Is It Smart To Piss Off Your Customers And Vendors?

Saturday I got good lesson on what you should NEVER do on social media. It started when I saw this.

The above text came from this thread. (gone)

Archived for obvious reasons.

Now apparently this thread had been sitting almost a month and hadn’t attracted any attention.  Probably because of the load of just pure over top incredible BS that the puppies have been seeing since the beginning of April.  I’ve documented much of that in my “Storm in Science Fiction” post but there’s still more that is not in that post and more than likely  more of the same that I haven’t seen. But Ms. Gallo’s post stands out for a couple of reason.  1. Ms. Gallo is creative director at TOR books.  2. The comment was made under a post that was pushing a book from TOR.

There are two extreme right-wing to neo-nazi groups, called the Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies respectively, that are calling for the end of social justice in science fiction and fantasy. They are unrepentantly racist, misogynist, and homophobic. A noisy few but they’ve been able to gather some Gamergate folks around them and elect a slate of bad-to-reprehensible works on this year’s Hugo ballot.

The funny thing about this comment is that there is not a single thing about it that happens to have any relation any facts on the ground. I could go on endlessly about that but it’s not as if the puppies don’t have hundreds of posts discussing these issues.  There’s also the fact that these are blanket statements.  Apparently ALL puppies are “right wing… calling for the end of social justice in science fiction and fantasy… unrepentantly racist, misogynist, and homophobic.” That’s a HUGE statement to make. And there’s nothing, nothing that ANY puppy, sad or rabid has said to justify this statement.  In fact it’s rather the opposite.

Consider that the leadership of the Puppies, Larry Corriea and Brad Torgesen are the poster children for racial diversity.  Larry is a polyglot of Portugese and other mixed blood, not that that matters, from a poor farming family.  Brad is in a biracial marriage.  The puppy “slate” was all over the map.  I think that there could be a greater diversity of people that the authors and editors in the puppy slate.  Yet even before the nominations were announced we had a promise from Teresa Neilson Haydon of “Distant thunder and the smell of ozone”

The body made mention of “explosions” and sure enough there was a global media blitz targeting the puppies with the same kind of language that Ms. Gallo used. This has led to constant bombardment of the puppies with the same smears of racism and such over and over.  The attempts to substantiate those claims when various CHORFs have been called on it and the pretzel logic involved have been rather amazing.  The fact remains that the claims are untrue.

If the claims were untrue and Ms. Gallo knew that then were there any good reasons for doing what she did?  There doesn’t seem to be.  The other question was whether or not the comment was outside company policy and if the quote below is correct it was indeed.  Those policies are in place for good reasons.  They exist to protect the company from a black swan event created by their own employees that suddenly causes grave damage to the company.  The case at hand is a perfect example of this.

In deciding whether a breach of our Code has occurred or is about to occur you should ask yourself:

Could this conduct be viewed as dishonest, unethical or unlawful?

Could this conduct hurt Macmillan – e.g. could it cause us to lose credibility with customers or business partners?

Could this conduct hurt other people – e.g. other employees or customers?

Would I be embarrassed to see this conduct reported in the newspaper?

Does it feel wrong?
If the answers to any of these questions is “Yes” or “Maybe”, a potential issue exists that needs to be reported

Most of the puppies had been giving Tor a break.  It was assumed that the extreme language that we had been seeing was the production of a very small group of individuals, not the entire Tor office.  The call was “not to punish Tor” for the actions of those few.  Ms. Gallo’s comment, and her actions represent  behavior far outside the normal course of business.  For that matter, so do those of the Neilson Haydon’s  and others at Tor.  The obvious intent was, from even before the nominations were announced to essentially destroy any credibility the puppies might have using the usual methods of the typical leftist power elite. Which is to cast anybody who has even a small argument against whatever the leftist agenda is as “unrepentantly racist, misogynist, and homophobic.”

Well we have Mr. Doherty’s answer.

Apparently, using words like, “unrepentantly racist, misogynist, and homophobic.” as blanket statements under promotional posts for Tor’s is Ok as long as it’s not on Tor’s website.  I think that the problem at Tor isn’t that Gallo made the statements as libelous and disgusting as they were, but the fact that Tor is the kind of place where statement like that are even thought of as something you would say as part of the regular part of business.  The statement was made in response to an honest and easily answered question.  Instead of doing what any of we puppies would do and point the questioner to a bunch of websites or saying google it, Gallo resorted to the worst kind destructive and hateful language. Is this what it’s like in the Tor office?  Apparently so.

So I end this with this:
Irene, considering that according to at least one attorney that commented on my first post about this and the fact that your statement could be considered libelous. The fact your statments have gone across the interenet, that similiar statments have been made by the media, presumably as result of a Tor press statement, and the attitudes of some senior staff members seem to reflect your statement that unless a retraction is made and an official statement is made by Mr Dorhety and the Macmillan staff is made that some of us have to consider that your statement doesn in fact reflect the attitudes and opinions of Tor Books about the Sad Puppies, a group that consists of a number of long term fans and authors. I think that at this point an official retraction is required.

Of course we won’t see an official retraction.  Or any tempering of language from the CHORFs.  Like all elites they are convinced that they, themselves are immune from the consequences of what they say and do.  The people they hurt with their blacklists and petty whisper campaigns aren’t members of the cool kids tribe.  As far as they are concerned we all can go back to our hovels  I suppose that as far as they are concerned we must all suffer our betters or we will really regret it.  Like the son in Piers Plowman.

Well what the CHORFs don’t understand is they need us more than we need them.  They need us to keep buying what they sell.  By the nature of things, the puppies are high value customers.  I suspect that the typical puppy buys 10x-100x  the books that the average reader buys. So pissing off even a small number of us is probably contraindicated.  Now I, at least won’t absolutely boycott Tor.  I will remember that Tor books thinks of people like me as “unrepentantly racist, misogynist, and homophobic” Nazis and point my book purchases accordingly.

Frankly I think that using that sort of language under ANY circumstances is utterly repellent.  Especially in a business environment to potential customers.  One thing I’ve learned is that you have to be very careful in situations where a potential customer may take offense.  In these days that includes social media.  Especially where your product is clearly on display.

Apparently the powers that be in publishing feel that they are so far removed from their ultimate customers that blanket insults and absolutely disgusting language are OK.  Frankly I think that if this is what results from trying for award nominations, Tor has an obligation to recuse themselves from both the Hugos and the Nebulas for at least five years. But of course there won’t be anything like that happening.

What we will see is yet more hate, yet more blanket accusations of racism et al until Tor, the other members of the Big Five and the rest of CHORFs realize that the whole reason for this has gone away with the book sales they depend on.  times have changed and if you can’t see the changes you become irrelevant. Which is what has happened with the CHORFs as much as they would like to believe otherwise.  It wasn’t racism that created the puppies, it was the insularity of the trufen and their refusal to see how out of touch they were. From a social that’s livable. From a business side that’s suicide

The Hugo Award Aggregation.

A bunch of posts about this.


And Gawker digs itself deeper.

One would think that after the spanking they got from the gamergate crowd they would have learned, but apparently not.

And Chuck Wendig.


A POWERFUL post from R. K. Modena.

And another one from Cedar.

another one from Peter Grant.


How Tor failed social media 101.

Simplifies issues and doesn’t mention social media rule #1.  Never call a large group of unspecified people “NAZIs.” Just saying.

Black gate.  It’s amazing that people will support people who call others “neo-nazis” and “unrepentant racists” without a shred of evidence and get all in a huff when people get angry at being called such things.

The people at Tor still don’t get it.

Somehow they can’t seem to understand that everything that goes out onto the internet is more or less PUBLIC and that saying certain things when it’s connected to your company is just contraindicated.  They can blame Vox all they want, but Ms. Gallo’s statement was out there for anybody to find and tweet for a month.  If I had seen it I would have screen capped and posted it.  With the same result.  Once the comment got into the community, the only safe decision is full retraction and more than likely Gallo’s resignation.  Yet the people at Tor don’t seem to understand that every day that some sort of public action is NOT taken the situation just gets worse. Once your reputation is gone, it’s gone and rebuilding it takes a huge amount of work.


  1. kamas716 · June 9, 2015

    I’ll give Tor one last chance to win me back. There need to be changes in that company or I’m not spending any more money with them. Between Baen, indies and the books I already have on my Nook I don’t need to buy from anyone for quite awhile. But when the time comes it won’t be Tor. Gallo isn’t repentant about what she said, only that is offended some.


  2. saintonge235 · June 9, 2015

    I read Ms. Gallo’s “apology”, and Mr. Doherty’s post, and I responded with the following e-mail:

    Sirs and Madams:

    You won’t know me, and there’s no reason you should. But I’m one of the people that your employees keeps insulting. I’m one of a large number that’s been told I’m racist, misogynist, a Jew hater, and the general scum of the universe. And I’m done with it.

    You may have Ms. Gallo, Mr. Feder, and Mr. and Mrs. Nielsen-Hayden as employees, or you may have me as a customer. I will no longer make purchase from Tor/Forge, or any Macmillan imprint, while any of them are working for you.

    Stephen M. St. Onge
    Minneapolis, MN, USA


  3. lobo314 · June 9, 2015

    well said


  4. Pingback: A Hugo Aggregation. | The Arts Mechanical
  5. Pingback: The Castalia of Fu Manchihuahua 6/11 | File 770
  6. Pingback: What PR Blitz Did The Puppies Do That Failed So Miserably? | The Arts Mechanical
  7. Pingback: You know You Are In A War When the Other Side Lobs Artillery Fire At You | The Arts Mechanical
  8. Pingback: Hugo Stuff | The Arts Mechanical

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s