A little over a week ago, Kathleen Hale, a young adult author, wrote an article detailing how she reacted to one bad book review that was posted on Goodreads. She mentions how she went a “little” too far. And, by a little too far she means she cyber stalked, ran a background check, and ultimately approached the book reviewer’s house with the intent to confront.
Plain and simple: Kathleen Hale openly admits to stalking Blythe Harris.
The United States Department of Justice defines stalking as “as a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.” There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Hale created an environment of fear in Blythe’s personal and cyber life. According to the special report published by the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics in January 2009, Hale committed 6 of the 7 acts that must be committed for it to be defined as stalking:
Hale explains in her article that Blythe (as she believes) is not who she appears to be, which Hale takes a personal affront. This is not uncommon for bloggers/Twitter enthusiasts/Facebook followers to create a nom de plum, a fake name. In the world of cyber bullying people do not feel that it is safe to display who they are, and Hale just further proved that yes they should be terrified.
The Book Blogging community has created two hashtags to show that they do not stand with this author behavior: #HaleNo, which is pretty self explanatory and #bloggerblackout, where bloggers are showing their solidarity in not accepting this behavior by not blogging through the 27th of October, and some through November. There is absolutely nothing wrong with these stances, that is the personal choice of each blogger, and it is theirs to make. And honestly I completely understand where both are necessary to show that cyber bullying is no laughing matter. However, I am not making any stance, other than to state, as many others have, that Hale was wrong and that YES, she did stalk a professional reader who did nothing more than her job, review (or not) a book.
Shame on Hale for this behavior, but ultimately someone who is disturbed enough to go through with these actions, will ultimately be unable to understand that their actions went too far. There is absolutely no excuse for her actions.
For more on this subject:
- Hale vs Harris, and the Breach of Online Ethics -Alex Hurst,
- On the Importance of Pseudonymous Activity -Jane, Dear Author
- DON’T DO THIS EVER (An advice column for writers): “Just Say Hale No To The Taliban” edition -Jenny Trout, Trout Nation
- -and- Being Crazy: An Insider’s View on Ableist Language -Kris (guest poster), Dear Author (please remember that words hurt and can never be taken back)