Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin has come under intense fire for racism and transphobia due to his mispronunciation of several names while hosting this year’s Hugo Awards.
On August 1st, the famed author played host to the 2020 entry of the annual Hugo Awards, whose awards ceremony was streamed online due to the ongoing COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic.
Martin acted as the pre-recorded host and announced the winners of that evening awards. But because he mispronounced names and celebrated achievements of dead authors Twitter activists and authors are claiming that Martin is both a racist and is transphobic.
Crazy Rich Asians actor Calvin Wong took to Twitter to write, “no more George rr martin. society has progressed past the need for George rr martin.”
He added in a subsequent tweet, “praising a fascist and mispronouncing the names of the black and brown nominees of the award ceremony he PRERECORDED is an unacceptable failure.”
One writer, Natalie Luhrs wrote a blog post that same evening titled “George R.R. Martin Can F*** Off Into the Sun, or: The 2020 Hugo Awards Ceremony (RageBlog Edition)”.
The author took issue with how “George R.R. Martin repeatedly mispronounced the names of nominees and, in one case, a publication which was nominated. All the nominees were asked to provide pronunciations for their names in advance.”
She went on to say, “The fact that Martin chose not to use that information is disgusting and racist as f***, as nearly without exception the names he mispronounced were Black and brown.”
Luhrs also accused CoNZealand of transphobia writing, “There was also a whole segment about the Oscar statuette and its crotch. It was gender essentialist and transphobic. It was so gross I don’t even want to talk about it to be honest.”
Author Andrew Slinde added his own thoughts on Twitter writing, “It’s absolutely killing me today that some of the best authors I know were made to feel marginalized and unworthy (again) at the Hugos.”
He would conclude his Tweet by cursing both Martin and Worldcon directly, exclaiming “F*** you, George RR Martin, and f*** you Worldcon for allowing that.”
Fellow author Brian J. White gave an uninformed Twitter user a TL;DR of the events of the evening, hyperbolically claiming that “George Ronald Reagan Martin took what should have been a night celebrating a massively diverse field of finalists and winners and instead took a big throbbing shit in the middle of it, and then spit-talked about John Capbell for several hours”
One user, @tineytempest, even went so far as to “file a Code of Conduct complaint against George RR Martin, Bob Silverberg and everyone involved in allowing the Hugo ceremony to be a garbage fire.”
CoNZealand, the New Zealand-based science-fiction convention that was sponsoring this year’s event, would release a statement via their twitter account, stating, “Our Chairs apologise to the Fans beyond the binary who are offended by any statements in the Hugo Awards that were disrespectful or minimising.”
However, those who took issue with Martin’s mispronunciations were far from accepting of the apology.
User Madame Hardy mocked the apology, “‘I’m sorry you were offended’ is not, is never, an apology.”
A user by the name of laura W said, “it’s not as if it is just ONE problem, It’s overwhelming, And unpleasant”
“I’m within the binary. I am still offended,” stated user Another Damned Medievalist, aka Dr ADM:
Daily Dot editor Anna Maria accused Martin of transphobia writing, “He was incessantly and aggressively racist, sexist, and transphobic. Search “grrm hugo” on Twitter and read this to catch yourself up.”
Atlantic Writer and Wonder Woman: Bondage and Feminism author Noah Berlatsky was also unhappy with Martin’s performance, outright declaring that “George RR Martin is a talentless asshole, and always has been.”
When asked about the Tweet, Berlatsky replied, “he went out of his way to praise Cambell at the Hugo’s.”
John W. Campbell has come under scrutiny in recent years due to concerns over the late author’s views on race and slavery, which many would consider unacceptable by modern sensibilities.
Previously, the Hugo Award for best new author had been called the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.
That changed when author Jeannette Ng publicly took issue with the use of the author’s name during her 2019 acceptance speech where she described Campbell as “responsible for setting a tone of science fiction that still haunts the genre to this day. Sterile. Male. White. Exalting in the ambitions of imperialists and colonisers, settlers and industrialists.”
The award has since been renamed as ‘The Astounding Award for Best New Writer’.
Ng would respond this year, after accepting the 2020 Hugo Award for Best Related Work, by boasting about her involvement to get the name changed. Saying in part, “Pulling down memorials to dead racists is not the erasing of history, it is how we make history.”
She would continue, “I am proud to celebrate that with you here. And I am humbled to have contributed in this small way to these conversations, there revolutions within and without our genre. Conversations that are as old as our genre.”
Related: HBO Cancels Game of Thrones Prequel Starring Naomi Watts After Filming Full Pilot Episode
YouTuber Just Some Guy created a short video detailing the attacks against Martin by outraged authors and fans.
What do you think of all this? Is Martin wrong for praising John W. Campbell? What about the author missing his self imposed deadline for Winds of Winter? Which is worse? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.