As a part of the greater community and a member of the human race, it’s important to identify those who use their power to spread views that are exclusive and harmful. Unfortunately, many authors, including some whose stories are dear to our hearts, have done or said something destructive to minorities or and other vulnerable parties.
I do not accept this behavior. We must call out those authors who have created pain for both my fellow creators and other people across the globe.
I will never, never shame someone for reading a book by one of these authors. That’s not who I am, and I understand each person’s journey is different. I am holding myself accountable to label any author who has shown themselves to be problematic in my reviews, in order to address these unacceptable actions and make others aware of their transgressions.
This is an incomplete list.
It will grow over time, as I read more books and research more authors. The pages linked below will be updated regularly as I come in contact with more authors and more content, so please check back for new names, research, and explanations.
Please remember that the sorting of these lists are my own personal perspectives – many other people would sort these differently. I tend to be more forgiving, which I understand entirely is largely because of my own privilege. I highly recommend that each of you draw your own conclusions based upon the information and resources linked, as well as other material you have researched on your own.
Pick Your Poison
These are authors who have written books that contain and condone problematic content, and that have been highly criticized within the community. These authors have not otherwise used their platforms for harmful actions (to the best of my awareness).
These authors have made grave errors in judgement that have hurt individuals or members of marginalized communities. They may also have written books with problematic content.
These authors actively use their privilege and platform to hurt marginalized individuals and communities. They may also have made grave errors in judgement and/or written books with problematic content.
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Why do you separate authors into different categories? Isn’t problematic just… problematic?
I believe it’s important to assess things at levels because not all situations are equal. I personally find it unfair to say Melissa de la Cruz and Orson Scott Card are the same level of problematic. Melissa de la Cruz edited a collection with a couple short stories that had problematic content. Orson Scott Card has written articles and spoken publicly against the LGBTQIAP+ community, continues to do so, and stands strong for his misguided beliefs. They’re not the same offense.
That said – how you perceive these authors is up to you. If you prefer to judge all things at the same level, I 100% support your choice! Our relationships with problematic authors is a personal choice and nobody, especially not me, should try to convince you otherwise.
Why are so many authors missing?
Since I have a day job and generally only get to look at this blog on weekends… I am well aware of just how incomplete this list is. I have at least 100 different authors in a list to research and folks share more of them with me all the time. Because I am so adamant on having links and evidence-based research, looking up each author takes a while – hours sometimes, depending on the author.
This project was started in June 2020, so I have a lot of my own backlog to research too. 🙂
Okay, but what if I have an author I want you to add?
I can do that, but I can’t promise a timeline because, as I mentioned, I have a lot of backlog on this project and limited time to update. That said, I still want to hear what YOU have to say. You can email me at TheLiteraryPhoenix@Gmail.com with the subject line “Problematic Author Update” and I will add yours to my list! Please provide the authors name and why you think they belong on the list. Bonus points for links I can use to direct readers to proof and commentary on the offense!
Ugh, you take way too long to update this. Where else can I go to get information?
My first recommendations are Your Fave is Problematic and Your Authors are Problematic on Tumblr (different creators). I reference this page frequently in individual commentary. They don’t always have a collection of “proof” links, but they have bullet point lists driven by discoveries and discussions in the community. Definitely larger collections than I have, although I don’t believe either is active anymore.
Outside of that specific recommendation, keep an eye on Twitter, BookTok, and BookTube. All three platforms are pretty good at tracking the newest outrage. I get most of my alerts from Twitter.
You marked THIS AUTHOR as problematic and I totally disagree with you! Will you fix it?
That depends! I love to hear changes and updates, but there are a few different scenarios where you may have this question, and the scenario affects my answer.
“I disagree and I’m not a part of the mentioned group!” – You are totally entitled to your own opinion! Good for you!
“I disagree and I AM part of the affected group!” – Yes! Love differing opinions with insider information! The best thing to do here is write your piece on one of YOUR platforms, then send me the link and I will add it to the list. It’s better for you to create the content and then have me link it because you will reach an entirely different audience and make it so search crawlers will find your piece as well as my entry including your dissent. It makes your opinion/experience louder!
“I disagree because the author apologized!” – So nice to see, especially those genuine apologies that don’t revolve around thinly veiled tears and excuses. Can you send me the link at TheLiteraryPhoenix@Gmail.com? I want to add it to the entry. I won’t remove the entry because human growth is important, but depending on the situations and patterns, they may fall into a different color.
“I agree with the author, but disagree with the color!” – The color-coding is a complicated thing. I’ve had an author move from yellow to red in the course of a year, but I don’t do such things lightly. If new information has come to life, I want to know about it. If we have all the same information and just different opinions, I respect your right to have a different opinion. 🙂
“I’m the author and this isn’t true!” – Yikes, I was hoping you would never find me. I’m sorry buddy, but you’ve got some bad press out there in the world and it’s easy to find on Google. You may want to do some self-reflection and damage control.
Hey! THIS AUTHOR did something else problematic! Or you missed something! You need to update your page!
Love that you have already researched and formed an independent opinion about the author! It’s important we all dig in and learn as much as we can about each situation and make personal choices based on evidence and not just tea.
Let me know about this via Twitter DM or by emailing TheLiteraryPhoenix@Gmail.com and I’ll add the update to my (very long, please understand) To Do list!
Why do you hate authors so much?! This cancel culture is ridiculous!
I’m a miserable shrew.
I really, really do respect everyone’s opinion and tolerance levels for each of these authors. I am not asking anyone to stop reading them. Or cancel them! I’m a historian and I believe in research and availability of information. My goal here is to gather that information into a consolidated location so folks can form their own educated opinions. Including you! If none of this information is important to you, then that’s up to you! 🙂
This would all be so much easier if you’d just activate comments on these pages. Why don’t you?
Because I’m chicken and a sensitive snowflake and I don’t want people yelling at me.
I’m struggling to find an author/navigate the pages/find out if someone is missing. Would you consider making an index? Or simplifying the pages?
I would love to, and believe me, that’s all in my long-term To Do List. I’d like to create a master index (including authors I’ve researched who came out squeaky clean), jump links, and collapsible sections. It’s just a matter of available time, but I promise, it’s on my To Do list!
Can I share your page?
That’s what it’s here for! Thank you for doing your research and being mindful of your reading. I appreciate you! Just keep in mind if you and your followers have a bunch of adds and updates there is a backlog. 🙂
I appreciate what you are doing and I would like to make a donation. How do I do that?
You are the sweetest? Thank you!
Instead of giving me a donation, would you consider donating the money to a GoFundMe close to your heart? Even $5 can help in most of those situations, and you will have done something to make the world a little better place. My favorite categories are Community, Pets, and Emergency.