In response to requests for comments regarding the decision of another writers' group to formally expel a lifetime member, SASS Secretary and spokesman Lou Antonelli makes the following statement:
"Although the subject in question was exercising his free speech rights under the First Amendment to the US Constitution, that has nothing to do with the standards of conduct and behavior within a private organization
"Like any private club, the organization in question is allowed to police its membership according to its regulations and bylaws. This is an internal discipline issue and not a matter of concern to the Society for the Advancement of Speculative Storytelling.
"The by-laws of the Society for the Advancement of Speculative Storytelling clearly state that members should not discuss religion or politics within its auspices, and its members are expected to treat each other with respect. Those are our bylaws, and each group operates according to its own bylaws and policies.
"It might be useful to note - especially for non US citizens - that because of the First Amendment to the US Constitution, and its free speech guarantees, there is no professional licensing or certification of any communication media in this country. There is no such thing as a licensed journalist, there is no certifying group for authors or writers. SASS, as well as similar groups, are private and voluntary by nature, regardless of reputation and/or behavior. This is not the same in all countries.
"Like many authors, I belong to more than one writer's organization. Which group you join or belong to is a personal decision, and how any group takes care of its own is a private matter."
(The Society for the Advancement of Speculative Storytelling, Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to encouraging and mentoring aspiring and new writers of speculative fiction. SASS was incorporated as a non-profit group in the State of Texas on July 30, 2012. Members of SASS have been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, Campbell, Sidewise, Prometheus, British Science Fiction Association, and Rhysling Awards, and won the Writers of the Future and the Philip K. Dick Award.)