Updated 7.20.2020 with clarifying language from Brian Keene.
I’ve spoken a lot on Twitter about the following, but I wanted to make sure that those who don’t follow me there or may have missed the news heard about what’s been going on in a corner of the horror community.
Last week, Cassie | Let’s Get Galactic, a reviewer and blogger, revealed that she’d received inappropriate, sexual messages from an author last summer. She later revealed the author was Matt Hayward. Other reviewers and authors also came forward to say he’d done the same to them.
There was a flurry of responses. Some apologized for his behavior. Hayward also apologized for his behavior. Many of us, though, were rightfully angry. We spoke up for Cassie and for others he’d harassed.
Yesterday, things took a turn: anonymous Twitter accounts shared purported screen grabs of Cassie harassing an author. I myself received an email claiming I’d “published a harasser” and which also attached the screen grab. They were obviously fake, the accounts were reported on Twitter, and I reported the email as SPAM. You can see it below:
This morning, Brian Keene shared that Matt Hayward admitted he’d made one of the three Twitter accounts that shared the phony screen grabs. I can only assume he also emailed me. Several reviewers, authors, and publishers are rightfully rebuking Matt and doubling down on their support for Cassie and for everyone he harassed.
This whole situation sickens me. As an author, I can’t imagine contacting a reviewer about anything other than my book; and even in cases like with Cassie, where we interact as friends, I would only send messages about food or how adorable their pets are. As a woman, I would be so upset if an author or reviewer I only knew online sent me similar messages, especially if they had my home address. It’s never “just flirting,” and the dynamic here makes it even worse.
Hayward and his apologists tried to temper the response to his actions by saying he was going through a hard time last summer following the death of his best friend. I am sorry for his loss, but, grieving does not justify this kind of behavior. Many of us grieve and don’t harass people. Further, Hayward’s creation of the fake account this past weekend show it wasn’t isolated behavior. He was willing to lie about his harasser to try and discredit her.
I stand with victims and I stand with those who come forward. No one should be harassed, and no one should feel like they need to stay silent so as to protect their harasser, even when—especially when—the harasser is well-liked in a given community. Shame on Matt Hayward, shame on his defenders, and shame on anyone who uses their power to abuse and diminish others. I will not support you.