The 79th World Science Fiction Convention, also known as DisCon III and the site of this year’s Hugo Awards, has issued a public statement apologizing for its sponsorship with Raytheon, one of the largest defence manufacturers in the world. The news broke over the weekend when fans noticed Raytheon Intelligence and Space was sponsoring red carpet photos at the awards which honour the best in sci-fi literature. Backlash at having a company that makes weapons sponsoring a celebration of science fiction was quick, and now the con behind it has made a statement.
“I am Mary Robinette Kowal, and I was the chair for DisCon III. I take full responsibility for accepting Raytheon Intelligence and Space as a sponsor, and I apologise for doing so,” reads a statement posted to the convention’s official site. “The decision tree that led us to this point is filled with branches that sound like excuses for my own culpability. At the root of it is simply that in accepting funding from Raytheon Intelligence and Space and partnering with them for the members’ red carpet event, I was wrong.”
“That choice has caused harm and damage to people: the finalists, who were unaware; the people in our communities; the members and staff of Worldcon, who trusted me to make good choices,” Robinette Kowall continued. “I am sorry that I let you all down.”
The statement continues to reveal that the company will “make an anonymous contribution to an organisation dedicated to peace, equal to the amount we received from Raytheon,” and Robinette Kowall will also donate to the same organisation.
“Our Code of Conduct says that DisCon III aims to build an inclusive community for all fans. This sponsorship did not achieve that goal,” Robinette Kowall concluded. “I cannot erase the harm that my actions caused. This happened on my watch. It is my fault, and I am deeply sorry for the pain I caused.”
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