Saturday, October 18, 2014

An Open Letter to The Guardian

Dear The Guardian writers and editors,

Maybe, considering I'm writing in regards to Kathleen Hale's recent piece on catfishes and negative book reviews, you think I should turn my attention to her.  But I don't think I can add much to what some other fantastic bloggers have already said in their Twitter feed and in their letters.  Instead, I want to talk to you.  

When you post an article like Ms. Hale's and allow a woman who stalked and harassed a book blogger to be painted in a heroic light, it's a problem.  When you sugarcoat the word "stalk" and replace it with "confront," it's a problem.  When you allow this woman to place herself on a pedestal, to gather sympathy for her wrongdoings, and ignore the fact that what she did was dangerous and illegal, it's a serious problem.

In 2006, over 3.4 million people reported incidents of being stalked.  And in these cases, over 130,000 people were fired or asked to leave their work place due to said stalking.  (Source.) Perhaps you can argue that this isn't the case between the blogger and Ms. Hale because the blogger hasn't been fired, but this blogger was called at her work place.  She was harassed on her work phone.  Ms. Hale brought her work place into this as soon as she made that first phone call.  

But wait, you'll argue, nothing bad came of it.  The blogger was not injured.  There were no threats made, no guns drawn.  Not all stalking starts off violent.  In fact, 70-80% of stalkers are just "obsessive stalkers" and do nothing violent at all... at first.  However, by giving her your approval, you have basically just given the green light to Ms. Hale that her behavior is okay.  And many stalkers do become violent after a time. (Source.)

You gave Kathleen Hale a platform. You allowed her to say what the blogger's real occupation is.  You allowed her to reveal personal information about this blogger that should have never been on the internet to begin with.  This blogger used a fake identity, but so what?  After this article, do you wonder why?  Can you blame her for being careful about her safety?  Can you blame her for using an alias?  But here's the kicker: after going to such lengths to portray herself as someone else, she was still stalked and harassed.  

The issue of this piece isn't the blogger's online alias, it's Ms. Hale's chilling and deeply disturbing behavior.

Kathleen Hale invaded that blogger's privacy in a way that is unforgivable.  She showed up at her house and placed herself into the blogger's personal life when she should have never had that information to begin with.  

Shame on you for allowing an article to be published.  Shame on you for defending a woman who is a predator.  Shame on you for allowing this predator to paint herself as the victim, and the perpetuate the myth that she was somehow actually victimized.

Ms. Hale is not a hero.  She is not a victim.  She is a predator.  

I am just so entirely disappointed in you.




  1. When I went to Twitter yesterday to have my daily fix I couldn't believe what I was reading. At first I was confused because I didn't know what the problem was and then I saw J.L.Armentrout tweeting the article in question. I was aghast. How can a person do that? I mean, I don't even care if the blogger was using a fake account even if that was wrong because the actions of Kathleen were outrageous, grazing psychotic behaviour, and I should know.... after all I'm a Psychology graduate. Everything was really eerie and makes one wonder if blogging is as safe as one might think.... And you are right about The Guardian, that article shouldn't have been published. It's just wrong on so many levels.

    1. Forgot to tell you I've nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award ( =)

    2. Gosh, and things are just getting worse now with that Brittain author who has been revealed to be a violent person who hit a reviewer over the head with a wine bottle for a negative review! Aish! It's insane and the fact that she's being hailed as some hero... gah!

      Ahhh, thank you for the nomination! <3

  2. Wow, what outrageous and appalling behavior. Even if an author gets an abusive review, it really wasn't necessary to so far as to stalk the reviewer. You should always treat the bad rewviews the same as the good ones, and move on. At least it was read. But Harper Lee said it best when she said "I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide."

    1. Harper Lee is a goddess, well quoted!

      This entire situation is inasne, outrageous and appalling. I was just sitting there thinking, "Is this real life?"

  3. My take on it is that this, and some other kerfuffles, are really disguised marketing tactics:

    1. You made some great points, Jane! But I really hope to God that this was not an elaborate scheme for publicity, because if so... how sick is that?