Shortly after I created this blog, there was a whole kerfuffle on Goodreads and Twitter about reviewers who noted author behaviour in their reviews. There were many sides to the argument, about whether it was fair to judge the book by the author’s behaviour, whether these people were becoming as bad as the behaviour they were calling out, etc. I generally occupied a medium ground: I won’t buy anything by Orson Scott Card, but I did really enjoy Ender’s Game back when I read that. Given authors’ expressed attitudes to homosexuality, race, gender, mental health issues, etc, I’ve quietly avoided some of them, even if I’ve thought before their work was pretty good.
I don’t think any of it has ever been on the scale of Benjanun Sridungkaew, aka Winterfox, Requires Hate, etc. I was interested in reading her work and I’ve included her book covers in a fairly recent Stacking the Shelves post. I didn’t know about her other identities then. I’m sorry if that gave anyone any unpleasantness: I didn’t know.
I did actually come across Winterfox back on LiveJournal, and because I’m an unabashed fan of N.K. Jemisin, I caught the edge of some of the hate. Never anything particularly severe, but enough that I dropped out of some communities, avoided participating. I didn’t really know back then the sheer scale of what was happening, but there’s no excuse now. There’s a report here which I suggest you read, in that it relies on data as best as possible, and presents evidence, etc. It definitely contains a lot of graphic threats of violence quoted from the original blog, however, so be warned.
I’m not saying Benjanun Sridungkaew’s apology isn’t genuine, because I can’t judge that. Maybe she’s trying to atone for the harm she’s done, even. I haven’t seen that, either. I’m not saying other people have to make the same decision, publicly or privately. I do know that I remember the bullying tactics, and I’m not going to read Benjanun’s work. It sounds great, it sounds right up my alley, but I can’t maintain interest in the face of the behaviour described in the report. I can always go back to it if circumstances change, but as of right now I’m drawing a line.
If you’ve been targeted by Requires Hate, then let me say: I believe you, I hear you, we’re with you now.