With the champagne all drunk, the countdown completed, and kisses exchanged, the book has officially closed on 2019. It was very good year for several of the writers here on the blog who successfully launched books into the hands of eager readers; it was not, however, such a good year for Romance Writers of America.
As Jeanne mentioned in her post yesterday, the implosion of RWA started on Christmas Eve when details about the RWA’s handling of ethics complaints against popular author Courtney Millan were made public. Following what happened next has been like watching an accident on the side of the road – horrifying, but hard to look away from.
While media coverage has focused on Milan’s comments about the racist elements of a specific book, the chain of events initially began months before with a series of tweets highlighting concerns about the biases of a specific acquisitions editor at a publishing company. Many twitter followers appear to have weighed in on the subject, sharing their views, and at some point, both the publisher (who hired the acquisitions editor) and the author of the book that was called out filed ethics complaints with RWA.
What ensued was a series of events that I doubt even the most creative fiction writer could have come up with: Shadow ethics committee. Re-written policies. Resignation. Censure. Backpedaling. Mass resignations. Uproar. Chapter statements. Petitions. Cancellation of the RITAs. And thousands and thousands of tweets. If someone was intentionally trying to destroy the organization, I don’t think they could have done a better job. And RWA has seemed intent on fanning the flames. Continue reading