Really? Outrage? Because...why, exactly? I'm honestly not really being facetious here. So...an open submission policy isn't quite as open as advertised? This is news?
Way back when, when we were talking about our delusions, open submission policies came up as a big fat old lie theatres tell so they seem like they're looking for new voices. It's useful for funding and press. But it has no actual connection to reality. Example number one? Right here. Seriously, are we going to get our panties in a bunch over that now?
These get filed under Things We All Know. We all know that all of these summer festivals and conferences have open submission policies and we all know that the slots aren't really filled by the stuff that comes over the transom. Some are solicited, some are submitted by an agent, some are actually submitted, but by someone already connected. After all of this hullabaloo, are we really surprised to find that open submissions doesn't mean open submissions? What does anything mean, really?
Is the outrage about the submission fee? Yeah, okay. Maybe. But...then...don't submit. I'm not against submission fees as a rule, for most of the reasons Isaac outlines here. It's a relatively minor thing to me. And, honestly, I'm saving my outrage for other things these days.