July 07, 2020, 03:50:24 PM

Author Topic: Abusive Behaviour in the Fantasy Community  (Read 943 times)

Offline Nora

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Re: Abusive Behaviour in the Fantasy Community
« Reply #15 on: June 27, 2020, 04:14:58 PM »
As for Lynch, no matter how much hero worship Rowland had, she didn't cheat with Lynch on her own. Bear could benefit from taking a step back and wondering with us whether or not she's married to someone who used a gullible worshipper for side-action. That sounds like a nasty cheating episode and should be delt with in private, except for the fact that Rowland and Lynch apparently share an agent, and he and his wife have a lot more clout and could stomp her career if they wanted to, probably.

Not sure if you read the whole thread, but Rowland was ok to have an affair as long as Bear was ok with it. It was supposed to be a open relationship as per Lynch. From what I read, Bear was ambivalent or undecided at first, but later didn't agree. It's strange that Rowland agreed to a date knowing he was in a relationship.

Why is it strange that Rowland accepted a date? Never heard of polyamorous couples? Open relationships? I've been in one myself. I know first hand it's complicated, and I absolutely understand that Rowland could have been ok even being made a proper hidden mistress. I'm not saying any of them are better than the other. I'm saying they're all seemingly at fault, and that it's a messy private matter, that I don't care about such things. They're all adults, if they want to cheat on each other, gaslight each other, lie to each other, more the power to them.
I'm only worried about potential abuse of power. Lynch is the most powerful out of all of them, industry wise. So long as he, and none of the involved women, use their career attachments to hurt the careers of others, then I really don't care what goes on in their bedroom.

As per Peat's post, they seem to be working on it, and since it is in the limelight, I'm hopeful that no dirty shenanigans will happen.

It's entirely different when a huge burly guy with half his beard grey says sexually inapropriate stuff to a teenager at a convention. That's worrisome. It's being a sex pest, and shows so little understanding of the concept of "respecting women", that I'd not want to be in the same room as them.

Quote
Cole made a new apology, in which he also linked to his 2018 apology. In both, he says all the right things - admits his culpability, apologises, pledges to do better. Given ongoing behaviour since the 2018 apology, like Peat says, it rings a little hollow. The proof is always in what happens next. But a solid apology like this is so much better than the nothing, or half-arsed apologies, or denials that we so often see.

I find that to be proof enough that this guy has no intention of changing. You seem happy to take the excuse at face value, but he's getting so little backlash, despite being a bloody recidivist, that for all we know, he may very well be in the process of doing a PR friendly mea culpa while rolling his eyes and regretting being "caught". We don't know, what we know is that in 2 years he's not learnt a single thing, and apparently can't be trusted around women if he doesn't have several individuals ready to "keep him in check". Imagine sharing an elevator ride with a guy like that lol
Never giving a cent to that guy and never recommending him to anyone. Easy, and probably not enough.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2020, 04:17:58 PM by Nora »
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Offline cupiscent

Re: Abusive Behaviour in the Fantasy Community
« Reply #16 on: June 28, 2020, 04:35:15 AM »
Quote
Cole made a new apology, in which he also linked to his 2018 apology. In both, he says all the right things - admits his culpability, apologises, pledges to do better. Given ongoing behaviour since the 2018 apology, like Peat says, it rings a little hollow. The proof is always in what happens next. But a solid apology like this is so much better than the nothing, or half-arsed apologies, or denials that we so often see.

I find that to be proof enough that this guy has no intention of changing. You seem happy to take the excuse at face value, but he's getting so little backlash, despite being a bloody recidivist, that for all we know, he may very well be in the process of doing a PR friendly mea culpa while rolling his eyes and regretting being "caught".

I 100% support your right to make up your own mind and hold him in however much contempt you wish! However, I'm going to argue against that "no backlash" part. Myke Cole has lost his UK publisher, lost his agent, and lost a comics publisher. Maybe he'll get new ones in six months time, but for now, everything he had in progress is scuppered. Personally, I'm not so much taking the apology at face value, as applauding that face value - so much higher than many other "apologies" we see - and waiting to see if he walks it as well. At the very least, all of this reaction - including his - means that should he be an ass again, there's a lot more implicit support for people speaking up in situ.

Speaking of apologies, I was quite satisfied with Lynch's - though his initial reaction was indeed unhelpful and I'm glad he recognises it as such. I remain annoyed at the elements of Bear's approach (and some corroborating voices) that seem to put all the blame on Rowland. I suspect it's more closing-ranks than it is misogyny (excusing the man his role while putting all blame on the female-presenting party) but it's still bothersome. But the bottom line does seem to be everyone made a mess. (All of this being, as Peat says, pending any other voices coming forward to corroborate that "grooming other young writers" claim.)

Offline Neveesandeh

Re: Abusive Behaviour in the Fantasy Community
« Reply #17 on: June 28, 2020, 12:30:28 PM »
So because I have nothing better to do, I looked up the whole Lawrence and Schwab thing. I'm inclined to believe both explanations they've given, and to be honest I think the real culprits in both situations are the ravenous Twitter mob.

I am getting increasingly close to losing patience with these people and their trials by social media. (Not anyone here, I have to clarify.)I'm aware they've brought attention to some real scumbags who have mostly gotten away with awful things, but the amount of vitriol they've directed against people who were either innocent or not guilty enough to deserve such a vicious outpouring of hate makes me question whether that was worth it. The internet is starting to resemble a bloodless French Revolution and I'm relieved beyond relief that I'm not on Twitter.

The capacity of human beings to generate intense hatred towards people they don't know and have never met is one of our greatest failings as a species.

Offline Bender

Re: Abusive Behaviour in the Fantasy Community
« Reply #18 on: June 28, 2020, 03:35:46 PM »
Lynch's apologies does come across genuine and we'll considered and he acknowledges his failings. I'm inclined to trust his version than Rowland's which even at prima facie felt embellished.
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Offline Rostum

Re: Abusive Behaviour in the Fantasy Community
« Reply #19 on: June 30, 2020, 10:31:39 AM »
I know nothing of anyone's personal situation, because I don't consider myself anyone's moral arbiter. I also don't believe Twitter or social media as A whole is a force for good, but I am old-fashioned that way.

Twitter to me is a nasty mess of virtue signalling and one-upmanship and will mire itself down eventually, but not before doing some real harm.

If someone breaks the law go to the police, at least that way you both have recourse to the law. If not then what is the motivation to take it to twitter? Revenge, disgrace an attempt to destroy their livelihood?

I seem to recall Ed McDonald had this nightmare last year. Had the allegations not proved false ending his career was the inevitable outcome.

While game not book related the despicable Zoe Quinn and her debunked allegations last year contributed/led  to the suicide of Alec Holowka. Presumably a small price for her to pay to remain socially relevant.

Offline Nora

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Re: Abusive Behaviour in the Fantasy Community
« Reply #20 on: June 30, 2020, 01:23:21 PM »
The problem @Rostum is when a teen goes to the police and says "this old guy author I like said to me at that con that he'd like to pee in my face", she will get laughed out, or at least strongly discouraged from going anywhere further. There are heartbreaking statistics about rape victims being actively discouraged from pressing charges, can you imagine what it's like when it's sexual assault? Worse, if it's only verbal abuse?

From our perspective, knowing our teen friends or children aren't safe around that guy is terrible and implies a lot of worse stuff for his character, but can the police of the law do anything about it? Will they? What should the punishment be?

That's why social justice rises up. Because people can be safely bigoted, safely racist, safely misogynistic, to a certain extent, without any legal repercussions. So internet mobs arise, and have leverage against companies, who, to keep their name clean, will ditch the offending employee.

Until we have an actual legal recourse when a man is being a pig and making women feel unsafe (which will never happen), mob justice will remain a solution of choice.

It's not something I condone. I stay the hell away from twitter. Its cancel culture is toxic and led several people to suicide before. Seriously hurt many others. But it is undeniable that it has its uses. Certainly MeToo would not have picked up the way it did without twitter... It's a tool. We can only hope that people will learn to wield it more conservatively.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2020, 01:34:58 PM by Nora »
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty

Offline Rostum

Re: Abusive Behaviour in the Fantasy Community
« Reply #21 on: June 30, 2020, 05:27:29 PM »
Quote
The problem @Rostum is when a teen goes to the police and says "this old guy author I like said to me at that con that he'd like to pee in my face", she will get laughed out, or at least strongly discouraged from going anywhere further.

I am hoping this is a random example and not something that anyone in the industry is accused of. A couple of things here as unpleasant and as unsavoury as it may be in the UK I am not sure saying you want to pee on someone is actually a crime, I have no idea about elsewhere? Should he try to do so to anyone under the age of consent or to anyone without consent I am fairly sure a large and very fast moving book would be thrown him?
Not something I would find anyone likely to announce to a stranger, in public, but what do I know. I am strange and think it in an authors interests to be courteous and polite to fans if they want to eat.

Quote
There are heartbreaking statistics about rape victims being actively discouraged from pressing charges, can you imagine what it's like when its sexual assault? Worse, if it's only verbal abuse?

These are very different things and I would definitely encourage anyone raped to immediately get safe and public then call the police. This may be critical to a prosecution if that is the route decided on. And a large number of rape cases are dropped by the victim after the CPS decide to prosecute as the victim realizes they will spend up to two years with their life in limbo while the case is prosecuted.

In the case of verbal abuse or unwanted sexual attention con organizers take a very dim view and agents and PR wonks seem to shepherd authors around these days to keep them from making idiots of themselves in public.

Sexual assault would and should be a police matter.

Online ScarletBea

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Re: Abusive Behaviour in the Fantasy Community
« Reply #22 on: June 30, 2020, 05:51:15 PM »
Quote
The problem @Rostum is when a teen goes to the police and says "this old guy author I like said to me at that con that he'd like to pee in my face", she will get laughed out, or at least strongly discouraged from going anywhere further.

I am hoping this is a random example and not something that anyone in the industry is accused of.
Unfortunately that's exactly what Myke Cole is being said to have done...

I can't confirm nor deny if there've been more developments as I stopped reading stuff about this.
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Offline Nestat

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Re: Abusive Behaviour in the Fantasy Community
« Reply #23 on: June 30, 2020, 07:39:18 PM »
@Rostum, false accusations are a big problem. And so is abusive behaviour. Both are wrong, both ruin people's lives, both can lead to suicide.

Dealing with both is not mutually exclusive. If we had to choose one, I'd argue that we should support all accusations - because there are fewer false allegations. However, we can deal with both problems simultaneously. We need an appropriate system to handle it:

Sexual assault would and should be a police matter.

a large number of rape cases are dropped by the victim after the CPS decide to prosecute as the victim realizes they will spend up to two years with their life in limbo while the case is prosecuted.

If lots of cases are dropped after police involvement because the procedure is too difficult, then the cases shouldn't be a police matter. We need our companies and institutions to conduct transparent and fair investigations, within the burden of reasonable doubt.

Rushing to react publicly is wrong, as we saw with Ed Mcdonald. The normal response from the industry is deafening silence, which is worse. Here's why:

I am hoping this is a random example and not something that anyone in the industry is accused of.

Within our community, I first encountered this discussion in 2013. This is not a new problem - it is a very old one.   I left Waterstones in 2016. I tweeted about my experiences during #MeToo.
https://twitter.com/Nestat82/status/1276453240641593348



agents and PR wonks seem to shepherd authors around these days to keep them from making idiots of themselves in public.

Making an idiot of yourself and displaying a pattern of abuse are two very different things. This is why I called on Orbit and Gollancz to make a public statement about Sam Sykes. He admitted his behaviour, and described these women as "victims". The organisations which endorse him need to prove to the community that they've listened, and responded fairly and appropriately.

Here is an excellent thread, explaining why publishers' responses to sexual harassment in our community are inadequate and inappropriate.

https://twitter.com/Dystocalypse/status/1276598342567550983

And a follow-up thread, discussing the problem in more detail.

https://twitter.com/straycarnivore/status/1276603643660247041
« Last Edit: June 30, 2020, 08:19:19 PM by Nestat »
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Offline Rostum

Re: Abusive Behaviour in the Fantasy Community
« Reply #24 on: July 01, 2020, 02:19:41 AM »
In the UK rape cases fall over for two reasons in general a lack of evidence and a lack of commitment. The evidence does not reach the bar for prosecution and the CPS choose not to prosecute. This is largely due to her word against his with no physical injury to either party and no corroborating evidence. Or the victim chooses to withdraw the charges. While it is a long and drawn out process if the CPS make a case it is likely to be successful if it is followed through. Alleged is an important word here and innocent until proven guilty becomes a mockery when the police take delight in arresting the accused at work often leading to instant dismissal. If they are not immediately remanded to custody it is very likely they will be banned from their home address or town if the victim is local. Everyone they know is likely to be judging them before they even face a jury. So no making it easier for the alleged victim at this stage is not really possible. You could, I suppose believe every victim and dispense with the trial but is that not what twitter is for?

Please believe those who are believable and can back their accusation up with evidence. If they cannot do so slandering someone should be taken seriously, but as you say this is not a 'choose one' answer you don't have to believe or disbelieve, but if someone posts it in private or public they should be able to prove it, but the issue with twitter is it's about emotions and not facts.

* And before you ask I had a mate who had pretty much as described happen in his early 20's.  The prosecution collapsed due to inconstant testimony and the CPS declined to prosecute a second case. He was remanded for a year while the court case went on, shunned, lost his job and had to move away from home despite never being found guilty and went off the rails for 15 years and died of a heart attack in 2017 at 51. I also have two brothers who are police officers and have discussed at length with them why cases fail either to be presented to the CPS or prosecuted by them.

Offline cupiscent

Re: Abusive Behaviour in the Fantasy Community
« Reply #25 on: July 01, 2020, 04:16:49 AM »
Please believe those who are believable and can back their accusation up with evidence. If they cannot do so slandering someone should be taken seriously, but as you say this is not a 'choose one' answer you don't have to believe or disbelieve, but if someone posts it in private or public they should be able to prove it, but the issue with twitter is it's about emotions and not facts.

The problem with people is that they're mostly about emotions and not facts. Twitter is just a symptom.

"Evidence" is, as you note, a difficult thing when dealing with private matters, which may have had only the two people present. What we've been seeing recently is a whole lotta people saying, "This private thing happened that you have only my word about", but when lots of people have similar stories about the one person, that starts to add up. Especially when you get further indirect corroborating witnesses speaking up. And then, at the very least, other people know to avoid this sort of situation with that person.

We aren't talking about laws being broken. We are talking about some people consistently being assholes in a variety of ways, often gendered, and people telling other people about it so that they don't get assholed at. We're also talking about trying to limit the assholery, to prevent people being driven away from the community.

Whisper networks (literally just word of mouth) have often done this work within SFF communities, but they have significant limitations in keeping people safe - they can only gather the information from people who are speaking together, and they can only give the information to people who are brought into the networks. (As I think I noted above, I'm on the fringes of a couple of old-skool whisper networks, and some of the names coming up in this bout of twitter cleansing are known to me through those.) Twitter - and other social media - gives the capacity to gather a lot of incidents that may have been otherwise separated by time or distance, and to spread this information to a wider audience who might otherwise have missed out. And it also means that the person in question knows what's being said about them. Which can maybe even lead to personal growth.

Like Nora said, twitter is a social tool. It does magnify the terrible parts of human behaviour, but it can also magnify the useful community parts.

Offline Rostum

Re: Abusive Behaviour in the Fantasy Community
« Reply #26 on: July 01, 2020, 08:13:13 AM »
I am very aware that I am not in a place to understand this, not being on social media and not chasing this down.

I see little admirable in whisper networks, which again without evidence are libalous or slanderous. Two spring to mind the one used to blacklist male journalists possibly started with good intentions to protect women in the industry but used to block the hiring and end the careers of entirely innocent writers who found out why years later. The author is facing a multimillion dollar lawsuit for unregulated information added by others to her list. Whether any of this information is true or not does not matter now, it does not bear up to reasonable doubt and will be treated as malicious at worst and tainted at best. The other was within the tech industry and largely but not exclusively American based. It warned of bad behaviour from men about a third working within the company I worked for, outed a lesbian manager while she was applying for her directorship. While this should not have been an issue she was married with children stood down and made a very messy suicide attempt. The data and those involved inevitably came to light and there were resignations and sackings. Less than a year later the CEO was sacked fiddling his expenses and very publicly sued by the freelance PA he was spending them on with the intent of bedding her. While he was foolish she played him for the sucker he was, then sued for whatever else she could get.

Asia Argento one of the figureheads of the METOO# movement learnt that if you are in the public eye it's better not to have skeletons in your closet. Rose McGowan has very publicly stated that the movement morphed into something she was unhappy with.

There are pitfalls in becoming the morality police and while I understand the intent it is very easy to expose yourself legally while partaking in such things.

Offline xiagan

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Re: Abusive Behaviour in the Fantasy Community
« Reply #27 on: July 01, 2020, 09:31:12 AM »
While game not book related the despicable Zoe Quinn and her debunked allegations last year contributed/led  to the suicide of Alec Holowka. Presumably a small price for her to pay to remain socially relevant.
I wouldn't have thought this would come up here, are you a fan of his games, Rostum? I knew Alec quite well a decade ago and talked to his sister after his suicide. He was a genius and he could be a good friend but he had his fair share of problems and it's a platitude but unfortunately true that hurt people often hurt others and he did hurt people. No idea about Zoe Quinn, but I know from others. He should've sought professional help, not kill himself.

To the general discussion, I still don't know what to think in the Lynch/Bear/Rowland case.
For the others I'm a fan of John Scalzi's post: https://whatever.scalzi.com/2020/06/25/when-friends-fuck-up-and-so-do-i/
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Offline Rostum

Re: Abusive Behaviour in the Fantasy Community
« Reply #28 on: July 01, 2020, 10:31:02 AM »
I knew of Bit Blot and infinite Ammo but not of Alec as such until after his death. I do keep a watch eye on what Quinn is up to and the harm she causes.

At the point where her Patreon earnings had halved, and she was about to land a comic writing job she MeToo'd Alec over six weeks or, so she spent in Canada with him several years before after he flew her up there put her up and fed her as well as picked up the travel costs and hotels for a couple of conventions. He also helped her code a game she was working on (Stupid Cupid or some such)and never finished.

From what has been released he was fighting depression and had a self-destructive personality. He was aware that he could be an arse and had worked hard on his social interactions. It sounds as though he had sorted himself out to a point and then when Quinns allegations hit pretty much immediately the dev team he was leading dumped him and friends blocked him on social media, and he killed himself the next day. When people started looking into this Quinn had deleted her texts, but they eventually emerged from an archive, and the 100's of tweets painted a very different six weeks than those she described as fraught and controlling. Also, a conversation at the time between Alec and a friend came to light listing Quinn's inappropriate behaviour and as it was a couple of weeks left of the conclusion was to let the trip run its course. Another conversation Alec had in 2016 suggests he knew Quinn would be coming for him at some point.

@xiagan All I can really say is a lot of information is out there. I would advise you not to look as it will upset you. If you do you will have to judge the veracity of it and come to your own conclusions. I am sorry you lost a friend in this horrible way.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2020, 10:35:49 AM by Rostum »

Offline xiagan

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Re: Abusive Behaviour in the Fantasy Community
« Reply #29 on: July 01, 2020, 11:10:14 AM »
Thanks, I won't look. One of Alec's compositions has been my ringtone for the last twelve years and that's how I like to remember him. Check out the Aquaria soundtrack if you want to listen to some otherworldly melodies. It's nothing short of magic how he managed to transport moods through music.
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