2018-10-26

sovay: (Sovay: David Owen)
Dear Arisia Info and Programming,

I am deeply distressed to read of this convention's handling of the safety concerns raised by Crystal Huff regarding Noel Marc Rosenberg.

I have been attending Arisia as a program participant since 2008; I consider it one of my two home conventions. My other is Readercon, where I have served on the safety committee since 2014. As a safecom member, I understand the complexity of recommendations that touch on interactions that may occur under the aegis of a convention but not technically at-con. I am also somewhat stunned by the dismissal of behavior that has been so well documented as code-of-conduct-breaching at multiple fandom events including Arisia, whose list of unacceptable behaviors explicitly includes stalking and non-verbal intimidation. Like all attendees of Arisia, I am given an expectation of safety by the convention's Code of Conduct and Behavior Policies. It is difficult for me to put much confidence in the code and policies of a convention that is not prepared to ensure the safety of even one of their own longtime staff.

As a member of the Readercon convention committee in 2012, I had a ringside seat when the similar failure of a convention to abide by its own stated policies led to the creation of its safety committee, the total overhaul of its code of conduct as well as incident report protocols, and the resignation of all members of the Readercon board. All steps including public statements of apology and accountability were necessary to restore the trust of a membership built over decades and burned in hours. I do not joke when I say it was a near-death experience for the convention. We still work to make its reputation inclusive, responsive, and safe, as opposed to tarnished by double standards and more tolerance for perpetrators than victims.

It is my sincere hope that the executive board of Arisia can heed the lesson of Readercon in choosing from this moment forward which kind of convention it wishes to be.

Thank you for your time and attention,

[Sovay]

I just sent the above e-mail to Arisia Info and Programming. Thanks to [personal profile] kate_nepveu, [personal profile] rushthatspeaks, and [personal profile] swan_tower for the heads-up on the situation.

The near-immolation of Readercon is not even a decade past. My faith in historical memory is getting fainter all the time.
sovay: (What the hell ass balls?!)
And today I check my e-mail and find out that FilmStruck is shutting down. No explanation was offered in the e-mail I received, but it seems to be the blinkered result of the acquisition of Warner by AT&T. I am tremendously grieved and disappointed, not least by the corporate reasoning cited in this article and others:

"We're incredibly proud of the creativity and innovations produced by the talented and dedicated teams who worked on FilmStruck over the past two years," Turner and Warner Bros. Digital Networks said in a joint statement provided to Polygon. "While FilmStruck has a very loyal fanbase, it remains largely a niche service. We plan to take key learnings from FilmStruck to help shape future business decisions in the direct-to-consumer space and redirect this investment back into our collective portfolios."

First of all, that last sentence should never be spoken anywhere the ghost of Preston Sturges can hear you. Second, of course it was a niche service. It made classic and arthouse cinema as available and accessible as the latest Netflix Original and while that was a beautiful and a necessary thing, I would not in fact have expected it to rake in the bucks of contemporary mass-market media. (Though, of course, once upon a time these movies were as mass-market as you could get.) But in another sense, its offerings weren't niche at all. FilmStruck was not a hot recent targeted slate of small-screen house product pipelined to the consumers of one streaming monopoly or other. It was a deep-cut, sprawling archive of multiple decades, genres, and studios, reaching from the beginnings of cinema to just last year with a glorious labyrinth of non-American, non-Anglophone highways and byways in between, and that was also the beauty of it. You didn't just watch Warner Bros. on its website. You didn't just watch MGM. You didn't have to watch Hollywood movies at all if you didn't feel like it. It was full of strangeness as well as canon and I loved it. It made my life better. It will not make my life better to have it yanked in favor of shaping some executive's collective portfolio. I understand it was more in the way of a private than a public library, but I still feel you don't close libraries and especially not because they are insufficiently feathering a golden parachute.

The Criterion Channel doesn't know where it's going to go. It offered movies not yet or maybe never available through the DVD/Blu-Ray Criterion Collection, more than one of my actual favorite movies included. I hope they will be able to find a new home, but I liked the one they had.

Remind me again when we actually get to have nice things?
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