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.