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.

New Lakeside, New Publication, and Readercon

We launched the second issue of Lakeside Circus over the weekend with a brief Letter From The Editor, followed by the outstanding short story by Fran Wilde, “The Naturalist Composes His Rebuttal”. We paired it with a podcast — our first — read by Don Pizarro, who’s not only contributed a story to this issue but has been working tirelessly with me as our audio producer.

Fran said, “Bravo, Don BRAVO. This sounds exactly as I’d imagined it,” so take a moment and listen to it here.

You can see the full issue Table of Contents and publishing schedule here, along with links to subscription options. Please do consider subscribing if you haven’t yet; the more readers we have, the more podcasts and stories I’ll be able to fund.

My story, “How to Recover a Relative Lost During Transmitter Shipping, In Five Easy Steps“, is now online at Unlikely Story, for their Cartography special issue. Though it is technically about a map, for me the story is more about the idea of a map as a description of the places you’ve been along the way to where you’re going. The map you draw for others isn’t always accurate, even though you may think it is. The path is bent as you react to obstacles along the way, or filled in from hazy memories and half-guesses. Looking back, you’re tempted to see the past as the whole of the map, when it’s only your perspective on display. It may be true. It might not.

“How to Recover a Relative Lost During Transmitter Shipping, In Five Easy Steps” is told as an interview with a woman who accidentally became part of something enormous, when she thought she’d lost someone whose impact was only enormous to her. Here’s an excerpt:

Interviewer’s note: Amrita Chakrabarty agreed to this meeting only after several concessions were agreed to. First, that we wouldn’t discuss the contentious court battle she and her family had only recently settled; second, that we wouldn’t discuss the theoretical science in more than a passing way, as it applied to the events themselves; and third, that I didn’t ask about her relationship with her younger brother, Shikhar, beyond what she was willing to disclose on her own. The reader, no doubt already familiar with the hundreds of other articles on what’s now called “The Chakrabarty Wormhole Map,” can piece together for themselves why that might be the case.

Q: Let’s go back to the very beginning. What was your first hint that your brother and his friends had done something monumental?

AC: Nothing feels monumental until after it’s over and you realize what’s happened. This thing, which is so huge and impossible to escape now, was annoying to begin with. Frustrating, and then scary, but looking back, I can see why it’s been painted as something of an adventure. That sounds fun, right? A grand escapade.

The title of your book, which comes from the first set of instructions you wrote, makes it sound simple.

Yeah, that was a marketing thing. It wasn’t simple at all.

You can read the rest of the issue here. It also includes work from Sarah Pinsker, Rhonda Eikamp, Kat Howard, James Van Pelt, and Shira Lipkin.

I don’t have the schedule yet, but I’ll be on a panel at Readercon discussing imaginary cities and invented cartography, along with other folks from the Unlikely Story issue. Last version of the description I read was:

This summer, Unlikely Story will publish their Unlikely Cartography issue, featuring stories by Shira Lipkin, Kat Howard, Sarah Pinsker, Carrie Cuinn, and others. Together with editor A.C. Wise, these authors will discuss their stories, and other authors (historical and modern) who similarly explored the cartography of the fantastic. Influences and discussion topics may include Calvino’s Invisible Cities, Eco’s Legendary Lands, Post’s Atlas of Fantasy, Mieville’s The City and the City, and more.

I can’t wait!

Coming back around to Lakeside Circus again: I’ve update the website to include a main page button for podcasts (like we already had for short stories, flash fiction, and poetry), included the Issue Two information, and added rotating news posts to share important information on the front page. We’re keeping the design simple to translate well to your mobile devices, but still want it to be useful, easy to navigate, and aesthetically pleasing. Take a look?

#SFWAPro