I — Why I won’t be apologizing to Jonathan Ross or his family, or: I need to get this out of my system first
If you’re reading this, you’re probably aware of what went down this weekend regarding LonCon, Jonathan Ross, and the evil twitter-based SFF community. If not, here are links to get you caught up. This first post is about a particular segment of that conversation and I wanted to get it out of the way because it’s the aspect that has made me the most furious about all of this. And it changed how I felt about what happened at the beginning of this discussion.
On the day LonCon announced that the Chairs had selected Ross to host the Hugos, Seanan McGuire made a series of tweets. Here are the relevant bits:
Wait. WAIT. They’re letting JONATHAN ROSS present the Hugos? WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK.
You know, I’ve really enjoyed knowing that, were I to be nominated for a Hugo, the host wouldn’t see me and make fat jokes. Like, that thought has actually crossed my mind, when shopping for Hugo dresses. “The host won’t mock me.” Thanks, @loncon3, for taking that small bit of comfort and reassurance away from me.
So congrats, @loncon3. When people asked for a change in Hugo hosts, meaning something that wasn’t more White Dude parade… …you got a man who says things about women like me that I won’t put on my twitter. I am actually crying, @loncon3.
One final note, @loncon3: when MULTIPLE PEOPLE say “my first thought was he’d call you fat,” maybe you picked the wrong man.
I want you to note some things about these tweets. First, none of them are directed specifically at Ross. No @ mentions to his account. Second, all the things Seanan expresses here are personal and about her feelings based on what she knows about Ross’s style of humor. She’s specifically talking about her concerns and fears and discomfort. Third, she never makes a personal attack against Ross.
With all that in mind, I’d like to present you with another set of tweets. From Jonathan Ross’s wife Jane Goldman:
“Reading all your yay!women! tweets this morning, while you rudely ignore a real, live 17 yr old girl….whom you hurt deeply with your words, is jaw-dropping. You falsely accuse her father of sizeism, she gathers the courage to speak to a bullying adult with 12.5k followers….and you IGNORED HER and casually blathered on about the Oscars. Wow. Just.. wow. But don’t worry. Go on. Let’s discuss Disney princesses. Don’t worry about the three real women whose weekend you ruined. (Me and my daughters.) Women like you. Who worry about what to wear, and get called fat. And feel loved and protected by the man you slandered, and who were brought to tears not by imaginary words, but by YOUR self-involved, ill-considered poison. You owe my daughter a reply. Learn some manners and take responsibility for the effect of your words have on real humans.”
Why did Jane say all this to Seanan? Because one of her daughters tweeted at Seanan earlier and Seanan didn’t respond. And Jane decided that this is because Seanan is a bully and a weekend ruiner and a tear bringer.
Now, I can understand Jane being upset that Seanan did not answer her daughter’s tweets. But what’s fucked up here is that she assumed Seanan ignored them on purpose. While knowing that Seanan has 12.5 thousand followers. Perhaps Jane doesn’t understand that when you’re popular enough to have 12.5K followers, the @ mentions feed can get very full and you might miss some things. Except maybe she could have asked her husband about that since he has 3.65 million followers and must go through he same thing.
But hey, that’s her daughter and she’s a mom and I get being upset when your child is upset. That’s no excuse for any of this:
- Don’t worry about the three real women whose weekend you ruined.
- the man you slandered
- YOUR self-involved, ill-considered poison
- Learn some manners and take responsibility for the effect of your words have on real humans
You know, if Jane had said all that to me, my response would have been: Fuck you. Seanan, being the gracious person that she is, responded to this invective with “I’m sorry” and asked for the daughter’s Twitter handle so she could find the tweet she missed, and then apologized. Seanan is far nicer than I am.
And even after all that Jane still did not apologize for all that invective she threw at Seanan.
Undeserved invective, too, since Seanan did not slander anyone. Her concerns were not self-involved any more than Jane’s are. And she’s not the one who needs to learn some fucking manners.
If the Ross family’s weekend was ruined, it’s hardly Seanan’s fault. Just because many people pointed to her tweets as an excellent and articulate and emotionally eloquent explanation for why Ross was a poor choice for a Hugo host, that doesn’t mean she was the only person, the most vocal person, the leader of persons, nor even the loudest person to object. She is one of the more famous persons, and probably one of the most quoted. But to lay all of that on Seanan? To call her a bully? Oh no, Jane Goldman–No.
If I were being impolite, I would tell you to go fuck yourself with that nonsense. I won’t be impolite yet. Instead, I’ll point out that what Jane did is exactly what she kept accusing other people of doing to her husband. I guess she thinks that’s okay for her to do. Except if the community is supposed to apologize to Jane, her daughters, or Ross himself, then Jane owes Seanan a huge apology. I bet she doesn’t give one, though.
Because the conversation around this whole event has conveniently turned to how hurt Ross and Jane and their family are and how horrid those Twitter-using Sci-Fi people are for being so mean and hurtful and wrong. Except the narrative being spun out in this part of the conversation? Is absolute bullshit. In Part 2 we’ll talk about why.