just don’t want politics overruning every convention for some #MeToo nonsense.

    • That was my experience exactly. She brought her intersectional feminism with her, detracting from a podcast that was supposed to be about the craft of writing. If I want to hear about how white men have destroyed everything, I can always turn to the august pages of the Huffington Post or The Gaurdian to satisfy my morbid curiosity.

  2. I kind of miss the days where if someone said something that offended you, you had the option of ignoring the person or the comment. Or if someone gave you a hug—or invaded your personal space—you had the option of saying, “Please don’t do that.”

    It must be exhausting, in this day and age, to have to hunt down the person who gave the offense—even if by mistake—and try to get them banned, deplarformed, and to destroy what you can of their livelihood. And then demand what amounts to a lawless restraining order.

    All in the name of free speech, social justice, and female empowerment.

    If only these Queens of Hearts could see that while they “feel” unsafe being in the presence of one so detestable as to have a different opinion or to have made a social faux pas, THEY are the ones who are actually making the area unsafe for everyone else. (To be fair, this is consistent with the Queen of Hearts’ character. Reality had no bearing whenever she found offense.)

    The upside is that the Hive Mind makes it easier to spot those it has devoured. They’re the ones muttering about diversity, equality, and inclusivity. Luckily there’s a whole trove of authors and stories out there who don’t frequent witch hunts that I can support financially instead.

  3. Just added you to my blog reader from other blogs about the SJW ‘Triggered’ tactic.

    Now I’m doomed. Bought 1 book kindle& audible,another on KU and a third short that was $.99.

    • Heh thank you Paul! I hope you like them 🙂 Putting in a lot of work on all fronts from entertainment jounralism here to tryig to come out with a few books a year.

  4. Lots of interesting points here. I saw Brandon’s post, but wasn’t aware of the context.

    Did want to point out though that I don’t think that Brandon’s inclusion of a homosexual character was a result of being pushed by the left in recent years. Back in 2007, he blogged that he intended to write a gay character in the future. (See https://brandonsanderson.com/euology-dumbledores-homosexuality/). That is separate from the issue with the con, which is the main subject of the post, but I wanted to point out that I dont think his views have changed much on that particular topic for over a decade.

  5. Not looking to start a fight, but I applaud Brandon for speaking up on this issue, and for including a diversity of characters in his books.

  6. Are these feminist rabblerousers so weak that a man kissing them on the cheek or hugging them is threatening? Why are they so bitter that they have to turn everything upside down and make everyone afraid to be near them? If they are that afraid, they need to stay home and keep their phobias to themselves. Total ridiculousness.m

    • If someone, male or female, does not want to be hugged – and there are many valid reasons reasons for that due to personal preference – the solution is not to awkwardly acquiesce and then run screaming to the con organizers. It is to simply put up both hands in a warding-off gesture, step back, and simply say, “Sorry, I’m not a hugger” or “no thanks” or something similar For a good example, see how Jerry Seinfeld (a notorious non-hugger) did this when the singer Ke$ha attempted to hug him in public: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0_0aeIO2Sk

  7. Although I do agree that Sanderson has seemed to be moving more left leaning, Oathbringer was not his first book to feature a gay or lesbian character. I believe that would be Alloy of Law which was published in November of 2011.

    His stance, which I agree with, is something along the lines of things like homosexuality, alcohol, drugs, murder, and wars all exist in this world and would likely exist in any other words. It’s his job as an author and worked builder to create realistic worlds and so including those things doesn’t mean he endorses them, just that they exist. People don’t jump on him and other authors for including drugs, alcohol, murder, wars, etc. even though he’d likely be opposed to those for the same moral and religious reasons. So it seems odd to be so critical of the inclusion of a gay character.

  8. I wonder where Larry Correia is going to land vis a vis this mess. IIRC this is pretty much his home con, one he attends almost every year. But he has also not signed the letter from what I can see.

    FWIW, I think Fanx is going to bend the knee, if they haven’t already. And that that will of course not be enough. Since it never is. One of the founders/owners of the property has “stepped back” from social media and apparently at least some of its operations. So it goes.

  9. A humble suggestion. Find a woman, perhaps a former gamergate honeybadger, who has had bad experiences with SJWs in the past but isn’t well known online who will either voluntarily or with pay act out the part of the victim. Then arrange for some folks standing by with their phone camera ready for a set up – which shouldn’t be too hard to arrange given the level of evidence required here – where said victim is “harassed” and “groped” by some far left ahole of second or third tier fame that could be targeted without too much effort and arrange your own “incident”. When the next con comes around, use the same tactics on the leftist. Any leftist SJW attempting to defend said person would be swarmed as a bigot and hypocrite. Until this kind of thing starts taking some toll on their side as well, it’s going to continue.

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