Possible Protections from Cancel Culture Attacks

cancel cutlure

We’ve been seeing a great deal of this recently. The angry few get onto social media and scream and shout about some wrong (real or imagined) a writer or editor or publisher has committed at some point in the past. Publishers and concoms get scared because those few voices are loud and they threaten not to support the misguided organization giving these evil people a voice. Scared usually equals caves and thus another voice is silenced and that should be something no one–I repeat NO ONE–in an industry based around communication should stand for. If you are a conservative or even libertarian in the industry and you worry the harpies of the cancel culture will come for you, here are a few options you might consider. I want to give a big hat tip to The Passive Voice, and PG in particular, for posting these.

Provide in the publishing agreement that, if the publisher invokes the morals clause to terminate the publishing agreement, neither the publisher nor any of its employees, agents or representatives will make any public announcement or other disclosure that states or implies that the publishing agreement was terminated due to the author’s alleged violation of the Morals Clause.

Now, this assumes the publisher will even allow you to amend the provisions of a proposed contract. Fat chance of that happening on the first contract and, to be honest, on most others. You’ll often get excuses like “this is industry standard” when it comes to any provision and especially the morals clause. Or “it’s just boilerplate”. But this is so very important to have in there because all too often a contract is canceled over the “optics” of what an author might have said or done and not what was actually said or done and in what context. These clauses give the publisher all the power and do little to protect the writer.

Write under a pen name, then live in meatspace and politically under your real name.

I hate to have to include this. There was a time when authors worked in fear of being blacklisted by publishers for their political beliefs or sexual orientation or whatever. A number of authors finally stepped out from behind the curtain of fear to start talking about what was going on in our country and around the world. The backlash was there but not to the degree they feared. Why? Because we had an alternative. We could go indie and if you were already an established author, you had a built-in audience to follow you there. But now the cancel harpies will do more than just try to get your publisher to cancel your contracts. They will go to your internet providers, you sponsors if you run ads, etc., to try to cancel you. They want to silence those who do not agree with whatever the cause du jour might be and the potential cost to those who have day jobs or whose familiy members do is so great right now that this might be something you should consider.

 Require that the Morals Clause be reciprocal.

Oh my, I love this one. I’m sitting here, rubbing my hands together gleefully at the thought. But I guarantee you, if the first amendment to the morals clause is almost impossible to get, this one will be. Publishers don’t want to be held accountable. Think about it. The very same “rules” they are using to cancel an author’s contract for something said or done in the past can now be used against them. Not just the company but its employees. Nope, I don’t see any publisher, at least not one with an ounce of self-preservation OR an attorney to read the contract will agree to this.

So what do you do?

You either scrub your social media accounts, or shut them down and pray no one hits the Way Back Machine. You write under a closed pen name that no one but you and your accountant know is actually you. You go indie and pray the platforms where we are currently selling our books decide to bow to the cancel harpies. Or you say “Screw it” and continue as you are.

This country has faced such times before. We simply didn’t have the internet back then. We will survive–I hope. I have an ingrained resistance to hiding and I hate bullies, which so many of the cancel harpies are. But it is up to each author to decide what is best for them.

So, in this age of condemnation based on political beliefs or party affiliation, take a few minutes and decide what approach is best for you. And do, please, read the PV post and the post it links to. It is better to be prepared than to be caught unaware.

Featured Image by Prettysleepy from Pixabay.


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