Two more publishers have ended their connections with Sunil Patel in response to accusations about his conduct toward women aired on Twitter and summarized in the Pixel Scroll for October 16.
Mothership Zeta made a “Staff Announcement” that Patel is no longer associated with the magazine:
Sunil Patel has resigned as Fiction Assistant Editor at Mothership Zeta, effective immediately. We thank him for all his hard work on the magazine’s first six issues.
Steven Saus, who does business as Alliteration, Ink, also made a public statement about how he will be adjusting the fulfillment of backer rewards for a Kickstarter-funded anthology he published that contains a Patel story, No Sh!t, There I Was, edited by Rachael Acks. Acks co-signed the statement, “The Complicated Mess When The Missing Stair Gets Noticed”.
Me? When I choose not to publish someone because of their behavior, I’m saying that because I don’t want to be associated with sexist, racist, bigoted, assaulting jerks. It’s because I want the areas where I am, that I’m sponsoring, and that I’m representing to be safe and inclusive.
I believe the women who have come forward. I’m all too aware, as Natalie Luhrs put it, “[that] this is a problem that is endemic to our community, social and professional. There are people being abused right now who truly believe that no one will care if they speak up.”
And I do care.
Then he outlines what he will be doing:
I admire the example set by The Book Smugglers, but I can’t exactly follow their example.
The contracts have already been signed, and the money already paid. Review copies have already been sent out. I can’t undo those things. And undoing them would impact not just Mr. Patel, but all the other fine authors who are in No Shit, There I Was.
What I can – and will – do is offer that all backer rewards that involved Mr. Patel may be fulfilled by me personally, or if we can work it out, another author.
I will also investigate how to update future contracts so that should this situation happen again with a different author, I will have more options.
I welcome your feedback about the actions I’m taking. I am not interested in discussing whether or not you believe the accusations.
Meanwhile, Heather A. at Around the World in 80 Books Blog said in “Hot Air: Fall From Grace” they have yanked a Patel interview from their site.
Over the weekend I found out about a problematic person in the SFF community. He seemed like a nice person in real life when we met to do an interview for this blog, but the accusations from women writers in the community left me stunned (the interview has now been removed).
I take their side….
And I just want to emphasize that I want to be here for support of the community and those who may have been victimized by this person. This blog will not be promoting his work in the future.
And Mary Robinette Kowal discussed a complicated situation — “On Being Friends with Someone Who Turns Out to Be an Asshole” — without commenting on anyone by name, in remarks posted October 17:
Sometimes, someone you’re fond of turns out to be an asshole. Holding them accountable is part of being a friend. It helps them be better. I have a colleague/student/friend who has been awful to other people. Not to me, and that isn’t a defense. Ever.
Their behavior is inexcusable.
Defending my asshole friend’s behavior would make me complicit in it, because then I would be condoning the problematic behavior. The question then becomes… do I remain their friend?
Update 10/19/16: Lightspeed announced Patel’s resignation today as well:
LIGHTSPEED staff update: We have accepted Sunil Patel's resignation as a columnist/reviewer for the magazine.
— Lightspeed Magazine (@LightspeedMag) October 19, 2016