In October 2014, the Winterfox identity was linked to Benjanun “Bees” Sriduangkaew, an up-and-coming member young writer of progressive science fiction. Shortly thereafter, LJ user Azarias posted a long roundup of Winterfox’s abusive online behavior.
In November, science fiction writer and game designer Laura J. Mixon posted an even longer roundup that would come to be known as the “Mixon Report,” providing more than 30 examples of Winterfox unleashing over-the-top vitriol, often threats of death and rape, at various writers and other professionals in the sf/f field. This report is available in PDF as well as in HTML form.
Mixon’s report, among other things, confirms that despite her SJ posturings Winterfox has targeted women and PoC far more often than might be expected from one who purported to “punch up.” It also reveals that “Benjanun Sriduangkaew” is a professional pseudonym, not her wallet name.
Winterfox created the Sriduangkaew identity not just as a pseudonym for her published fiction but as an entirely new online persona. As Sriduangkaew, Winterfox could plausibly deny her history of attacks on other sf/f authors, especially women of color. While maintaining the exceedingly sweet “Bees” persona, she continued to engage in manipulative and ostracizing behavior behind the scenes. However, this time she wasn’t just shutting down LJ communities — she was destroying professional reputations.
Tensions had continued to rise until, in early October, writer Tricia Sullivan posted about her troubles with an unnamed person in sf/f, a “vulnerable young writer” who seems to be "lovely and sweet and very, very talented" but who had accused Sullivan of “spreading vicious rumours about them.” Sullivan also “certainly interacted with this person under another alias.” This prompted Winterfox’s editor, Nick Mamatas, to out her as Sriduangkaew on Ello. (This FFA post links to numerous reactions to the reveal.)
The report starts with an introduction to Mixon for those unfamiliar with her and continues with a table of contents, a brief synopsis (that the subject of the report “is VERY BAD NEWS”), a short bio of Sriduangkaew, Mixon explaining how and why BS’s behavior is harmful to the sf/f community, links to Azarias’s and Got_Quiet’s roundups, links to BS’s “apologies,” and links from several of WF’s targets.
After disclaimers and a trigger warning, Mixon goes on to summarize BS’s attacks: trying to suppress publication of other people’s fiction; pressuring con runners to disinvite speakers; issuing death, rape, and mutilation threats; stalking people online for months and years; harassing people who review her targets’ books positively; destroying communities; deleting her most inflammatory comments upon departing a forum; accusing others of doing to her what she’s done to them; and attacking “women, people of color, and other marginalized or vulnerable people” out of proportion to their presence in sf/f.
Then Mixon crunches the numbers and provides graphs and pie charts. Three-quarters of BS’s attacks, she said, were aimed at her fellow pro writers, with another 12% aimed at readers who defended those authors whose works they had enjoyed. Women made up 73%–81% of her targets. Though 60% of her victims were white, the 37%–40% who were not is “disproportionately high” for the predominantly white sf/f field, and BS especially focused her wrath “on people of Asian descent.” A third of her targets are LGBT, three were disabled or chronically ill, and “the timing of her attacks often came at the targets who were perceived as up-and-comers or ‘come-back kids.’”
Mixon goes on to describe BS’s method, which is to goad targets into responding sharply to her and mining their responses for any content she can use to “prove” they are -ist. She continues to target them with vitriol, including threats, anywhere she can, then deletes the worst of her comments. Against some targets, she has mounted professional whisper campaigns. She has destroyed communities such as 50books_poc and girl_gamers on LJ via her participation. Some of her attacks have left people so traumatized that they were unable to write, or they quit LJ or other forums to try to avoid her.
While some of BS’s followers are supporters acting in good faith, Mixon writes, others have been drawn into her “inner circle” and feel trapped by the amount of evidence that WF has amassed against them plus her gaslighting and threats. “I know this because a number of them have reached out privately to me.”
Mixon notes that BS’s track record makes it clear that her SJ rhetoric “is nothing more than a cynical attempt to coopt it to serve her own ends.” It has gotten her superb traction because there is “a great deal of fear and frustration among younger writers entering the field who are not part of the traditional US and UK white middle class,” as well as writers who are women, LGBT, disabled, and/or older.
The report concludes with a call for those in the field to try to “elevate and amplify” the voices of marginalized writers, and an invitation for “those who have been harmed by Requires Hate in any of her incarnations, or who have witnessed BS/RH harming others, to tell their stories in the comments below this post.” Finally, there are appendices detailing Mixon’s methodology, including a table of her victims listing the details of BS’s actions against them, plus updates and links to subsequent related posts.
Comments ran to more than 400 and included personal accounts of victimization by BS/WF/RH, observations by people who witnessed her destroying their communities, and supplementary information (such as from meme’s own Edel Blau). Inevitably, there were also people who attempted to use the comments for their own soapboxes, which Mixon and her moderators tried to limit as much as possible. She ended up shutting down all comments once the conversation had proceeded as far as she believed it could constructively go.
The 2015 Hugo Awards and the Return of Winterfox
The Hugos are a set of science fiction and fantasy awards that are given annually and are considered to be among the most prestigious in the field. One of the awards, “Best Related Work,” is given to a nonfiction work that is about genre fiction in some way. Another, “Best Fan Writer,” is given to a person who writes in or about the genre and is not paid for it. As the Mixon Report is unquestionably about genre fiction, and as Mixon wasn’t paid for writing it, both the report and Mixon herself were eligible in their respective categories.
Nominations were due by March 10, 2015. As the deadline approached, several prominent figures in science fiction and fantasy began listing the works that they thought deserved nomination. One was world-famous fantasy author George R.R. Martin. And on his list was Laura J. Mixon, for doing her part to expose Sriduangkaew’s monstrous behavior.
Sriduangkaew broke a six-month silence and flipped out on Twitter, continuing to insist that she was somehow the victim in this scenario; she also started a new blog to that effect. Her new chief tactic became comparing her detractors to GamerGate, at one point insisting that fail_fandomanon is akin to /r/KotakuInAction (a GamerGate subreddit).
The 2015 Hugo ballot, comprised of the works and creators that garnered the top five nominations in each category, was due to be released on April 4. Authors were contacted early so that, if any of them chose to withdraw, the next-most nominated authors or works could be moved onto the ballot. The authors were asked not to tell anyone that they were on the ballot, so that all information would be revealed concurrently on April 4. However, there were several leaks. Most were attributed to the Sad and Rabid Puppies (a group of conservative authors who organized a bloc in order to put works on the ballot they felt would otherwise not qualify). However, there was also some indication that Mixon and/or her report had gotten onto the ballot, with several of Sriduangkaew’s most devoted defenders commiserating with her on Twitter. These included Djibril Al-Ayad, an editor who at one point supported nominating Winterfox for a “Best Fan Writer” Hugo; and Mike Allen, another editor.
When the ballot was released, Mixon’s report was not on it, but Mixon herself was. While most of meme’s commentary about the ballot related to the Sad Puppies (who nominated 61 out of 85 total nominees on the ballot, including every member of the “Best Fan Writer” category besides Mixon), FFA also discussed Mixon’s nomination. Winterfox responded to the news by locking down her new Twitter feed.
Ultimately, Mixon won the “Best Fan Writer” award. Meme was thrilled; Winterfox and her stans, not so much. In these two later threads, there are links to the video from the Hugo ceremony, including to Mixon’s acceptance speech, in which she thanked all of Winterfox’s non-anonymous victims as well as other people in the sf/f community who had come forward to defend them. The thread also further discusses how her win has inflamed Winterfox and her supporters. Unfortunately and unnsurprisingly, after Mixon’s win, WF & Co. stepped up their attacks on her targets.