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News & Press: News

A Statement on the July 14 webinar

Wednesday, July 15, 2020  
Posted by: Julie Hennrikus
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July 15, 2020

 

At a recent Sisters in Crime webinar, the speaker, Steven James, made a comment during his presentation that has been received as anti-transgender. 

 

As stated clearly in our Code of Conduct (https://www.sistersincrime.org/page/code-of-conduct ), “Harassment and discrimination are behaviors that threaten, alarm, or make someone uncomfortable. All meetings and board actions will be conducted in an environment that is devoid of discrimination and harassment consistent with the principles that govern our organization’s Code of Conduct and the Sisters in Crime core values. Sisters in Crime will not accept or tolerate offensive, abusive, coercive or other unwanted behavior which discriminates, violates personal dignity, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or humiliating environment (e.g. physical, psychological, verbal, or any other form of harassment).” Not only are all meetings and board actions to be free of such discrimination and harassment, but we hold “anyone acting at any time or in any place under the banner of Sisters in Crime” to be accountable for upholding this Code of Conduct. 

 

A statement, even a “joke,” at the expense of others is in no way in the spirit of the founding of Sisters in Crime for equality in crime fiction or its core values of inclusion, equity, community, and advocacy. 

 

The Board of Sisters in Crime has decided on the following response to this incident:

1) to communicate the complaints and to reiterate our zero-tolerance policy with Mr. James, including giving him a reasonable opportunity to respond;

2) to draft a communication to webinar attendees;

3) to draft a communication to our general membership; 

4) to draft a public statement; and 

5) to decide on a reasonable timeline within which to accomplish all these steps as well as within which to release these communications.

 

We reached out to Mr. James to reiterate our zero-tolerance position. He has apologized and offered us the opportunity to share it. He wrote: “Thank you for bringing this concern to my attention. 

 

“I certainly meant no disrespect to anyone. I value the worth and dignity of all people, of all genders, and didn’t mean to make anyone feel uncomfortable.

 

“I apologize and will choose my words more carefully in the future.”

 

Mr. James’s webinar will not be archived on the Sisters in Crime’s website. It is no longer available for replay on Crowdcast.

 

Sisters in Crime is committed to creating safe spaces for our members and the community at large, which includes the right for all to be free of harassment and discrimination. Moving forward, our Board will continue to work toward thoughtful discussion on all topics that pertain to crime writers, including sometimes difficult subjects. We’ll work toward increased clarity regarding our Code of Conduct and its application to those who speak and act in the name of Sisters in Crime, and we’ll continue to be transparent as we seek to make our community more welcoming and safe for all.

 

Our Code of Conduct is available in its entirety here.

 

For further comment, please contact president@sistersincrime.org

 

Lori Rader-Day

National President, Sisters in Crime

 


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