Mercedes Lackey Removed From Nebula Conference

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) announced the removal of this year’s SFWA Grand Master, Mercedes Lackey, from the virtual conference on May 22, 2022. The official statement said:

We learned yesterday that while participating in the “Romancing Sci-Fi & Fantasy” panel, Mercedes Lackey used a racial slur. First, we apologize to our attendees and the other panelists who were subjected to that slur. We’ve disabled access to the panel to avoid any additional harm being caused.

Second, we are immediately removing Mercedes Lackey from the conference and the additional panels she was scheduled for, in accordance with SFWA’s Moderation Policy. The use of a racial slur violates the instruction to “Respect all cultures and communities. Do not make derogatory or offensive statements even as a joke.” That applies to everyone in a SFWA space, at all levels of their career.

Third, we will be discussing with the other panelists for “Romancing Sci-Fi & Fantasy” how they would prefer we proceed when they are able and comfortable in doing so. We will be offering to edit out the offensive portion of the panel or hold the panel again at a later date, inviting back the other three panelists and moderator to again take part. We will respect their wishes on how to handle this issue while also sharing the invaluable expertise they offered during the discussion.

The statement follows another statement issued by SFWA on November 17, 2021 regarding Lackey’s comments about trans characters made a number of years prior. For the full statement, see the official SFWA site.


Locus Magazine, Science Fiction FantasyWhile you are here, please take a moment to support Locus with a one-time or recurring donation. We rely on reader donations to keep the magazine and site going, and would like to keep the site paywall free, but WE NEED YOUR FINANCIAL SUPPORT to continue quality coverage of the science fiction and fantasy field.

©Locus Magazine. Copyrighted material may not be republished without permission of LSFF.

13 thoughts on “Mercedes Lackey Removed From Nebula Conference

  • May 23, 2022 at 11:18 am
    Permalink

    One naturally thinks of the worst when hearing “racial slur.” The word she used, while praising Samual R Delany, was “colored.”

  • May 23, 2022 at 3:40 pm
    Permalink

    Can’t take it seriously unless I know what it is—and won’t promise to take it seriously even if I do.

    • May 23, 2022 at 6:52 pm
      Permalink

      She used the word “colored” in praise of a black author, when she should have used the term “person of color”. Whites are wolves in sheep’s clothing and completely out of touch.

  • May 23, 2022 at 4:14 pm
    Permalink

    Considering the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) or the Negro College Fund have yet to change their official names.

    Colored and Negro are not classified as racial slurs. Speech can often have slip ups and mistakes. Listen to yourself and others in conversations, especially when under stress of the moment. Colored People is a easy slip given that it is so close to People of Color.

  • May 23, 2022 at 6:19 pm
    Permalink

    She used a word in the full name of NAACP to refer to a black panelist. He has subsequently confirmed that word is acceptable for Lackey to use.

  • May 23, 2022 at 7:02 pm
    Permalink

    What was the context? Was she quoting a work from a time period where the slur was commonly used? Which race did she slur, that can be said without specifying the slur? So many questions.

  • May 23, 2022 at 9:11 pm
    Permalink

    Agreed with Mr. Nowell. There seem to be so many things now characterized as “slurs” which result in dire consequences for some people (who just so happen to be successful and are alleged by those who are NOT). I want to know for accuracy and honesty what was said, when, context and WHY it is a “slur”
    Especially in the science fiction field! It is still a canard to penalize Mark Twain for including certain verbiage in Huckleberry Finn; history is history. What is Ms. Lackey ALLEGED to have said and who says she did. There are a bunch of her so-called colleagues and definite competitors who have fewer skills and a lot of reason for jealousy. Bravo Mr. Nowell!

  • May 23, 2022 at 11:53 pm
    Permalink

    It’s preposterous, ridiculous. Shame on SFWA

  • May 24, 2022 at 12:31 am
    Permalink

    I looked it up — for anyone wondering — and Mercedes Lackey (who was praising the person she referred to) used a term that was, during her lifetime, NOT a racial slur (and, let’s face it, STILL isn’t). It was, and is, in fact — at most — an inappropriate term born of one woman’s (understandable) ignorance of changing verbal mores. The word she used (and before someone scream to have this post deleted, I’m not using it to refer to anyone), “colored”. That was it. An organization that was built around understanding and compassion would simply correct Mercedes Lackey, and move on. I’m ALL for just about every progressive idea put forth, from #metoo (one of the most important) to remaking ALL police departments across the USA (because they were built on foundations of violence and power, and because so many employees come from backgrounds of racism and unchecked violence), and so on and so forth. But this endless over-reacting to every misspoken word, or every mistake — especially those born of ignorance — is a bad idea.

    • May 24, 2022 at 5:22 am
      Permalink

      Well said. I actually didn’t even know that using the word ‘colored’ was a no-no, so this could have happened to me. Actually, because of my generation, I probably would have used the word black without malice to describe a friend or something like that. Would I do this only to find out later that I’ve been canceled instead of informed? This is a problem when I don’t even know if a word I’ve been using since I was a child is okay to use — some are obvious of course, but ‘black’ or ‘colored’ is not obvious to me. It is indeed an over-reaction. The constant eggshells being thrown in our paths is… unfortunate.

    • May 24, 2022 at 8:55 am
      Permalink

      Thank you. Now I know not to take the comment seriously—but I view this kind of action taken very negatively.

  • May 24, 2022 at 5:43 am
    Permalink

    Shall we call for comment from the NAACP? This is simply a move toward a CCP style level of governance . Removing the video or editing out her commend is the worse sort of censorship. Did SFWA learn nothing from 1984? Throwing things down the memory hole does not lead to a better society.

  • May 24, 2022 at 8:05 am
    Permalink

    Colored and Negro are not classified as racial slurs. Speech can often have slip ups and mistakes. Listen to yourself and others in conversations, especially when under stress of the moment. Colored People is a easy slip given that it is so close to People of Color.

Comments are closed.