Things getting heated over Adam Baldwin's attendance at Australian con Supanova

Contributed by
Jan 23, 2015, 3:38 PM EST (Updated)

Adam Baldwin is a really ridciulously charismatic actor who has played some of the most fun characters on some of the best sci-fi shows ever. So you'd probably assume that his appearence at a convention would be a no-brainer, right?

Well, Baldwin is not Jayne Cobb, nor is he John Casey. But he is a person who spends a fair amount of time talking about politics through social media. And therein lies the issue for some con-goers.

We have not spoken much about the movement GamerGate here at Blastr. If you haven't heard of it, the gist is that some people within the videogame community feel that there is a lot of unethical activity taking place between developers and journalists within the gaming industry. Some of those people are rallying behind the hashtag #GamerGate. There has also been a significant amount of problematic, unethical and potentially illegal behavior on the part of some people operating under the GamerGate banner and hashtag, including harassment, threats and the publication of private personal details of those the offenders deem deserving of it, particularly women. Depending on who you ask, the movement, such as it is, is either an important step in creating honesty and transparency in the gaming market or a hate group trying to keep women out of gaming spaces. But let's leave that there.

Adam Baldwin is very much pro-GamerGate. In fact, it's possible he may have even been the first person to coin the term. Regardless, he's a not-insignificant part of that movement. And for those people who feel they've been harassed or otherwise harmed by GamerGate, that makes Baldwin persona non grata.

So what, specifically, does the over-4,000-signatures-signed petition give as the reason for the disinvitation?

Over the past six months, Adam Baldwin has been involved in numerous instances of harassment and abuse towards women. Most notably, he has promoted the cause of the "GamerGate" movement; a movement that claims to be acting for "journalistic integrity" but targets women, people of colour and the LGBTI+ community inside the gaming industry. 

In one specific instance, Baldwin directly linked to videos that disclosed the personal details (commonly known as "doxxing") of game developers Zoe Quinn and Brianna Wu to his several thousand twitter followers. This further inflamed the hostile situations that Quinn and Wu had been (and continues to be) suffering.

It's worth noting that, in response there's also been another petition to allow Baldwin to attend Supanova as originally intended that already has over 2,000 signatures. Their point of view?

Adam Baldwin has been a prominent figure in a movement opposed to moral authoritarianism, censorship, and manipulation of media.

Banning him from Supanova indicates to everyone that if they don't toe the line with Brianna Wu's ideology, they will be blacklisted from media events, starting with Supanova. 

It is giving in to people who desire controlling the narrative of what people see, letting them control who can and cannot speak.

So, like much of GamerGate, this all boils down to the question of whether what Adam Baldwin is saying and doing qualifies as hate speech or simply freedom of speech. Or, more specifically, it boils down to what the people running Supanova feel will best service the con and its attendees. As of now, Supanova's official response is simply that they are listening and thinking everything over:

Hi Everyone.

While we wish Adam Baldwin’s attendance in Supanova in Sydney and Perth this June wasn’t a controversial issue, it clearly is, and the reasons why are now understood. We ask for your patience and understanding while we deal with the developments.

Regardless of what the ultimate outcome is please know that we 100% agree with your right, as our fans, to have your say, to share your feelings, to create or sign petitions in the positive or the negative, to protest or support.

It’s your voice that’s made us who we are.

We only ask that you don’t villify or attack one party or the other for holding differing views in the process. We’re one community of fans here, that have come together from various areas of pop culture, and Supanova is as much your space as it is ours.

Therefore, please help us work through all this, together, sharing your voice and thoughts, but do so in a manner that ultimately helps rather than agitates. Heals rather than antagonises.

We call on you, our friends, to be caring and accepting of each other as we work our way through your responses.

As for Baldwin himself? Well ...

And, to be fair, that's probably how anyone would react to a petition designed to get them banned from a space where they can meet fans and make money.

Regardless of how this turns out, it's a big deal. Conventions tend to be small, tight-knit communities. If Baldwin is disinvited from Supanova, it sets a precedent and changes what kind of a space that con (and other cons in the future) may be. If Baldwin is allowed to come, that sends a message too. And with harassment both online and at conventions being a hot-button issue, regardless of how this situation is resolved, there's little doubt we'll be seeing more situations just like it in the future.

(via Bleeding Cool)