Drama Queens, Sock Puppets and Character Assassination: The Case of Ed McDonald

I had the misfortune of dealing with an extremely toxic situation inflicting the SFF community in the past few days. I was not able to make public statements to avoid jeopardizing ongoing investigations and it was very hard to keep quiet through this time. It has been a hard test for the SFF community and I am proud of the whistleblowers and bloggers who have acted with great integrity. I believe the community will come out stronger after this ordeal.

I am going to copy paste what I wrote on Reddit about this clusterfuck of epic proportions. Here we go:

This should be a good lesson to learn about knee-jerk reactions, jumping in bandwagons and making quick judgements without hard evidence, on word of mouth.

Also a lesson about how important critical thinking is. The community has been subverted to slander an innocent man in the vilest and most vicious way possible.

Most people are trusting and honest but it takes one sociopath with no morals to abuse this trusting nature, take advantage of sensitivities around delicate topics and manipulate an entire community. These two very sick, very immoral and cruel individuals have planted rumors, spread disinformation and insidiously manipulated the unsuspecting good-hearted people who have great empathies for the victims of sexual predators. Their actions and the way they planned and ran this whole act over the course of nearly two years would turn intelligence agency operatives green with envy.

I have stood with Ed the entire time and tried to warn people about the possibility of those victims being fake sock puppets only to be bullied, yelled at and accused to be a victim-blamer, victim-invalidator and a defender of sexual harassers and predators.

I tried to tell friends, but they assured me they have heard from multiple victims, legitimate profiles. I nearly backed down. At some point the abuse and patronizing was so intense, I was forced to play along with the narrative to save myself the headache. For that I feel really bad, I should have done better. I should have spoken louder. I asked questions, questioned the legitimacy of those victims of Ed and received abuse, accusations and insults for it. For merely asking for proof and questioning the existence and legitimacy of the alleged victims.

Why all the trouble? CAUSE I KNOW ED and I know he would never, ever do the things they were accusing him of. We are not even close, we have been kind of friends that had arguments and didn’t talk for months on end -we hadn’t been talking for months before this dumpster fire blew up. This is the relationship I had with Ed to this date -kind of a distant friend that was critical of him and had disagreements.

My conscience wouldn’t let me sit there and do nothing while they ruined an innocent man. I tried to fight the accusatory and patronizing people accusing me of horrible things. I got constantly gaslighted by one of the perpetrators, who was rallying people into a witch hunt. I privately messaged the people, Ed’s readers I have seen falling for it and expressing their shock, told them the truth.

Most of my friends told me to stay the hell out of it and not make myself a target, They said I’d get burned too, I should step aside, wait and see what happens. I told them I was out of it, and not going to be involved anymore, but you know I just could not. I have been a victim -no, a survivor- of an extremely abusive marriage where I was kept captive and powerless to do anything with daily threats to my life and limb, so you can imagine how awful it was to be blamed to be a “victim-blamer”, “defender of abusers” and all that. Go figure. I have nerves of steel though and despite having a fever and terrible flu I fought on and stuck to my guns to defend Ed.

I did make myself a target and have been viciously slandered by the main perpetrator of this defamation campaign, including right here on reddit -they deleted their vile posts since- but know what, I don’t care. I have kicked out a murderous, extremely dangerous sociopath ex-spouse out of my life despite death threats so I am not about to be scared by some those deranged dirtbags half a world away. They can kiss my shiny metal ass!

Anyway I am getting a flood of messages from people now, apologies, kudos for standing up for Ed when no one else did. I have beaten myself for not standing up to all the bullies, not being loud enough, I am absolutely humbled people actually noticed.

Doing the right thing is difficult, especially for someone who has psychological trauma from being bullied into silence for years, been unable to defend against bullies and injustice and been burned over and over and over being paralyzed with anxiety more often than not, struggling to break out of it and stand up to all the wrongs and injustice. I am very proud of myself that I did it for someone else, someone I have known as a good person.

It is mighty difficult to go against the bandwagons and outrage, pitchforks and torches, risking my place in the community, reputation, future publishing career. Despite advice from friends telling me not to risk my future and reputation, despite other friends telling me off. It is not an easy thing to do, and I didn’t know I had the nerve to do it, most certainly not in the bad shape I was with fever and all. Literally rowing against the current.

But you know, sleeping good and having peace of mind aside, doing whatever little part it is to help stopping malicious people from burning an innocent man is all that matters and worth all the stress, emotional abuse, missed meals and lost sleep.

I hope the damage done to Ed’s reputation can be reversed with a collective effort and the evil people who did this see the faces of justice and karma both.

Here is the links to other bloggers’ posts on the matter:

https://weatherwaxreport.blog/2019/03/27/about-ed-mcdonald/

The Fantasy Inn: Statement on Recent Events.

http://www.bookwormblues.net/2019/03/27/on-allegations-and-ed-mcdonald/

http://booknest.eu/component/k2/blog/1484

https://fantasybookcritic.blogspot.com/2019/03/recent-me-too-allegations-ed-mcdonald.html

Here is the reddit thread about it: https://old.reddit.com/r/Fantasy/comments/b674hy/allegations_against_ed_mcdonald_retracted/

And the official statement regarding the evidence proving the accusations 100% false:

The irrefutable evidence proves beyond all doubt that one or two individuals have utilized multiple social accounts with the express purpose of spreading malicious rhetoric against Ed McDonald, and making it appear that ‘reports’ are coming from numerous sources, where in fact they all come from a single source. This source has never met Ed McDonald.

It is now very clear that Ed McDonald has been exposed to a long and malicious campaign by someone who has abused the trust and confidence of people, over and over.

— In light of this, it is asked that members of the Fantasy community:

*Do not name the individuals behind the allegations – even if you suspect who they are. The individuals do not deserve any further attention. Their names have not been mentioned here on purpose.

*Do not pursue the individual(s) behind the allegations. Do not cause them any distress. Doing so may impact pending legal action.

*Welcome Ed McDonald as a member of the community. Any further harassment will not be tolerated.

— To prevent gossip, the following overview has been provided to summarise these events:

*A number of social media accounts across multiple platforms have been linked to either one, or at most two, individuals behind the allegations.

*These accounts use different personas (including names, real world locations and background information).

*These accounts have pretended to be different individuals to spread falsified allegations in open and closed groups, and in private chats.

*These accounts have made comments in support of posts made by each other, as well as shares and likes.

*At least one account is in a position of authority in a public internet forum. This authority was abused throughout this case, and ultimately Ed McDonald was banned from the forum after he tried to defend himself against the allegations.

Advertisements

Book Review: Blackwing by Ed McDonald

Blackwing

Genre: Fantasy/Grimdark
Series: Raven’s Mark
Author info: https://edmcdonaldwriting.com/

It has been a couple of weeks since I finished Blackwing, but I am writing the review now since I had been dealing with illness, job change and other personal issues. I wanted to find some quiet time in order to do justice to this excellent debut. There was a lot of hype when it came out, and Blackwing more than lives up to it.

The whole story is told in first person narrative from Ryhalt Galharrow’s perspective. I couldn’t decide whether the guy is likeable or not, but he is quite an intriguing character. Galharrow, a battle-hardened drunkard with nihilistic tendencies, is a Blackwing captain serving one the godlike entities called the Nameless and moonlighting as a bounty hunter. He works with his crew, and two core members stand out as stellar side characters. Nenn is a sharp-tongued badass warrior, and Tnota is an affable navigator from an exotic land. Nenn reminded me of Michael Fletcher’s Stehlen character from the Manifest Delusions books. She takes no shit from anyone and fights like a demon. What’s there not to like?

The other well-written female character is Ezabeth, Galharrow’s old girlfriend from his teenage years he is still madly in love with. She is quite enigmatic for most of the story, kind of mysterious and distant from the POV of Galharrow. She is a damn good example of a first class badass female character that is not a warrior princess type. Ezabeth is a 45 kilo nothing skinny gal, but boy does she kick arse left and right!

The setting is cool and the place called Misery is one of the most impressive settings I have read so far. Hats off to Ed for creating such a novel, spooky, weird ass place. You never know what will hit you in Misery, you feel the terror along with the characters walking on eggshells. The villains and mutant creatures that are spawn out of Misery are pretty unusual and creepy as hell.

There are a ot of mysteries in Blackwing, and their beautifully paced resolutions and reveals make it a page turner you can’t put down until you drop (or finish the book.)
I gotta say people are right to compare it to Abercrombie’s work, it has the grimdark, the humor, the gore, the battle scenes and the plot twists. Oh and Ed McDonald’s HEMA mastery shows. I’m easily bored with prolonged swordfighting scenes (Raymond E. Feist, I’m looking at you!) but McDonald manages to put just the right dose of sword porn, keeping it highly engaging and neat. There’s matchlock and sword fights, both are excellent.

The only thing I’ll complain about is that the relationship development between Galharrow and Ezabeth in the last part of the book didn’t sit right with me and felt rushed. But that’s not a big deal considering the book is a damn good read overall.

All in all Blackwing is a pretty solid debut (I know, I know, everyone is saying the same on Goodreads but that is a fact!) with a top notch post apocalyptic grimdark setting, kickass grimdark characters, super cool magic system, copious doses of originality and creative talent. You are missing a lot if you aren’t reading it -I know I slapped myself for being so late to pick it up.