Thursday, April 28, 2011

Don't Piss Off the Romance Community, We Bite Back

So, it must have been a slow news day for WNEP in Snyder County PA and I'm thinking they probably wish it had stayed that way.

The ABC affiliate has come under heavy fire for a piece on Judy Mays, a local
romance writer, who also, gasp, happens to teach high school English.

The reporter took it on herself to vilify Mays (who writes for Ellora's Cave, as I do) on the basis of comments from one woman. Nowhere in the piece does the journalist confirm her findings through outside sources other than one Wendy Apple. She did ask the school superintendent for a comment and managed to make the standard "I can not discuss personnel matters or employees. At this point I have no comment." statement sound like a condemnation.

As a journalist myself, I can only shake my head at the misguided, so-called reporting. What editor looked at this story and thought it was a good idea?

I have to ask the question: How did Apple find out? She had to do some digging because Judy has gone to some length to protect her privacy, probably because of trolls like Apple. So, obviously, Apple spent some time on this. Why? Does she have nothing better to do with her life?

Purely on the basis of a few minutes of videotape, Apple proves herself to be petty, vindictive and small-minded. Unknowingly (most likely), she's opened herself up to be pilloried by the court of Twitter/Facebook/Internet and rightly so. She's come under attack in a way I'm sure she never expected and she's discovering just how cruel the world can seem when you decide to stand on an antiquated soapbox and believe you hold the moral high ground.

Apple is probably crying to her husband or her children or her friends about all the mean people in the world who want to make her life miserable. She should've thought about that before she contacted WNEP to say, hey, did you know there's this teacher who writes erotic romance?

The romance community, writers and readers and publishing company employees, have rallied to Judy's defense, which made my day. I hope Judy makes a mint off the publicity. Of course, that does nothing to ease the stress created by thoughtless comments from one woman, a young reporter who may not live this down and a lax editor who should have known better.

And I hope they learned a valuable lesson: Don't piss off the romance community. We bite back. And we're everywhere.


Kat Sheridan said...

Steph, my guess is that Wendy "Rotten" Apple came to her discovery from the opposite direction. That she was wandering through books at Ellora's Cave and spotted Judy's photo and said "Hey! I know that woman!" (Or more likely "OMG Verna, that there woman writes slutty books!). I'm guessing she may have already unwittingly have read Judy's books and was looking for more.

And what kind of parent then decides to not only share that info with her underage son, but ropes him into being on camera as well. Can you imagine what it's like for all parties at school today?

And that reporter? Shaking my head and walking away before I start using VERY BAD WORDS.

A Buckeye Girl Reads said...

What got me about the whole thing was, if she doesn't like that genre, what was she doing looking for it, and how in the world did she find out the pen name used? The whole thing just boggles my mind at the lack of tolerance people have.