Supanova keeps Adam Baldwin and Gamergate along with him

Supanova’s announced that despite a petition requesting his invitation be rescinded, they’re going to include Adam Baldwin as part of their upcoming Sydney and Perth shows. For some, that’s a “victory”, for others a “failure”. So what should you do?
I genuinely wasn’t going to write a single damned more thing about Gamergate, largely because I’ve both had my say and still figure it’s an essentially toxic movement, but also because I just figure it doesn’t need more oxygen than it’s got.
I did find myself, in an idle thinking moment, wondering why, if it was “all about ethics in gaming journalism”, the pro- crowd wasn’t chasing up the big name companies and hitting them where it hurts (i.e profits) by refusing to buy certain big-name games. If the games fund the ethically challenged journalism, then don’t buy the games. Logical, right?
So I threw that out there on Twitter, and got hit with, predictably, abuse informing me that I was a basement dwelling troll, along with the usual links to a bunch of already refuted videos and stories. Yep, that’s solid discussion and debate right there… and I don’t even own a basement.
Actually, there’s a great piece that goes into depth on the actual reality of video games reviewing as a living right here, but I suspect that won’t sit well with the pro- crowd either.
All that aside, I’ve followed the issues around Adam Baldwin’s Supanova visit with some interest. He’s definitely a polarising figure, and I do have some Firefly-level interest in him as well.
As Mark Serrels over at Kotaku noted this morning, Supanova’s finally come to a decision on Baldwin, deciding that his invitation stands as is. Here’s Supanova’s full statement, as sourced from its Facebook page:
Dear Friends and Fans,
Thank you for your patience while we have been absorbing the reaction to Adam Baldwin’s announcement as a guest for the Sydney and Perth 2015 expos this June. It has been a very challenging time for our team, a team that lives and breathes popular culture, in that we have been avalanched by two sets of fans: the first group called for Adam to be removed from the event and the second group called just as loudly to make sure he remained our guest.
As a backdrop to how we arrived at this juncture, Supanova has been trying to get Adam to come to Supanova since 2006 and we previously succeeded in April 2013 when he appeared at our Melbourne and Gold Coast events. The response from you, our fans, was overwhelmingly enthusiastic with a further call to action to invite him back from the fans in the cities that missed out. We again succeeded in securing him last year for June 2015 as part of the Whedonverse ‘Serenity’10th anniversary celebration alongside his co-stars Nathan Fillion and Morena Baccarin.
To exclude someone from Supanova for their views, even if we don’t share them, goes completely against the spirit of the expo that we’ve presented all these years as all our stars appear to discuss their work in pop culture, not their personal political or ideological viewpoints. We similarly embrace all our fans, whatever their various pop culture passions may be, and that inclusiveness is at our very heart.
Further, the concerns are far-reaching and complex, and contain an immense amount of discord. We feel, as Supanova, that we’re not positioned to adjudicate either way.
What we could do, however, is raise the main areas of concern with Adam himself, the concerns you as our fans have raised, and this is the reply that Adam shared with us:
“The harassment and threats being made on both sides of the #‎GamerGate debate shame the games industry and make it extremely difficult for casual observers to see the merits of arguments about corruption, ethics or journalism.
Threats of violence and/or “doxxing” should be reported to law enforcement and handled at their discretion. Such threats are reprehensible and have no place in any debate.
Obviously, I condemn harassment. The YouTube videos linked on Twitter at the outset last September contained no personal information of any individual. I had zero knowledge of what might be in their comments sections. No one can honestly be expected to check vast comment threads below articles or videos before linking to them.
Lastly, I believe that pop culture conventions are inappropriate venues for controversial topics, so I will respectfully not be discussing them at Supanova, or its related events.”
Given that we have Adam’s statement above verifying he will not discuss #GamerGate while stating categorically that he does not condone harassment, bullying or doxxing under any circumstances; given we as Supanova will not allow questions regarding the subject from the floor; given we as Supanova as a professional organisation must fulfil our contractual obligations; given Supanova will be providing the highest level of enforcement of our Code of Conduct (a condition of entry to the event) to ensure our strong anti-bullying and anti-harassment policies are maintained; and given that so many fans continue to support Adam’s appearance as part of our ‘Serenity’ 10th Anniversary celebration, we will be proceeding with Adam’s attendance as planned.
As we’ve already mentioned, Supanova Expo has an incredibly inclusive array of fans who kindly share the space with each other, based on their mutual passions for imaginary worlds. Our programming crosses all demographics, celebrating diversity and a wide variety of genres. Supanova does not condone or allow bullying or harassment in any way, shape or form at our events which ensures a friendly, safe and welcoming environment. Both the Code of Conduct and the spirit of Supanova are agreements to treat with honour and respect every single fan and friend at the expo. You’ve always made us so very proud with the positive atmosphere you have created at every event.
We ask you, the Supa-fans, to maintain those principles and standards so that we as a community can positively influence the future of fandom, and its direction, through our shared love of pop culture and the heroic values that define it.
Yours in fandom, always,
— Daniel Zachariou, Supanova Event Director

There’s a lot to take in there, not least the relatively calmly framed response from Baldwin himself. It strikes quite a discordant note from his regular Twitter chatter, but then, money is on the line here for him.
It doesn’t strike me as a genuine statement or belief on his part in any real way based on many prior twitter utterances of his. They’re tough to track down, because his Twitter account gets wiped clean every once in a while, which, I think, also gives you some insight into his actual character and the rigidity of his beliefs.
Still, money talks, and that’s why he’s sent that particular message to Supanova, because he’s certainly not appearing at a convention for free. For its part, Supanova’s well aware that an expo with more Firefly stars will attract more fans than one with fewer, although I do rather strongly suspect that the lure of Nathan Fillion alone would more than cover that ground. They’re not a charity, they’re a business, and they’re making a business decision.
Do I, personally think it’s a poor business decision? Yeah, I do. Baldwin’s quick to run his mouth on Twitter because he figures the personal repercussions are minimal, and he’s got an audience that likes what he does and says, but I doubt he’s quite so dumb as to specifically incite something on a convention floor, because that would be bad business for him. At the same time, parts of Baldwin’s crowd are exactly the folks who’ve made Gamergate the toxic environment that it is, and especially if you’re a female convention attendee, there’s the genuine issue of personal safety and the appearance of that selfsame inclusion that his presence makes difficult at best.
So what to do? It’s fairly simple. Remove the finances from the equation by not supporting Supanova, and letting them know explicitly that this is so. That’s the basis on which they’ve made their decision, and really no other. They’re a business out to make money, and business often makes decisions which could be seen as being at odds with conventional ethics.
Which would be funny if it weren’t so frustrating, because a supposed “ethics” crusade is what’s got us to this point in the first place. Then again, it’s exactly what Gamergate, were it genuine, should do with their whole “ethics in gaming journalism” rather than threatening, doxxing and swatting folks, because removing their eyeballs from the sites whose gaming journalism they profess to despise would have the same effect. Naturally, that’s not the same as delivering assault, rape and death threats, so it doesn’t happen.
Update: And since writing this, it’s been analysed by a pro-gamergater type (apparently I’ve been “owned” by a pseudonym, which of course is a bit of logical stupidity, but hey, par for the course) and it’s been declared that I “never” suffered any abuse. Followed by 24 hours of non-stop abuse, threats, name-calling, etc, etc, etc. Rather proves my point, of course, that they’re far more keen on silencing any critical analysis than actually making ethical changes.
Note to the Gamergaters: Yeah, I’m now blocking you. If you’re not willing to actually stand behind your views with your actual name, as I am, why should I pay them any heed at all? If you believed them, you’d stand behind them. I may not like Mr Baldwin much (I think that’s clear), but at least that’s what he does.
Image: Vagueonthehow

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