Genre Grapevine for 6/25/2020

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Harassment allegations against multiple genre authors

Over the last week several prominent genre authors have been accused of sexual harassment. First, Paul Krueger was accused of harassing numerous women in the publishing industry. Suzanne Walker wrote a thread about what happened to her, as did Alyssa Wong, and Wendy Xu. Krueger eventually wrote a unspecific apology before deleting his Twitter account. 

In response to the allegations Krueger’s literary agent DongWon Song wrote about the situation and later announced he was ending his relationship with Krueger.  

The second author was Myke Cole, who apologized after Cara McGee described what Cole did to her. Cole blamed being drunk but, as was pointed out, that doesn’t negate the harm done. In addition, Alexandra Erin and others questioned the apology, especially since Cole made a similar apology in 2018 over different allegations. Even Cole said he was “reiterating my 2018 apology here as it’s still germane.” (Update: Kate Welch has also written a disturbing thread on Cole's actions.)

A number of people have spoken out about the different treatment of Krueger, who is a person of color, and Cole, who is a white man. Krueger lost his agent and was generally shunned, while the same treatment has so far not happened to Cole. (Update: Cole's agent Joshua Bilmes says they have now "parted ways." while Angry Robot says they will publish no new books by Cole.)

Finally, there are now emerging allegations against author Sam Sykes, including from Megan O'Keefe. Alexandra Erin discusses additional allegations against Sykes, as does Matt Wallace.

“Hit piece” attacks Rebecca Roanhorse as Native writers defend her

Award-winning author Rebecca Roanhorse wrote the other day that a Native journalist was going to publish a piece questioning her "authenticity" as a Native writer. The story came out yesterday on Indianz(dot)com and called Roanhorse the “Elizabeth Warren of the sci-fi set.” I’m not linking to the article because it is extremely poor journalism and contains serious errors.

A number of Native writers have come to Roanhorse’s defense. Robert Jago described the article as a "hit piece" filled with errors of fact and logic. Other must-read comments from Native writers include these Tweets and threads from Erika T. Wurth, Turquoise Day, Kiros Auld, and Kevin Brown. In addition, Rebekah Weatherspoon ties this attack article in with anti-Blackness, as does Kayla Shaggy in an excellent essay on anti-Blackness within Indigenous circles and how it relates to the treatment of Roanhorse

Roanhorse, whose mother is Native American, also identifies as Black and has previously been attacked by a small group of Native writers and critics who imply she isn't truly Native because she was given up for adoption as a child. These attacks have been led by Dr. Debbie Reese, the founder and editor of American Indians in Children’s Literature.

As Mercedes Acosta writes, Reese "mentored Rebecca Roanhorse. By all accounts (except hers now teehee) didn't have an issue w what Rebecca wrote til she published and got successful (as she deserves) then suddenly Deb and crew turned into detectives and started perpetuating lies Roanhorse has since addressed." 

It’s worth noting that on June 2, which was Blackout Tuesday on social media, Reese posted a Twitter thread attacking Roanhorse. In the thread Reese wrote "Rebecca knows how much I did for her. If I was anti-Black, I would have not have done any of that."

However, a large number of authors responded by pointing out the serious racial issues with Reese’s thread and especially around writing it on Blackout Tuesday. Reese eventually deleted the thread. As Karen Strong wrote in response to Reese’s thread, "I've been watching you and I see a pattern. Why are you so obsessed with Rebecca Roanhorse? Is your new agenda to ruin her? I see the anti-Blackness in you.”

Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, who considered herself a friend of Reese, responded to the thread by writing an in-depth essay about the attacks on Roanhorse and how much of children's literature criticism is anti-Black. She also resigned as a board member of the Children’s Literature Association. 

Other News and Info

Opportunities

  • Locus is looking for new reviewers and strongly encourages Black and Indigenous applicants, as well as people from other marginalized communities. Details>>
  • The RWA is offering scholarships for their upcoming virtual conference. Details>>
  • If There's Anyone Left is searching for flash speculative fiction from marginalized members of the sci-fi/spec community. Details>>
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