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.