I am not shy about calling out problematic behavior. I’ve summarized the recent situation with Andrew Smith, called out the problematic and racist comments of Michelle Madow, and have written an article on the general problems (and why some of them can be ignored) with celebrity author culture.
But something has been happening often lately, something I am very uncomfortable with.
Readers, you need to stop threatening authors.
It makes me very uncomfortable to have to say this again. It is not okay to threaten me for a certain outcome in my books. Stop.
— Kiera Cass (@kieracass) May 15, 2015
Look, maybe if you’re on this site, you don’t have this problem. Maybe you’re a thoughtful fan, a considerate fan. You would never threaten an author. But there are plenty of people who have – and plenty of readers who, when an author asks that fans please stop attacking them, tell them to laugh it off. That it’s part of being famous. Who just sent laughing emojis, because it’s funny that they’re being threatened. Because, you know, threats are funny. Worrying about your life is funny. Being verbally and digitally abused with the risk of being physically harassed is funny. You know, like a joke.
Threats to authors are something I’ve seen happen a lot lately. Cassandra Clare has been routinely responding to racist fans of her books, who are harassing her because of the casting of the new TV adaptation of them. John Green and Cassandra Clare have both been flat-out threatened because of the casting. Kiera Cass has been threatened to write a certain outcome of of her new book The Heir.
Other authors have talked about it in person at various events, or in passing on Twitter – particularly authors of color or openly feminist authors, who are often threatened simply for having an opinion.
I shouldn’t have to say that this isn’t okay.
I. Do. Not. Cast. Movie. Adaptations. Of. My. Books. I am not a casting director. Please stop threatening to kill me.
— John Green (@johngreen) May 20, 2015
It doesn’t matter how much you like the books, or don’t like the outcome. Or how much you like the casting of an adaptation, or don’t like the casting of an adaptation. You are entitled to your opinion. You are not entitled to threaten other people because of your opinion. To make them feel unsafe. To make them feel like they can’t be in the public eye. To make them feel unsafe, simply because you are passionate about the thing they created about – passionate in the worst kind of way.
“@johngreen: I Do Not Cast Movie Adaptations Of My Books.I am not a casting director.Please stop threatening to kill me.”I feel you.
— Cassandra Clare (@cassieclare) May 20, 2015
You are entitled to enjoy what authors create. You are entitled to critique it. You are not entitled to control it. You are not entitled to tell them how to create it.
You are not allowed to threaten authors.
And to those who laugh at when authors say they feel unsafe – if somebody threatened you, no matter how normal a life you lead, no matter how famous you are or aren’t – would you like people to laugh? Take them seriously. Call out fans who are saying intrusive, scary things. If you’re not comfortable calling them out, report that user.
Threats are not funny. Stop making them.