I’m seeing one or two depressing things about anti-harassment policies recently. A few days ago Twitter was aflame with discussion of a story that a convention broke off its contract with a hotel in part because some of the staff objected to the con having an anti-harassment policy. I’m now sure where that was has gone, but it was very odd thing for a hotel to say.
A much more comprehensive example of the way that backlash works has been provided by this post from Michael Kelley on Publishers Weekly. It is attacking the introduction of an anti-harassment policy at conferences run by the American Library Association. If you want to fill a bingo card of concern-trolling over anti-harassment policies, you can do so with that one very easily. It has all the necessary ingredients. There’s the “it might be necessary for other conventions, but we are civilized people”. There’s the “we can’t have a policy unless we can define harassment in such a watertight manner that no one can possibly come up with a way it might go wrong”. And of course there is the underlying assumption that the whole point of anti-harassment policies is for secret cabals of feminazis to falsely accuse and persecute innocent men who are just having a “bit of fun”. All of which makes me rather glad that I’m unlikely to ever attend a convention that Mr. Kelley is likely to be at.