Tuesday, April 28, 2015

I Support Alison Tieman, and So Should You!

 

For anyone who hasn't heard, there was an outrageous incident of political censorship at the Calgary Comics Expo. For no other reason than a politically divergent opinion expressed by artist Alison Tieman, founder of women's creative collective the Honey Badger Brigade, the whole group was thrown out without warning (in violation of the con's own contractual policy) as they were about to set up for the second day. Worse, Tieman herself has been banned for life from this con and all others run by the same organization -- a big deal, as 100,000 attend these things. It's essentially a death sentence on her comics career.

To add insult to injury, after they were expelled and had announced plans for an informal gathering of fans in a nearby park, police were actually sicced on them on totally spurious charges of possible criminal activity. The police themselves concluded there was no cause for action. Here's raw footage of the encounter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sqv78wABm00&feature=youtu.be. Honey Badger Rachel Edwards reports that the officer said the complaint had come from the CalEx organizers.

I think this incident is particularly telling, because by indulging in this extra bit of gratuitous harassment, CalEx tipped their hand. If they were willing to make a false report to police just to badger the Badgers a little more, why should we believe they didn't manufacture the reports of "harassment of women at the convention" that served as the pretext for expelling them?

To be sure I was getting both sides of the story, I used DuckDuckGo, the search engine that doesn't track you (and therefore won't tailor results to biases indicated by your history) for the terms "Alison Tieman" + "Calgary." I found the great majority of results were pro-HBB, and the few that weren't were based on demonstrably false information and often on an ad hominem level, repeatedly stooping to what I can only call slut-shaming.

Here's Tieman's own heart-rending account of her brutal experience: Banned for not Damselling

The full recording of the panel at which she made the offending remarks on which the spurious charge of "harassment" was based (warning: poor sound quality): http://www.avoiceformen.com/allnews/full-audio-of-alleged-harassing-of-women-at-calgary-comic-expo/

An overview of the whole affair: http://www.examiner.com/article/calgary-expo-censors-the-honey-badger-brigade-s-anti-censorship-message

Video messages are being compiled from Tieman's friends and supporters. Here's the compilation as it currently stands: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eI0h-2pCC3I. (In support of collator SkepTorr's comment on the media misrepresentation of GamerGate, I recommend this compilation of messages from GamerGaters whose existence contradicts the media stereotype: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzwGIHUCtjU.)

Supporters of free expression are urged to send messages of protest to the organizers at info@calgaryexpo.cominfo@calgaryexpo.com.
"Super sponsors" can be contacted at sponsors@calgaryexpo.comsponsors@calgaryexpo.com (you can also find a complete listing of them at the con website).

The artists don't want other exhibitors to be hurt by any kind of boycott against the con, but encourage pressure on the sponsors.

I've done all of the above. I've also contacted the NPR program On the Media, which has covered issues in geek culture in the past, urging them to do a story on this. The web contact form is http://www.onthemedia.org/emailform/contact-otm/

You can check out Tieman's webcomic Xenospora on her website: http://www.xenospora.comhttp://www.xenospora.com. I plan to order a bound, printed copy of Volume I as soon as my tax refund comes in. Meanwhile, I've made copies of the comic's logo and started putting them up all over downtown Philadelphia.


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