I really do appreciate everyone who took the time to talk to me about this, in support or censure, whether through email or private messages or on Twitter or reblogs. I also appreciate the anon meme discussions and the other public discussions surrounding this that may not have been necessarily meant for me.
This is my decision; my editors, as always, 100% support me, and I thank them for that. I do think that the story had planned was inoffensive and broad-reaching—and as i said before, not one that focused on RPF.
But it’s not worth it to me, it is never worth it to me, to cause hurt or harm to fandom in my attempts to cover it. I can’t state strongly enough how much I don’t want to do that. But when you wake up and find that a story tag on AO3 that had 55 stories on it last night now only has 10, it’s pretty clear that despite your best intentions, the harm has already happened.
When I commented on Imp’s post last night, I was doing so as a fan asking another fan not to lock their fic—because I am always a fan first and foremost. I didn’t consider how, in my role as a journalist, I appeared to be misusing my authority, and I predictably just made things worse. I’m very sorry for that. I’m sorry if I made anyone feel like they didn’t have the right to do whatever they please with their own fics at any time. Everyone has the right to go into lockdown mode when they feel threatened as a fan, and I support that 100%, always, no matter what.
As a fan, I have said for years, will keep saying it, that if we want the media to represent us well, we have to represent ourselves first, before some asshole comes along and misrepresents us. As a fan, I know exactly how painful and devastating the breaking of the fourth wall can be: I lost my job because my editor found out about my fandom activities. I lost my job. I know what the worst-case scenario looks like. I am the worst-case scenario.
I do feel, after hearing from many of you, that I understand why you are anxious, as if I didn’t already understand in part, just based on my own personal experience. Because the breaking of the fourth wall has directly impacted me so tremendously and repeatedly, i feel extremely strongly that the whole system is a lie that just perpetuates shame and hurts fans more in the end—that the only real way to protect ourselves (for those of us who can do so without facing criminal repercussions) is to fight back and own our fan activities without shame. As a fan, that’s what I will always advocate for. Because as a fan, that strategy has proven to be my best defense against getting hurt further. That strategy led, ultimately, to my getting hired because of fandom.
But as a journalist, I can’t ask you to share that strategy with me. And I realize that as a journalist I came across as totally dismissive of your concerns. I am so sorry. But I have listened, and I do care, and while I am still committed to covering RPF fandoms, it should never happen this way.
As a fan, I’d like to ask that if you’ve locked or taken down your fics or other fanworks because of the proposed article, or because of anything I’ve said, please consider putting them back up. If anyone would like to talk to me further about this, my inbox, ask box, LJ box, DW boxes are always open.
I love you all. Once again, I’m very sorry.
(x-posted to DW and Tumblr.)