Irene Gallo, the creative director of Tor Books, posted her views on the Hugo Award Nominations and the whole Sad Puppies/Rabid Puppies debacle. (If you don’t know what that is, you can find a quick overview of it here.)
In response, Tor publicly berated her for her statements, disguising it as a dressing down for not clearly stating her opinion was, indeed, hers and not, say, Tor’s.
No, she didn’t state it. But she posted it on HER Facebook page and didn’t start out with, “Everyone I work for thinks, beyond anything that these sexist, racist pigs are the worst”. Basically, anyone who could READ the post had enough reading comprehension to understand the opinions were hers… well, maybe everyone had enough except her boss at Tor.
If she would have stated clearly multiple times what she said was coming from her would it have made a difference? I don’t think so. It was an excuse to get her to watch her tongue.
In a way, I get it. Some of the people wrapped up in the whole Hugo fiasco are Tor authors. Tor publishes the kind of writing that’s at the heart of the Hugo Awards. As a writer I understand what you do in public can influence people.
But, if something huge is happening in the world of literature, the world we all live in as writers and literature fiends, do we always have to take a neutral stand? Can we not say anything at all? As a writer, we’re told not to. Is it supposed to be that way forever? Silence is sometimes construed as permission. What if we don’t want to be passive?
Well, for a writer, your opinions can gain and lose you fans but, if you’re an editor or employee at a publishing company or literary agency, you can face termination or public humiliation from the people who are supposed to back your play in public or, at least, not Irish Step all over your corpse.
Do you think employers have the right to control everything you say in a public environment, even when not representing the company in an official capacity? Is there any time where a person should be free to discuss things outside of their home?