Some are perhaps rightfully upset that he busted the password-protection wall of SFWA, but it's nothing many others haven't wanted to do for days. Charges of "copyright infringement" are ridiculous. I'm no lawyer (thank god), but if a comment on a private bulletin board can be considered "intellectual property," I fear for the people closely guarding such real estate. It made me think of a relevant quote from Thomas Jefferson:
It would be curious then, if an idea, the fugitive fermentation of an individual brain, could, of natural right, be claimed in exclusive and stable property. If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it.
Someone NEEDED to expose the truly venomous ideas some have been peddling, for however long it lasted. I think it's graceful that David offered (and made good) on taking them down when asked.
Some SWFAns used to being behind closed doors seem much more concerned about their reactions being made public than they were about the very public incident.
Anyway, are they right to have barred him from the newsgroup? Sure. It's policy. And he knew that when he did this. Good on you, Moles*.
p.s. For irony, definition of, see this comment at PNH's, where it is revealed that at this year's Hugos Connie Willis set the new record for fiction Hugos, beating out Mr. Mud. (If this isn't true, please let me know.)
p.p.s. I agree with Jackie M.; keep your SWFA memberships if you can, folks, you're needed there.
Frankly, I don't care why Ellison did it and other than hoping he privately apologizes to Willis (who might not want to hear it), I don't care what he does from now on. But you can not call yourself a professional organization and then have this happen and not act on it. This was not a roast - it was not a meeting of comedians and beyond that, it was not a gathering where it was even possibly suggested that a man might grab a woman's breast in jest. So it should not have happened. And when it does, then you need to take steps to set things right.
Folks were dressed up and hoping to win a great award for their work - it was a big big night for them. Why dirty it with this kind of joke and then, after it happens, why not apologize for it? Why not strive to bring some level of maturity and responbility and professionalism back to the evening?
I don't care what every sci fi writer on the planet thinks about this. What I want to know is how can you possibly expect us, the fans, to care about who wins these awards if they are given out in an atmosphere that I would not allow at my neighborhood block party?
Go read the whole thing. (As a side note, she's addressing World Con and the WSFS, not SFWA, which is appropriate-- although it'd be nice if SFWA wasn't just being the bastion of infighting about whether it was "okay" or not, when it clearly wasn't.)
*ikins (note: inside joke)