Back when I started doing my 50 Shades of Grey recaps, I was approached on Twitter by an author named Eve Thomas. She was intense and passionate about the subject of domestic violence, and I twitter-friended her, because we hit it off and that's just what I do.
Eve was working on a book of survivor stories she was calling Fifty Shades of Abuse, for a charity called One Voice. The twitter hashtag is #OneVoice. Because we moved in the same twitter circles, she asked me if I could contribute a chapter for her book. I told her that I wasn't a survivor, and she suggested I write something about the dangers of Fifty Shades of Grey. At the time, I was already contributing an essay to 50 Writers on 50 Shades of Grey, and to be frank, I didn't want my entire career to become, "Hi, I'm that author who hates 50 Shades!" So, I told her I would consider it, but I didn't know if I could fit it in to my schedule.
Suddenly, I had all these people DMing me to warn me not to get involved with Eve or her projects. They provided me links to where she had previously called reviewers who'd given her books one star reviews "bullies," and expressed support for Stop The GoodReads Bullies, a website that uses abusive tactics to silence book reviewers. I was disappointed, but I liked Eve personally from the interactions I'd had with her. I didn't end up contributing to the book- I couldn't have if I wanted to, due to a conflicting deadline- but when it came out, I congratulated Eve and tweeted the link. I believed, at that point, that she truly cared about abuse victims and the book would reflect this.
After a few negative reviews on GoodReads, Eve admitted that the stories in the book had not been edited- a fact that these reviewers called out. Her reasoning was to present the survivors' stories in their exact words, in their voice. Voices that, one review points out, are identical to Eve Thomas's own voice in many of the chapters. Eve's online supporters came out in force to argue with anyone who gave the book a bad review. Some of them conflated criticism of the book with complicity in domestic violence and child abuse. I was disappointed to see Eve thank and congratulate these people via Twitter, assuring them that their actions were helping survivors.
At this time, stuff gets kind of hazy, because it was a lot of weird and off-putting coming hard and fast from a lot of different sources. On her blog, Eve continued to interpret the bad reviews as "bullying" and an attempt by abuse apologists and woman haters to silence the victims of domestic violence. She drew a line in the stand against these "bullies" and allegedly called her local police to report them.
One of the "bullies" keeping tabs on all of this was a blogger I absolutely adore, Tez Miller. Tez is a reader, reviewer, and book blogger familiar to basically every genre fiction writer I've ever met. She blogged about her concerns related to the One Voice book and Eve Thomas's handling of the situation. You can read that blog entry here.
I've known Tez for a very, very long time, so you can imagine my surprise when this showed up in my Twitter DMs:
I have known Tez online since 2006. I figured there must be some mistake.
Eve sent me a link to this blog post, which has since been edited to remove Tez Miller's name.
If you read further through Eve's blog, you begin to get a sense that something is... not quite right. She refers to the people who object to her behavior or question the legitimacy of her unregistered charity (and the GoodReads staff who closed her account for spamming) as trolls, bullies, international gang members, cyberterrorists, and child abusers:
"Amazon/Goodreads this time this will not go away. You are permitting the destruction of #OneVoice, you are permitting the destruction of my career, but most of all you are permitting the abuse and bullying of innocent people and turning a blind eye to the sexual role play that goes on with minors present, the threats, violence and attacks all with minors present and you do nothing about it!"At this point, I'm going "Okay, I really fucking dodged a bullet by not submitting to her anthology." I was furious that she was trying to discredit people I trusted with such middle school tactics- and more furious that she thought I was dumb enough to fall for them- but she still had a ton of supporters, some of them people I had met through my 50 Shades of Grey blogging, and I didn't want to hurt those relationships, so I kept my mouth shut. I told Eve that I felt she was out of line and blocked her on Twitter. Out of sight, out of mind.
Yesterday, I was made aware of two things that made me say, "Ah, fuck it, I can't keep quiet about this anymore."
Thing #1: Eve Thomas is bullying and abusing people in domestic violence situations. In this link, complete with screencaps, Eve contacts a survivor of a past domestic violence situation and aggressively demands to know all the legal details of the case. She tells the survivor that she shouldn't be asking for donations to her legal fund because the "chains of the past" are "obviously holding you down." She is trying to set herself up not just as legal counsel here, but as a therapist, as well. Eve then contacts the police, without any prompting or request on the survivor's part. This is a hugely dangerous and irresponsible thing to do. Never contact any agency on behalf of someone in a DV situation unless they have expressly asked you to do so. Eve goes on to lecture this person about asking for money for help in her specific case. This coming from a woman running an unregistered charity?
Thing #2: Eve Thomas is stalking and bullying writers who contributed to the Fifty Shades of Abuse book. Remember those very nice people I met on line, who were involved in Eve's book and who I didn't want to break contact with? That's really not an issue anymore.
One writer, frustrated with Eve's behavior, asked to have her contribution removed from the book (these are copy/pasted from DM responses I received; I'm not going to correct them for typos or anything):
I wanted it pulled because she is bullying DV survivors who have disagreed with her heavy handed tactics, she manipulates and guilts people into not pulling their chapters because "think of the charities!", she says "that's all I will say" and then keeps harping on things she tells people to stop "harassing" her and to not contact, but she continues to mention them while telling her side. Man this just keeps going..... She screencaps tweets out of context and posts them as "proof of conspiracy," and she RTs things people say to her just so that her followers will jump up in defense of her, affirming to her that she is right and the other people are just mean Nasty women who want to silence her. She wants to speak for all women while ignoring and disempowering those of us who disagree with her. Oh, and now her supporters are accusing me of lying even though I truthfully stated that she has yet to pull the book even though we have reclaimed our personal copyrights and revoked permissions on our submissions. What's flooring me is that she publicly posts these tweets, and when we call her on it, we are accused of abuse and lying, etc.. And her "team" as she calls them goes to bat for her even though there's proof that she is the one doing the bullying. Blargh!! And if the word "gaslighting" hasn't been emphasized enough yet, that might need to be in there. About a hundred times."Gas Lighting" is a form of mental abuse that involves the denial of valid memories and aggressive attempts to reframe reality in order to make the victim believe the abuse isn't happening. For example, her repeated insistance that people had contacted her and asked for help, when it was Eve Thomas who initiated contact and offered help.
Another author who wanted her submission removed tried to set aside her differences with Eve in order to get her chapter out of the book. It did not, and continues to not, go well (again, c/ping from Twitter DMs, no corrections):
I've just had an email from her, accusing me of emotional abuse (exactly what I suffered through my ex, as she knows) and Warning me that every message I've sent to her could be sent to the police as part of a harassment suit against me (despite them all being Sent in response to messages she sent me first). She has warned me never to mention the term "#onevoice" in public ever again or action will Be taken against me. I'm just sat here like... WTF JUST HAPPENED?! Thankfully I've screen capped everything, but just... Ugh. she's still @ mentioning me, but threatening me with police if I mention her. She has also now admitted that she is "monitoring" my tweets, so I've had to go onto protected mode. I haven't felt this violated since I was with my abusive ex. :-(When I asked why this writer wanted her chapter pulled, she said:
I'd been unhappy with the way Eve was portraying herself for a while, but had put our personal disagreement to one side. But when I saw how she acted with [redacted], when she contacted the police without her consent and potentially put her in danger, I realised I really didn't want be associated with Eve in any way. Her subsequent actions/comments made my mind up that I felt uneasy at being a part of a project I now believe is the brainchild of someone who really shouldn't be putting herself forward as some kind of "saviour" of abuse victims.By this morning, things had gotten worse:
Just for added info; I've blocked all Eve's email accounts, so she appears to have set up a new one in order to continue contacting me. :-/ I feel tragic saying this, but she genuinely scares me. I told her I was ceasing contact and wouldn't resond to further emails... ...yet they just keep on coming. With more threats of "police action" if I don't "cease" my "behaviour." Honestly think she's bonkers. :-/
Eve Thomas has set up a charity that is unregulated and unregistered. She is selling the Fifty Shades of Abuse book on the platform that all proceeds will be distributed to "charities around the world," but has yet to offer any proof that the funds are going anywhere but to One Voice. She is misrepresenting and stalking survivors who contributed to that book when they've asked to have their submissions removed due to concerns over her clearly deteriorating credibility as a domestic violence awareness campaigner.
So, what can you do, if you've become involved with Eve Thomas or her supporters and now you want out?
If you have submitted any material to the Fifty Shades of Abuse book, request to have it pulled and returned. Eve Thomas says that "every penny" of profit from the book will go to charity. We have no proof that this is the case. Do not allow her to use "think of the charities" as a defense or a reason to pressure you into dropping your copyright claims if you did not sign a contract with her or had only a verbal agreement with her (this appears to be the case with a couple of authors). Here is an excellent link that explains how to take the first steps.
If Eve contacts you online about abuse you have experience or are currently experiencing, do not engage. Eve is very friendly and personable, and it's easy to get drawn in by her "sweetie" and "honey" lingo. I believe she absolutely does care about survivors of domestic violence, but her perception of help is deeply flawed. She also has a habit of retweeting interactions to her supporters, so if you have engaged her on twitter, you may receive harassment from her followers. Do not engage with them, either.
Do not give Eve Thomas any information about yourself, your DV situation, or any pending legal issues. She has displayed a willingness to insinuate herself into these matters and could cause real damage. No matter how she pressures, do not reveal personal information.
If Eve threatens you with legal action, save everything. Save tweets, DMs, emails. If she makes a new account to contact you (as she has done with others), keep track of that identity, too. It might come in handy later if she ever does manage to make a case against someone for "cyberterrorism" or "bullying," though I find it very difficult to believe that the "international investigation" she refers to her in blog is anything more than a delusion on Eve's part.
I hesitated to say anything about this whole mess. My interaction with Eve was nowhere near as bad as some people are experiencing. But I know there are writers, readers, and DV survivors at this blog who may have come into contact with Eve through me, either here or on Twitter. That makes me feel horribly responsible. I would not forward any of this information if I weren't truly concerned about the implications of this woman's actions. Contacting outside agencies on behalf of DV victims and survivors is DANGEROUS. Bullying, stalking, and harassing survivors is WRONG. And misusing police resources in order to report readers and reviewers as cyberterrorists because they didn't like your book? That's a level of self-importance and delusion that is FRIGHTENING.
I truly believe Eve Thomas thinks she is helping people. I also believe her when she says she feels abused, victimized, and bullied by these events. However, the fact remains that the only person doing anything abusive is Eve Thomas herself. I strongly urge anyone to gather as much information as possible before becoming involved with her charity, her publishing projects, or her, personally.
Live and learn, I guess.