Paul Darrow's Statement Read Aloud At The 1989 Gambit Convention
|Title:||Paul Darrow's Statement Read Aloud At The 1989 Gambit Convention|
|Commentator:||Paul Darrow by way of Terry Nation|
|Medium:||oral, reproduced later in print|
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The text of the speech was reprinted in The Federation Archives where it was "reproduced word-for-word and comma-for-comma."
It includes a reference to Jesus Christ and Pontius Pilate and quotes Jack Kennedy.
The Pontius Pilate Reference
One section of the letter that many fans refer to as the "Pontius Pilate" reference reads: "To those of you who maintain that you stand apart from all that is currently afflicting Blake's 7 fandom, I say to you that the last person to, "Wash His Hands," in public has suffered contempt for 20 centuries. I say that, whether you like it or not, whether you seek to do so or do not, you support those who will divide us, in Blake's 7 fandom."
Some fans felt that the allusion to Pontius Pilate was offensive and/or over the top. Others felt that Darrow was attacking those who tried to remain neutral and was attempting to force fans to choose sides.
A Statement from Paul Darrow to be read in its entirety with alteration, at the Gambit Convention, by Terry Nation.
Because of circumstances beyond my control and because my invitation to attend this convention has been withdrawn, I regret that I cannot be here with you today.
Because of circumstances currently afflicting, Blake's 7 fandom, I had intended to entrust the reading of this statement to the one person who, throughout 25 years, has never failed me -- my wife, Janet.
However, because of the stress she has suffered over the past few weeks, Terry and I are concerned that a round trip, which would have been undertaken at her own expense of more than 6000 miles, in order to read this short comment, could prove detrimental to her health.
With considerable difficulty, with her welfare as our priority, we have finally persuaded her not to come.
Therefore, I have asked our trusted friend, Terry Nation, to stand in my place and read this to you.
He has promised to read it, word for word exactly as I have written it and will make copies available to you, lest, as has recently been the case, I am misquoted by anyone who may hear it.
You must all be aware that, through articles, letters, telephone calls and other conversations, there are those amongst you who have sought - still seek - to harm me, to hurt me, to destroy my reputation in your eyes. In doing so, they do you a disservice, for they also harm and hurt you.
To the hundreds of you who, through articles, letters, telephone calls and other conversations, have indicated your loyalty, your unquestioning support, your respect, your love and courage in the face of cruel threats and vindictiveness, I send my love and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
To those of you who harbour scorn, envy, hatred or who feign indifference, I would say that I am sorry for you.
To those of you who maintain that you stand apart from all that is currently afflicting Blake's 7 fandom, I say to you that the last person to, "wash his hands," in public has suffered contempt for 20 centuries.
I say that, whether you like it or not, whether you seek to do so or you do not, you support those who will divide us in, Blake's 7 fandom.
Now we have reached what, in every vernacular, is referred to as, "The bottom line."
Let the word go forth from this time and this place to friend and foe alike. Let everyone know... that I shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival of my good name and the success of, Blake's 7 fandom.
This hoped for success now rests in your hands and I have no doubt you will handle it well.
The time has come, my American friends, for you to dare to stand up and be counted.God bless you all.
One statement I feel I must refute, however, was the comment in a statement read by Terry Nation at GAMBIT Convention that Paul's invitation to GAMBIT was withdrawn. On September 26, 1988, I was in England at the theatre in Croydon to see Paul's play. He graciously let me and three friends who were travelling with me, backstage afterward. I brought up the subject of the GAMBIT convention and it was then that he told me he'd only just that morning accepted a new play (his current play 'Alibi for Murder"). As a result, he said, he would have to decline the GAMBIT invitation (which declination to GAMBIT is also in writing, dated, I believe, with the above-referenced date). Then Paul and Janet called the GAMBIT con committee only a week or two before the convention to ask if their invitations still stood, GAMBIT, having already made monetary commitments by that point, could not, at such a late date, afford to bring them over as guests. 
Wortham and her faction have made themselves universally condemned, both for the contents of their attack and for the way they made their attack. And I don't know of anyone who isn't disgusted by the fact that the Wortham faction, Linda Terrall [sic] in particular, have also attacked Paul's wife.I make these observations on several bases, but especially on the basis of my experiences at the Gambit convention. At the opening ceremonies, Terry Nation, to his infinite credit, stated that he wished to read a letter from Paul Darrow, and did so. He is to be commended particularly because there was a cowardly announcement, from the Gambit’s organisers, that mention of the controversy was to be discouraged, and because, at the same time, the organisers were not kept in the dark about Terry’s intention of reading this letter. When Terry got to the point where Paul mentions that his invitation to Gambit had been withdrawn, the reaction from the audience was palpable. Withdraw an invitation - what a scummy thing to do! And not a thing which the con committee had bothered to make known publicly. The letter got a whopping great round of applause. 
Terry Nation said he wanted the rift in B7 fandom healed, and then read a statement by Paul saying that his loyal wife Janet had been persuaded not to go to Gambit for the sake of her health, and that those who opposed his interests were in the wrong; this dressed up in Biblical and Kennedy references. 
How does Darrow reconcile his medieval attitude toward slash with [widely circulated photos of Darrow kissing Keating at cons], I wonder? Another thing that surprised me in the Gambit tapes was Darrow's letter. If ever I was tempted to side with him, that killed it. Pontius Pilate? Oh, puhleeez. And he never mentioned any of the issues, just framed it all as a personal attack on him. 
- comments by [J O] in Horizon Newsletter #22 (June 1989(
- [L V] in The Federation Archives
- from Avon Newsletter #35 (January 1989)
- comments quoted anonymously, referencing Paul Darrow's Statement Read Aloud At The 1989 Gambit Convention (February 1989)
- comments by Sue Clerc from Virgule-L, quoted with permission (Mar 31, 1993)