P.E. and I have been a little quiet about this recent news involving author Kathleen Hale and her article "Am I Being Catfished", a quirky retelling of her stalking a negative reviewer, although evidence suggests that there wasn't even a review.
We both heard and quickly read the articles in question which led to a day long discussion but the fact remains that the topic is still on our minds. P.E. even wrote a complaint letter to The Guardian the day after the article was published, and this letter has thus far been ignored. She appreciates The Guardian's commitment to its readers' concerns.
A little time has passed now and many different reactions have come to surface. There are those who support Hale for having 'stood up for herself', those who condemn her unlawful behaviour, and those who have chosen to support no side. At the same time trends like #HaleNo and #YesAuthor has surfaced as well as #BloggerBlackout.
On a personal level I'm quite disheveled and worried by this situation. It was startling to find out that this wasn't the first time such an event had taken place; Beth Revis wrote about another blogger who was actually physically attacked by an author who stalked her. I think it's fair to say that people have crossed some boundaries and violated many rights. I have always been a little paranoid with giving out personal information but now I am more so. Hale has managed to invade many people's sense of security with her actions. I think this is going to bring a big change in the blogger community. I now have an even more heightened sense of awareness when it comes to review copies and that's kind of sad.
Many bloggers have spoken out against authors condoning such behaviour and I agree with them. It is a matter of morals and personal ethics. I believe wholeheartedly that stalking is indeed a crime, comedifying it is an invitation for future crimes by the author of the piece and or by others. I will not support anyone who condones such treatment of the public. Bloggers are not an advertising tool to be used for personal gains only. We are your audience, your readers. If you feel that a person who has spent his/her valuable time reading your work has rated it incorrectly please think again. There is no right and wrong. Reviews aren't for authors, they are for readers, but mostly they are for the reviewer. No one has a right to personally attack another over an honest opinion, it doesn't matter if the perpetrator feels the opinion is not honest.
We at The Sirenic Codex will not be partaking in the Blogger Blackout and the boycotting of all HarperTeen releases but we will not help delusional minds make money by helping generate any more traffic to the article or the author's work. (Hale tweeted about how awesome it was to have the second most read article on the Guardian site.) There are many worthy authors with fantastic talent out there and I shall spend my valuable time reading their work and enjoying the little time I have on Earth, and not wasting any more time on those who cannot see the difference between meeting someone and stalking them.
P.E. also spoke of this: I'm shocked at Hale's actions, just because I genuinely always felt like authors, particular YA, were the "cool kids". The community has been a safe haven of mine since I was 13 and I slowly grew to trust it. This doesn't change anything. My way of dealing with Kathleen Hale is to ignore her work, and that of anyone that supports her. If someone asks me if they should read a book by a certain author, I will feel morally condemned to tell them, "No, this author makes light of stalking someone and they get no support from me."
That being said, I still feel safe in the blogging community. Maybe it's the logistics that I live too far away from most authors I read (and it's strange that I even have to consider that?) but it's more that there are many more good people in blogging and this community. Through my interactions with various authors and publishers, I have been subject to nothing but professional behaviour and I know that it is the standard; that is what I expect to continue to occur.