Storify: Vulture, KatR, and The Black Witch

Storify is shutting down in May and has informed users that we have to migrate our content elsewhere if we wish to save it. This is one of my old threads.

Vulture, KatR, and The Black Witch: How a personal grudge ended with an NY Magazine outline ginning up harassment against indie and small press authors.

Part 1: Summary for people who don't want to read the long version.

TL;DR: The Vulture piece by @katrosenfield appears to be a grudge piece designed to harass people who objected to her calling WOC a "groupthink mob".

FIVE of the people she hate-links to were people who've criticized her in the past for loaded language against WOC and queer people.

SIX of the people hate-linked in that article are friends-of or friendly-to those five authors who criticized her in public.

In total, ELEVEN of the people Kat hate-linked to were folks she has an axe to grind with, or friends of those folks.

The Vulture article feels like a harassment hit-piece which casts harmed WOC and queer people as the "real bullies" for objecting to harm. An ethical reporter does not write a piece like this and "accidentally" only link to people who've criticized her behavior in the past.

The piece is about (anonymous) best-selling NYT authors being "afraid" to write because of criticism from the people they hurt. All the while admitting that the Twitter criticism has not hurt sales or affected reviews of the book. So they're afraid of criticism alone.

I get the appeal of this article. I'm afraid of criticism too. I'm afraid of messing up. But I'm afraid because I don't want to HURT people. Writing a hit-piece to silence hurting people just hurts them worse and is exactly the wrong response to criticism.

Part 2: My initial response, the article text, and context of my tweets.

So author Kat Rosenfield has decided to write an article about the Black Witch and linked to me for a pile-on. Hokay then. Thanks to Nicky for screenshooting the article so it won't get clicks, and to the follower who DM'd to let me know.

Here's the actual context of my tweets that were included in the article without contacting me or talking to me. [Link to Black Witch storify.] This is not the first time K/at has waded in on The Black Witch; she previously did so then deleted her tweets.

There's some hilarious irony in Kat being angry at being @'d over "an hours-old tweet", but posting mine from MARCH. I am angry that Kat did not reach out to me, nor did Vulture ask or even warn that they were hate-linking to my tweets. Hate-linking to the tweets of (indie) authors in an article about the ~toxic callout~ of trad authors is gross and grimly ironic.

Let's just pause to reflect the bitter fucking irony of hate-linking to authors in an article that pulls this. I'm not an NYT best-selling author but I too get to be afraid because Kat hate-linked to me in ways designed to engender harassment. But I guess Vulture and K/at wanted to be a voice for the voiceful by silencing indie and small press authors speaking out about harm.

Vulture and Kat ought to have at LEAST given me a heads-up so I could lock down my account to avoid harassment. This is gross and disgusting and I am quite angry. I shouldn't have found out about this second-hand from friends. In addition to the racism in this book, I stand hard by what I said about the anti-queer framing.

I can easily believe the author THINKS she is being an ally and explaining Important Concepts to Kids, but the execution is harmful. I spoke on that, AS A QUEER PERSON, so for Kat and Vulture to link to me for hate and harassment is gross. There are ways to talk about how we treat authors in public which don't involve hate-linking to queer people speaking up about harm.

Anyway. If anyone wants to support an indie queer author, the absolute best way is to buy my books. I feel sad linking to my stuff over this, but lemonade from hate-campaign lemons, I guess. I disagreed with an author and she included me in a hate-link round-up months later while hiding her previous interaction with me. Her piece is not objective. It's a collection of grudges being settled against smaller, less powerful voices.

No, Vulture wasn't legally obligated to tell me they were hate-linking to me. But anyone pretending that hate-linking to a trans person's account, for tweets back in March, to settle a personal grudge isn't harassment? I called Kat out for describing The Black Witch's critics as a "groupthink mob". She settled that grudge today by hate-linking me. I pointed out that her language cast POC and Queer people as violent, dangerous, impulsive, and mentally ill.

& despite the fact that I was not a widely heard voice on The Black Witch, nor a reviewer, she "just happened" to call me out in her piece. I look forward to doing this all over again in six months when someone writes a hit piece defending the Confederate HBO show.

Part 3: Investigating who was linked in the Vulture piece and why.

Here is the thread where I called out Kat Rosenfield for her harmful language.

Here is the thread where @TristinaWright called out Kat for the same tweet.

I have to assume that the authors praising Kat's piece don't realize she was settling old grudges with people who criticized her. Kat goes after @heidiheilig in her article. Heidi noted Kat was unsafe two days after she used *mental illness* terms against reviewers. Kat also quotes @ElleOnWords in her article, not mentioning previous interactions they've had.

So to recap, that's at least FOUR of the people Kat quotes negatively in her article are people she has had previous beef with. Two of them (Elle, Heidi) are women of color, Tristina is queer and disabled, and I'm trans, queer, and disabled.

I had very little to do with THE BLACK WITCH. I didn't review it. I linked to a review and threaded further concerns I had. My concerns touched on religious and cultural appropriation *of my religion and culture*, anti-queerness in the text, and racism. I didn't write a review or go viral. But I was quoted in an "outrageous" context because I criticized Kat for calling us a "groupthink mob".

I hope the people I respect praising this article--@rgay and @JenAshleyWright--will read this context. I respect you both greatly. I can well believe that it wasn't clear in the piece that Kat cherry-picked people who've criticized her in the past.

What about the other names in this article?

Kat quoted a LOT of people and she can't have scores to settle with them all. Maybe the Ana-Tristina-Elle-Heidi thing is a coincidence?

.@stichomancery was quoted in the article. They're friendly with me, Tristina, Elle, and Heidi.

.@Bookishwithtea was quoted in the article. They, too, are friendly with me, Tristina, Elle, and Heidi.

.@misskubelik was quoted in the article. They've had friendly interaction with me, Tristina, Elle, and Heidi.

.@Bibliogato was quoted in the article. They've had friendly interaction with me, Tristina, Elle, and Heidi.

All the people I've checked in the article so far were interacting with us in friendly, positive ways when Kat was crafting her article. Do... do you know how goddamn UNLIKELY that is? Twitter is huge. Book Twitter isn't *that* small. I'm an indie nobody in Book Twitter.

Somehow EVERYONE Kat hate-linked to knows ME? and-oh-by-the-way, Tristina and Elle and Heidi. Lessee, who's the next name on the list. @annelisemonte. Interacting positively with me... Tristina... Elle... and Heidi.

.@theshenners was quoted in the article. They also criticized Kat for the "groupthink mob" tweet she made.

.@Bookwormwanders was quoted in the article. They have--you guessed it!--interacted with me, Tristina, Elle, and Heidi.

I cannot find a person featured in that hit piece who did NOT:
-Criticize Kat for her "groupthink mob" tweet, or
-Be friendly to folks who had.

And I (again!) cannot emphasize enough how unlikely it is that all these people would coincidentally know me. I am not a YA author. I am not a YA reviewer. I'm an indie writer whose follower count is for Trans SJW stuff. But ~somehow~ after I criticized Kat Rosenfield ONE TIME, I and people who've been nice to me all ended up in an article about Toxic Twitter.

Authors coming out to praise that article are unaware that everyone in it was on the author's personal shit list for calling her out. I didn't make Kat defend The Black Witch. I didn't make her call queer reviewers and people of color a "groupthink mob". I said her tweet was harmful. And that was enough for her to put me on her List Of People To Take Down.

People praising the article for talking about harassing authors don't realize that article is HARASSING AUTHORS. I'm trans. @TristinaWright is queer. We're both disabled. Don't praise an article that wrongly goes after us and people who are kind to us. I ask folk to pay attention to the article's context & the power disparities between the author and the people she's exposing to harassment.

Reminder that one of the main goals of harassment is to isolate the individual, often by going after friends and supporters. Which is why I'm genuinely upset and angry that Kat somehow coincidentally targeted only people who like me, Tristina, Elle, and Heidi.

REMINDER: Please remember that this happens the next time marginalized authors talk about industry harassment and blacklists. I know MANY women of color and queer people in the industry who were driven out over exactly this type of privileged fragility.

We criticize an author one time, and she writes a mega article geared to take us down, and all her friends join in. And yeah, maybe we can claw our way into a book contract somehow, someday, if the stars align, but we're at -1000 in many people's books.

Why? Because I said a book had anti-queerness in it and objected to Kat calling me and others a violent, mentally ill mob. That was enough to try to burn MY career to the ground. Meanwhile, The Black Witch is and will continue to sell just fine.


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