Thursday, June 11, 2015

How Tor Books Threw Its Women Employees Under The Bus

Description: Drawing of a hand with index finger raised
and other fingers clenched in a fist. Text beneath it reads "That
finger's wagging at you.
Irene Gallo is the creative director of  science-fiction publisher Tor Books, as well the associate publisher of its sister website has been praised for its diversity and its depth of authors featured and its breadth of stories,articles and other material, and a lot of that can be attributed to her at the helm. I have alluded to another science fiction group:the self-described "Sad Puppies" and the "Rabid Puppies".

Those were two groups (one of them led by a hack white surpremicist) that felt that "social justice warriors" were flooding Hugo Award nominations with nominations and crowding out deserving writers, so the groups' counter-action was... to abuse nomination rules to push a slate of nominations and crowd out deserving writers, up to and including recruiting GamerGaters.

Irene Gallo made a statement on her personal Facebook page when asked for her take on the Puppies: “There are two extreme right-wing to neo-nazi groups, called the Sad Puppies and the Rabid Puppies respectively, that are calling for the end of social justice in science fiction and fantasy. They are unrepentantly racist, sexist 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.”

So the Rabid and Sad Puppies supporters flooded her boss, the publisher of Tor, Tom Doherty. So he felt the need to address the remarks made on her personal Facebook page by... throwing her under the bus and apologizing to the spurned Puppies. Don't read the comments unless you like wading through crap.

There are two paragraphs in his official statement as publisher of Tor that stand out:
“In short, we seek out and publish a diverse and wide ranging group of books. We are in the business of finding great stories and promoting literature and are not about promoting a political agenda... Tor employees, including Ms. Gallo, have been reminded that they are required to clarify when they are speaking for Tor and when they are speaking for themselves. We apologize for any confusion Ms. Gallo’s comments may have caused. 
Let me reiterate: the views expressed by Ms. Gallo are not those of Tor as an organization and are not my own views. Rest assured, Tor remains committed to bringing readers the finest in science fiction – on a broad range of topics, from a broad range of authors.”
What's odd is that Editor at Tor Books Patrick Neilsen Hayden called the Sad Puppies evil. Best aelling author John Scalzi-- yes the same John Scalzi that signed a 10 year deal with Tor Books for 3.4 million-- has publicly feuded with Vox Day (the white supremacist behind the Rabid Puppies slate) and called him a bigot. Neither of these high profile men had these actions or statements repudiated in public statements from Tom Doherty.

In fact,Tom Doherty's been quiet about a lot of things done by men at Tor. It’s also worth noting that Jim Frenkel, who sexually harassed and assaulted multiple women - including authors, fans, SF community members and editors got to keep his job, even though high-level people at Tor knew about his harassment. In fact, it took Elise Matthesen going public with her account of being harassed by Frenkel at WisCon, for Tor do anything...and that "anything" was allowing Frenkel to resign instead of being fired.Tom Doherty never released any statements on the matter.

Author K. Tempest Bradford weighs in on the matter, also pointing out that:
One thing I forgot and Mary Kowal reminded me of this morning: a Tor employee in the contracts department attacked and harassed her online over SFWA stuff a year or so ago. He backed off after what was assumed a talk from the Tor legal department, but that was only assumed. Did Tom Doherty issue a blog post about how Tor employees are supposed to act and how they need to make it clear that they are not speaking for Tor at that point? No, he did not. Even though the employee in question mentioned that he worked at Tor in contracts and had to grit his teeth or something every time he had to deal with hers. Because Mary is a goddamned Tor author... How is this supposed to make Tor authors feel? What kind of workplace/professional atmosphere is Doherty creating with this nonsense?
It seems to me that he wants women working for Tor to be seen and not heard.

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