[Update 10/19/2016:] Following the publication of the article, additional publishers have dropped support of Patel.
[Original article:] A sci-fi author and fervent critic of #GamerGate – the movement about calling out corruption in media and attempting to restore ethics to journalism – has been called out for allegedly abusing his position over women by manipulating them, gaslighting them and objectifying them. The author, Sunil Patel, admitted to these allegations and apologized for them. However, the publishers he worked for decided to drop him following the allegations.
Kotaku In Action has a thread containing all the links from the accusers to Patel’s response to the publishers’ decision to no longer do business with the author. Originally Twitter user Kristine Wyllys wrote on October 14th, 2016…
“Wait till y’all read my new book. It’s about this serial gaslighter who hides behind his name to prey on the women within his community. Ah, fuck it. I’ll give you guys the blurb.
“So the dude’s an author, right? Good career. Solid career. Is buds with some big names. Pretty well liked dude. Let’s just say, for shits and giggles, he writes SFF. Despite his reputation as an Alright Guy. Author Man routinely preys on the badass women around him, using his name and buds as shields.
“[…] Unfortunately, Author Man forgot one crucial thing: Women. Talk. To. Each. Other.”
After some posturing and some jokes, Kristine finally talks straight about Patel, explaining in a series of additional tweets…
“I’m talking Sunil Patel, y’all. It’s Sunil Patel.
“My role in this is minor. I may have been being groomed. I believe I graduated from “The List” because it benefited him. Easier to keep victims quiet when you move in closer and charm the loud people connected to them, you see. The victims I know of, I know, love, respect, and trust. I believe them. I’ve seen the patterns they describe with my own eyes. You a victim as well? Hey. I believe you too, okay? I got your back.”
The accusations don’t actually say much and certainly don’t offer any definitive proof or evidence of their claims. Someone else going by the Twitter handle Sarah Hollowell made a series of tweets on October 14th, 2016, also calling out Patel, but not citing anything particularly specific, only listing things like gaslighting, manipulation and objectification, finishing off the tweets with the following…
“I won’t tell anyone else’s stories unless someone wants me to. I don’t have ~ proof ~. But I. Believe. Women. And my gut. And I’m. Done. […] I’m done hearing the “Creepy, but we can’t prove it, so what’s the point?” stories and feeling helpless. I’m DONE.”
“[…] I won’t tell specific stories because they aren’t mine to tell. But I’ve gotten a lot of questions so I wanted to give a primer. And there’s more. There’s always more. But that’s the bulk of it. Mostly towards women across [Sci-Fiction], [Young Adult], and romance.”
However, much like when Devin Faraci came under fire for allegedly sexually abusing a woman a decade ago and quickly begged for forgiveness, Patel did the same, writing in a reply on Twitter on October 15th, 2016…
“I believe that I have caused women emotional harm and I am deeply sorry. I truly wish to understand my behavior and change it, stop hurting. I do not want to be the man these women are describing. It’s clear my actions have hurt them and that’s not okay. I’m sorry for exhibiting toxic behavior. I’m sorry that I’ve made people feel uncomfortable. I must self-reflect and become a better person.”
His apology didn’t go over too well with his employers, however.
A day later, on October 16th, 2016, Book Smugglers Publishing announced that they would be dropping Sunil Patel from their label, despite the lack of evidence supporting the allegations, writing a short post about the matter…
“This past weekend, several women put forward their encounters with a well-known male SFF author, citing his history of manipulation, gaslighting, grooming behavior, and objectification of women in the speculative fiction community. We have read all of the accounts. We are listening to the stories. We stand with the women who have been the subject of this author’s behavior.
“In light of these revelations, we have made the decision to no longer publish Sunil Patel’s work. We have removed The Merger from sale, and have canceled all forthcoming short stories and essays with the author.”
Another outlet, Fantastic Stories, also announced that they would be dropping Patel from their line-up, doing so through a tweet during the afternoon of October 16th, 2016 which reads…
“Fantastic Stories has terminated its relationship with Sunil Patel. He will not be editing the POC Take over issues. More info to follow.”
A day later, Fantastic Stories made a tweet acknowledging that they had found a replacement for Patel.
Fantastic Stories of the Imagination is excited to announce that Nisi Shawl has agreed to edit our POC Take Over issues! More info to come.
— Fantastic Stories (@Fantastic_Mag) October 17, 2016
Despite being another male feminist, he still seems to have come under the same canopy of abuse that others like Devin Faraci and Robert Marmolejo stand under.
The allegations against Patel don’t seem to hold any weight, but he’s already lost some standing and some employment opportunities due to those allegations. This news follows on the recent developments of another anti-#GamerGate critic, Matt Hickey, who was charged and arrested for multiple counts of rape.
So far, many of the most outspoken people against #GamerGate and the call for better ethics in journalism, have been outed recently for some kind of sexual assault, rape charges, abuse allegations or pedophilia.
[Update 10/19/2016:] According to File 770, two more publishers have stated that they will not be doing business with Sunil Patel any longer following the accusations made by those accusing Patel of improper conduct. They’ve stated that they’ve listened to the accusations and believed that they were true. Mothership Zeta made an announcement on October 18th, 2016 stating that they would be dropping support of Patel, along with Steven Saus who does business with Alliteration Ink, stating that they would no longer be doing business with Patel after their latest publishing contract expires.
(Main image courtesy of inkuuusan)