Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America / SWFA
It is with great concern that we present this letter. There have been several issues that we have raised recently that question the credibility and integrity of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). These issues center primarily around three individuals: James D. MacDonald, Ann “A.C.” Crispin and Victoria Strauss. All three of these individuals frequently and aggressive pontificate their association with the SFWA. Frankly, we feel that their recent online activities have become a liability and an embarrassment to your organization. To wit:
James D. MacDonald recently posted on the AbsoluteWrite blog:
“But only if she strips down to bra-and-panties first.”
Ann “A.C.” Crispin, in making a statement about Strategic Book Group’s President, Robert Fletcher, misused the Jewish term “Mitzvah” and stated:
“I have no doubt that Writer Beware’s and Absolute Write’s and P&E’s warnings are costing Bouncing Bobby business…and I couldn’t be more delighted. To me it’s a mitzvah, I think that’s the term, to the entire universe of aspiring writers to tell them the truth about Robert Fletcher and his schemes, not to mention scams.”
This statement has angered many Jewish people and prompted the posting of several rabbinical responses on the subject.
Most egregiously, are the accusations that “American Book Publishing has been the focus of at least one police investigation.” As you know, this quote is posted on the SFWA site and appears to be related to the following post by Victoria Strauss:
“I’m beginning to also conclude that perhaps what the company stated in their defense to me is much more true and likely. That you made a phone call to a police department and then falsely reported it as a ‘police investigation of the company’ to shock and scare their authors into contacting you with their worries and attracted their most inexperienced authors.” And why would I do such a thing? Mr. Wentworth claimed to know the truth: ‘I asked the company the same questions I asked you, and they stated that you had tried to get on their payroll as contract administrator and when they refused you, you followed up on your threat to post this false report.’” (Emphasis added)
We have conducted research and have contacted every conceivable law enforcement agency in the State of Utah (the home of American Book Publishing) and have not found any information that confirms that this organization was ever investigated. Based on this research, our Freedom of Information Requests (FOIA) and Victoria Strauss’ intentional avoidance to personally address these issues, it would lead one to conclude that these allegations are false, defamatory, actionable and slanderous. Moreover, it causes one to question the credibility of all postings regarding literary agents and publishers that have not been appropriately vetted by primary source material on your sponsored sites.
In addition, this quote from Robin Wayne Bailey, on your site raises the brow of a common person considering membership in your organization:
“I do it for power and popularity. It’s all about the power. And the popularity. Really. It used to be about fame, fortune and free sex.”
Conceptually, we agree with the premise of your watchdog efforts. However, personal objectives, agendas, conflicts of interest and the quest for revenge appear to have run afoul. In addition, the use of the SFWA resources, by these individuals, to self-promote is despicable and are questionable practices for any non-profit organization to support and be engaged in. Clearly, there are readily apparent conflicts of interest.
Your By-Laws state as follows:
Section 10. Expulsion of Member. The officers of the Corporation may, by unanimous vote, expel any member for good and sufficient cause.
Based on the circumstances listed above, we believe that there is “good and sufficient cause” for the expulsion of each of the members listed above. At the minimum, some form of disciplinary action should ensue for the disgrace and disingenuous activities that they have engaged in; not to mention the dishonor they have brought upon the organization.
Other proposed actions:
Reorganize and restructure the watchdog group and enlist unbiased/objective officers to bring back integrity to the organization.
Implement appropriate fact-findings procedures that actually validate claims.
Remove the current officers of the SFWA watchdog groups from their responsibilities.
Delete the false, slanderous and defamatory allegations regarding American Book Publishing and other publishers/agents if the information is not supported by primary source material.
Force and compel Victoria Stauss to admit or deny that her actions against American Book Publishing were in retaliation to her attempt to get on the payroll of American Book Publishing.
Force and compel Victoria Strauss to admit or deny that these postings were the result of her following up on a threat to post a false report.
Force and compel Victoria Strauss to admit or deny the veracity of the statements made against American Book Publishing.