Interrupting my vacation and not happy about it.

One of the things I love about this country is the First Amendment. That means we have, with a few exceptions, freedom to say whatever we want. However, there are exceptions, like screaming “Fire!” in a crowded theater. Other exceptions are that employers can, and do, limit what their employees can say on social media. The reason is simple. If it impacts said employer negatively, the employee has become a liability. This doesn’t, in most cases, mean the employer can fire the employee for whistle-blowing. But, when an employee’s actions become unprofessional, the employer can take action. It is also when customers of the employer can demand action be taken against the unprofessional employee.

The reason for the above statement is simple. Irene Gallo, creative editor for Tor and who is also associated with Tor.com, made the following statement about Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies on her Facebook page last month. I saw the comment for the first time yesterday and, frankly, it has been eating at me since then. Here’s what she said in response to a question asking what the Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies are:

“Extreme right-wing to Neo-Nazi groups, called the Sad Puppies and the Rabid Puppies… they are unrepentantly racist, misogynist and homophobic.  A noisy few but they’ve been able to gather some Gamergate folks around them and elect a slate of bad-to-reprehensible works on this year’s Hugo Ballot.”

Now, everyone is permitted to like or not like what made it onto the ballot. All I’ve ever asked is that the nominated works be read before a decision is made. I guarantee you that, at the point when she made her comment, she had not read everything. I could be wrong, of course, but that’s my opinion. Of course, what she is also saying is that all the Tor authors on the ballot who were nominated by either the Sad Puppies or the Rabid Puppies are “bad-to-reprehensible”. That isn’t showing much loyalty or confidence in the work done by her fellow editors at Tor.

But what galls me is how she calls us “Extreme right-wing to Neo-Nazi”. To begin with, if she were to really look at who wound up on the final ballot, especially those backed by the Sad Puppies, she would see that there are conservative, libertarian AND liberals represented. There are women and minorities. If I remember correctly, not everyone on the ballot is straight. (I don’t remember because I don’t care what a person’s sexual preference. It has nothing to do with their ability as a writer.)

Then there is the personal reaction. Ms. Gallo doesn’t know me and I don’t know her. So she doesn’t understand what sort of wound she opened for my family by calling me “extreme right-wing to Neo-Nazi”. My family comes from Germany and the Netherlands. Fortunately, the family was here before Hitler came to power. But they remember what it was like living in parts of this country and having to defend themselves because they had a Germanic last name. Nazism is and always will be a personal anathema to my family and to be called a follower of that hated philosophy/government is beyond acceptable.

Did she commit slander or libel? No. Did she consider the impact her words would have on other people? I don’t know. Part of me wants to believe that she did not but I have my doubts. She used a number of “trigger” words in her response, words meant to create a negative impression. She did not consider or care about how her allegation would impact fans of those authors she was condemning nor did she apparently think or care about how such a hateful allegation could possibly lead to termination of employment.

I could go on but others have already said what I would. So, I’ll let you read their words. Cedar Sanderson writes about Ms. Gallo’s lack of professionalism with regard to this matter, Sarah A. Hoyt reminds us that this isn’t an isolated incident and Jonathan LaForce has penned an open letter to Tor.

As for me, I might be a Texan — and I know that is a dirty word to a lot of folks who like to kick puppies who are sad — but that simply means I live in a state that still values personal freedoms.

About the author

Writer, proud military mom and possessed by two crazy cats and one put-upon dog. Writes under the names of Amanda S. Green, Sam Schall and Ellie Ferguson.

Comments

  1. I won’t say that this “anti-puppy” bile a deliberate conspiracy per se. I will say that it’s an extremely inbred case of groupthink. They want to be considered among the “cool kids” and, so, grab onto anything said by one and then reflect it back stronger. A couple of iterations of that and vile statements like Ms. Gallo’s become the norm.

    1. And as long as they kept within their ever so special elite circles they’ve gotten away with it. But they have now chosen to go public with those cute, edgy, and I agree vile statements. And somehow seem to be amazed that anyone could possibly take offense or engage in pushback. It would appear to me that their ivory towers are developing serious cracks at the base.

      1. Fear will do that to you. I have one fellow over on my FB wall who accuses us of calling the other side worse than what Gallo said. So far, instead of answering our challenge to provide cites, he keeps trying to move the goal posts and gets upset when we move the discussion back to what he alleged.

    2. You may be right, David. I just have problems when someone goes straight to tags that will automatically cause a negative reaction. It is bad enough calling someone homophobic or misogynistic but to throw in Neo-Nazi, especially considering how negatively that can impact some folks, goes well over the line, imo.

  2. Yeah. My Dad’s family was still in the Netherlands until after WWII. My grandfather spent the war (as a contractor and realtor) pretending to work for the Nazi’s while robbing them blind, doing as crappy a job as possible, spying on them, and helping people like downed pilots get out of the country.

    He had to worry about being found out just as much as he had to worry about his fellow countrymen who didn’t know he was working for the resistance, and getting bombed by patrols while going after the pilots. So to be calling anyone a neo-Nazi so casually… yeah. That really angers me. Thrown in with all of the other stuff said publicly by a few Tor employees and it was the straw the broke the camel’s back.

    This is actually made worse by the fact that most of the publishers’ employees seem to be wisely staying quiet on the whole thing, which makes the loud few seem all the louder.

    Honestly the fact that she’s badmouthing her own co-workers (including John C. Wright who had specifically praised her work not long before this happened) also makes it worse.

  3. I have a perfect right to yell “fire” in a crowded theater. And if I do so maliciously with intent to cause harm I am responsible for any consequences that result. Far too often I see the fire argument used by people to justify restrictions that by logic are the equivalent of requiring theater patrons to don locked gags before entering. Not that given the manners of today’s audiences that isn’t a somewhat appealing idea.
    As for Ms. Gallo, she’s obviously an ass, and guilty of hate speech. But under our First Amendment hate speech is still protected speech and I for one am glad of it. That said, I do find that her statements are very effective hate speech, at least for me. I do now hate her and the company that she represents, so she and Tor will simply have to live with the consequences of her action.

    1. Actually, hate speech isn’t always protected now. But that’s beside the point. Her accusations are of the such that they can seriously impact an author, not only with regard to his writing career but with regard to his “real” career as well. At the very least, she owes an apology. I just won’t hold my breath until one comes.

      1. Amanda, yes I am aware of the push to declare certain speech “hate speech” and to prohibit such. That alone scares me to death. If an action of mine, whether spoken or physical, causes intentional harm then the injured party has recourse to our legal system. This hate speech crap is a blatant attempt by some to silence others, and ultimately if not nipped in the bud will lead to blood in the streets. When the oppressed are robbed of their ability to protest by speech and peaceful assembly it’s only a matter of time before they find other means.

        1. That’s just stupid. We have hate speech laws in this country and it hasn’t lead to anything of the sort. We’ve had libel, defamation and slander laws for so long and they haven’t lead to anything of the sort. No one is suggesting using hate-speech laws to rob people of their ability to protest, nor has that happened in any country with hate-speech laws. Nor have laws against harrasment and verbal abuse caused this. What makes you think such a stupid thing will happen, against all evidence and logic?

  4. Of course Nazis and Neo-Nazis are socialists so her comment actually reads that Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies include people across the political spectrum, though that obviously isn’t what she meant. So she is ignorant as well as bigoted.

  5. “Hate Speech” doesn’t seem protected most places in Europe but it still is (for now) in the US. Interestingly, there was a discussion on Hate Speech in Truth vs Pravda (on Baen’s Bar) and Canada’s policy on “Hate Speech” is apparently closer to the US than Europe. Apparently the Canadian version of the Supreme Court has struck down the major anti-Hate Speech laws.

    1. As well it should. At it’s core anti hate speech initiatives are always a cloaked attempt to silence one faction or another. And as in many other attempts at restricting freedoms, those pushing for them never seem to understand that they are a single election from the tables being turned to apply to them.

      1. Nope. They’re like different graduations of criminal responsibility. Murder 1 vs Murder 2. Murder vs Manslaughter. If these hate speech laws are so dangerous, how come there’s never been a country where they’ve turned them round on anyone (in “a single election”)?

        They’re no difference to laws against harrassment and verbal abuse. You’re just paranoid.

        Sarah – person living in dangerous hell hole where you’re not allowed to call someone nigger for pissing you off. Oh my political right to protest is so… well… so still here actually.

      2. p.s. if you’re worried about minorities getting ‘special rights’ or protections, let yourself be soothed, these protections are often applied to white people getting attacked by minorities, when there’s elements of racial hatred. Christians too. In fact, attacking anyone for their identity will get you done, and that’s a good thing.

  6. That was what was so sad about the discussion. One individual thought the Canadian “anti-hate speech law” was reasonable and couldn’t get it in his mind that it could be misused. This individual was Canadian and it was another Canadian who pointed out the actions of Canada’s “Supreme Court”.

  7. Probably going to say this in a couple of ways in a couple of places – she has every right to her opinion and every right to say it in public. The flip side is she has every right to face the repercussions of her actions. The flip side of free speech that everyone forgets.

  8. Amanda, I know it’s hard to not go running to the sound of the guns – but please try to finish out your R & R.

    The rest of the troops will take care of it – and it’ll still be a target-rich environment when you get back.

  9. This is where a author’s agent and their attorney start talking officially to TOR’s management about not representing their clients best interests.

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