The Antonelli Affair

A lot has been written about the Sad Puppies campaign and this year’s Hugo awards, but I thought I’d shine a light on one aspect that hasn’t gotten too much coverage, and the lessons that can be learned from it.

At one point, during a Podcast, Lou Antonelli let slip that after having read something horrible that David Gerrold had posted on his Facebook page, something he decided to take seriously, something that if it were true would foretell harm befalling someone at Sasquan, the 2015 WorldCon, he decided that the Spokane Police Department should be made aware of this potential threat.

This should be perfectly reasonable, considering how much people complain these days about being made to feel “Unsafe” and demand that authority figures do something about it even before anything happens. Although from all evidence, the Spokane PD took it about as seriously as a report of a UFO, and absolutely nothing came of it. This is an important point: Absolutely no harm was done to anyone.

On the other hand, I find it perfectly credible that Lou had seen something loathsome and worrisome on Gerrold’s Facebook page. I have a Liberal friend who would quite often Like or Comment on items from Gerrold, and to a one, they were vile, evil and spiteful screeds against those not of his political stripe, frequently wishing for ironic harm to befall them. And the comments from his fans seemed to be a contest of who could amplify the hate to the highest shriek. I finally found the way to stop those posts from appearing in my feed without having to unfollow my misguided friend – I simply replied to one of these vituperative calls for conservative blood, I can’t recall what it was exactly, and posted a disagreement. Mr. Gerrold promptly blocked me. (Certain idiots over on File 770 refused to believe that I couldn’t see Gerrold’s feed, and insisted that I was lying, right up until he came on the thread and confirmed that I was blocked, at which point the issue was dropped as if it had never been, and that they had never been wrong. They also refused to believe that he had been sanitizing his timeline leading up to the Con. I leave the proof of that as an exercise to those internet warriors who make extensive use of

If one takes the position that Gerrold is merely an internet blowhard, and that he doesn’t actually mean any of it to take place outside of his fevered imagination, then contacting the police over an internet crank was probably taking things too far. And to Lou’s credit, he did what any proper gentleman should have done, he admitted his mistake (such as it was) and apologized.

His apology fit all of the criteria I’ve spelled out before for what makes up a proper apology. He laid out exactly what he had done, owned it, admitted that his actions were inappropriate, made it right by retracting his police complaint, and promised to not do it again. He did not try to justify it by saying anything about what Gerrold had said that concerned him enough to think a police report was necessary. That would be trying to shift blame, and not proper for a true apology.

Mr. Gerrold graciously accepted the apology, and in any civilized society, this would be the end of the issue.

Of course, this is not a civilized society we’re talking about, this is Fandom.

In any case, the SJW side of fandom rose in coordinated furor over this revelation, making all kinds of demands for Lou’s head, literally and figuratively. They wanted his career ended, they wanted him to be collectively shunned, and especially they wanted him banned from WorldCon. Indeed, one fragile flower who had some minor position on the Con staff, who didn’t know Lou, had never met Lou, who was utterly outside Lou’s acquaintance, became so worked up over how horrible and dangerous this Antonelli fellow must be, that she felt “Unsafe” that he would be in the same hotel as her during the con, and was utterly dismayed that the ConCom wouldn’t act on her vague feelings of unrest and Do Something about it. She felt so Betrayed by the lack of action, she quit her post.

The objections did get some attention. Somehow these events, taking place months before the convention and not involving the Con in any official capacity might have run afoul of some vaguely-worded anti-harassment policy the ConCom had concocted, and considering how voluminously the hate-speech had been flying over the whole Sad Puppies campaign, it was sure to be applied one-sidedly. But Sasquan issued a statement on their Facebook page stating that after consulting with Mr. Gerrold, they would not be sanctioning Lou in any way, and that Lou had already promised to be on his best behavior at the Con in his apology. On the surface, this was a perfectly reasonable position. I’ll get to what lay underneath it in a moment.

Needless to say, this did not sit well with the screaming SJW faction. Lou was a Sad Puppy Nominee! He’d borne (not so) false witness against one of their heroes – The host of the besieged Hugo Awards! Even if Gerrold had accepted the apology, as utterly uninvolved parties, they could not! All of the usual suspects came out on that thread, inventing stories about how they felt personally threatened by Lou’s presence at the Con, and how it was only right that he be banned, shunned, and destroyed for his crimes. Remember, the only offense was that Lou reported Gerrold’s public statements to the police, but to these fanatics, it was as if a serial killer was being welcomed with open arms. How could it possibly be that the Con would not take this opportunity to savage and destroy one of the hated Sad Puppies? (Oh, they didn’t say that in so many words, but it was clearly implied.) But there was a reason.

This coordinated overreaction extended to other venues too. One ‘zine editor ignored the 72-hour rule to her detriment, and in the eager rush to be seen as being on the right side and “Do Something,” broke a publishing agreement with Lou for one of his shorts. It really wasn’t her place as an uninvolved party to take steps to punish Lou, and if she had waited a prudent amount of time, she would have learned about Gerrold accepting the apology. And instead of stepping back from that position in light of the new information, she became adamant. This did not reflect well on her, except among those who were calling for Lou’s destruction.

So, getting to what I alluded to above. On the surface, The Sasquan ConCom and Gerrold’s actions were honorable and gentlemanly. Granting forgiveness, especially when the affront caused no actual harm should have been ultimately to their credit, but the events of the Hugo presentation revealed their true motivation. Of course, all of the SJW Fen screaming for Lou’s head couldn’t be let in on the plot, which left them angry and confused (moreso than usual). If the Con had given in to the internet lynch mob, Lou would not have been present at the ceremony, and he would have been missed by Gerrold’s long-planned public insult to everyone nominated by the Sad Puppies campaign. After all, the “Assterisks” had been commissioned a month or two in advance, so pretending to be the better man was necessary in order to foist one upon Lou. Remember, according to the Sasquan ConCom’s statement, it was Gerrold who insisted that they not exclude Lou. In the face of all the enmity between them, why else would he do that? It was pure strategy. And if it took making a farce out of the Hugo awards, and destroying their credibility in order to drive out the Sad Puppy upstarts the ConCom was willing to make that sacrifice.

Too bad it didn’t work.

10 thoughts on “The Antonelli Affair

  1. When compared alongside Gerrold’s despicable Facebook posts (and he knows how bad they are if he’s deleted them), the travesty of an awards ceremony, Patrick Nielsen Hayden’s disgusting behavior towards Mrs. Wright and the nasty, vicious nature of the ongoing attacks against Sad Puppies, Antonelli’s mistake pales in comparison. Lou knows he did something wrong. Can the other side say that?

    • It’s called Defining Wrongness Down. All sins are not sins if they support the cause. For example, leftist darling Sandra Bernhardt’s racist and sexist statement about how she’d arrange for some black men to rape Palin if she came to New York. Even though Rape is considered the most serious crime ever, and the idea that black men would gladly commit it for money (or ideology) is straight out of the Klan recruitment brochure, she took no flack at all for it, except from conservatives who knew it was beyond the pale.

      Still, I wrote this to make a point, and that is, when it involves the SJW Fandom, the standards of polite civilization do not apply. An apology is not a truce, it’s seen as a capitulation, which is to be capitalized upon They have no honor and see nothing wrong with bayoneting the wounded.

      It’s kinda like that old, un-PC joke about how you should never admit to your wife that you are wrong, or else from then on every argument will be ended with “Remember that time you were wrong….”

  2. There will always be some people who complain no matter what happens. However, I do think that most people felt that after Lou apologized and David accepted his apology, that was the end of it. They both did the right thing, and I, at least, thought better of them both for it. That’s how the Spokane PD treated it, and that’s how WorldCon treated it: over and done with.

    The rest of us should do the same.

    • You would think that. And the Essay could have ended about halfway through if that had been the case, but if you saw the Sasquan announcement on Facebook, and all the people coming out of the woodwork to declare how threatening and dangerous Lou was, and how he should be banned from all Cons forever and ever… well that just shows you how the whole custom of apology has been abandoned in favor of never, ever giving up a grudge. (You can even see that in the File 770 comments about this article. Lou’s apology is considered insufficient, and he’s still considered the most horrible man on earth, and how could I possibly say he did no harm, even though they can’t demonstrate any actual harm done.) Of course, someday the inability to apologize for something and getting an issue dropped will bite them on the ass, but who could possibly give up a short term gain in the long game, eh?

  3. “Fragile flower” may have quit her post, but she still attended the con. Which goes to show that her histrionics were all about her politics, and not about any real fear for her personal safety.

    What a surprise: SJW’s lie.

  4. By the way, what a lot of the File 770 guys have not figured out reading this is that this is NOT about covering for Lou. Except to the extent that when people do the right thing, that should be recognized.

    But what they’re totally not picking up on is the whole “Let’s invite Carrie to the Prom” thing going on between Gerrold and the Sasquan ConCom, only with little wooden assholes instead of a bucket of pig blood.

  5. I don’t even know how to begin to describe how stupid and misleading this account is.
    Lou apologized for reporting to the police he felt that David was a madman prone to violence and David, not a madman prone to violence, accepted his apology. This was not some nefarious plot by David to make sure Lou was there at WorldCon but him accepting the apology and believing kicking Lou out was an overreaction.
    Let it go.
    I am friends on Facebook with both David and Lou.
    BTW, your three-stage voting is a good idea.

    • Not friends with David on Facebook, he blocked me. And then oddly, from behind the block, wrote me a a vaguely threatening warning. I only found out about it (and that it was directed at me) from Glyer. So I’m a little less inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt than you are.

      On the other hand, I’m glad you agree on the three stage voting. It makes sense to me that if you want to get everyone’s opinion, you ask everyone, rather than the try to pull mathemagic on the top 10%.

  6. “Certain idiots over on File 770 refused to believe that I couldn’t see Gerrold’s feed, and insisted that I was lying, right up until he came on the thread and confirmed that I was blocked, at which point the issue was dropped as if it had never been, and that they had never been wrong.”

    oceania has always been at peace with eurasia, comrades.

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