…and no one wants to take it seriously. (by me, a RQ blog)
Earlier this morning, various threats to beloved NYT bestselling authors like Victoria Aveyard, Leigh Bardugo, and Cassandra Clare came into the light on Twitter.
It started with NYT bestselling author of the Red Queen series, Victoria Aveyard ( @vaveyard ) retweeting this photo of a threat she had received in hopes of getting Twitter to do something about the threat (this is not the first time she has been threatened/harassed on the website)
*the second photo is not Aveyard, she was not physically hurt
Aveyard’s response:“Well at least now we all know what to do. Torn bc they clearly want the attention but I also want this recorded and seen. Blegh. No apologies necessary, guys. The fault is not with us. Twitter needs to do better to protect users from serial harassers. This bleeds into the issues with stan twitter. We get threats like this, be they real or “jokes.” We can’t differentiate. We don’t know you. You can’t support women defending against their harassers while also perpetuating a culture of harassment for your own entertainment. We see you making snide jokes about our weight and our worth and our humanity so you can giggle with each other. It’s not great but okay. But a direct threat? Come on. You can’t do that & cry abuse when the person you are threatening to harm responds. Twitter isn’t a vacuum.“
Twitter took awhile to suspend the account, and at first notified Aveyard that “there was no violation of Twitter’s Rules regarding abusive behavior” which led to many fans reporting the account even more and tweeting at Twitter directly to provide better care against threats.
Aveyard’s final response to fans:“Again, account finally suspended. But the person is just going to make another. Thanks for all the reporting, people. It means a lot.”
Aveyard later was defending fellow author Leigh Bardugo ( @lbardugo ), NYT bestselling author of Six of Crows, Crooked Kingdom, and the Grisha trilogy, after ‘fans’ claimed Bardugo would “come after [them] with her cane”
Aveyard’s response:“Not interested in calling out people but definitely want to highlight how ugly this behavior is. What is the goal here? Where is your shame? …can we just acknowledge there is something incredibly broken if anyone thinks this is acceptable?”
Bardugo herself responded to the multiples claims on herself and other fellow authors about the ridiculousness of the level of harassment and how it indeed must be taken seriously, as well as why the authors are rightfully concerned.
Bardugo’s response: “This is some spectacular gaslighting. Let me explain the difference since you guys are creating false equivalences… and I do this knowing that there’s no way to “win.” You guys have decided that somehow, by calling out a vile threat, we’re the bullies. What were the consequences to the OP? She told an author “big b*tch, I’m coming for you” then threatened to corner her at Bookcon & beat her. A whole lot of people had to say, “Even if you’re joking, this isn’t okay.” Aside from just being cruel and ott… We have no way of knowing if it’s a credible threat, if the person is unwell and actually dangerous, or just a kid who thinks it’s funny. We have no way of recognizing that person or persons at a huge conference event with fairly lax security. I take no joy in making a kid feel bad, but that kid came with a lot nasty vitriol and you guys thought it was HILARIOUS. Zero empathy. If you think me walking around Bookcon with my cane is A THREAT and not, y'know, a way for me not to tip over… I’m not sure there’s anything more to say. I told Cassie I had her back and made a LoTR reference. Pretending you think it was a threat… God this is tiresome. If you don’t like me, if you think I might wield my mighty cane against you, I’m super easy to avoid. For one thing, I can’t run very fast #criplife. For another, you know what I look like and where I’m gonna be. I don’t have that advantage. And honestly, I shouldn’t have to spell this out. I want to be excited about Bookcon, about meeting readers… Not somehow having to explain how I have the right to defend myself or my friends if I’m VIOLENTLY ATTACKED… I’m sorry for the negativity. I know it’s a tiny fraction of the community who think this stuff is okay.“
Cassandra Clare ( @cassandraclare ), NYT bestselling author of the Mortal Instruments was threatened by more than 3 accounts with tweets suggesting she would be cornered and beaten up at future book signings (referenced by Bardugo above).
Clare’s response:“A few people have asked me if I’m looking for tweets about this whole BEA/threats situation. I’m not, but of course my friends/agent/publisher are. This is a really serious situation. No one I work with think specific threats to beat the fuck out of him in a place I WILL be, is funny or a joke. I don’t go looking - seeing negativity online is nothing I enjoy. But I do get sent links because no one is invisible on the internet. I think there’s an idea that threats, etc are not threats if the intention was that they not be seen. And the argument that threats are "fan language” - no one has a lock on specific kinds of violent threats. Whatever the source we have to take them all equally seriously… I hope it doesn’t take authors getting hurt physically (more than they already have) for this kind of thing to stop being ‘funny.’“
Cavallaro’s response: "Ultimately, what’s gained by threatening authors online and at events, at assuming that a small window into their lives via Twitter…or that you ‘know them’ because of their books and so have the right to harass them or push into their personal lives…the end result is that you’ll lose that access. Authors will not do events. Will leave social media. Will take themselves away… Because right now, I’m definitely not writing. I’m reporting trolls and wondering how it came to this, why some readers think it’s okay.”
Queen Aveyard gave some notable responses to a few rude tweets about the whole fiasco:
As for Twitter and neutral fans who do not see these as actual threats, please realize that these beautiful authors are real people. Words hurt, sure, but seeing things like this can be terrifying, whether they’re real or not, it means someone at least thought about it, and you never know what can break someone. Not to mention that responses like this are caused by such silly things as who an author writes as a canon ship? That is utterly ridiculous and unacceptable.
Authors are now wanting to leave social media and seriously reduce the amount of response time to fans because of bad apples like these. Do not be one of these fake fans. The books that they write belong to them. They come from their imagination and expertise. It is their job and passion to give us these stories. We need to find stories we like to love and be okay with stories that don’t go the way we planned because they are not our stories. Threatening an author is never an okay route to go to get what you want. Turn those angry fingers to watt pad and write your own stories instead of pushing authors away from the internet.
A brief note written in the journal of mass shooter Jared Lee Loughner. On January 8, 2011Loughner shot 19 peoplegathered at a Safeway in Tucson, Arizona. 6 were killed, and AZ Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was critically wounded after being shot in the head at point-blank range. Loughner was arrested and sentenced to 7 consecutive life terms + 140 years in prison with no parole.