This post reflects the opinions of Heather Allen and Tqwana Brown (but mostly Heather). They have opinions which do not reflect their employers, moms, brothers, cats, friends, or inanimate objects which may become sentient.
*WARNING: This post has OPINIONS*
Tqwana and I had this conversation [edited for grammar, punctuation, and clarity] the day after the Tor Press Release. It gives a background to what the controversy is surrounding Tor Books and their decision to throw Creative Director Irene Gallo to the wolves. And how we feel about it.
Heather: Did you hear about this thing with Tor Books?
Tqwana: I don’t know the details, but I heard something was going on with the Doherty guy insulting someone.
Heather: Tor did a press release calling out a female employee for posting something on her personal Facebook that doesn’t represent the views of Tor Books (it was about Sad Puppies). I will find a link…
ugh, I hate all the comments on that [Tor] post.
Tqwana: Wow…I’m moving to a deserted island. Wanna come?
Tqwana: It’s seems the only way to escape this type of hate and stupidity. We’ll start our own society.
Heather: Free of man-children!
Tqwana: Not totally free. Penis is important. We just have to have a really tough and thorough screening process.
Heather: Hahaha yes. If she gets fired I want to have her job and fuck some shit up.
Tqwana: If she gets fired, she would OWN Tor by the time she’s done with lawsuits. Like literally own it. She could then do any damn thing she pleases.
Heather: haha yessss
I don’t know Irene Gallo, I don’t know Tom Doherty, either. I am just appalled by reading the Tor press release. When I was first reading it out of context, I was taken aback by how Doherty presented the problem and how it was handled in such a public way. What did she say? I wondered. What horrible things could have been done that would warrant a public address like this? But the more I found out, the less in favor I was of Tor (who have been very nice to me — I won a set of books from them in April and had a few books signed by their authors at BEA), and the more in favor I became of Irene Gallo. She made comments on her personal Facebook which criticized the groups known as Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies. A group we’ve written about before because they are racist, sexist, and generally a bad group of people.
To publicly shame Irene because this group of Sad Puppies (not getting any sympathy from me with that name), to give in to the pressure of the group, to try to placate them, is the definition of cowardice or more likely, sexism. Once again, a woman has an opinion and she’s so wrong that her boss has to publicly shame her. But she’s not wrong. She’s at the forefront of the sci-fi/fantasy genre. What Doherty’s post is saying is that women are not supposed to have opinions. Might as well go back to the kitchen where we belong, right? As an aspiring SFF editor, I can’t even imagine what Irene must be feeling, a victim of her own workplace and genres. If she gets fired (pressure from Sad Puppies — read the comments of the Tor Release if you dare), she’ll have plenty of ammunition to sue Tor for discrimination. But if they are looking for a new Creative Director, I would love to be in that place and shake things up. I’m not saying that Irene should leave, unless she makes that decision, I don’t want my words to be construed that one woman’s fall is another woman’s rise, because I support what Irene has done and what she will continue to do.
I am trying to convey that the Sad Puppies campaign is unjustified in their pursuit. Old habits are hard to break in publishing (“If it’s not broke, don’t fix it” type of sentiment), but legacy publishing has to be re-evaluated. It might not be broken to those who are working in the trenches, but it’s broken to those outside of it. Any change will make people uncomfortable, but change is needed. There are voices that are not being heard.
I always imagine SFF as pushing the envelope, but, in fact, the actions of Tom Doherty takes women a few years back. He represents Tor just as much as Irene does, he just put himself and Tor in the public sphere. I don’t see any positivity coming from this post. Did you really think we would all be on your side? That there would be no consequences to calling out a female employee for something that is affecting the industry she works in? There was a better way to handle this situation which did not include seceding to pressure from a group of Sad Puppies, and which did not include publicly shaming an employee.
(Tqwana: Oh, let’s publicly shame this woman for her personal opinions on her personal social media account, but the male editor accused of serial sexual harassment? Let’s “wish him well.”  No biggie. Can we say double standard? Publishing really needs to get over itself and start accepting the world as it is, not as it was at its inception.)