Ethical Conflict: When My Principles Collide

Most of you who visit my blog are probably well aware that publisher Ellora’s Cave is suing Dear Author, and Jane Litte, for defamation because of her blog post reporting on the publisher’s business difficulties. I agree with Sunita that this lawsuit is intended to scare bloggers and authors, and I greatly admire Courtney Milan’s #NotChilled responses. It’s been amazing to watch the community of romance readers, bloggers, reviewers, authors, editors, et al., come together in amazing support of Jane in this.

One recurring theme in all of the support has been a request for Jane to accept help towards the legal bills that fighting this lawsuit will entail. A lot of us want to be part of that, and today Sarah Wendell of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, announced a legal defense fund for Jane through Go Fund me. Last I checked, the donations were more than $30,000. In less than 12 hours. That’s how strongly people feel about this. And while I think that’s terrific, I haven’t been able to push that donate button, because I have been boycotting Go Fund Me for a while now.

Go Fund Me has had a lot of issues. There was the problem over abortion rights — Go Fund Me encourages people to use them to raise money for medical bills, but it has adopted a policy that excludes abortions from the category of medical expenses. They classify abortions as “terminating life,” and they won’t allow funds for that to be raised on their platform. But it’s okay to raise funds for anti-choice intiatives. I can’t support that.

Then there was the Ferguson problem. Go Fund Me was the platform used to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for Darren Wilson, the officer who killed Michael Brown. (Money that I’m not sure is even needed, since he is on paid leave from his job and so far faces no charges.) Worse yet, in my opinion, when Go Fund Me was challenged by a civil rights group over this issue, they threatened to sue the organization to stop the criticism. That to me was the ultimate irony, given that the legal fund for Dear Author is to fight just such a lawsuit.

Go Fund Me takes 5 percent of all funds raised as their payment, so any payment I make through them is directly helping to support their policies and practices. As much as I want to support Jane and Dear Author, because I believe they are on the right side in this and I want to be part of it, I joined the Go Fund Me boycott a while ago and have as yet seen no reason to reconsider my opinion of their stance or tactics. I have said no to other causes because of this as well, but this one bothered me the most.

Fortunately there’s a silver lining here. Although Go Fund Me has gained, as of this writing, more than $1500 from this, none of it is mine. And Sarah has shared a PayPal address (jane AT dearauthor DOT com) for donations (which should be earmarked “JL/DA Defense Fund”). I donated that way. And Sarah invites others who want to donate, but won’t/can’t use Go Fund Me or PayPal, to email her (sarah AT smartbitches trashy books DOT com); she’ll respond after Yom Kippur.

I just wanted to put this all out there, in one place, to flesh out the Twitter conversations and other discussions I’ve had with various folks.

19 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Parajunkee
    Oct 03, 2014 @ 13:11:14

    Thank you for the info. I had no idea about Go Fund Me, there is just too much information and shenanigans out there – how does one keep up with it all? I wish Jane all the support in this, I have a feeling it will all work out in the end. The fact that she has raised this much support in such a short time is amazing and just shows you how much the romance / reading community stands behind its principals. Posts like this just make me smile, not because of the topic – because all of the points you brought up are upsetting – but you felt the need to point them out, bring them up and take action. I wish more people were like this.


  2. Jody W + Meankitty
    Oct 03, 2014 @ 13:12:02

    I wish I’d seen this before I donated. OH WELL. That’s what I get for being offline all day, heh. Now I know!


  3. Kathryn
    Oct 03, 2014 @ 14:17:51

    As other have probably said to you already today, I wish I had known this before I donated to the DA fund. Still would have given of course, but done it another way. But this is good to known and I’ll be more careful next time to check the funding site as well as the project.


  4. Deborah Smith
    Oct 03, 2014 @ 15:04:33

    Ditto. Wish I’d known this before I donated. Thanks for the info.


  5. Sirius
    Oct 03, 2014 @ 15:32:33

    Thanks for the info. I also wished I knew about the possibility of paypal donation – same as Kaethrin :). Oh well when I can donate more I will do so through paypal. Sirius.


  6. Sirius
    Oct 03, 2014 @ 15:33:11

    Ugh – Kathryn, not Kaethrin, sorry.


  7. Ann Somerville
    Oct 03, 2014 @ 15:47:00

    I donated even though I strongly object to Gofundme for the reasons you mention (and now I wish I’d waited so I could use the other methods, oh well.) Sometimes you just have to make a choice and wear the moral conundrum. Well done you for asking Sarah about other methods.


  8. Ann Somerville
    Oct 03, 2014 @ 15:48:41

    It’s also worth pointing out that the choice of GoFundMe was made for the highest motives – Jane is insisting on refusing unused donations, even though that means she’s wearing $20,000 of the costs personally. I don’t want a refund. This affects all of us, and all of us want to help. She shouldn’t be on the hook for such a large sum or any sum at all because Tina Engler is an amoral lousy businesswoman


    • sonomalass
      Oct 03, 2014 @ 19:05:28

      I’m certainly not trying to pass judgment. These are not easy choices; others made theirs, I made mine, and I’m grateful that there’s a way for me to contribute anyway.


  9. Sirius
    Oct 03, 2014 @ 15:55:17

    Oh definitely. I saw that – that she wants to be able to give refunds. I wished I knew about paypal first and foremost for my selfish reasons (feel safer). I was happy to donate any way I could. Sirius.


  10. Carolyn Jewel
    Oct 03, 2014 @ 20:36:11

    Thanks for posting this.


  11. Joanna Chambers
    Oct 04, 2014 @ 04:42:14

    Thanks for posting this – I’m glad I read it before I donated.


  12. Pamela
    Oct 04, 2014 @ 21:02:22

    I appreciate the time you took to inform us and your wisdom and clarity, thank you.


  13. Trackback: Dear Author/Jane Litte Defence Fund & Ellora’s Cave Update |
  14. azteclady
    Oct 07, 2014 @ 09:34:19

    Courtney Milan suggested donating the same amount (donated to DA/JL defense fund) to Color of Change; Meoskop suggested donating the 5% that GoFundMe gets out of every donation.


  15. ThatDeborahGirl
    Oct 19, 2014 @ 13:22:43

    Wow. Solidarity is an amazing wonderful thing. Your post is one of the most hopeful things I’ve seen in a good long while


  16. Trackback: To even the scales (GoFundMe) (tangential to EC v DA) | Her Hands, My Hands

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