Author Neil Gaiman has said “vilifying Jonathan Ross personally” was "not wise or kind," after the television presenter quit as host of the Hugo Awards following a Twitter campaign.
Ross was announced as the host of the awards, which recognise excellence in the science fiction and fantasy community, last weekend. However he withdrew from the role shortly afterwards after a series of attacks on social media, including a number accusing him of sexism.
Gaiman, who first forwarded the invitation to host to Ross, wrote in a blog post that he “wasn’t surprised that some people were upset by the choice of Jonathan as a host” but said: “I was seriously disappointed in the people, some of whom I know and respect, who stirred other people up to send invective, obscenities and hatred Jonathan's way over Twitter (and the moment you put someone's @name into a tweet, you are sending it to that person), much of it the kind of stuff that they seemed to be worried that he might possibly say at the Hugos, unaware of the ironies involved.”
The author, who has known Ross for 25 years, said the World Science Fiction Convention, which runs the Hugos, should have “consulted better within their ranks” before asking Gaiman to invite Ross to host.
Organisers of the convention, being held in London this year and called Loncon 3, have apologised to Ross and his family through a statement on Facebook.
The statement said: “The chairs of Loncon 3 wish to apologise publicly to Jonathan Ross and his family for the situation that occurred over the weekend.
“Having invited him to take the role, we failed to brief him about the recent debates in fandom, and failed to help him deal with the controversy which ensued after we announced his participation. He and his family have had a horrible few days, and it was our fault for putting him in that situation.”
The organisers also said they regretted “any and all offence caused to those who disagreed with our choice of Jonathan Ross, those affected by the exchanges that followed on social media, and those who are disappointed that he has now withdrawn”.
They said that they did not consult widely or promptly enough within their own ranks before making the decision about Ross.
Gaiman ended his post by saying that while he was “incredibly proud of all” the Hugo Awards he has won, he has now taken “off the Hugo nominee pin that I’ve worn proudly on my lapel since my Dr Who episode, The Doctor’s Wife, won the Hugo in September 2012, and, for now, I’ve put it away”.