Dear Mike Resnick:
It was less than a year ago when I last praised you publicly. One of my editors describes you as a “grumpy old Yoda”, with lots of information and wisdom, and I think that’s a fair description. You’re great on panels, and freely share your experiences and knowledge.
All it required was you saying “I am sorry I said offensive things. I will examine what I said so that I don’t repeat the offense.” Or you could have just used John’s apology template for something a little more eloquent.
But you didn’t. And that sucks.
And yes, I noticed you sneering at the SFWA and Writer Beware pamphlets at my table at the last con we were both attending. But I figured we could just leave it at that. Maybe you’d never apologize… but I wouldn’t have to explicitly call you out either.
Tripling down, as it were.
And here’s the thing, Mike.
Maybe you and all the other “signatories” who posted your awards after your names (on the earlier, more offensive version) think that your awards give you some kind of insulation from the consequences of your words.
All you are doing is changing how you’re remembered.
When I mention your name now, people think “Oh, that sexist guy”. They don’t remember the awards. They don’t remember your stories. They don’t remember the way that your stories made people feel over the years.
They remember you for saying some unfortunate sexist shit, and then getting defensive as hell when called on it. And then getting more offensive. And more defensive.
They forget why you were listened to at all.
And that is a damn shame, Mike. It really is.
When sexist bullshit raises its head, we have to ensure that there’s a clear message that it’s not okay in our community. That apologies are matched with actions, instead of justified with “reasons”.
We must clearly, consistently ensure that until those apologies are said, until those sexist behaviors change, that people behaving in sexist ways aren’t welcome in our fandom.
So, Mr. Resnick, I ask you as a former admirer. As someone who has sat next to you as a panelist. As someone who has looked up to you in the past.
How do you want to be remembered?
I’ve known Mike Resnick since my first Millennicon, so I’ve written this specifically with him in mind. But looking over it, the basics apply to a number of people – some of whom are implicated but haven’t (yet?) signed this particular document.
I sincerely hope that you’ll change your mind, and perhaps we can work together again.