Recently author Jon Del Arroz was banned from attending WorldCon 76 in San Jose. No specific reason was given, but a post on the convention’s Facebook page indicates that Jon intended to violate the event’s Code of Conduct. We reached out to the press contact for WorldCon and unfortunately received no further clarification. Their response to our questions via email was “We have no further comment on the issue.” Their official statement from the convention’s website is below.
Unfortunately the lack of clarification or transparency from WorldCon has left the internet to do what it does best, dig and speculate. I did find a post that a few have pointed to on the convention’s Facebook page mentioning Mr. Del Arroz’s intent to use a body camera for his own protection. The social media post indicates that this violates the convention’s CoC in two places. I was unable to find these two places, but I did find two sections in the current CoC that seem to say a camera and video would not violate it. As noted these are from the Code of Conduct page of this writing. There is some indication this may change.
Photographs and videotape footage by attendees are generally allowed in all common areas of the convention with the exception of the Art Show. Specific rules regarding these matters may exist for selected events, such as concerts. Please consult the Pocket Program for information relating to specific events.
Individuals may take pictures and videotapes for private viewing or sharing with friends. We ask our attendees to be courteous to those they wish to take pictures of, especially if you wish to place those pictures or video clips onto a personal Web page or similar Internet archive. In this case, ask your subjects for their explicit permission to do this.
Both seem to point out that taking video, as long as it is for private use, is fine but they request people ask permission. It is not shown anywhere currently that this is a requirement.
On the convention’s Facebook page there is a post admitting that the section of the CoC regarding video is confusing and it will be looked at. It appears, without having more clarification, that Mr. Del Arroz was banned from the convention because he intended to bring a camera, which as far as we can tell is not against any convention policy at the time of his statement of intent. Included in my request for clarification on Mr. Del Arroz’s infractions I asked why it wasn’t considered to just tell him not to wear a camera. I also asked if it was convention policy to preemptively ban individuals who have not yet done anything to violate the CoC, but both received the same non-response as noted above.
Mr. Del Arroz stated that his safety was a concern, to which the convention asked for proof. WorldCon’s social media postings state he never shared evidence of those concerns so I asked him this morning. I’m sharing our conversation with his permission below.