Here's a simple test. Can you figure out why the following situations are different?
- Lou Antonelli apologized. The genre is beginning to accept his apology, with many people wanting to act as if nothing happened.
- Harlan Ellison apologized. The genre accepted his apology and most people now act as if nothing happened.
- Benjanun Sriduangkaew apologized. Most people in the genre refuse to accept her apology.
To pass the test, you must describe why the authors in these situations are being treated differently. And don't say one case was more serious than the others because they were all serious to both the genre and the people involved.
Could it be that the first two apologies were accepted by most people in the SF/F genre because the people apologizing are privileged white men with a good amount of literary acclaim and connections? Could Benjanum's apology be ignored because she is a relatively new author of color with relatively few connections in the genre?
Humans are generally inclined to accept apologies. And that's a good thing. When I read Lou's apology, I accepted it. Partly this was because the person he'd attacked, David Gerrold, accepted the apology. And partly it was because Lou's apology seemed sincere.
That doesn't mean I will forget what Lou did, or that the genre should ignore what he did. There are always societal repercussions to certain actions even if one apologies. This is seen most vividly in the criminal justice system, where a perpetrator may apologize to a crime victim even as the justice system still hands out punishment.
I'm not saying the cases listed above belong in the criminal justice system. I'm merely pointing out that accepting an apology and how a society handles punishment are two separate and distinct things. The SF/F genre is very much a society, and it must now determine how it wants to hold Lou accountable for his actions.
But none of this changes a simple fact: The SF/F genre has a double-standard in which people it accepts apologies from. Any idea why?