A Response Regarding the Matt de la Peña Blog Tour

Hi.

This won’t be the usual blog post that you will be getting from me.

Today, it will be a little different. And a little emotional.

Hosting blog tours has been one of my sources of happiness in this year full of setbacks. 2018 has been extremely difficult, although there are some good things, it is still mentally and emotionally draining. Despite this, I’ve found encouragement from my bookish endeavors especially when hosting blog tours and giving my fellow Filipino book bloggers and readers a chance to read the books that they look forward the most.

I’ve hosted blog tours in the past…

But 2018 is the year where I did most of the blog tours and co-host some titles with the book bloggers who share the same interest in a book. It is also a training ground for them to host their own blog tour in the future. Earlier this year, I joined the International Blog Tour of Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu and I enjoyed the book given that I am not a big fan of the superhero but this is where I found out the DC Icons series is releasing a book for my favorite hero, Superman. I was excited about it. Superman has been one of the superheroes that made my childhood a little bit better and I am thankful for this character. I remember receiving a Superman-inspired pillow as a Christmas gift when I was a kid and I could still remember how happy I am receiving that gift. Until today, I still have the pillow.

Recently, the publisher reached out to me first, asking if I’d be willing to host the tour. Given that I am enthusiastic and a fan of this character, who am I to decline? I was excited. I was really really looking forward to it.

However…

Few days before this coming Christmas, a number of friends have reached out to me about the social media stir that is happening locally and internationally that was caused by my PH Blog Tour – Superman: Dawnbreaker by Matt de la Peña. I am completely aware of how social media can be quite messy, but never have I ever thought that I will be the subject of flak and that I will experience the mess firsthand.

It has come to my attention that Matt de la Pena, the author of Superman: Dawnbreaker, was apparently accused of sexual harassment.

I have been notified by some of my friends regarding the accusations. [Thank you, you know who you are.]

I was as ignorant about this issue as most of the potential blog tour participants who expressed their surprise upon finding out about the allegations against de la Peña.

However, the thing that hurt me the most is how people attacked me for this. For hosting a blog tour that involves an accused sexual harasser that I have no idea at all and still educating myself on this matter. There are bloggers and readers who expressed their dismay over tweets on how de la Peña is still not canceled, and how, I, the supposed blog tour host, am willing to host a tour for him.

Yes, I get them. I understand where they are coming from.

“Supporting” an author accused of sexual harassment is almost the same as not sympathizing with the victims and invalidating their accusations. I, in no way, didn’t mean any harm. I never meant to offend anyone – to offend the victims who muster all the courage to speak up.

It hurts me that I wasn’t even given the benefit of the doubt. That I wasn’t able to redeem myself.

I am not writing this just to simply clean my name, as I know that I may have offended some of you by hosting a blog tour for an author who is surrounded by problematic issues. I am writing this to explain my side of the story and to let you know that I didn’t mean to harm anyone – I only mean support if I could to everybody. I am writing this because I wasn’t given a chance to defend myself, but I was mocked and apparently “got cancelled”.

I am writing this because I am hurt.

I am willing to get educated – very much – should these people have reached out to me first rather than call me out in public without giving me a chance.

But they didn’t. And that hurts.

I am hosting blog tours because I only want Filipino readers/bloggers to have access to books. Books that they look forward the most but may not be able to read; books that they may not be able to afford or buy.

I have always been a supporter of the publisher that reached out to me. I have always been a fan of Superman. But I was honestly unaware of these accusations toward the author so I preceded with the tour, excited and looking forward.

And I got flak for this.

It saddens me how I was judged for this. How anyone, not just me, can be a subject of hate in a blink of an eye.

With this in mind, I don’t want any of the bloggers who already signed up for the blog tour to get dragged as well and to receive unsolicited attacks and hate. I reached out to the potential participants whether they still want to proceed with the tour, however, regardless of their decision and after seeking advice from friends and having internal battle, I’ve made my decision.

After learning more about the sexual accusations surrounding de la Pena and other authors, I’ve decided to cancel the blog tour for Superman: Dawnbreaker.

I value the bloggers who keep supporting me and my blog tours. I value my blog readers. I, myself, no longer feel comfortable hosting the tour since I am also worried about the hate that the participants might receive.

Bottomline, I just wished that the people who called me out on social media have reached out to me first rather than instantly attaching my name to the accused.

I am thankful to the people who took it upon themselves to reach out to me first, educate me, and help me come to a conclusion…..

I’m a strong believer of spreading love, humility, and kindness. I always tell my friends to be kinder than you used to be. Or just simply BE KIND. No one deserves to receive unnecessary hate.

The negativity in this world is already way too abundant. Rather than adding up to this negative energy, why not just be kind?

I also do not in any way support an abuser and sexual harasser and I will never promote sexual assault in my platform.

While this event has caused me pain, it also taught me few things:

1. People will choose to call out/shade someone publicly before reaching out privately to get some clout. I hope it will stop specially between book bloggers.

2. We (yes, I am also guilty of it) tend to post/tweet/say something without even thinking how our words can affect someone.

3. That there are people who will stay true to you.

As the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio says, “When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.”

The books from book tours have also taught me a lot of things:

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green also taught me to love and be brave, not just for the person you love, but also for yourself.

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson taught me that you should not let the society dictate you.

Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix by Julie C. Dao taught me to stand tall and accept people even if each of you has differences.

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang taught me that you should pursue what you want to be and where you are going to be happy.

If you have any problem with me, my DMs are always open, both on Twitter and Instagram. You can also contact me on my blog page. I will hear you out earnestly.

Thank you very much.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

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25 thoughts on “A Response Regarding the Matt de la Peña Blog Tour

  1. I abhor how those on twitter decided to attack you publicly instead of reach out to you personally to tell you about the issue. I hate how they act all high and mighty, hating on an author who has done wrong, and then, in the process, hurt other people who are innocent. Stay strong, Raf! And I commend you for handling the cancellation of the blog tour in a very professional manner. Be proud of what you have overcome. 🙂 You, and your bond with your fellow book bloggers, will come out of this situation stronger! I can’t wait to be able to work with you on a blog tour in the future! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh no! Im so sorry.. i saw the «sub-tweet» the other day and was under no comprehension onto what it was related to ; very sad to hear it was about your blog tour..

    Though being a book blogger aswell, I am not on the train of news and what is going on, so this was also news for me! A little shady of the publisher to not even had mention it.. though I guess if they did, they shouldve had known you wouldve had declined …

    I understand how excited you were, and it is very kind of you to end up cancelling in fear of others being attacked. I’m sure they’ll appreciate, even if they might not understand the « why » now.

    Hugs xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve seen this issue going around and I was surprised because I didn’t know about the issues surrounding Matt de la Peña as well that’s why I understand you Raf and will support you in any way. I commend you for approaching the issue so professionally. STAY STRONG! I’m right here behind you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My heart goes out to you Raf. I can only imagine the breadth of stress this brought you but always know that we are here if you need someone to share the pain with. You are one great host and I know that you are dauntless that this will just pass like a breeze. Your kind heart will always rule above all else.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ugh, i’m sorry this happened to you.
    I can’t wrap my mind around these people. They truly expect everyone to have jedi mind powers or something and just sense that something fishy is going on? Even though i’m on twitter, i’m rarely aware of anything scandalous happening because… i don’t know? They never appear on my feed?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I came across two tweets regarding this matter but they didn’t attach the name of the book blogger so I had no idea but I somehow then came to know that you’ve organized the tour. Honestly, I’m the sort of person who doesn’t immediately draw conclusions and while I do stand by things I believe in, I don’t instantly believe in things. Especially when they can be easily manipulated behind a screen.
    I agree that supporting an author who has been accused in such cases should not be supported and definitely not by book bloggers. BUT I also understand how not everyone might be aware of a particular case (like I’m always behind on such things) and how we sometimes simply consider the title, the cover, the story and not the author. This isn’t the book blogger’s (YOUR) fault in any way. Things get overlooked sometimes and as long as you considered the case once it got highlighted and once you were enlightened, I think it’s a deed done well. We are all here to learn and mistakes are just a part of this journey.
    Calling someone out when they could’ve been personally informed is not a great thing, according to me. I definitely didn’t expect some members of the community to instantly fire accusations at you or the other participants. But yes, there will always be some good ones around! Just stay positive and YEAH, being kind is the best way to go.
    All the best for future blog tours, I’m sure you’ll organize some great ones ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi! We’re not friends. I’m not even sure if you know anything about me but I want you to know how amazing you are for doing what you love and for spreading positivity and kindness to everyone around you and in this community. I believe this is an honest mistake and to take responsibility for it is one of the bravest thing you could do EVER. Chin up! You’ve done so much for this community, inspired and helped other book bloggers in more ways than one. As long as we acknowledge the mistake, act on it accordingly and learn from it, there’s nothing to be ashamed of. The world is full of woke people in progress.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. People are really quick to judge others. Especially now that they have the social media, where they can easily share their thoughts about certain issues. I’m so sorry that you’ve been subjected to this kind of situation. Stay positive and watch cat videos (this makes me smile always). 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. ‪Hi! We’re not friends. I’m not even sure if you know anything about me but I want you to know how amazing you are for doing what you love and for spreading positivity and kindness to everyone around you and in this community. I believe this is an honest mistake and to take responsibility for it is one of the bravest thing you could do EVER. Chin up! You’ve done so much for this community, inspired and helped other book bloggers in more ways than one. As long as we acknowledge the mistake, act on it accordingly and learn from it, there’s nothing to be ashamed of. The world is full of woke people in progress.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. First I am sorry this happened to you. But I also got bashed publicly when I did an iternational giveaway (financed by me and not sponsored) by someone who was disappointed not to have won. So I feel you. I think being anonymous or protected by screens helps people to atatck and not care for the aftermath. I honestly don’t know what I would have done in your shoes because in my country you are innocent as long as you are not proven guilty. Yet on the other hand I would hate overlooking victimes. So who to believe? because it could also happen that someone lies even in sexual harassment…. So yes it is being between a rock and a hard place but I think what motivated you most was protecting other bloggers and it was the best decision. Know that we are not all prompt to judge without proof. And I try to be true to your wuote: be kind to others. Much love!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m sorry this happened to you. As you learned, there are some in the children’s book community who profess to want a dialogue about these issues; but instead, use social media to “shame” or “cancel”. It’s a very specific script they follow.

    What’s frustrating is that you took more heat than many of the men who were accused of harassment! It speaks to the inconsistency and cowardice of some in the industry—YA authors especially. They’ll go after you, a blogger. But not De La Pena or the publisher. Money talks.

    I had a similar experience. It’s why I’m writing to support you. It’s also why I need to remain anonymous.

    Here’s hoping one day that “Kidlit Twitter” will replace snarky subtweets with productive dialogue.

    Like

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