As with most things that occur within the public lens of Twitter and social media at large, the current situation with EllipsisZine and their decision to take a break for the time being has become an area of focus that cannot be ignored. I cast no judgment on the decision to take a break. I understand there may seem to be a fine line between maintaining artistic integrity and social awareness. There are no perfect choices in this moment where we are finally casting light on unacceptable behavior in many circles of existence.
But I do believe we consciously must choose to reject the shadows where intentional disbelief and victim-blaming live. The literary community is not and cannot be an exception to this type of critical examination of behavior. When asked how Syntax & Salt would react to a situation in which we had published work by someone accused of harassment I initially needed a moment to think about what I would do, because I’ve not been faced with it as an editor. And the question was posed in a way that asked if I was comfortable being judge and jury, if I would consider bowing to pressure that may not be warranted. And after some consideration, my response is this:
Yes, I am comfortable making that decision in support of the many women who face harassment and abuse in the literary community. We stand with those who have been victimized and harassed and then had their accusations dismissed. We now, and for as long as we are running, will not knowingly or intentionally publish the work of those accused of harassing others. While you may decry this as an act lacking in just certainty of guilt, too often the burden of proof is laid at the feet of those who have already been abused. There already exists an abundance of belief and support for those who are accused of bad behavior. I choose, and so the magazine chooses, to support the victims of that behavior.
Ani King, Editor in Chief