Tom Doherty, one of the seminal figures in science fiction and fantasy publishing over the last several decades and owner of Tor Books, has published a message on Tor's Web site concerning the current brouhaha over comments made by one of his editors. You can read the whole thing there, but I'll publish a few salient points here.
Ms. Gallo ... did not make it clear that her comments were hers alone. They do not reflect Tor’s views or mine. She has since clarified that her personal views are just that and apologized to anyone her comments may have hurt or offended.
. . .
In short, we [Tor] seek out and publish a diverse and wide ranging group of books. We are in the business of finding great stories and promoting literature and are not about promoting a political agenda
Tor employees, including Ms. Gallo, have been reminded that they are required to clarify when they are speaking for Tor and when they are speaking for themselves. We apologize for any confusion Ms. Gallo’s comments may have caused. Let me reiterate: the views expressed by Ms. Gallo are not those of Tor as an organization and are not my own views. Rest assured, Tor remains committed to bringing readers the finest in science fiction – on a broad range of topics, from a broad range of authors.
There's much more at the link. I urge you to read it in full.
I don't have an e-mail address through which to reach Mr. Doherty, which is unfortunate. I'd have preferred to communicate with him in private concerning this matter. On further reflection, though, the comments from Tor staff members in the public forum have been the cause of the problem; so perhaps it's appropriate that my personal response should be in that same forum. Therefore, here's an open letter from me to Mr. Doherty. If I can find an e-mail address for him, I'll send it to him directly as well.
Dear Mr. Doherty,
I suppose I should begin by apologizing for any impertinence in writing to you like this. You're a seminal figure in science fiction and fantasy publishing, owner of one of the largest publishers in the field, and with decades of experience under your belt. I'm a relatively unimportant self-published author, selling a few tens of thousands of books per year and earning a living for myself in the field as best I can. I've been drawn into the present controversy over Tor due to the conduct and views of some of your staff. I'd like to respond to them, and to your message on Tor.com earlier today.
Mr. Doherty, I spent eighteen years working with the victims of racial and tribal violence in South Africa, trying to overturn the vicious and racist policies of apartheid. The white government sought to rule by diktat, and the so-called 'liberation movements' who opposed it sought to render white rule impossible through terror. Groups such as ours that sought to bring relief and new hope to areas of conflict were targeted by both sides. We paid a heavy price for our beliefs. Twenty-seven of us died during those years, and more have died since. I've written here from time to time about some aspects of our experiences. If you'd like to know more, try this article, or this one. As for my attitude towards racism, try this article for a start.
Given that background, you'll understand that to be told by Ms. Gallo that, as a supporter of the Sad Puppy campaign, I'm "unrepentantly racist", is utterly unacceptable to me. Furthermore, I've fought (and I mean exchanged gunfire with) real neo-Nazis who sought to impose Nazi-like ideals of racial purity on a country at war with itself. Thus, to be told that I'm a member of an "extreme right-wing to neo-nazi group" is equally unacceptable. I could go on cherry-picking individual clauses out of Ms. Gallo's statements, but why bother? I think you can understand why I exploded with anger when I read it. She has no idea about those realities. I do. I will bear their scars, mental, spiritual and physical, until the day I die.
What makes it even worse is that her comments are merely the latest in a series of similar utterances by other current and former senior employees of Tor. They've been made over the past three years, during which the Sad Puppies campaigns have been organized. In particular, I refer to Patrick Nielsen Hayden, his wife Teresa Nielsen Hayden, and Moshe Feder, as well as author John Scalzi, who appears to be a spokesperson for Tor's views on the matter. As I said in an earlier article about this imbroglio:
There's an old military saying when bad things happen: "Once may be an accident. Twice may be coincidence. Three or more times is enemy action." In the same way, I could understand one senior Tor representative holding such views. I might even accept two. Four is too many. This is not coincidence. It's concerted, organized, deliberate enemy action. Tor as a publisher appears to either espouse, or tolerate (and actively encourage), views like this. The utterances of these individuals appear to indicate that the company supports lies, slander, libel and viciousness as debating and/or promotional tactics.
I, and many others, believe that the comments, insinuations and accusations by the individuals I've named are factually false, slanderous, libelous and unfounded. I cannot speak for those others, but I've reached a point where I will no longer under any circumstances accept such utterances without responding. In discussions with other authors and individuals involved in the situation, it's become clear that I'm far from alone in feeling this way. We're all boiling mad, to put it as plainly as possible: and we're going to act on that, unless and until Tor resolves its internal problems openly, in the same public forum where previous transgressions have taken place, and in an acceptable manner.
Mr. Doherty, you have assured your readers that "the views expressed by Ms. Gallo are not those of Tor as an organization and are not my own views". I am fully prepared to accept that they are not your personal views, and I thank you for making that clear. However, in the light of the paragraph from my earlier article quoted above, I think you can understand why I am absolutely unable to accept that the views Ms. Gallo expressed are not those of Tor as an organization. I believe they are Tor's views, because they've been reiterated many times by the individuals I've named, and AT NO TIME has Tor done anything to repudiate, control or apologize for what they have said. "Three or more times is enemy action", Mr. Doherty: and by their words and attitudes, these individuals have made it abundantly clear that the organization they help to manage, direct and operate is the enemy of anyone associated with the Puppies campaigns, even if only as a sympathizer, not an active participant (which perfectly describes my own involvement to date).
Mr. Doherty, with the greatest possible respect to you as an individual: until Tor publicly dissociates itself from the outrageous positions taken by the individuals I have named (all of them), publicly rebukes those concerned, and takes steps to make sure that no such statements are ever again made by senior members of the company, I shall be unable to believe any assurances that their views are not those of Tor. Actions speak louder than words - and so does the absence of actions. All Tor has offered is words. It's time for actions. What is Tor going to, not say, but DO about the situation? - because unless and until it does the right thing, others are going to do what they believe to be necessary and appropriate under the circumstances.
There is very little time left to address these issues before this situation gets out of control. For the sake of all of us in the SF/F community, I hope Tor uses it wisely.
With personal respect to you and yours,