I was not then, I am not now, nor have I ever been interested in a witch-hunt, a smear campaign, or vengeance against AW. There was no coordinated ‘attack’ to have people comment on Twitter in the rapidity that they did. I considered her a friend and a colleague, which made the whole thing ever so much more disappointing and quite frankly difficult to do.
Smart Bitches Trashy Books may have put it best in their post: Plagiarism Bingo: O – Hatemail.
“This kind of bullshit makes it more intimidating to bring up plagiarism, and if we don’t bring plagiarism up, it won’t stop. But we also have to discuss the intimidating and haterating that follows any revelation of plagiarism, because those reactions also seem to follow a predictable pattern, and probably do plenty to convince those who have been plagiarized, or who have discovered it, to keep quiet because have mercy, it is not pleasant.” (Emphasis mine.)
Based on the group’s advice, DT emailed AW and requested that she remove the plagiarized content. AW replied with a flimsy excuse (her young daughter had copied and pasted the content). She did not admit wrongdoing, but she did immediately remove DT’s content from the post.
Though the content had been removed, the flimsiness of AW’s excuse spurred a number of us to look deeper into the blog, mostly to ensure that none of our content had been stolen. No fewer than eight posts had full paragraphs cut and pasted from other sources, none attributed. The sources ranged from other bloggers, to NPR, to Entertainment Weekly. Quite frankly, we were shocked, saddened, and at a complete loss of what else to do.
AW was contacted via email once again upon the discovery of her more egregious plagiarism and again made no acknowledgement of wrongdoing.
The biggest issue, for me, was that AW was attempting to use the credibility gleaned from her blog to start a business representing and marketing to authors. As I stated on Twitter the pressing reason I felt that this issue had to see the light of day publicly was because at the time it seemed that AW had every intention on continuing on with that business and taking money from authors. This is a practice that combined with plagiarism I find to be wholly incompatible and unconscionable.
At that point, knowing what I did and having attempted to deal with the situation privately ‘as adults’, but with absolutely no cooperation, change in behavior, or sense of remorse I felt the only avenue left open was to take it to Twitter.
So in defense of criticism that it should have been handled privately, it should be known that myself and the other bloggers involved did in good faith attempt to do just that.
The truth is I take absolutely no pleasure in what I did, it made me uncomfortable, sad, and feel a little like an asshole. That does not change the fact that I still believe what I did was the right thing to do. You can see all my thoughts on how plagiarism makes all book bloggers look bad in this post.
Since the public ‘outing’ AW’s blog is no longer available for public consumption and to the best of my knowledge she is discontinuing her consulting business. All anyone involved really wanted was to hear from AW was the acknowledgement that she had done something wrong and that she would not engage in such behavior in the future. If a private acknowledgement of these things had been made and if there had been any serious attempt to rectify the situation I think the whole Twitter fiasco could have been avoided.
I fully intend that this is the last post that I will make on this issue. I hope it has been useful in clarifying some points that may have been misunderstood or unknown.
I’d also like to thank the bloggers who know who they are in helping me compose this post. Couldn’t have done it without y’all.
Edit: 19 Feb 2015 the blogger in question finally issued and apology that can be found here.