Should I Continue to Read Their Works?

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Note: In the rough draft of this posting, I included the names of the authors I speak about. I decided to take out the names. The reader may already know the situation. I changed my mind so as to keep the focus on the question I am asking myself: do I want to continue reading the author’s work after I discover they have harassed someone?

The Me Too movement has reach the literary world. Do we continue to support a beloved artist after his downfall? Is it disrespectful to their victims if we do? These are questions I am asking myself.

Case #1
This happened well before the Me Too Movement. The daughter of a well-known science fiction and fantasy author, a woman, revealed the abuse she faced as her mother raised her. The author is now dead, but the daughter says she and her brother faced horrid sexual, physical and psychological wrong as children under this woman and her husband.

Afraid the author’s fans would not believe her, the daughter kept her secret until recently. When she finally revealed the story, she received much more support than she believed she would.

My thoughts: I have a copy of one of this author’s books and I enjoyed reading it, but did not finished. I kept meaning to get back to it, but then I came across this information. I immediately wanted to reach over to my fiction bookcase, take her book off my shelf and burn it. Literally set it on fire. I did not want her book in my house. When I discovered the depth of the author’s cruelty, I viewed her book as a tainted object to be destroyed–not just thrown away.

Was what she did illegal? Yes. Immoral? Yes. Were there victims? Yes, and they were children. This was not a case of harassment, but of child abuse. I have decided to not read her books any more, but I will not pass judgement on those who do or who may not know about the author’s background.

Case #2
In this next case, the author was a male who was accused of sexual harassment by four different women. The accusations destroyed the author’s relationship with his agent and publisher.

This author is well-known and his Young Adult science fiction novels have been made into movies. I read most of the series and enjoyed it. But I still have two more of his books I was planning to read. But will I?

My thoughts: As far as what I have read about this case, the author committed no crimes. Although one of the women said she made up her accusations, the author has said he is examining his actions and going to go to counseling. He offered a sincere-sounding apology on Twitter.

I don’t know the full story. It sounds like an opportunity for the author to grow as a person. I hope it works out for him. As for reading his books, I might. But there are so many other things on my to-read shelf.

Case #3
In this case, the author is a married male who entered into several relationships with other women. While the relationships did not end well, they were said to be consensual. While the author has been accused of harassment, he claims he has not harassed anyone and is not facing any kind of criminal charges.

I read this author’s young adult novel after watching the television show which was based on his book. The subject of the book is controversial, and I have my pros and cons about it.

Again, I don’t know the full story, but to be honest, I don’t have much invested in this author. He seems somewhat defensive and I don’t know if there are any real “victims” or not. Because he was a married man who engaged in extra-marital affairs, I’ll probably put a pass on reading his stuff in the future. I do hope everyone involved gets the help they need.

Conclusion:
No one is perfect. I try to examine each case as objectively as possible, but let’s face it: personal feelings always intrude. There is a difference between abusing children and being unfaithful to one’s spouse. I can forgive the latter. My hope, however, is that any victim of harassment receives the counseling they need to move on.

As for the authors? I will keep following updates on their situations. I hope they also get the help they need.

When a Bad Person Makes Good Art


View my Consortium SF Series at Amazon.

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