Yesterday the New York Times published a heart-rending and eloquent letter from Dylan Farrow describing the sexual abuse inflicted upon her by her adoptive father Woody Allen. Words can't describe the anger I feel at both Allen for doing this and at Hollywood for enabling him and looking the other way.
Roxane Gay gets to the heart of the matter in her must-read essay "Compartmentalizing Woody Allen," about how both America and Hollywood see what they want to see. But I also think it's much more than that, something Dylan Farrow alluded to in her letter when she calls out actors like Cate Blanchett, Louis CK, Alec Baldwin and Diane Keaton for looking the other way.
Basically, as Upton Sinclair once said, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" Add prestige and fame to that quote and you're close to understanding why Hollywood wants so desperately to ignore the truth about Woody Allen.
But it's easy to act like we're so much better than those Hollywood big shots, who refuse to see the truth screaming in their face. But some of those in the SF/F field haven't acted much better with our own Woody Allen, the infamous Edward E. Kramer.
For those who don't know, Kramer is a well-known editor and writer who was also a co-founder and former part-owner of Dragon*Con. In 2000 he was charged with molesting three teenage boys in incidents stretching back to 1996. However, instead of going to trial, Kramer fought to postpone any day of justice, saying severe health concerns made him unable to attend his trial. This dragged on for more than a decade until, in 2011, the too-ill-for-trial Kramer was—surprise—caught hiking in Conneticut and staying in an hotel room with an underage boy.
Kramer's long evasion of justice for his victims ended in December 2013 when he pleaded guilty to three counts of child molestation. However, since then I've yet to hear any words of apology from Kramer's many defenders in the SF/F genre.
You see, during all this a number of notable SF/F authors voiced their support for Kramer. Now obviously these defenders didn't enable or help Kramer commit his crimes. That was totally on Kramer. But by coming to Kramer's defense they enabled him to claim the role of victim in all this. That helped him draw out his trial for more than a decade, which delayed justice from being served.
To the credit of SF/F fandom, people eventually threatened to boycott Dragon*Con unless they severed ties with Kramer, which they did. But I've heard no apologies from any of Kramer's other extremely vocal defenders in the genre.
Just like Hollywood, many in the SF/F community are too willing to look away from sexual abuse and child molestation when it is inconvenient to either themselves or the genre. However, doing this actually weakens the genre and harms all of us, as it encourages a culture of silence and allows predators like Kramer to continue harming new victims.