Chicago SFF Convention Canceled After Hotel Calls Attendees "Freaks"

"A major science fiction and fantasy convention scheduled to hit the city in March has been canceled and moved from the River North Westin Hotel after hotel staff referred to attendees as "freaks," according to an announcement posted on the event's website."

Read the rest of the article here.

There's a bunch of fairly ugly back and forth on Chi-Fi's Facebook page. It sounds like the sticking point was the con's anti-harassment policy, which the hotel did not believe it could (or should have to) adhere to.

John Scalzi recently stated that he would not attend conventions that did not have a clear and enforceable anti-harassment policy, and many other SFF authors quickly followed suit. In the wake of that declaration, most SFF conventions have been making their stance on harassment very clear. Any hotel that opts out of a con with a clear and easily adhered-to anti-harassment policy deserves the loss of revenue and all the ridicule the internet can heap upon it.

**Updated to include Chi-Fi's harassment policy as stated on their Facebook page:**

Chi-Fi is dedicated to providing a safe and comfortable convention experience for everyone. Harassment of any kind, including verbal assault, physical assault, battery, deliberate intimidation, stalking, or unwelcome physical attentions, will not be tolerated. If people tell you "no" or to leave them alone, your business with them is done. Leave them alone. Do not follow them or attempt to disrupt their convention experience in any way. If you continue to attempt to have contact with those people, you may be removed from the premises.

Harassment includes offensive verbal comments related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, religion, or dress, sexual images in public spaces, deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention. Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately.

We expect participants to follow these rules at all conference venues and conference-related social events.

Exhibitors in the expo hall, sponsor or vendor booths, or similar activities are also subject to the anti-harassment policy. If a participant engages in harassing behavior, the conference organizers may take any action they deem appropriate, including warning the offender or expulsion from the conference. If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact a member of conference staff immediately.

Conference staff will be happy to help participants contact hotel/venue security or local law enforcement, provide escorts, or otherwise assist those experiencing harassment to feel safe for the duration of the conference. We value your attendance.