"You must become so free that your very existence is an act of rebellion." -Albert Camus
Dear The Guardian writers and editors,
Maybe, considering I'm writing in regards to Kathleen Hale's recent piece on catfishes and negative book reviews, you think I should turn my attention to her. But I don't think I can add much to what some other fantastic bloggers have already said in their Twitter feed and in their letters. Instead, I want to talk to you.
When you post an article like Ms. Hale's and allow a woman who stalked and harassed a book blogger to be painted in a heroic light, it's a problem. When you sugarcoat the word "stalk" and replace it with "confront," it's a problem. When you allow this woman to place herself on a pedestal, to gather sympathy for her wrongdoings, and ignore the fact that what she did was dangerous and illegal, it's a serious problem.
In 2006, over 3.4 million people reported incidents of being stalked. And in these cases, over 130,000 people were fired or asked to leave their work place due to said stalking. (Source.) Perhaps you can argue that this isn't the case between the blogger and Ms. Hale because the blogger hasn't been fired, but this blogger was called at her work place. She was harassed on her work phone. Ms. Hale brought her work place into this as soon as she made that first phone call.
But wait, you'll argue, nothing bad came of it. The blogger was not injured. There were no threats made, no guns drawn. Not all stalking starts off violent. In fact, 70-80% of stalkers are just "obsessive stalkers" and do nothing violent at all... at first. However, by giving her your approval, you have basically just given the green light to Ms. Hale that her behavior is okay. And many stalkers do become violent after a time. (Source.)
You gave Kathleen Hale a platform. You allowed her to say what the blogger's real occupation is. You allowed her to reveal personal information about this blogger that should have never been on the internet to begin with. This blogger used a fake identity, but so what? After this article, do you wonder why? Can you blame her for being careful about her safety? Can you blame her for using an alias? But here's the kicker: after going to such lengths to portray herself as someone else, she was still stalked and harassed.
The issue of this piece isn't the blogger's online alias, it's Ms. Hale's chilling and deeply disturbing behavior.
Kathleen Hale invaded that blogger's privacy in a way that is unforgivable. She showed up at her house and placed herself into the blogger's personal life when she should have never had that information to begin with.
Shame on you for allowing an article to be published. Shame on you for defending a woman who is a predator. Shame on you for allowing this predator to paint herself as the victim, and the perpetuate the myth that she was somehow actually victimized.
Ms. Hale is not a hero. She is not a victim. She is a predator.
I am just so entirely disappointed in you.