Riley Off HWA Award Jury

Horror Writers of America President Lisa Morton announced on HWA’s Facebook page that David A. Riley is now off the award jury he’d been appointed to.

In regards to the situation involving David Riley, who announced on his blog that he would be serving on the Anthology jury: We’ve reached out to Mr. Riley, and both Mr. Riley and the HWA have agreed that it’s in the best interest of all for him to step down. Mr. Riley will be replaced on the jury immediately by Nicole Cushing. The HWA thanks Nicole for stepping up, and we would also like to thank everyone who has shared their opinion on this matter.

362 thoughts on “Riley Off HWA Award Jury

  1. Personal attack. I welcome discussion about my blog posts, but would like to keep it neutral space i.e. I discourage flame wars there.

    Given how broadly you define personal attacks, it’s fair to say that you discourage almost all comments there.

    That silence you see on your blog comments? That’s what suppression looks like.

    I’m still waiting for pointers to those alleged death threats you claimed the actress was receiving over her role by the way. Please don’t abandon it after spending such a long time on it

  2. The question is whether racists deserve freedom of expression or whether these expressions should be suppressed by activist attacks.

    Oh my God. ‘If you won’t tolerate the intolerable then aren’t you the intolerant one?’

  3. You must be defining bullying in a strange way.

    I’m not the one who is attempting to redefine “bullying” to mean “people criticizing a work and exercising their free speech rights”. Bad reviews are not bullying. Asking a publisher to stop publishing a book is not bullying. Asking a distributor to stop distributing a book is not bullying.

    You’ve given no examples of authors being bullied. You’ve given examples of works being criticized and people exercising their rights to free speech.

  4. An annoying thing with this thread is that there are underlying questions here that are both interesting and important – but they get buried in bullshit.

    Free speech in a limited sense is the absence of government censorship. That’s easy. But in a wider sense, free speech is the ability to have, and participate in, a thriving “marketplace of ideas”. This requires not just absence of government censorship, but also real possibilities for participation without undue consequences. But what consequences are undue? Well, that could have been a long and interesting discussion, and the Riley case is close enough to the line to potentially form a useful starting point. But nope, here we’re battling antinomianism, (thanks for that term, Bruce,) gish gallop and whataboutism, rather than having an actual discussion about acceptable responses to unpopular ideas.

  5. I respectfully disagree.

    Here’s the problem: Your definition of “harassment” is bullshit. You’ve demonstrated that quite amply thus far. The idea that protesting a decision is “harassment” is simply idiotic. The idea that doing more than “sending a polite note” is harassment is idiotic. You’re so far out in left field on this issue that no one can see you. You say you are in favor of free speech, but only when that free speech is used in a way you personally approve. That’s not a love of free speech. That’s hatred for free speech.

  6. I didn’t read the link from the site A Voice For Men as it for good reasons has been defined as a hate site by Southern Poverty Law Center. I’ll leave that one to the haters and misogynists.

    Otherwise, exactly what part of the links is it you want us to react to? The part where Beale is called a Sad Puppy or where he compares feminists to nazis? The harassment from Beales followers that seemed to have occured?

    What exactly do you want us to react to?

  7. (light bulb goes on over head)

    I am suddenly reminded of the “Stop The Goodreads Bullies” campaign, which effectively defined as a “bully” anyone who left a strongly-worded negative review of a book.

  8. The issue was that HWA made a decision and then were harassed until they changed it. This is where the campaign crossed into bullying behavior.

    So people objecting to the decision the HWA made – and explaining the grounds they have for their objection, including providing further information about the racist statements Riley has made, as recently as 2011 – is bullying, not the exercise of free speech? You think that once the HWA made a decision about having Riley as a juror, everyone should have been silent about it and hushed up any further info about his recent racism as much as possible – and that NOT doing so is bullying? Again, it seems to me like you’re the one who wants suppression of ideas, not me.

    And it seems to me that the idea you want to suppress is the specific one that some people MAY not be considered automatically impartial on a jury if they have made specific highly public statements indicating their partiality on a subject. So again I ask you: If you were a lawyer for a POC and you knew about Riley’s history, would you think you had grounds for a reasonable objection to his inclusion as a prospective juror due to doubts of his impartiality based on his public statements and actions?

  9. @Lela E. Buis. I read the article in The Guardian that you linked to regarding Zoe Saldana.

    Reading the entire thing and visiting the links provided in that article reveal the following:

    someone coming from a twitter account criticized Soldana for playing the part. Some others may have picket that criticism up and run with it.

    On the other hand, outspoken, high profile members of the black community have also said that Soldana’s makeup (skin darkening and a prosthetic nose to make her more resemble Nina Simone) that its not an issue and that people should watch the movie before they decide whether she was a good choice.

    Further, Nina’s daughter stated: ““It’s unfortunate that Zoe Saldana is being attacked so viciously when she is someone who is part of a larger picture,” Kelly told Time magazine. “It’s clear she brought her best to this project, but unfortunately she’s being attacked when she’s not responsible for any of the writing or the lies.

    “The project has been tainted from the very beginning,” added Kelly, who has taken issue with Mort’s decision to present a romantic relationship between Simone and her late personal assistant, Clifton Henderson. She says Henderson, who will be played by David Oyelowo, was gay.

    “The movie is about a relationship between my mother and Clifton which never took place. They never had an amorous relationship,” said Kelly…”

    which reveals that the criticsm of Soldana playing the part has far more elements to it than her “wearing black face” as one put it.

    And you know all of that doesn’t really impact the argument(s) you’ve been trying to put forth. Those who took issue, for whatever reason, exercised free speech. Those who defended her role exercised free speech.

    The movie was delayed in release because it has obviously gotten some bad PR based on issues that have nothing to do with the film itself. That happens all the time too.

    Black discriminating over skin tone is wrong. Lesbians discriminating against trans-gender women is wrong. Orthodox Jews in Israel discriminating against non-orthodox Jews (restricting their right to become citizens) is wrong.

    It strikes me that the kind of “free speech” I have a problem with is when it is used by others to disempower others, that’s my dividing. White supremacists want to dis-empower anyone who is not aryan. They’re a minority. But there’s no equivalence between them, and, say, the minority of people who fought for gay rights, because they weren’t trying to diminish or take away from anyone else – they were trying to secure for themselves the SAME freedoms that others had (and yet others still deserve).

    We live in societies where conformity and sameness of viewpoint is safe, makes live easier and confers all kind of benefits, yet we also have a strong tradition of (eventually) siding with the underdog – so long as the underdog’s position is one of expansion and positivity, not diminishment and negativity.

    Do we have to accept and give equal weight to all views? No; as a society, we have decided that there are certain things that are unacceptable for all, and we justifiably criticize and seek to eliminate those views when they are expressed: Swift saw what happened when he advocated cannibalism as a solution to the “Irish Problem” (despite the fact that his satire was not advocating that position).

    We are not obligated, either out of fairness or out of obeisance to the concept of free speech to remain silent in the face of advocating for things that make us lesser. We should, in fact, be continuously making sure that certain minority viewpoints are seen as unacceptable to all, everywhere. Argue all you want for EXTENDING rights and freedoms – you’ll get pushback, you’ll get zealots who see it as an attack on their rights (though they are wrong), but I’ll back your “right to free speech” even if its not my issue. Argue for taking rights away from some perceived minority, and I’ll work hard to remove your platform, silence you, educate against your position and do everything legal to insure that you have no voice at all – because such beliefs do not belong to, nor are they entitled to, a voice in our society.

    Because when you’re arguing to extend freedoms, the only real question is whether or not the group in question is subject to discrimination, but when you are arguing to remove freedoms, you’re arguing over whether someone is a person or not. And that’s an argument that ought not to be tolerated.

  10. No, these are only a couple of examples. Other issues I’ve come across recently include Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings as a romantic couple, a Jewish woman falling in love with a Nazi, and a white person wearing blackface as sunscreen. All the writers who posed these situations were attacked by the community.

    If you’re talking about “For Such a Time”, it was not so much “Jewish woman falling in love with a Nazi” and more “Jewish woman falling in love with the (fictional) commandant of Theresienstadt, whose real-life commandants were not known for their compassion to Jewish women”. This novel was up for, though it did not win, a major award; the judging process at the time (I have no knowledge of any changes that may have occurred since then) apparently did not allow much latitude to the judges.
    There was a certain amount of aghastitude about this book, and it seems to me that referring to it merely as “transgressive” minimizes the situation.

  11. But the question was about how to complain, say to the HWA. You think it’s appropriate to send them a hate filled rant because you disagree with their policy?

    But did that actually happen?

  12. I said yesterday that the honorable thing to do would be for him to volunteer to step down, since the situation had become All About Him instead of being about the HWA, the Stoker, and the nominated works/writers.

    So I salute him for doing the honorable thing.

    Is it the One True Correct thing to do? I dunno, but we don’t live in a perfect world. He acted decisively and honorably to close the matter.

    I was once thrown off a jury for cause and that’s cool. Because of previous events, I said I honestly could not give the defendant a fair shake b/c the parameters of the violent crime were too close to what had happened to a friend. So I was excused.

    @Hampus: Riley was not just an organizer, but actually one of their candidates for Parliament. Quite literally the face of NF and a standard bearer.

  13. It’s worth noting that Lela is comfortable in the company of one guy who cheers on gunning down children (since the shooter is one of the right people, and the children would grow up to be wrong) and another who fantasizes about beating up all manner of people and is proud of calling co-religionists Christ-hating crusaders for Sodom. Someone needs lessons in temperance…but it’s not the people objecting to Riley as a juror.

  14. It’s worth noting that Lela is comfortable in the company of one guy who cheers on gunning down children (since the shooter is one of the right people, and the children would grow up to be wrong) and another who fantasizes about beating up all manner of people and is proud of calling co-religionists Christ-hating crusaders for Sodom. Someone needs lessons in temperance…but it’s not the people objecting to Riley as a juror.

    Personal attack.

  15. But the question was about how to complain, say to the HWA. You think it’s appropriate to send them a hate filled rant because you disagree with their policy?

    But did that actually happen?

    That’s not the question. The question is whether it is appropriate.

  16. We are not obligated, either out of fairness or out of obeisance to the concept of free speech to remain silent in the face of advocating for things that make us lesser. We should, in fact, be continuously making sure that certain minority viewpoints are seen as unacceptable to all, everywhere.

    I think this is questionable unless the beliefs are illegal. Otherwise, who is to define what beliefs are acceptable and which are not? I’ve already asked a lot of questions here that seem to have made people uncomfortable.

  17. “But did that actually happen?

    That’s not the question. The question is whether it is appropriate.

    Lets all debate things that haven’t happened. That is a good way to spend our time. You know, instead of debating things that have happened. Like the hateful rants from the puppies:

    ” I suggest we, the comicbook-loving community, merely appear at the offices of DC comics, and stage a riot, have the level of violence spiral out of control, drag the editors and owners bodily out of the building, and hang them from lampposts, and laugh and tell Monty Python jokes while their legs kick, dancing with spasms, in the air, inches from the ground.”

  18. Personal attack.

    If listing the company you keep is a “personal attack”, you need to reexamine who you are paling around with. That you would consider this to be a “personal attack” also exposes yet again that your definition of “attack” is so broad as to be meaningless.

    That’s not the question. The question is whether it is appropriate.

    Actually, that is the question. You need to back up your bullshit with some actual examples if you want to be taken seriously. Thus far, everything you’ve pointed to has only made you look more ridiculous as it has become readily apparent that your definitions of things like “bullying”, “attacks”, and “harassment” vary so wildly from those used by everyone else that your commentary is on those subjects is simply nonsensical.

    Given that, one would need to know what your definition of a “hate-filled rant” is, because I suspect that if you were to actually point to what you consider to be an example of one, no one but you would regard it as a “hate-filled rant”.

  19. An annoying thing with this thread is that there are underlying questions here that are both interesting and important – but they get buried in bullshit.

    Thanks for the comment, Johan. The BS strategies are standard for suppressing uncomfortable questions. These include personal attacks, avoidance of the topic, requesting links to references and then rejecting the supporting evidence. However, the response here does suggest the arguments have struck a nerve. Should I take this as a sign of success?

  20. I think this is questionable unless the beliefs are illegal. Otherwise, who is to define what beliefs are acceptable and which are not?

    You’ve been trying to do that this whole thread by telling people that they should just sit down and shut up because exercising their free speech and free association rights is “harassment” and “bullying”.

    I’ve already asked a lot of questions here that seem to have made people uncomfortable.

    No you haven’t. You’ve babbled incoherently and spouted idiotic bullshit.

  21. If listing the company you keep is a “personal attack”, you need to reexamine who you are paling around with.

    Who am I palling around with?

  22. Actually, that is the question. You need to back up your bullshit with some actual examples if you want to be taken seriously. Thus far, everything you’ve pointed to has only made you look more ridiculous as it has become readily apparent that your definitions of things like “bullying”, “attacks”, and “harassment” vary so wildly from those used by everyone else that your commentary is on those subjects is simply nonsensical.

    Personal attack.

    No you haven’t. You’ve babbled incoherently and spouted idiotic bullshit.

    Personal attack.

  23. Now, we have a very good example of bullying and hate speech in John C Wright. Of hateful rants. Shouldn’t we debate them then?

  24. Otherwise, who is to define what beliefs are acceptable and which are not?

    Do you think racism is an acceptable belief?

    Personal attack.

    If you’d added a question mark you could have chalked this up as another uncomfortable question as well as taking the piss.

  25. Now, we have a very good example of bullying and hate speech in John C Wright. Of hateful rants. Shouldn’t we debate them then?

    Please feel free to discuss Wright in another thread.

  26. “Please feel free to discuss Wright in another thread.”

    Ok, so discussing hateful rants is off topic. If they aren’t imaginary rants that is. Ok.

  27. Please feel free to discuss Wright in another thread.

    Hm, uncomfortable question leads to avoidance, suggests a nerve has been struck, qualifies as a success?

  28. Otherwise, who is to define what beliefs are acceptable and which are not?

    Do you think racism is an acceptable belief?

    This is a complex question. I can’t answer it except by attempting to measure the level and effect. Racism is not an illegal belief, but acting/discriminating on this basis is illegal in the US. This is unacceptable. However, all people harbor racist beliefs. Here’s one reference you can read on unconscious racism and another that explains its basis in evolutionary biology. Please feel free to look up more scholarly research.

    https://www.theguardian.com/science/head-quarters/2015/jul/08/how-can-we-fix-unconscious-racism

    https://broadblogs.com/2013/02/01/racism-genetic-or-learned/

    Because it is impossible to eradicate racism in even the most well-meaning person, then it has to be acceptable to some degree in order for us to function. I agree that racist rants are obnoxious, but I still support the speaker’s rights to express transgressive beliefs.

  29. Everybody’s “winning” this argument according to their own definition of winning, and yet it’s become incredibly tiresome to read.

    Is there more substance to discuss, or will the comments remain stuck in the baiting-and-avoidance mode?

  30. Hm, uncomfortable question leads to avoidance, suggests a nerve has been struck, qualifies as a success?

    No, it’s just totally off topic. I think Wright is a very good writer, but he needs an editor.

  31. Is there more substance to discuss, or will the comments remain stuck in the baiting-and-avoidance mode?

    I think we’re stuck in baiting-and-avoidance mode, so I’ll bow out.

    I do have a last comment, though. I’m getting the feeling people here are trying to associate me with the Sad/Rabid Puppies. I have not had any contact with them and am not associated with them in any way. Neither am I conservative. I’m generally classified as a flaming liberal and a progressive.

  32. We could discuss this hate filled rant from Sarah Hoyt of course:

    “I’ll only note you’re worse than the Soviets who condemned the Kulaks during holodomor, worse than the people on the street who mouthed the Nazi lies about Jews during WWII. Why worse? Because those people lived in fear of their lives. They had to say what they did because they feared being next on the kill list.”

    Or hey, how about this one from Kate Paul?

    “I was going to mine the Intertubes for Nazi quotes that the Puppy-Kickers could have said if they’d been about Puppies or white men rather than Jews, but alas, even in translation Hitler and Goebbels are so much more articulate the comparison would be utterly unfair to the Puppy-Kickers (and remember, these are writers and editors – but the Nazis beat them on all fronts when it comes to articulating points of view. I suppose I should be relieved: pointing and shrieking tends to be rather less than effective as a means of converting the undecided).

    Oh, and for those who are wondering? The reason I didn’t use quotes from Mao, Lenin, or Stalin was that an awful lot of Puppy-Kickers would be flattered to be compared to such luminaries of the world’s most lethal ideology.

    So, let’s call them for what they are. Nasty, petty, bullying socialists who would fit in just as well with the Nazis as they would with their equally murderous Communist cousins. They even have a racial agenda, and while they’d deny it, they’re so US-centric it’s hilarious (as well as sad).”

    Oh, sorry, forgot. It was only non-existent rants that should be discussed. Things existing in one persons fantasies. Absolutely not hate filled rants that people actually said and absolutely not when they were said by puppies.

  33. Is there more substance to discuss, or will the comments remain stuck in the baiting-and-avoidance mode?

    I’m pretty sure we’re going to solve racism in five more comments. Or less.

  34. “I’m pretty sure we’re going to solve racism in five more comments. Or less.”

    Drink to world peace?

  35. You’re the one who wants people to be politely silent in public when they see racism.

    I haven’t said that anywhere.

    My dear, that’s exactly what you’re saying when you say this:

    The issue was that HWA made a decision and then were harassed until they changed it. This is where the campaign crossed into bullying behavior.

    Earlier in this thread, you generously allowed that people who objected to Riley being a juror because of his racist history could express their objections in a polite private note to the HWA – a note the HWA was free to ignore. You then say above that if the HWA dismisses the objectors and keeps Riley as a juror, ANY public criticism of the HWA’s decision and explanations of why they believe Riley is likely to be a racist, partial juror is “bullying behavior.” Once the HWA chose Riley as a juror, you want to declare a moratorium on public comments on the HWA’s decision UNLESS they are approving of the decision or neutral. Public criticism of the decision, to you, is “bullying” by definition.

    Ergo, you DO want to repress criticism. You want those people who criticized the HWA’s decision to obey your desire for a public moratorium on criticism of that decision, and you call them “bullies” when they refuse to repress their own opinions in favor of yours.

    You think it’s appropriate to send them a hate filled rant because you disagree with their policy?

    But did that actually happen?
    —-
    That’s not the question. The question is whether it is appropriate.

    Um…so, wait. You want everyone who disagreed with the HWA’s choice of juror to shut up (but THAT’S not repression!) because somebody MIGHT eventually send a “hate-filled rant” – even though you admit that no one has actually done so? And you absolutely refuse to discuss what actually DID happen – that people made the reasonable objection that a man who’s made multiple racist statements over decades and ran for office based on them MIGHT not deal impartially with POC’s on a jury? And this is not derailment?

    Tell me – why don’t you answer the question as to whether a man like Riley would be a suitable juror if you were a lawyer and a POC were your client? Is it because you know that if you answered it honestly you WOULD be disqualifying Riley as a juror and admitting you’re wrong about this? Am I engaging in a ‘personal attack’ on you by simply asking for a straight answer?

  36. Mike: Sorry for contributing to what John Keel ranted about as the great Wurlitzer in the sky. On to better things.

  37. Sorry, Mike, I didn’t see your comment till I posted mine. I guess you’re saying there’s no more candy…

  38. Personal attack.

    These aren’t personal attacks. They are accurate descriptions of what you’ve done in this thread.

    The BS strategies are standard for suppressing uncomfortable questions.

    It is actually kind of hilarious that you think you’ve been asking uncomfortable questions in this thread, when in fact you have been the primary source of bullshit. You’ve asked extremely facile questions that have been answered. Nothing you have asked has been even remotely difficult to respond to except to the extent that you have obfuscated your meanings by refusing to provide examples instead of vague hypotheticals and unsupported claims of “reverse racism”.

    What has come out of this process is that when you use words like “bullying”, “attacks”, and “harassment”, you mean something wildly different from what other people mean when they use those words. You use “bullying” to mean “continues to express opinions”. You use “attacks” to mean “criticism of an author’s work”. You use “harassment” to mean “says things Lela dislikes”. You have revealed that you are actually not comfortable with free speech and free association when people make choices you disagree with.

    It has also become fairly apparent that you haven’t given examples because you really didn’t have any when you started making your vague accusations, and that you cast about for them with internet searches and seized upon anything that looked like it might support you without actually bothering to check that they did support you. It is obvious that you didn’t bother to read the links you provided or the comments on those links. If you had, you’d have realized that they didn’t say the things that you claimed they said, and didn’t support what you were arguing.

    The only thing you’ve actually accomplished in this thread is destroying your own reputation. The takeaway here is that you really don’t understand the issues being discussed, and don’t have anything to offer except incoherent babble.

  39. Leila E. Buis wrote

    Would you rather we continue to have train wrecks like last year’s Hugo controversy?

    *bewildered blink* Was that a trick question?

    In case you’re serious, yes, rather than ask my black friend to kiss and make up with a man who thinks she is not fully human, rather than ask my gay friends to kiss and make up with a man who thinks it is only natural to want to beat them to death with a tire iron, rather than myself kiss and make up with a man who says throwing acid in my face would improve society and would be a small price to pay to do so, I’ll take more Hugo controversies.

    There. That was easy.

  40. Wow, I didn’t think it was possible for a troll to be more irrational than the Phantom, but with all those strawmen Buis is trotting out, she’s certainly giving him a run for his money. Dunning and Kruger would have a field day with this one.

  41. @Lela: Those articles you linked to don’t show what you think they show about unconscious bias.

  42. “… rather than myself kiss and make up with a man who says throwing acid in my face would improve society and would be a small price to pay to do so, I’ll take more Hugo controversies.”

    Kiss and make up with a man who wants to throw acid in my face??? Fuck no!! The person should be in prison.

  43. Lela E. Buis on April 15, 2016 at 10:45 am said:

    Yes. I would much rather have controversy and train wrecks than make concessions to malicious fools.

    Your prerogative. Be aware that suppression of ideas reduces our freedoms.

    Granting that premise*, unless you want to reduce our freedoms, you ought to be in agreement with the preference for controversy over making concessions to malicious fools.

    * I doubt that it is an absolute rather than a general rule. Suppressing the idea that slavery is moral seems likely to be a net plus for freedom.

  44. Sorry to respond again, but I just noticed this and I just…couldn’t…not…

    I’m generally classified as a flaming liberal and a progressive.

    Hmm…a “flaming liberal and progressive”…who thinks that activism is harassment and bullying, that boycotts are bullying and harassing, that any form of public protest of a perceived injustice is harassing and bullying, that indeed any form of protest AT ALL beyond private, polite notes that can be ignored and discarded without any repercussion is harassing and bullying.

    Yup, I can totally see how you would’ve been Rosa Parks’ best bosom friend…

  45. Pingback: Pixel Scroll 4/20/16 Through the Scrolling-Glass | File 770

  46. Interesting argument.

    1) Any association has the right to determine who will be a panelist that decides awards. Can pick and choose based on their own beliefs , bias or whatever.

    2) Other than allegations that Mr Riley is a racist, I have seen no evidence that this is true. The idea that being a member of a political party is grounds for exclusion seems wrong to me. I do understand this contradict point (1)

    3) Relevancy. Does Mr Riley supposed racism relevant to the job he was assigned to do; to judge horror stories.? Apparently. Mr Riley is a writer of some years. writing horror stories. Based on that story writing it seems relevant. Not his past history being member of a political party.

    5) Why did the organization not know about Mr Riley’s disqualification before extending the invitation to be a juror?
    Basically it seemed very rude and insulting to disinvite Mr. Riley. They should have known before.

    But the organization has an absolute right to not associate with people they do not want.

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