For those of you who don’t know what BayCon is, it’s a sci-fi fantasy convention held in the San Francisco Bay Area that is mainly focused on writing and writers. There’s also gaming and other fun things, but the panels tend to center on more literary topics. Every year, they have a writer Guest of Honor, and this year it was David Brin.
Full disclosure: I was not at BayCon this year, and in fact haven’t been for the past couple of years. The con had a change of venue, and I really didn’t like where they ended up. So, I can’t speak from first-hand experience about what happened this weekend, but an account is going around from people who were there.
Apparently, David Brin is well-known in sci-fi and fantasy circles for being a racist, misogynistic asshole, and these qualities were on full display in a panel which he was moderating. You can read about it in more detail in this Facebook post from one of the attendees.
I find it baffling in the extreme that authors who work in a genre that features stories of inclusion and explores social issues can be the exact opposite as a person. And yet, we see it time and again at cons: a big-name author is invited to speak and makes a significant portion of the attendees feel uncomfortable or unsafe. I think we all need to take the responsibility to call out this behavior when we see it, and we should all stand up for those who feel unsafe in the environment created by these types of people.
We’re supposed to be better than this. Let’s work to do so.