Every time the dust settles on the most recent examples of author bullying and reviewer bashing, something occurs that makes headlines again, thus starting the firestorm all over again. In this case, the news is that anti-bullying champion and bestselling author Anne Rice is one of approximately one thousand names on a petition to Amazon, demanding that they strip away the anonymity on their site that allows these alleged bullies to prey on authors.
What is more interesting than the same battle that has been circulating since groups on Goodreads and a grassroots effort called Stop The Goodreads Bullies first began waging organized warfare on authors or reviewers is that Rice is no casual observer of the issue. Apart from lending her famous name to the petition by signing, Rice has posted a fair amount of commentary on the issue on her Facebook page, much of it in response to people who are taking the argument–and their derision of the issue–to the comments section of her page.
“I’m optimistic. I think we will achieve something good here with our protest,” wrote Rice in response to one commenter. “And I will continue to draw attention to the petition. I see no reason ever to accept bullies as a part of life we can’t change…Systems evolve. We can change things in this world for the better. I will never accept evil or injustice as just the status quo.”
While some commenters went on to scoff at the “fruitlessness” of asking Amazon to step in on this behavior, others went to the length of attempting to discredit a somewhat-controversial group that Rice openly supported in her post, Stop The Goodreads Bullies. Like the supporters of the petition, Rice feels that requiring verification at log in will go far in stopping the abuse in reviews, much in the way that author Lynn Shepherd’s books have come under attack for her pointless and poorly planned essay railing against JK Rowling.
“To get back to the essence of the problem;” wrote Rice on her timeline, “if Amazon will revise its policy on anonymity the problem will be helped greatly. These gangster bullies rely on anonymity for their multiple screen names, and their underhanded voting tactics. They could not [do] the same level of damage to others if they had to use their own names.”