Sean P. Fodera Apologizes to Mary Robinette Kowal

Sean P. Fodera Apologizes to Mary Robinette Kowal

Macmillan Associate Director of contracts Sean P. Fodera
Sean P. Fodera (source: MidAmerican Fan Photo Archive)

Macmillan Associate Director of Contracts Sean P. Fodera, who attacked Mary Robinette Kowal in a series of public posts at SFF.Net, and recently threatened to sue individuals linking to a critical Daily Dot article by Aja Romano, has consulted with his attorney and been absent from the Internet for several days. Now, as noted by the folks at Reddit, Fodera has posted “a full and lengthy apology, beautifully written by his lawyer.”

First, I’d like to be clear that any statements I have made (or make hereafter) on this matter have been (or will be) my own opinions, and do not represent the opinions of my employer. I should have included a disclaimer to this effect in my regular posts on sff.net…

I fully accept and acknowledge that my statements about Mary Robinette Kowal were extreme and unnecessary… I want to apologize to Mary for doing that. Mary, if you are reading this, I really am very sorry for my inconsiderate and insensitive response to the question, and my later posts…

With regard to the articles and other posts that my comments inspired, I have spoken at length to legal counsel, who feel that I may have legitimate cause to bring suit against The Daily Dot and/or Aja Romano for defamation. However, this would be a costly and very lengthy endeavor… My attorney has also updated me on the legal status of linking to the Daily Dot article. I had not kept up on the recent rulings in this area, and was therefore referencing outdated information in stating that I believed linkers are also liable in defamation cases. This is why it was important to consult counsel, so that I could have reputable and up-to-date information about my options in this situation.

Mary, always a class act, responded immediately on SFF.Net.

Thank you. That is a deeply handsome apology. I accept without reservation.

You can read the complete text of Fodera’s apology here and Mary’s response here.

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Jeff Stehman

Yea!

If he’d skipped that middle step and gone straight to the apology, I probably wouldn’t remember the incident.

Jeff Stehman

I agree with some of what Shetterly said, but this bit is downright silly: “Talk quietly among themselves.” That does not describe SFF newsgroups. They have about the same mix of pleasantness and yelling I grew to know and love on Usenet 25 years ago (which may be why I read them).

I also don’t buy the privacy argument, as SFF draws a clear line between private and public newsgroups, spiders or no spiders. Obscurity is not privacy. Hell, WSU’s basketball team was being discussed on ESPN this morning.

But the real kicker for me is something said by many, including Shetterly in your above links: these people associate and work with female writers, so they can’t have a problem with women.

No, just those raising issues of sexism still in the community.

For the most part, the old guard were progressive in their younger days, and their attitudes haven’t changed. Many of them, men and women, fought against the sexism of their forebearers, and they gained a lot of ground. In their minds, they won. Society has improved by leaps and bounds. Everyone should be happy.

So how it is some of them are now being accused of sexism? Can’t this younger generation see how absurd that is after all the old guard did for the cause of women? Obviously these rabble-rousers can be dismissed as PC. Nothing to see here, move along.

I have witnessed some of the women in the old guard rail against younger women who dare raise issues of sexism, dismissing the problems of today with a comparison to the problems of yesterday, saying they should stop whining or women will lose ground. My read of that has always been, “Shut up. If it isn’t as bad as what we faced when we were young, it’s nothing.” Yet I’m pretty sure if they were part of the younger generation, they too would be fighting to rid the community of sexism.

CMR

It’s amazing to me that sexism can still exist in this genre. It’s 2014, and women have been some of the most major contributors to Science Fiction since it’s beginnings. It’s stupid to even begin having this kind of attitude towards female authors. My mind is blown.

Sarah Avery

I have witnessed some of the women in the old guard rail against younger women who dare raise issues of sexism, dismissing the problems of today with a comparison to the problems of yesterday, saying they should stop whining or women will lose ground. My read of that has always been, “Shut up. If it isn’t as bad as what we faced when we were young, it’s nothing.” Yet I’m pretty sure if they were part of the younger generation, they too would be fighting to rid the community of sexism.

Jeff, I’ve seen this dynamic in a lot of different settings, and it’s always baffled me, too. If nobody had ever started complaining, there would be no gained ground to lose, after all.

Meanwhile, good for Kowal. Her post on public apologies, how they tend to play out, and what she hopes people will take away from this whole controversy, is thoughtful, compassionate to people in all positions, and farsighted. If only one good thing comes out of this whole mess, it will probably be an uptick in the offering and acceptance of apologies.

I would love to see the SF/F community become as civil as it is erudite, funny, and creative.

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