Hoo boy, this is plastered all over the internet. The writer of the blog "Books and Pals" wrote a negative review of the book “Greek Seamen.” The author, Jacqueline Howett was upset and argued against him. Readers supported the original review, and Howett got progressively angrier, demanding that he remove the review, ordering him to answer her emails, and when she couldn’t think of any other arguments, she repeatedly said the F word.
When I read this, my mouth dropped open.
When I read the 300 people who responded by telling her how classless she is and how they would never read her book, my mouth closed again.
Many agents and authors on the internet are accusing readers of starting a witch hunt. They say we all make mistakes and go on rants, and that even though Howett’s behavior was inexcusable, that’s no reason to be malicious.
This is interesting because I didn’t think anything said against her was undeserved. She had no right to act that way. I noticed a pattern: readers are furious at her, but people who have written books – people who have had their own negative reviews and wanted to act the same way – they’re the ones who are forgiving.
So what do you think? Are the reactions against her appropriate?
I have no answer, but I do have a story I wasn’t planning on telling anyone ever. I myself have gone on an internet rant. It was absurd how angry I got. Someone disagreed with me on a forum. My hands were trembling with rage and I grit my teeth and typed some pretty nasty stuff, and everyone in the forum ganged up on me and pointed out how tacky I was. This went back and forth for a while. I even chewed out a moderator. Then I got suspended from the forum.
The next day, I read what I had written and was horrified. (And then my period started and the whole thing made sense.) I apologized to everyone I had virtually screamed at and told the moderators they were right to suspend me, and now I never type in anger. For a long while, people responded negatively to every single thing I wrote. It took a while before people would be nice to me again. I don't blame them; it's human nature.
For Jacqueline Howett, I feel the readers’ response was justified and she should make amends by issuing a public apology. You can’t expect mob mentality to be mature. You should be accountable for all your actions, and as public figure, you have to be likable at any cost. But even though I’ve been criticized publically, I’ve never had my dear novel smashed so cruelly. Maybe that makes all the difference.