On Their Own Terms

In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein firestorm, two Times Union bloggers wrote brutally frank #metoo accounts about being sexual assault victims.

The newspaper took down the posts and suspended their accounts.

Yes, you read that right.

Chuck Miller, who had his own trouble with the Times Union, re-published the posts by Heather Fazio and Fran Rossi Szpylczyn on his blog. The paper put Fran’s post back up when she agreed to change the term “cock-tease” to “c*ck-tease” — as if that makes a difference. According to Chuck Miller, Heather Fazio has refused to change what she wrote.

Both bloggers were notified of their suspension by Tena Tyler, who’s listed on the masthead as “Senior Editor, Engagement.” Here’s how she engaged them:

Sorry about your sexual assault, but you violated our terms of service.

And what terms are those?

“You agree not to post, e-mail or otherwise make available content: – that is unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, lewd, defamatory, pornographic, libelous or invasive of another’s privacy or harms minors in any way”

OK, so a woman’s story about being attacked — in one case as a child — is “lewd” and “pornographic.” That’s fucking sick, Ms. Tyler.

Look, I’ve complained about the Times Union’s blog page for a long time, especially about the way they manipulate people and the one-sided relationship between the paper and the bloggers– but this is too much.

Any writer who continues blogging with the Times Union is out of their mind. Maybe you enjoy the opportunity to reach a large audience, but at what cost? A deal with the devil often seems like a good idea until the bill comes due.

10 thoughts on “On Their Own Terms

  1. This is just what happens to rape victims. This is why so many victims won’t come forward.

    Funny how describing one’s own rape is pornographic, but other bloggers get away with some pretty graphic stuff. And, as Chuck noted, the TU did nothing about the “Hot Mugshot Guy” post. The woman who wrote that piece responded with smartass answers when the public called her on it.

    Tena Tyler’s note is so cold that it might reverse global warming. One would think that another woman would be sympathetic, but Ms. Tyler could only cough up one sentence somewhat acknowledging their trauma before diving into rules and regulations, and an offer to “talk through the situation.” Not sure I’d want to talk to her.


    God bless Chuck Miller.

    But still, Rob, “I LOVE THE FUCKING TIMES UNION!!!”

  2. [Copy of comment at Chuck’s Blog cross-posted below . . . ]

    Wow . . .

    Just . . . . wow.

    I thought I was treated badly back in the day, but this takes the cake on that, and then some.

    Current, important articles that the writers want in public get yanked, citing the terms of service. Old, untimely articles that the writers want pulled (like mine and Madeo’s) are still up on the TU website, seven years after I left, citing terms of service. (Since I was on the portal way earlier than most folks were, for the record, I still do not believe that I ever signed such an agreement, and no one from TU has been able to produce my acquiescence to it; if it existed, it certainly wasn’t the all-inclusive monster that current bloggers have to ratify).

    It’s hard to err so hard in so many different directions over so long a period of time, but the TU certainly remains deeply committed to the wrongness of their ways.

    It has to end at some point. And that will be a very good day for a whole lot of people, and will definitely improve the level of community discourse in a region that I dearly love.

  3. Just looked at blog portal, and all of Heather’s posts are gone. I will be interested to see if they force them back up shortly. When I left, I deleted all of mine, and then after they locked me out, they put them all back up . . . except the ones where I complained about the TU, of course. Those were free to fly away (to my website, where they still live).

    I need to put my page blocker on again to keep myself from going there. I hate everything I see when I click over, but still feel compelled to remind myself of that periodically, for no good reason . . . just an non-nourishing and dirty compulsive habit, dog to vomit, etc.

  4. Judging from the last post date, it seems most TU Bloggers are just about done. I do miss the old Madeo, Marshall, Miller, Willis and Barbaro days. It was a fun read every morning.

    Table Hopping is still a fun read, but comments section sometimes devolves to a verbal food fight.

    1. Thank you.

      I don’t know what I’d do with the blog section if I were the TU. A good start would be hiding the ones that are inactive, because it looks bad.

      To use a tired analogy, that blog section is like a garden. It needs to be tended and pruned and the weeds must be pulled. If not, it growns out of control.

      Did you ever read “Being There”?

      Right now, they don’t have a thoughtful gardener to keep an eye on things, and if you ask me, they never will. There are too many other important jobs to do and not enough people. When you’re racing around fixing leaks in the roof, the garden will be neglected.

      I think they’ll give up on it eventually. You’ll have a handful of staff blogs — maybe — and even those will go away some day.

      So much for fresh tomatoes.

  5. this is the same Times Useless that let Kristi post about Va-jazzling and making necklaces out of molds of your labia, but these are taboo?

    This is why I ignore the TU

    1. Well, yes — but she didn’t use any nasty words like penis or fuck or pussy or cocktease. Someone empties their soul writing about a true life experience and that’s wrong — but write about some stupid bullshit that you ripped off of another website or idiotic women’s magazine? That’s OK.

      While I’m at it, allow me to go on the record in saying that the TU’s libel argument was a fucking lie.

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