Having met the man, I can say that Harlan Ellison is a horrible little troll, and a pompous, self-important douchebag to boot.
Of course, he can be a very entertaining
horrible little troll, but...
I've been going to I-CON
for many years, first as a patron, and then as staff. He's usually there. I've picked up some tips with dealing with Harlan over the years.
First off, he's sensitive about his size. You can use that. That will, however, make you an enemy.
Second, he's the sort of horrible, little
man who has to try to be the alpha male. He won't respect you unless you put him in his place -- which means to get into the pissing contests he organizes and to dominate them by using cheap shots. The only real way to deal with him and get him to give you respect is to savage him right back. If he groped a female, I think that the proper course of action would be to slap him -- or, hell, a closed-fist punch across the jaw, followed, again, by insults, particularly calling him a little bastard.
I've got a friend who nearly decked him 'cause he made a kid in his autograph line cry.
My experience was better some. I came into I-CON on the first day to get my badge, and was immediately set upon by the staff wrangler, a friend of mine. "You! You're big an imposing! C'mere, we need someone to escort Harlan Ellison from this panel to his next one." (I'm 6'4" and solidly built.)
I thought this was kinda neat -- while I had never liked his writing -- he's got great ideas, but his propensity for using fourty-dollar words when ten-cent ones would be most appropriate made trying to read anything by him a chore. (I've got a rather respectable vocabulary myself, but I had to scrounge for a word in the dictionary about once a paragraph.) But, hey, I was meeting Science Fiction Author, one of the Names in the field to conjure with.
I came up to him (looking well down to him) as he was getting his stuff together, introduced myself, shook his hand, lied and said that I loved his work, and asked, apologetically, for him to quickly give me his autograph in the con book I was holding, opened to the right page, and with pen attached.
He refused, nastily, and ... gave me some Hershey's miniatures instead.
Oh well. At least I got chocolate out of it.