Authors have existed pretty much since the dawn of the written word and, without a doubt, someone became a critic shortly after that. Unfortunately, whether the opinion of the critic is harsh or complimentary, someone will most likely take issue with it.
Author and reviewer “bullying” has taken on a life of its own in the past few years, and it’s led to some pretty crazy stories of bad behavior on both sides of the issue. Authors have been targeted by whole gangs of haters, some going so far as to allegedly prevent the publication of books by trashing it before it ever appears. At the same time, reviewers have faced nasty criticism by authors and their fans to the point that whole groups of rabid followers will make life miserable for a reviewer who dares to not like a book.
Through it all, unfortunately, is the reality that these opinions are no longer valid assessments of the book, but instead have become intentionally targeted attacks on the authors or reviewers as human beings. It’s enough that some consumers have stepped away from the book review space and refused to participate in reading or writing book reviews, all because their validity is now permanently smeared.
One of the more famous battles involves key moderators and reviewers on Goodreads and a site called StopTheGRBullies.com. That conflict has been covered extensively in international news outlets, and had actually been thought to have died down under Goodreads’ policy change that said inflammatory reviews that attack the author will be deleted from the site. It’s important to know that authors are also under scrutiny from the Goodreads leadership, and their accounts can be deleted for lashing out at reviewers who didn’t like their books.
The arguing, name calling, and finger pointing may have seemed like petty high school drama to some people, but one individual is taking the issue seriously. Rick Carufel, once a supporter of the STGRB website who has been accused of soliciting hackers to unearth the identities of online “trolls,” has now filed a lawsuit against StopTheGRBulllies and individuals he believes are involved in the matter, including outspoken opponent of author bullying, Anne Rice.
In a press release by Carufel, he states, “Rice believes that anyone who disagrees with her are bullies and has repeatedly attacked the Amazon forum members. Recently she used a list from the hate website to target the Amazon forum members, specifically the Top Reviewers Forum, to her million fans using Facebook. Now she’s campaigning to have her fans dox anyone who disagrees with her, dubbing them notorious gangster bully thugs who need to have their personal lives exposed, attacked and damaged because they don’t agree with her. She has become a direct threat to my personal safety and that of others who use their own names. I no longer feel safe in my own home and dread every knock on the door.”
Rice, the 73-year-old bestselling author of titles such as Interview with the Vampire, Cry to Heaven, The Vampire Chronicles, and the recently published Prince LeStat, could not be reached for comment on the lawsuit.
“She seems to think she can harass, bully, threaten and terrorize people who disagree with her. I see her recent activity as being very close to domestic cyber-terrorism and illegal. She uses every possible device to harass and intimidate anyone with whom she disagrees. She professes to be a champion against online bullying but is the biggest bully of them all.”
Good e-Reader was able to reach a spokesperson for the STGRB website named in Carufel’s lawsuit, but the individual is unable to comment due to the ongoing litigation. She did state, however, that Carufel’s assertion that STGRB is owned and operated by a single individual, Melissa Douthit (who is also named in the suit), is untrue. The lawsuit has reportedly been filed in Minnesota Third District Court, and the plaintiff “has requested $10,000 personal damages for every time Ms. Rice endorses/d the hate website publicly since the email exchange between she and the plaintiff in May of 2014.”