About Ed McDonald

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I was lead to believe over a long period of time that Ed McDonald had repeatedly preyed on women he perceived as vulnerable, then discarded them and defamed them afterward. I believed this in its entirety because I was told this over, and over, and over again from seemingly different accounts from totally separate people. They had family histories. They had different profile pics. They had different personas and webpages dedicated to them. They were active accounts that truly appeared to be different entities. I was contacted by a third party investigator several days ago and after listening to what they had to say, I decided to cooperate and hand over evidence I had of these allegations. I no longer believe I was contacted by multiple women, and the feeling it gives me is horror.

The person who’s done this has made a mockery of real victims. One of the HARDEST parts about getting justice for those who have been victimized is just how emotionally straining it is for those who have been hurt to come forward and name someone. When BookWol and myself sent out that tweet asking for your stories, we weren’t inundated with dozens of names with just one or two accusers each. We had two names. With many, many people behind each name. It looked so genuine. One was real. The other was not. This does such terrible, terrible damage to the image of people coming forward. The fact that it was so elaborate and over such a long period of time is nothing short of mind-blowing.

The damage to Ed’s name I hope can be recovered, and I apologize profusely. When everything started to unravel I sent an apology immediately and I felt physically ill about my own participation. I have spent my entire online ‘life’ in the SFF community trying to be a positive presence. I’ve never tried to publicly drag someone’s name through the mud before, but this time I had felt like it was something the community needed me to say something given these allegations that kept worming their way through the community. I was lead to believe that these ‘women’ were afraid to speak out because they feared for their careers. This, of course, is exactly how actual victims feel -so I thought there was nothing devious about it, I didn’t second guess what seemed to be a genuine concern for their own wellbeing. I decided to go ahead and say something on reddit because I heard it often enough and for long enough that it was practically echoing off the walls. After making the Reddit comment I was flooded with messages from people I’m certain are separate individuals, authors in the community, bloggers, etc… and they were all saying they’d heard about Ed for a long time and was glad all of this was “finally coming out” … which goes to show just how much effort this person went to take these rumors to every facet of the community. Hearing from people I’d never spoken to this about come forward afterward just solidified it in my mind that I had done the right thing.

I’ve been completely torn apart that I was wrong about it all. As I eluded to in my reddit comment, I was already planning on packing up the Weatherwax Report. It looks like I’ll definitely be doing that now as I feel like this person has stolen my integrity. What bothers me so much is I can’t be a voice for people who have suffered anymore because now I appear to be someone on a witch hunt. I apologize to the community, and to Ed most of all. For those of you who have actually gone through assault and abuse, my apologies are owed to you too because things of this nature cloud the waters and make it all too easy in the future for people to point to this and say “well they were wrong about Ed, so they’re probably wrong about Person X as well”. This entire incident has been irreparably damaging in so many ways, and I’m absolutely livid.

A WARNING TO THOSE RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS: I can and WILL hire attornies if I start being harassed. I won’t tolerate being doxxed. I can and WILL go after you with the fullest extent of the law. I can and WILL pay for Wol’s attorney’s if she needs it as well. Due to a substantial inheritance, I have the financial means to do it, and I won’t hesitate. It would be extraordinarily unwise if you tried anything along those lines. 

 

There could be an ongoing legal investigation into these matters so please read the next bit carefully. 

In light of this retraction, I ask that members of the fantasy community:

• Do not name the individuals behind the allegations – even if you only suspect who they are. The individual do not deserve any further attention. I have purposefully not named them in this retraction.

• Do not pursue the individual(s) behind the allegations. Do not cause them any distress, as they have already done so. 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, I have been provided with the following overview of that I can share:

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

• At least one account is in a position of authority in a public internet forum. This power was abused to ban Ed McDonald from the forum after he tried to defend himself against the allegations.

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

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

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

16 comments

  1. Well said and you have nothing to be ashamed about Esme. You were preyed on as much as everyone else in all of this. Here’s hoping that Ed McDonald can move forward and put all of this awfulness in the rearview mirror. I hope we all reach out and give him the support he needs right now.

  2. I have been on both sides of false allegations, and the fact that I was on the ‘making’ side long after being on the ‘receiving’ side is something that still haunts me, even though I’ve reconciled and been friends with the person for deacdes. What you are doing, especially in your final paragraphs, isn’t always the easiest, but it’s the best and most professional course of action, and I applaud you for doing that. And what Mr Borrelli said about you and the others repeating the allegations being preyed upon is exactly correct. Bad people do bad things. Evil people get others to do their bad things for them.

  3. You take of yourself and I shall keep a diligent eye out for your eventual return. Heal your spirit and do what is best for you. This old woman will dearly miss you.

    1. “You are truly a real victim in all this, i cant believe you had to go through all this.”

      Have you tried saying that to Ed yet?

  4. I hope you reconsider completely dismantling your blog. You made a mistake. Yes, it’s a big one. Yes, it was hurtful to an innocent person. But I believe we are capable of learning and growing from our mistakes. And as I am by no way guiltless of doing bad things which I regret, I can’t sit in judgment – nor would I want to. But I have done my best to become a better person when I do something for which I am ashamed. I hope you do the same.
    I promise that no one you have met in your entire life hasn’t done something just as bad, or worse. What sets a good person apart from a bad person is how they use missteps to become better. You found the courage to publicly admit you were wrong. I think that defines you more clearly than the reason you felt compelled to apologize.
    Good luck with whatever you choose to do. But I hope to be reading your reviews in the future.

  5. Apologies are not enough. The unjust harm has been done, and it will never undo itself on its own. It would only be fair now if you spent the same amount of time and efforts to exonerate Ed McDonald as you spent doing… otherwise.

  6. Oh the irony that one named after a witch chose to lead witch hunts.

    I’ll be blunt: you deserved this. You deserved this for taking the attention you drew from your content and using it to turn hate and shame on others. You even felt justified when you did, right up until the last possible moment.

    The problem isn’t that you were lied to, it’s that you whipped up a lynch mob to go after abusers and harassers. You publicly solicited targets, and put out the word that there were bad actors in need of action. You’re Jack on an island, convinced there’s a beast out there somewhere, and angry that Ralph refuses to believe you. Spoiler alert: the beast was within them the whole time, and all it took was status and the will to power to bring it out.

  7. It’s good to have living proof that abuse in the name of some higher ideal or cause is still abuse. The cloak of virtue doesnt hide the smell.

  8. “I feel like this person has stolen my integrity.”

    No.
    You did this to your own integrity. YOU chose to be complicit in a smear campaign. You chose to abandon reason and sense. If you maintained a level head you would have considered “Before I assist in character assassination, what is really at the bottom of these allegations?” And the ever important “What if I’m wrong?”

    But you didn’t. YOU made yourself easy to manipulate. You are not the victim, Ed is. You were just another person holding a pitchfork.

    1. Everyone involved in this has been victimised, save one, and the last four comments just show how important it was to have people willing to stand up for others in the community – even if they weren’t real, they were clearly credible. Comments like these just show how impossible it is to accuse popular and powerful people, and this is how abuse and unacceptable behaviour survives even in communities that should be safe and supportive spaces. Esme has shown compassion, bravery, and a desire for justice – all of which I continue to admire her for – and has been used by someone who has gone to great lengths to fool a lot of people. Ed has said as much himself, so take your indignation offline and use it to create a society where such things aren’t so readily believable.

  9. “They were clearly credible.”

    No, clearly they were not. Your entire definition of credible is distorted, and that’s part of the issue.

    The lesson being taken by many from this,
    “Its all the bad persons fault for lying, not my fault for being quick to believe and perpetuate lies” is insane. Is the person who lied at fault? Absolutely. But everyone who grabbed their pitchforks and propagated a lie in response also have a burden of blame.

    If people were able to uncover that these accusations were false after a few days, why didn’t they do that BEFORE they started perpetuating them? Why did they ASSUME claims that were not credible were true? When you perpetuate and endorse claims about a person you become partially responsible for the truth of those claims.

    Do I think Esme should be strung up for making a mistake? Absolutely not. People err. People screw up, people get caught up in emotions and lose clear heads especially when they’re convinced they’re doing the right thing about an emotionally turbocharged subject. And yes, it’s admirable to own up to being wrong. But not considering, “maybe the way I went about this was fundamentally wrong” is a problem. Blaming the liar instead of acknowledging the mentality and process that lead to this and creates an environment easy for such liars to abuse does nothing to mitigate the problem going forward.

    No acknowledgement that rushing to judgement about things like this is part of the problem ensures you’ll keep rushing to wherever liars point.

    From Esme’s own words:
    “so I thought there was nothing devious about it, I didn’t second guess what seemed to be a genuine concern for their own wellbeing.”

    I didn’t second guess.

    “I heard it often enough and for long enough that it was practically echoing off the walls. ”

    Everyone was saying it so it must be true. Never mind how they came to those conclusions.

    But by all means, keep to your easily deceived framework of reason, keep not second guessing, keep assuming something is true because of the volume of rumors.

  10. “I won’t tolerate being doxxed. I can and WILL go after you with the fullest extent of the law.”

    You mean the law that contains no law against someone revealing your real identity? Your statement is akin to saying “I won’t tolerate not getting the piece of cake I want. I can and WILL go after you with the fullest extent of the law.” It’s an empty threat, since there is no such law that protects the identity of a blogger.

    Just thought you should know that, because at the moment your threat of legal action is more humorous than threatening.

    1. let’s be honest tho the perp behind this is such a malevolent lunatic that they’d probably actually do something threatening

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