What Happened After I Reported: Elise Matthesen, WisCon, and Harassment

This is an account of a mishandled sexual harassment complaint at a scifi convention. I think that this is a great model to look at for future Pagan events–and a cautionary tale about how to properly manage complaints of harassment. Many Pagan events don’t even have a way to handle complaints like this; next steps are getting policies in place, and the final step is actually properly dealing with them.


My friend Elise Matthesen last year filed a report at the WisCon science fiction and fantasy covention, because she believed that (then) Tor editor Jim Frenkel had sexually harassed her. Harassment policies are not only about what those policies say, but how those policies are administered and those reports handled. Here’s Elise telling you how WisCon, which identifies as the world’s leading feminist science fiction convention, handled her report. The short version: It did so very poorly.


Last year at WisCon 37, I told a Safety staffer that I had been treated by another attendee in a way that made me uncomfortable and that I believed to be sexual harassment.  One big reason I did was that I understood from another source that he had reportedly harassed at least one other person at a convention. I learned that she didn’t report him formally, for a lot of reasons that aren’t…

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2 thoughts on “What Happened After I Reported: Elise Matthesen, WisCon, and Harassment

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