The initial round of Baen authors and editors counter-attacking Jason Sanford’s February 15 article “Baen Books Forum Being Used to Advocate for Political Violence” was followed by a hardly unexpected wave of their fans expressing resentment and abuse against him. But now one figure is striving to outdo the field with his own thuggish toxicity.
Samuel Collingwood Smith of the Matthew Hopkins – The Witchfinder General blog (“We aim to expose corruption and terrorise the guilty without worrying too much about due process”), who has already published two articles about the Baen’s Bar situation and bragged about his efforts to harass Sanford by contacting his employer, now has added a toxic third piece to the series.
The post (which can be found here [Internet Archive link]) deconstructs one of Sanford’s recently-published short stories (here) as the pretext for applying a familiar tactic from the right-wing playbook — suggesting the victim is somehow linked to pedophilia. The title of the post does not warrant quoting, but this excerpt shows that Smith will be taking another run at getting Sanford in trouble with his employer:
…As such it is extremely uncomfortable and unpleasant reading. It is disturbing that a reputable organisation like the Ohio News Media Association (ONMA) would associate with this man, or that a magazine such as Interzone would give him such prominent treatment….
(Interzone published an all-Sanford theme issue in 2010.)
Smith immediately promoted the piece to a wide audience by adding a comment with the link to Larry Correia’s latest blog post. And less than an hour later author Jason Cordova rushed to do the same without even stopping to notice Smith had got in ahead of him.
Yesterday Smith had prepared the way for his current article with an inquiry on the DisCon III (2021 Worldcon) Facebook group asking where he should send “an urgent safeguarding concern” about an unnamed “male individual.”
And when given directions, he made the following thuggish reply:
Then today, Smith dropped a link to his blog post in the DisCon III group.
DisCon III subsequently treated Smith’s own posts as Code of Conduct violations, deleted them, and set a new policy requiring moderator approval of all posts to the group.