Heather Fazio’s exodus from the TU blogfarm

As you know, Heather Fazio was one of two Times Union community bloggers who had their personal #metoo blog posts removed from the TU blog portal.  Not only were her posts removed, but she was suspended from her blog.

As of today, she has acquired her Times Union blog posts and archives – both from her personal blog and from the books blog – and is currently importing those posts into a new, personal blog outlet.

She has asked me to send a message to all her readers about the whole ordeal, and I am pleased to do this for my friend.

All text in yellow are the words of Heather Fazio.  I have not edited any of her words.

Her text follows below.

Chuck – thank you for lending me your space for this post about my TU blog.  I’m grateful to you and the other independent bloggers for your support.

I’m pissed off. What was supposed to me simply (not simply at all) sharing my stories of sexual assault has turned into nothing but fodder because of and for the Albany @TimesUnion. I shared in hopes of feeling a bit of relief and inspiring other women to either share theirs or simply type #metoo on their status if they were afraid. I have (had) a platform where I can reach a lot of people so I try to use it in a way that amplifies things I care deeply about. That’s it. I’m not anyone’s voice unless I’m asked to be. If someone relates – great.

And holy shit, did you ever relate!

Here is the jist of what happened. Of course I have e-mails, screenshots, etc. of all of it and it’s too detailed to well, detail here.

I shared my blog at 6am on Oct 17. At 10:02, the TU’s Senior Editor, Tena Tyler emailed me to say:…you can’t post in graphic detail what happened. You can talk about being victimized and all the emotions connected to that. The terms of service under which you operate, stated below, clearly and expressly limit any form of graphic content…”

I update my post on FB indicating the TU pulled my blog and suspended my account b/c of graphic content. Here comes a flury of FB activity: posts, shares, e-mails to TU staff, other blogs posting, private messages to the TU, tagging of the TU, etc. *slow clap*

At 11:53am, the TU’s Editor and Vice President Rex Smith e-mailed stating: “I think there’s a misunderstanding, and we’ve just had a conversation here to try to rectify it. …we do not have your phone numbers… seek only to avoid the potential for libel and avoidance of words that we have previously refused to publish online…”

All of a sudden “libel” is being used – and keep in mind this is going to two women. I’ve used the word fuck before without censoring anything like I did for my “Me, too” blog. I used the word penis. I’ve called out a bullying teacher (still very much alive) by name in a previous blog, so what was I or the TU libel for? I’ve had no answer because I’ve had zero communication.  Perhaps the two police officers I mention from the 1980s? Both deceased. I have a voicemail out now to the Chief of Police of my hometown. Perhaps using the initials of my first attacker? Does it really even matter right now?

Ms. Tyler’s e-mail was clear – it was too graphic for her and her comparison was pornography as it’s the only thing she mentioned that is also stated in the terms of service. She killed the blog post and suspended my account.

I have still not heard from Ms. Tyler or Mr. Smith as of this moment, but yesterday Mr. Smith posted publically on other blogs defending the libel statement (i.e. Neglecting Tena Tyler’s original e-mail content I suspect) and responding to various e-mails from readers (some I do not know and have never met) who questioned his and her decision to pull the blog and suspend my account.

A lot of you have asked what you can do. You’ve already shared a ton, made comments, etc. but here is where you can make a real impact not just for me, but for the other independent bloggers who take their unpaid time and passion and share it with the community. If you want to bitch about my situation – fantastic. If you want to simply ask them to pay more attention to their independent bloggers, that would be great. Since the previous Online Editor left (9 months ago) there has been zero to little communication, organization, or acknowledgement with or for any of us. And without question I am owed an apology from Ms. Tyler. So are the multiple women who shared their stories with me that have once again been silenced. Dramatic? Maybe – but true nonetheless.

Contact:

  • Publisher, CEO: George R. Hearst III, ghearst@timesunion.com
  • Vice President and Editor: Rex Smith, rsmith@timesunion.com
  • Online Executive Producer: Trudi Shaffer, tshaffer@timesunion.com
  • A senior editor is available to discuss questions or comments about content. Call 454-5432 or e-mail tureaderrep@timesunion.com
  • On Facebook share this status and blog and use #timesunion and @timesunion
  • Get on Twitter and share your thoughts to @heatherfazio1 and @timesunion

    As of 5pm today, I have removed all of my content from the Books Blog and my personal blog – and yes, I’m pissed about this too. I have absolutely loved writing the Book Blog (wildly successful) more than anything and I’m proud of the stories I’ve shared on the Heather Fazio blog. I won’t stop doing what I love. I’ll be back somewhere else soon. You can find me on Facebook and Twitter or Instagram.