Worldcon or the annual convention of the World Science Fiction Society (WSFS) banned conservative author Jon Del Arroz from attending the convention in January.

They issued a lengthy statement over Twitter explaining their reasoning:

Worldcon 76 has chosen to convert Jonathan Del Arroz’s membership from attending to supporting. He will not be allowed to attend the convention in person. Worldcon 76 has chosen to reduce Jonathan Del Arroz’s membership from attending to supporting. He will not be allowed to attend the convention in person. Mr. Del Arroz’s supporting membership preserves his rights to participate in the Hugo Awards nomination and voting process. He was informed several hours ago of our decision via email. We have taken this step because he has made it clear that he fully intends to break our code of conduct. We take that seriously. Worldcon 76 strives to be an inclusive place in fandom, as difficult as that can be, and racist and bullying behavior is not acceptable at our Worldcon. This expulsion is one step towards eliminating such behavior and was not taken lightly. The senior staff and board are in agreement about the decision and it is final. If you have any questions or concerns feel free to share them here or in email at [email protected]

Worldcon also added the bane was due to his own actions.

Del Arroz had stated he would wear a body camera to the convention in an attempt to prevent assaults, confrontations, or bullying by other attendees of Worldcon 76 in San Jose, California.

The gist of it appears to be a preemptive strike against Jon Del Arroz because they believed he would break their code of conduct. They don’t specifically state what behavior they were expecting from him, but they insinuated he was a racist and a bully.

Those are pretty harsh accusations and as we’ve seen they can lead to the ruination of careers even if they are false.

And Jon Del Arroz is not taking the accusations lying down. He’s started a GoFundMe to raise funds to file a civil rights lawsuit against Worldcon. But he’s already contacted a lawyer and they’ve sent Worldcon a letter “which includes the legal statues [Worldcon] appear to be violating in their discriminatory and defamatory treatment.”

In the letter from Del Arroz’s lawyer, he vehemently denies the Worldcon’s insinuation that he is a racist and intends to sue Worldcon for “injury to his reputation, and for all emotional distress and pecuniary damages he suffers.”  He then denies Worldcon’s claim that he is a bully. The letter indicates this claim seems to stem from the fact that Del Arroz intended to wear a body camera. However, it does not appear that Worldcon restricts body cameras and in fact have allowed other attendees to record the event. But even if Worldcon does have a policy on body cameras, Mr. Del Arroz would follow the policy.

The letter then states Worldcon is in violation of California’s Unruh Act because there is evidence tying Worldcon’s ban to Jon Del Arroz’s conservative and libertarian political beliefs.

The letter adds Jon Del Arroz “has equally substantial evidence that establishes that he is being singled out for disparate treatment in that policies are being crafted or applied to him while those who do not share his political commitments are permitted to engage in the behavior that is being falsely attributed to him.”

Del Arroz’s lawyer does indicate he would rather settle this issue out of court. He makes four demands:

“Wolrdcon 76 … publicly apologize to Mr. Del Arroz for its treatment of him, and it will publicly state that it has no reason to assert that Mr. Del Arroz is either a racist or bully.  This public apology and statement will be made through its Facebook and social media sources.

Second, your organization and Worldcon 76 will comply with the Unruh Act by lifting the purported “ban” on Mr. Del Arroz’s participation in Worldcon 76.

Third, your organization and Worldcon 76 will commit to protecting the rights of Mr. Del Arroz from interference by third-parties, or by its members and agents, through harassment, intimidation or bullying.

Fourth, your organization and Worldcon  76 will provide its agents and employees with training on their legal obligation under California law not to discriminate or harass on the basis of political beliefs or relationships.”

It’s unfortunate Jon Del Arroz had to take these steps. But in this day and age they seem all too necessary now. We’ve seen just this past year, many on the left side of the political spectrum target conservatives and their livelihood. Dirty Jobs host Mike Rowe had an angry fan send in mail to the History channel in an attempt to fire him. Will Caligan lost his job because of his conservative beliefs, and Kevin Sorbo saw himself get banned from the East Coast Comic Con for his.

Differences of opinion and especially political beliefs should not lead conventions to banning people and they should definitely not make false accusations without any evidence. If this is where we are heading to a society its a grim picture that looks a lot like the Soviet Union.