Best-selling YAL author Sarah Dessen (Someone Like You, The Truth About Forever, Along for the Ride...) found herself the target of protest after a commercial for her new book aired during an episode of Degrassi that featured a transgender character.
She took to her blog to react.
"...this morning, I woke up to find 100+ emails in my website account. They were all identical, but sent from individual people. Apparently the commercial for my books has been running on Teen Nick during some episodes of Degrassi that feature a transgender character, and my name and email was included on a form put together by a group in Florida to protest. Now, I actually have no control when and where my ad airs. I didn’t even know it was running during Degrassi: I saw it on MTV about a month ago during a Diary about Justin Bieber and haven’t seen it since. My publisher bought ad time from MTV networks (I believe) and it runs whenever they decide to run it. So I was surprised (to say the least) to find myself the target of all these emails. Worse, when some of the folks who sent them got my auto-response (which goes out, um, automatically if you email me at that address) they wrote back very nasty emails accusing me of spamming them. When they had emailed me. WHAT? I know! Needless to say, my Zen was gone. It was like waking up and getting kicked in the face for no reason. Good morning!
I will say this, though. I don’t watch Degrassi, it came along after my time. But I believe in equal rights for ALL people, regardless of race, sex, or sexual orientation. If that makes me “depraved” and “lacking integrity” (both things I have been accused of today, more than once) then, well, okay. I’ll take it. I was raised to stand by what I believe, and I believe in equality. You don’t have to agree with me. That’s what’s great about this world. But you don’t have to be nasty about it, either.
Add in the fact that my babysitter was down with the flu and for whatever reason my daughter was PARTICULARLY energetic and refused to nap, and this has been a long, crazy day. One minute I’m trying to cool down and NOT fire back equally mean emails (“Sticks and stones,” I kept hearing my mother say, over and over again in my head, as I hit ARCHIVE instead of REPLY) the next I am cutting crusts off a PB&J and telling myself to chill the heck out. But now that I (finally) have a few free minutes I’m able to process it all and realize that really, it doesn’t really matter. I think it was Meg Cabot who said, “You’re not a hundred dollar bill. Not everyone is going to love you.” True and truer. You can always count on Meg to say it better than anyone else.
Look, I’m just a girl from NC. A mom, a wife, a daughter. An author. I write about high school. I don’t think I’m changing the world for the worse or better. I’m just doing what we are ALL doing, which is the best we can. Highs and lows, highs and lows, as they say. My high was those friendly faces and those fireflies here in my hometown. Low was a bunch of emails from people who, most likely, have no idea who I am or what my books are about. Really, that’s not much of a low. If it is at all.
And it’s GOT to mean something that as I was writing the paragraph above, my iTunes began playing Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds.” Don’t worry about a thing, because every little thing gonna be all right… That says it better than I ever could. At any rate, as always, thanks for listening.
Have a good night, everyone!"