Author Laura J. Mixon has spent time documenting carefully and with links the damage done by a person using several pseudonyms online with the intent of damaging writers, using the community of people who care about diversity as a shield and to recruit allies.
It’s very detailed and documents a repeated history of this person attacking young, promising diverse writers.
Our genre has always had a soft spot for sharp-tongued souls. The person who speaks embarrassing truths has an honored—if discomfiting—place at the dinner table, in our SFF Island of Misfit Toys. Though some dislike the extreme rhetoric she uses in her reviews and on Twitter, Requires Hate has shown a deft way with words, and has been promoted as a contender for a Hugo award for some of her blog posts.
What has also become clear in recent weeks is that Benjanun, in the roles of Requires Hate and her other known pseudonyms (including Winterfox, acrackedmoon, ACM, pyrofennec, Valse De La Lune, valsedelune, and Lesifoere), has a decade-plus history of destructive trolling behavior in online SFF and videogaming communities, going back to at least 2003.
One of the highlights of London Worldcon was meeting Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, a Filipino writer who I have chatted with on twitter occasionally, who has spoken up about this and should be read:
I believe that no one has any right to dictate to me when I should speak, where I should speak or how I should speak on any given subject. I also believe that questioning a person on the choices they make is breach of personhood. In matters pertaining to decisions about one’s profession, that questioning is a clear breach of professionalism. I also want to reiterate that if the work under discussion is a work that I have not read in its completed form, it is not right for me to criticize the work or condemn it.
(Via Standing Up and Speaking Truth | From the Beloved Country.)
Elizabeth Bear has written a fantastic post that I retweeted as well that should be read:
It saddens me deeply that some people within communities I consider essential to the health of my industry and my social group (they’re largely the same thing, that being how both publishing and the internet work) use those communities as camouflage to hide abuse, as springboards to facilitate it, and as cheering sections, god help us all, to reward them for their most violent behaviors.
You can often spot them because, instead of going after people with a great deal of social capital and perceived strength, they go after those who are marginalized, young, at the cusp of their professional careers, or struggling with a setback. They go after people who would seem natural allies, who would trust them, who would take their violence much more personally than somebody who actually despises them or to whom their opinion means nothing.
These predators gaslight; they reversion the truth; they have an explanation for everything. And all of it piles up to make you feel as if you’ve lost your grip on reality. As if nothing you perceived was the truth. You think their narrative doesn’t make sense, but other people buy it, and because memory is fallible, you start to buy it too.
They’re not there to teach, to elevate, to change the system. On some level, they don’t want the system changed–because if it were, where would they go to get their kicks?
I’ve seen some of the damage done by RH, but a lot of people have kept quiet, worried that they would harm their careers or be targeted for speaking up.
That is sobering. And I have to admit I didn’t appreciate the true extent and wideness, as well as deep history and multiple pseudonyms this form of harassment continued consistently via the internet.
I do not call on anyone to ‘not publish’ the person’s current pseudonym that they are writing under. That is the tactic they have used, I will not stoop to that.
But I damn well sure will draw awareness to the accounts of people speaking up and documenting how they were ill-treated. That shit’s gotta stop. Criticism and disagreement are one thing, this is another. And the person’s use of deletions, multiple pseudonyms, as well as expert use of a cause I’m passionate about (diversity) have led me to also initially underestimate this.
Since Bermuda (when this broke out, and I was mainly broadcasting tweets) I have only been using twitter to talk to friends and have been not keeping up on the 400 or so tweets a day. Sorry, I’m behind. But I had to take a moment to speak up on this.