A Statement about Lou Antonelli, Lakeside Circus, Harassment and Safety

Over the weekend, I became aware that an author, Lou Antonelli, had contacted the Spokane Police Department in advance of Worldcon, to place them on alert about the guest of honor, David Gerrold. On a podcast, Mr. Antonelli said:

“I really didn’t know much about [Gerrold] before the Hugo nominations came out. Following his discourse and his level of discourse as a result, I personally wrote a letter addressed to the police chief in Spokane and said I thought the man was insane and a public danger and needs to be watched when the convention’s going on, and I mean it. I attached my business card. I said this guy’s inciting to violence. Somebody—a weak-minded might attack somebody because of his relentless strength of abuse. I think, honestly, I think he belongs in a secure psychiatric facility.”

I had previously planned to published a story by Mr. Antonelli in an upcoming issue of Lakeside Circus. After hearing his statement of his actions, I contacted him and withdrew the offer. (And another email asking how he wanted the kill fee sent to him.) After that, Mr. Antonelli apologized to Mr. Gerrold, who choose to accept it, and I thought the matter was settled.

Mr. Antonelli then posted the contents of my first email to his Facebook fan page, where he knew his fans would see it and be agitated by it. That letter was:

Mr. Antonelli,

I have just become aware of comments you made regarding contacting the police about David Gerrold, over his comments about the Hugo Awards. Specifically, the video linked in Jim Hines’s post, here.

While your stance on, and involvement in, the Hugo voting slates is, we feel, a personal choice, and outside of our interests, taking this action moves away from protected speech, and into a concrete effort to threaten someone’s safety and livelihood.

Because of this, we will not be publishing your story in our next issue, and would suggest that we are unlikely to be a good fit for your work in the future.

Thank you.

Carrie Cuinn

When he posted the letter, he didn’t mention I’d sent it before he posted his apology. He removed the line about me hearing the podcast. He also added the name of my magazine, and my title. In short, he shared it, but he shared a version of it, that he’d edited. His post garnered 30+ comments from his fans, saying I was a bitch, a tool of the SJW mob, I was retaliating after the fact (of his apology), I was uneducated and unfit to be an editor (because I’m going back to school). The letter was referenced in other conversations he had online (including at File 770), with similar comments.

At no time did Mr. Antonelli correct anyone, or suggest they stop attacking me, even when some of the comments mentioned looking me up online, researching me, reading my blog, etc.

By later that same day, I was getting emails which contained both the same sort of comments as had been posted online, and threats of physical violence. (I won’t quote them because I’ve spoken to my local police department and the matter is under investigation.) I contacted Mr. Antonelli, told him specifically that I was receiving threats, and asked him to please ask his fans to stop.

He never replied.

The next day, he said simply, “OK, if anyone out there is contacting Carrie Cuinn and castigating her for her decision not to publish my story, knock it off.”

If. Castigating (which means “reprimanding someone for something they did wrong”). Not that people were. Not threats. “Reprimands”.

He took no responsibility for pointing those folks in my direction, and has offered me no apology.

As I said elsewhere:

Thanks, everyone, for the support. I don’t mind that some people were unhappy with my decision to not publish a story I’d previously bought. I know I sometimes make unpopular decisions; lots of people make decisions I don’t like, too. I accept there are consequences for my actions: there will be people who don’t read my work, buy my magazine, or attend my readings at conventions, because of my decisions.

I even understand that strangers on the internet are calling me a bitch, because of this decision. Saying I’m a tool of some SJW mob, morality police… Strangers on the internet feel comfortably removed from any repercussions of their actions, most days. I’m less understanding knowing that people are researching me, looking up my website, looking for flaws, making judgements about me because I’m going back to college, because I’m poor and have been my whole life, as if those things somehow mean I have less experience as an editor, or I’m unworthy of trying to make my life something better than what it had been. That I started out so far behind most other people that I can struggle and fight and work my ass off only to have my accomplishments belittled because for anyone else, my little magazine is just a hobby, paid for by mad money… Well, okay. The internet is full of opinions.

But look at what I’ve actually done, not misinformation.

I couldn’t stand by and do nothing after Mr. Antonelli publicly admitted to purposefully sending the police after someone in our community, especially given the numerous deaths by police and in police custody that have recently made the news, for the “crime” of being a liberal gay man who disagreed with him. As I said in my letter, it’s a matter of SAFETY. Antonelli took away Gerrold’s safety when he filed that false police report, and I won’t support that by giving him my money or promoting his work.

I was content to do what I felt necessary privately, between Mr. Antonelli and myself, but he dragged me up in front of his fans and made a target of me. He knew people were defensive and angry on his behalf, and he gave them me as a target. Doing that, he took away my safety, too.

27 thoughts on “A Statement about Lou Antonelli, Lakeside Circus, Harassment and Safety

  1. Good for you for not only standing up for your principle, but dealing rationally with a bully and his minions.

  2. Tobias Buckell’s response on twitter is “Fucking hell” – in your favor. For what it’s worth – I’m on your side too! The facts – only stick to the facts. Why is that so hard for people to do?

  3. Apparently Lou’s “crazy uncle” is still around.

  4. Stay strong, hopefully these Puppy creep terrorists get the prison time they deserve.

  5. Thanks for clarifying the interaction. It helped me make a couple of decisions, and I appreciate your candor. Best of luck with returning to school…that can be rough, but it was infinitely worthwhile for me.

  6. Shared.

    I think we’ve established who the “dangerous instigator” really was in this situation, and who is apparently leading a group of “unhinged fans prone to violence” would be.

  7. For what it’s worth (from a fellow UPenn alum; I have an MS in Computer Science from there), there are two words that should shut up anyone who thinks one must have a college degree to edit an sf magazine. Namely, “Fred Pohl”. Who also didn’t have an HS degree until given one by his former school when he was around age 90.

  8. Congratulations on going back to school! Learn the things that make you better at what you love.

    Antonelli’s behavior is beyond the pale, and Gerrold’s response is the mark of a true gentlehuman.

  9. Ugh. I’m so sorry, Carrie.

    Selective editing of your email shows malicious intent. What a fuckwit.

  10. I support your decision. Full disclosure: I’m a slush reader for Lakeside Circus.

    I’ve told you this before, and I’ll say it publicly here: I admire and respect you as an editor, writer and mom. I’m also sorry this has happened to you.

  11. Hard to see how ANYTHING Mr. Gerrold said could possibly be interpreted as a threat to anyone. I have to assume that Antonelli is either deranged or malicious. Following this by selective editing of your email suggests the latter. You have my sympathy.

    On the other topic, I totally forgot to get a degree yet I am a published author, editor and game writer and designer. Do I wish I had one? You bet. And I wish you luck returning to school. I’d like to go back myself – but more to learn stuff than to get the paper.

  12. I’m sorry this happened, period.
    Everything has been completely out of control with the Hugos. It makes me glad I’m not involved… at all.

    You are the editor. Who you publish and why is ultimately your choice.
    And why is being an SJW so bad, anyway? People are odd when equality is talked about.

  13. I’m so sorry people have been threatening you. I’d like to think Lou was just thoughtless when he wrote that and didn’t realize how people were going to react. The fact that he altered your e-mail … suggests it was more than that.

    I was thinking somewhat better of him after his apology but that is slipping now.

  14. I don’t understand this need to levy personal attacks in a professional situation.

  15. Unbelievable bad faith from Antonelli–and dangerous. He knew what he was doing.

  16. You should be very proud of your courage considering the ‘dread ilk’ types. Never appologise for continuing to learn, its an admirable quality in any person.

  17. ((((((((((((Carrie)))))))))))). So sorry you’re getting this harrassment. I wonder how many of the people sneering at you for not having a degree have one themselves?

    I’m not an editor, but I know that I wouldn’t feel entirely safe if I had any kind of professional relationship with someone who behaves like this.

  18. What I don’t understand in all this is that he doesn’t see the future repercussions caused by doing something like this.

    You don’t talk about negative interactions with editors or publishers. As a writer, you just don’t. You definitely don’t put such things in writing. You don’t kick it off to social media. Because it will rebound on you. You will get labeled as ‘difficult’ and ‘problematic’ to deal with.

    Heck, I’ve seen extremely innocuous statements merely questioning an editor or publishers position turn into fans taking it upon themselves to inundate said editor/publisher with emailed complaints…. resulting in the author originating the statements no longer working with that publisher.

    That he cannot see this as damaging his career in the long run is a very big problem.

    • Well I wish I had read this before I made my comment. You said much the same as I did, just with more style. 🙂
      I think my anger to all this mess is that these guys brought a world I want to escape from into the medium I love to use to escape.

  19. This whole incident has been unpleasant for everyone involved. Lou went off half-cocked and his behavior has been less than intelligent. He should not have edited your email in any way. While I disagree with your decision to cancel your purchase of his story I acknowledge your right to do so.

    However I do take exception to your use of Swatting to describe his behavior. I am rather sick of people misusing serious words just to make a point. Swatting is one someone calls 911 and convinces the police that there is a serious situation that requires an immediate armed response. Doing this puts lives in danger and is an illegal and repulsive act.

    What Lou did in no possible way could be called Swatting. He had a concern over potential violence that could have been *inspired* by Gerrold’s comments. This is something that has indeed happened in other situations and will no doubt happen again. If you feel that Lou had no right to express this concern then that is fine. To accuse him of Swatting is wrong and unjustified.

  20. I’ll only point out that what he did was not SWATTING. Which is a terrible tool used by extremists on both sides.

  21. Did Mr Antonelli take a moment to think that doing something like this might also be a professional disaster? If were an editor I’d think twice about buying his work after what he did.

  22. I haven’t read Lakeside Circus before, but you just gained a new fan and I will seek it out. Clarity of purpose and editorial integrity are important to any curated content and you obviously have those in spades.

    • Indeed, I will also take a look at your magazine. And I’d like to join my voice to the chorus of approval for your cool head and principled intelligence. And also wish you satisfaction in your further education. I took a degree during my late thirties and early forties with the British distance learning institute The Open University, and it was one of the most stimulating and enjoyable things I’ve ever done. Enjoy (even if some stress results during the process! It’s a struggle worth persisting with, and the best high I’ve ever felt at times as well!)

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