When Amazon removed the books and Author Central Page of writer and self-publisher, Michael N. Marcus, they jumped on a misguided bandwagon that has gathered some steam over the weekend. As Amazon has provided—as yet—no reason why they removed the author’s books, we can only assume they are protecting their corporate needs and do not want to be seen to be associated or linked in any way with the promotion of an author accused, only on the Internet, of being a convicted paedophile in the state of California.
I have never met Michael N. Marcus, nor have I even shared a conversation with him, though, we exchanged two emails last year about a book he was writing, and I am one of his many friends on his Facebook page, and a follower of his excellent blog, Book Making Blog—a site he describes as dedicated to ‘discussions on writing, editing, publishing and drawing attention to inept publishers and writers.’
On Saturday morning, I received a disturbing email from someone I did not know informing me that Michael N. Marcus was a convicted paedophile. I do not know Michael personally, not like his family or friends, and so I felt obliged to do what I try to do with any important information passed to me when I write here (sorry, Michael). I verified the facts. Something clearly Facebook, blog networks, dot.org sites are obviously incapable of doing, including Amazon, not to mention the gullible fools who sign up to any online petition without checking its validity. But, then, that was what the perpetrator of the above campaign against Michael N. Marcus was hoping for.
I contacted the Attorney General’s Office in California and checked the Sex Offenders Registry.
Had anyone viewing this blog, or the links on this mybloglog page, or this Facebook petition page bothered to do the same, they would have found out that:
Michael N. Marcus is NOT a convicted paedophile
He DID NOT spend four years in prison
He DID NOT sexually abuse young boys
...and that he is entirely innocent and the victim of a despicable, systematic and sustained attempt to smear his name, his books and his publishing imprint.
I cannot comprehend the turmoil, upset and distress Michael, his wife, family and friends have experienced over the past few days. My thoughts and my support are with him, and I would hope all those who have followed his blog and the advice and warnings he writes on an almost daily basis provide the same thoughts and support. In doing so, he has found himself the victim of a despicable attack on a platform of the Internet so many authors now use to have their voices heard and their books bought and read.
What touches base with me so much in all of this is that we discussed a number of the surrounding issues (censorship, freedom of expression and paedophilia) in a recent report and debate here on the withdrawal of distribution of a book on Michael Jackson by Matador.
Michael N. Marcus—a noted prankster and man of sharp humour and wisdom—has dealt with all of this in his own inimitable way—by hitting back with a blog—chronicling his experience in all of this. If I know Michael, we can expect a book too!
I know Michael has expressed his own thoughts on who is behind this smear campaign, but I also have my own thoughts too, and I do not rule out the possibility that this could be a disgruntled ‘vanity publisher’, as Michael calls so many author solutions services, or someone operating on behalf of one of them. Yes, I’ve my own thoughts on which it might be. There also remains the possibility it is actually someone in Michael's own locale, which is even more disturbing.
But, for now, my thoughts are with you, Michael. Hang in there. Fuck Amazon. We know what motivates them.