Science-fiction author John Scalzi turned a negative into a positive when he pledged to donate $5 to the Human Rights Campaign, among other charities, every time an internet “troll” made a derogatory comment on his site.
Scalzi, author of the acclaimed Old Man’s War, originally capped his donation at $1,000—but once word spread, he’s managed to raise over $60,000 in a matter of days.
The “Counteract a Bigot” fund drive, as it’s come to be known, stemmed from Scalzi’s rivalry with former WorldNetDaily columnist and fellow sci-fi scribe Vox Dean (real name Theodore Beale), whom Scalzi lovingly refers to as “the Racist Homophobic Dipshit.”
As Salon reports, things had been testy between the two since 2005, when Dean claimed women “are academically cauterized into intellectual brain death” and are too busy “yammering on and on about their feelings in Women’s Studies classes.”
Scalzi, current president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, responded by calling Dean, “a jackass, and a fairly ignorant jackass at that.”
Then late last year, during all that feel-good “legitimate rape” talk of the election, Scalzi wrote a satirical “fan letter” in which he adopted the persona of a rapist. Dean published a non-satirical blog post entitled, “John Scalzi is a Rapist,” referring to his nemesis as “McRapey.”
“Since then he has referred to me as ‘McRapey’ and other such similar names,” Scalzi said. “I don’t know whether he actively encourages people to troll my site, as I don’t visit his site (life’s too short), but about once a day (recently) someone shows up to troll my comment section, calling me ‘McRapey’ and or describing me as a ‘gamma male’ and describing how awesome he is in some way or another.”
That’s when he started the Counteract a Bigot drive. “The whole point of this is not to intimidate him to stop speaking,” Scalzi told Salon. “You will not get this guy to stop speaking. He sees this as a contest, as a battle of wills.”
Besides the Human Rights Campaign, the funds raised from the drive will be donated to Emily’s List, RAINN and the NAACP. Scalzi took to his blog to express his gratitude to all those who had pledged their support:
“I’m deeply honored and humbled by this, both by the show of support for me, and rather more importantly, by the show of support for organizations focused on women, GLBT, people of color and those sexually abused. Thanks, folks.”
As for Dean, he’s launched a new campaign to succeed Scalzi as president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.