- Back in August 2019, NWL Suzan Tisdale announces that her publishing company Glenfinnan has hired Sue Grimshaw, a former Borders (rip) book buyer who shelved the romance novels of African American authors--and also novels with African American characters--in the African American section instead of the Romance section.
- To make matters more predictable, Grimshaw's twitter likes featured many MAGA friendly accounts. Here are some screenshots.
- Predictibly, people did not want Sue Grimshaw in any position of power because she's a racist.
- Tisdale decides to do a 12 minute video where she states that 'Sue is no more a racist or a bigot than I am' and 'She's a lot like me. We have conservative fiscal values but liberal social values.' She doubles down saying she won't get rid of Grimshaw.
- Courtney Milan, a Chinese-American romance author with a big social media following created a thread explaining why people have every right to feel wary of Grimshaw:
- The other editor in Glenfinnan is Kathryn Lynn Davis, who wrote a book called 'Somewhere Lies the Moon' in 1999 a chockfull of racist tropes. Courtney Milan read part of the sample chapters and tweeted about the character who was blue-eyed half Chinese woman with 'yellow skin and slanted almond eyes':
There's more in the thread but you get the gist. It's bad.
Fast forward to December 2019--
- Romance author Alyssa Cole tweeted that Courtney Milan had been abruptly suspended by RWA.
- The reason for said suspension? Suzan Tisdale and Kathryn Lynn Davis filed ethics complaint against Milan after Milan used her platform decry racist depictions in romance novels. This obviously didn't sit well with the NWLs who are totally not racist.
- This story got picked up by many news outlest like The Wrap, NY Post, Yahoo (smh at calling them 'rivals).
- In the ethics complaint that Tisdale filed (read this trashfire here), she states that Davis can't be a racist because she 'has a master's degree in History' and was 'immersed herself into the Chinese culture for six years.' She also accuses Milan of reverse racism which is totally a thing. /s
- Instead of dismissing this bullshit complaint, RWA decided 'hey you're totes right, being called a racist IS worse than being a racist' and decided to ban Milan to appease the NWLs. How did they do this? By creating a shadow ethics committee, therefore bypassing the existing committee, and ruling in favor of sanctioning Milan. The existing ethics committee was blindedsided, as evidenced by Rachel Grant, a member said committee.
- You can read Milan's response--with receipts--to that garbage here.
- As you can imagine, Romancelandia is pissed the fuck off and there have been massive resignations from authors of color and LGBTQ+ authors across the board from various positions of leadership within the organization. Many authors are also not renewing their memberships.
- Because of the fallout, RWA has tried backpedaling but no one's buying what they're selling. They posted a twitter statement and also a message that was a mixture of a nonapology with a big pile of nothing.
What happens now? This is still ongoing but essentially, authors are asking for the resignation of the current board and also trying to decide whether they start a brand new organization that doesn't cater to racists.
Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Mods: removed banned source and placed the rest of the post under a cut! Also fixed the broken images.