Support for Irene Gallo, the embattled Creative Director of Tor Books, has grown with astonishing speed over the last 24 hours. Writers, editors, bloggers, and fans are speaking out in numbers across the genre.
In her Daily Dot article “Why sci-fi authors are angry with Tor Books,” Gavia Baker-Whitelaw writes:
In the world of sci-fi/fantasy publishing, all anyone can talk about today is this Tor.com blog post from Tor Books founder Tom Doherty….
After Doherty denounced Gallo’s comment, many sci-fi fans and authors began accusing him of hypocrisy. If Gallo’s post was deemed objectionable enough to warrant a public disavowal, what about the controversial opinions published by other Tor authors and employees?
While Gallo’s opinions were offensive to some Sad Puppies supporters, it’s unclear why the single-paragraph Facebook comment resulted in such a public response almost a month after it was posted. Other Tor-affiliated writers have posted similar things on social media over the past few months, but none of the comments were addressed on the front page of Tor.com.
In an article titled “Tor’s Dumb Letter,” Harry Connolly highlights the differences in the way Irene Gallo and Tor contracts manager Sean Fodera were treated for embarrassing the company.
Last year, Tor contracts manager Sean Fodera publicly attacked one of Tor’s authors, Mary Robinette Kowal, in a typically gross and sexist way. He later apologized, in a half-assed way, and she graciously accepted.
In May of this year, on her personal Facebook page, Irene Gallo (Creative Director at Tor Books) described a group of extreme right wings fans who call themselves “Sad Puppies” as extreme right wing fans. She also described a group of fan who follow a neo-Nazi (he denies the label even though he fits it) who call themselves “Rabid Puppies” as neo-Nazis. That neo-Nazi screencapped her remark and filed it away so he could release it as the Nebula Awards were given out, to distract people from the award winning books.
Did Tor CEO Tom Doherty release a letter apologizing publicly for Frenkel’s or Fodera’s behavior, while insisting that they should have been smarter about separating the personal from the professional? Of course not. For one thing, Frenkel’s shitty behavior happened while he was representing Tor Books at public events. For another, they were dudes and their victims were women.
However, it took Doherty less than 24 hours to issue a letter of apology for Gallo’s comment on her personal Facebook, and assuring the internet that he’s going to talk to her about being clear on the when she’s speaking for herself and for the company.
In a post titled “Two faced Tor,” Martin Wisse writes:
Vox Day and his fellow fascists ginned up controversy over a month old Facebook comment by Irene Gallo, a Tor Books employee, in which she called them rightwingers and neonazis. That’s a move straight out of the Breitbart playbook, where being accused of racism is always a much greater offence than actually being racist and you lie and manipulate your enemies into doing your dirty work for you.
It was clear to anybody who paid attention that the outrage over this comment was wholly artificial, purely done to score political points and energise the Puppies, who had started flagging in enthusiasm after months of not much happening. It was also clear that Vox Day and co were hoping to get Tor to do what Andrew Breitbart made his career with: get them to overreact to this controversy and use that as a way to exact consessions.
Tobias Buckell writes:
I stand by Irene Gallo as well.
The first thing I thought was, “where was the public post for Jim Frenkel serially harassing women all throughout many cons for how long with public apology or note regarding how editors should behave?”
Jessica Price writes at Bedside Notepad, in a post titled “I Stand With Irene Gallo,”
And Tom Doherty, founder of Tor, felt the need to post a piece on Tor’s site. In it, he talks about how the Puppies aren’t really that bad, and how Irene Gallo’s views don’t represent Tor’s, and how she’s been reprimanded for her post.
Just to be clear:
1. A woman speaks up against a racist and misogynist hate movement.
2. Her male boss shuts her up.
3. Her male boss then goes public, reassuring everyone he’s shut her up and that he has no issues with the hate movement.
4. He also makes sure to call her out by name.
And in a comment on Tom Doherty’s post at Tor.com, Mary Robinette Kowal writes:
As one of your authors, I want to say openly that I find this apology upsetting. In a large part because I was directly harassed by a Tor employee and received no apology from the company. From the employee? Yes. But from Tor? No.
The fact that you are now defending the Sad Puppies campaign, even implicitly, and apologizing to them for being offended is really distressing. It implies things about the priorities of Tor that I find uncomfortable and would very much like to be wrong about. At the moment though, I feel as though the safety of women authors, and authors of color is less important to the company than the feelings of those who attack them.
While I understand that the Sad Puppies list did, indeed, include women and writers of colour, the works that made the ballot are largely from the Rabid Puppies list. One category is made up largely of a single author’s work, which seems like the very opposite of diversity. While I recognize that the two groups are separate, they are so interconnected that it is hard to view them individually, particularly when the Sad Puppies claim the Rabid Puppies slate as their own victory.
So when you feel the need to apologize to people who have said that they want to see the Hugos destroyed, and emphasize that Irene’s views are not your own, I can’t help but wonder what your views are. All of which leaves me confused and distressed.
Facebook has been just as active with messages of support for Gallo. On her Facebook page, Laura Anne Gilman writes:
If you are not a corporate officer, or an acknowledged Corporate Spokesperson, you should not be presumed to speak for the company. If an employee says something that could hurt the company (negatively influencing a merger, causing stock prices to fall, etc) then they should be dealt with internally (NOT on the front page of your website). Merely expressing personal opinions on a matter affecting the entire industry? Is still free speech, for good or ill, unless said employee has signed an NDA/gag order, which to the best of my knowledge is not part of Tor’s employment package.
And if someone complains about someone else’s free speech? That’s also free speech. That’s how it works, however annoying it may become.
In my observation, Tom Doherty’s reacting the way he did – while ignoring other comments on the topic, interestingly enough said by MEN – has caused more potential harm to Tor Books than anything any employee could have done.
And Juliet E McKenna writes:
Tor.com have utterly failed in their handling of a highly suspect complaint about something Irene Gallo said in her personal webspace.
David Gerrold writes:
This is the year of the overreaction as well.
Apparently, there is no mistake so insignifcant that it does not deserve a call to action by the outrage committee. Torches, pitchforks, tar and feathers. Even the smallest of sins must be punished by an internet pile-on, public shaming, and boycotts of everyone in the same neighborhood…
The only winner in this (so far) is a certain lunatic attention-whore who needs to demonstrate how important he is by the size of the uproar he can create. And the rest of us have bought into it.
There was a Star Trek episode, “The Day Of The Dove” — in which the crew of the Enterprise and several Klingon warriors were at each other’s throats until they realized that there was an energy creature aboard, feeding on their hatred. Eventually both sides laughed at it — “We don’t need your help hating each other.”
We can continue to rip apart our community and eventually both sides will claim some kind of exhausted victory over whatever shambles remain. The grudges and feuds will last at least a generation because being right has become more important than being friends or colleagues.
Twitter also exploded with messages of support for Ms Galloe today. Hugo-winning author Rachel Swirsky said:
Irene Gallo is awesome. She just is. So, yay Irene Gallo.
And Hugo-winner Saladin Ahmed writes:
I’ll just say: Tor.com in particular wouldn’t be half of what it is without Irene Gallo, and Tor is damn lucky to have her.
Irene Gallo is awesome. She just is. So, yay Irene Gallo.
N. K. Jemisin says:
Shame on you, Tom Doherty. HR policies can be clarified in a way that doesn’t serve the interests of bigots.
And Paul Cornell writes:
Standing with @IreneGallo this morning, as the Puppies find yet another way to degrade our genre.
Scott Edelman put it succiently by writing:
Je suis @IreneGallo.
There has been no additional comments from Tor or Ms. Gallo.