If you follow me on Twitter, you saw my outrage yesterday over author Kathleen Hale's Guardian essay about stalking one of her online critics.
Yes, the bad reviews Hale received from this Goodreads critic were way more than simply bad — they were hateful. But that's still no excuse for stalking someone. And that's what this was. Hale repeatedly uses the term almost as if she doesn't truly know what it means.
- "So instead I ate a lot of candy and engaged in light stalking..."
- "I absent-mindedly returned to stalking Blythe Harris..."
Hale uses the term stalking in a light-hearted way, almost as if she believes laughing about her actions makes them okay. And this wasn't only online stalking — Hale lies to get the critic's home address and runs a background check on her before showing up at the critic's house and contacting her at her workplace.
Perhaps my horror at what Hale did was influenced by my personal situation — I've been stalked before by a fellow author. But I wasn't the only one outraged by what Hale did.
I'd hoped the backlash against both Hale and the Guardian over this article would force them to realize the wrongness of what Hale did. But unfortunately, some people — both authors and readers — have come out in support of Hale. I won't link to their support, but it's out there.
What Mikki Kendall says is very true. I also suspect part of the reason some people applaud Hale's stalking is they support the ongoing Stop the Goodreads Bullies campaign, which I wrote about a while back. Many of the authors behind STGRB have been targeting their Goodreads critics, so obviously some of them have no issue with taking this stalking to the next level.
Perhaps Hale will realize the wrongness in what she's done. But with her receiving some praise and support, this appears doubtful. So I hope other authors will take note of this and avoid doing as Hale did. I also hope readers will remember that not all authors are like Hale, and also note which authors supported her.
After all, why should readers support an author who might show up at your house if you ever say something bad about her book?
The lesson in all this — aside from never stalking anyone — is to not be so consumed by the haters of the world that you become a hater yourself. Authors need to focus on their writing and not on those who hate what you are writing.