A response to the support received by Kathleen Hale after she stalked a book blogger

A response to the support received by Kathleen Hale after she stalked a book blogger

Book Thingo is participating in a review blackout, effective now until Monday, Oct 27. For the duration of the blackout, we will not review or promote new releases. We will also reject all review and promo requests we receive during the blackout.

We are doing this in response to the support that Kathleen Hale has received for stalking a book blogger and then visiting her home address unannounced and calling her at work.

I believe that no evidence has been provided to support Hale’s claims of blogger bullying, and that her stalking and violation of a blogger’s privacy was unethical, as was The Guardian’s willingness to publish Hale’s article without fully presenting the facts.

Some in the media have said that what Hale did was journalism, either investigative (in which she unmasked a bully) or literary (in which she emotively writes about events that occurred). It’s my opinion that The Guardian did not fact-check her work to a standard that would meet the code of ethics for journalism. Included below are links to evidence uncovered by book bloggers that put into question the claims that Hale made against her stalking target. Hale’s piece is neither accurate, nor honest in its methods, and her actions deliberately put another person’s safety at risk.

If you’re a book blogger similarly outraged at the support a stalker has received at the expense of a book blogger, please consider participating.

Some background

On the importance of pseudonymous activity by Jane Dear Author — Point by point discussion of Hale’s claims

Shenanigans in social media – An author brags about stalking a reader — Links to original article and summary of contentious claims

Nepotism, bullying and stalking: When online reviews go bad by Danielle Binks, Kill Your Darlings — Summary of Hale’s connections in the literary world

Evidence of Hale’s past behaviour is available through a simple Google search. Also available through simple searching are Hale’s connections to The Guardian and prominent members of the literary community.

Competing accounts

Hale vs Harris, and the breach of online ethics by Alex Hurst — Evidence of Twitter interaction between Hale and Harris

Goodreads page showing Harris comments about Hale’s book — Note: I think the original review has been redacted by Harris, but the comment thread gives an idea of her general tone and can be compared with Hale’s claims.

My side of the story… by Nichole, YA Reads — A first-person account from the person who initially gave Hale an address for Harris

Reactions from the media and the literati

This is what happens when an author tracks down a reader in real life by Jenna Guillaume, Buzzfeed — So far the only major outlet that has presented inaccuracies in Hale’s account

Battle of the trolls: Kathleen Hale reveals war raging between authors and readers by Laura Miller, Salon

How not to respond to negative reviews: the Kathleen Hale edition by Nate Hoffelder, The Digital Reader — ‘I went into this with the intention of shedding light on both sides, but this situation is so clearly one-sided that I simply cannot.’

Agendas by Haley Mlotek

Stalker stories, ctdThe Dish

Novelist under fire after admitting to ‘stalking’ critic by Michael Schaub, LA Times

Literary festival hosts New York author, Egyptian News — Kathleen Hale’s validation

Inside the world of Amazon Vine book reviewers: how I ended up with a mailbox full of dog poo by Suzanne McGee, The Guardian — A more general look at the relationship between authors and reviewers, but McGee does say that Hale’s piece was not journalism (at a pinch some of her actions are comparable to ‘the lowest form of tabloid journalism’)

Author stalks blogger, joins long tradition of awful author behaviour by Michelle Dean, Gawker


  1. azteclady says:

    I don’t review enough that my participation in the review blackout will make any impact, but I’m there with you guys.

    And the fact that major news outlets continue to spread Hale’s vile as something remotely related to actual journalism makes me ill–let alone all the “atta girls!” she’s getting.

  2. Kat says:

    I linked to that article in my post. The LA Times presented Hale’s account without questioning its veracity:

    Harris had written a negative review of Hale’s book on Goodreads and then took to Twitter, where she shadowed Hale, mocking her tweets. Hale discovered that other authors had also been targeted by Harris online, but were afraid to speak about it on the record, according to Hale’s Guardian essay.

    The LA Times has the means and the responsibility to fact-check Hale’s assertions, but chose not to.

    but at least they printed snippets of pro/con/fence.

    I would argue that what they did was continue the assumption that Hale’s actions were justified in some way. At least two first-hand accounts of what happened contradict the impression Hale paints in her article. The very least I expect from a media outlet like the LA Times is to do their homework instead of hiding behind some kind of well-we’re-just-reporting-the-reactions excuse for not bothering to check if half of what Hale claimed was true.

  3. Angela says:

    Thanks for the links.

    I do have one question. I may be reading Goodreads incorrectly, but it looks like Harris’ review has not been edited/added to since January. Is that correct?

  4. Kat says:

    Hi, Angela. I wasn’t sure so I tried it in one of my old reviews (I removed a couple of line breaks) and the date was updated to today. So it does look like the last edit was in January.

    Does that make it worse? It seems worse to me that Hale’s obsession with Harris has gone on for so long.

  5. Flick Chick says:

    I will be joining the blackout. As a blogger ….. sure its mostly movies but movies are people too …. I am truly mortified by what has been happening around this situation and I feel the need to stand with my fellow bloggers for what is right.

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