I will be back later today with more on this. Unfortunately, this morning is going to be busy and I don’t have enough time to do the full research this deserves. However, I wanted to give everyone a head’s up and give you a chance to read some of the documentation and get your initial thoughts.
Some background. Romance writer and RWA member (in fact, she has been a director-at-large and member of the ethics committee) Courtney Milan has been removed from the Romance Writers of America organization following several formal complaints against her. Basically, she’s been accused of cyber-bullying, potential violation of author IP rights, possible libel, and more. In my opinion, her actions, especially on Twitter, rose to a point where they negatively impacted the RWA and the public’s perception of the organization (and I honestly believe that is probably why the organization took the action it did).
From one of the complaints, is this:
Because of these outlandish, false, and vicious attacks, Ms. Davis lost a very lucrative contract with another publishing company. Please note that she didn’t lose the contract because the publishing house believes the lies Ms. Milan is spreading. Quite the contrary. Ms. Davis lost the contract because the publishing house is afraid of the backlash that could be thrown their way should Ms. Milan learn that Ms. Davis is now working for them. The other publishing house is afraid of getting into Ms. Milan’s crosshairs.
Additionally, I have lost three of my Glenfinnan authors—not because they agreed with Ms. Milan and those of her ilk, but because they are afraid of any backlash from Ms. Milan. These authors are afraid that if Ms. Milan starts attacking them, they will lose future contracts and sales. It boils down to them needing to make a living and these kinds of attacks have proven to be detrimental to those on the receiving end of this malicious behavior.
This, so much this, and not just with regard to Milan and the complaints against her. Those of us who were active with Sad Puppies saw this sort of behavior aimed at us by members of the SF/F community, members who were (or currently are) officers with SFWA. However, unlike RWA, SFWA turned a blind eye. But that’s another story.
Looking at Milan’s Twitter feed, it is clear she is furious with what happened and that she has her supporters. Looking at the screen caps in the complaints (linked below), it is also clear that she has no problem taking to Twitter and attacking those she doesn’t feel meet her standards. I would also say it swirls down the internet toilet to become cyber bullying.
However, I feel compelled to note that Milan isn’t always the villain. If you do a search of our archives, you will see we’ve reported on her efforts to stem plagiarism. She has gone after serial plagiarists and helped other authors do the same in an attempt to protect their IP.
That said, she clearly stepped over a line here, one the RWA wasn’t prepared to turn a blind eye to. It is also clear she is doing her best via Twitter to cast aspersions on the organization in an attempt to undermine their action against her. That’s what a lot of us would like to do. I would hope we’d stop and think before hitting the enter button.
Any way, I will be back later with more on this, but it is too important to do an in-depth post without doing the research. In the meantime, check out the following links:
Until later this morning. Leave your thoughts in the comments.