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.
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!