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.

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21 thoughts on “Heather Fazio’s exodus from the TU blogfarm”

  1. Rex Smith’s libel claim reminds me of something that would come out of the White House, where every day they try to re-write the facts to suit their needs.

    How does he explain Tena Tyler’s message, the one that claimed the post was “graphic content?” There was no mention of libel from his trusted senior editor.

    It sounds like they cooked up this libel business later in the morning, in a laughably clumsy bid at damage control.

    To quote Donald Trump: “SAD!”

    Like

    1. Rob, me and the women who have read your comment here (and on the other) are calling you a hero, lol.

      You are 100% correct. Even if Tena had emailed me and said I should tweak some things BEFORE suspending my account, there wouldn’t be an issue. If she had first stated possible libel, not an issue. If Rex’s email had acknowledge Tena’s demeaning and insensitive mistake and apologized, we wouldn’t be here.

      The fact he was posting on public blogs spinning the story was so disrespectful I’m still struggling to wrap my mind around it.

      People I don’t even know kept messaging me his response to emails and he was blatantly lying to them. He has lost all integrity. Protecting your employees is noble, but at what expense?

      Anyway, I appreciate the things you’ve said and glad you see through his smoke and mirrors.

      Like

    1. This is from Roger Green’s “Ramblin’ with Roger” blog post from last Tuesday.

      Rex’s words are at this comment link.

      Roger:
      It is not accurate to say that this content was “banned” from timesunion.com. The Times Union community blogs are a way to extend readers’ voices, and Heather is one important voice. We don’t edit the blogs, but as the publisher of these blogs, we are susceptible to libel claims, and all bloggers agree to abide by the terms of service. Two small changes would enable Heather to meet those standards, and we have asked her to contact us and consider those changes so that we can publish the blog. Hers is an important story, and I hope she will consider changes — just as I often accept a colleague’s suggestions when writing my weekly column — so that the blog can continue. We are certainly not interested in “suppressing a woman’s voice;” that would be quite unlike our stance, day after day after day.

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  2. Bravo Heather! I’m so glad to call you my friend. Can’t wait until you get your own blog rolling. Love your writing and always have.

    Like

  3. this is all so crazy. i wish i knew what to say. when a woman comes forward and shares her story, the very least people could do is listen. they ripped that away from her under the context of “terms of service”. i’ll be honest that i haven’t read TU blogs in quite a while… i like the community voices but hate so much about the tu these days. yet what they’ve done here is so disturbing and upsetting, it goes beyond anything i thought possible. i’m sorry this happened to these two brave women. please know, that your stories were still read, your voice was still heard, and my heart is with you both.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t thank you enough for saying all you’ve said. It has been a rough couple of days – more so because of women like you who have reached out.

      I’m disgusted by the behavior of the Senior Editor and then Rex for trying to spin the “new” libel narrative and acknowledging nothing.

      I will be back soon in my own space and I will be better than I was before for book reviews and my personal blog. If you haven’t read the TU blogs in a while, maybe you’ll like what I write now and then.

      Thank you for your support. ♡

      Like

  4. I have been following the TU blog scene for many years and never have posted a comment. It has been an eye opening ride over the years reading and bearing witness to the opinions and approaches to life that my own neighbors and community have adopted and subscribe to. I both appreciate the peek behind the curtain and abhor it. I see many parallels between the #me too movement and the struggles of minorities…not to detract from either movement. I see folks standing up for themselves and it gives me hope. The ‘not going to take it anymore’ approach is wonderful in the face of the current social atmosphere (the outward expression of pride and acceptance of racism and sexism among other close-minded dogmatic attitudes). It takes guts. And not everyone has guts. I don’t have a story of my own to share for these movements but I could not help myself today from taking this time to say you all have guts. I have children, I am a proud American too and am all in on leaving them a better planet than what we are giving them today. Heather if I bumped into you today I wouldn’t know you, but your guts are inspiring. In a way that makes me hopeful in a time that seems to lack hope. Don’t give up the fight. We may not be obvious…we silent readers….but we are out here. And we are with you. I admire your bravery and thank you for using your platform to evoke change. We need change the way nature needs change…an evolution. I look forward to see what’s next…#metoo march perhaps?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Jeff. I don’t think making the comparison is too far out there. I couldn’t help but imagine what the silenced NFL players are thinking and feeling on the world stage. I felt .0001% of what I imagine them to feel.

      I hope Tena and Rex have been struggling to sleep, because they are responsible for this and their lack of acknowledgment disturbing.

      I hope this evokes a positive change for the bloggers who remain.

      Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts.

      Like

      1. NP. I read your post before they yanked it, and when I checked back and saw it blank I was confused and sort of worried you retracted. From following online I know that’s not your style and when I found out the truth, thanks to Roger, my immediate thought was what a bunch of times union backstabing, miss the point, bag over the head bullshit this is. But I didn’t want to just come right out and say only that.

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        1. Ha! You just made me laugh when it’s the last thing I feel like doing. Thank you for that.

          In all honesty I am overwhelmed by the people who are reaching out in various ways. I received an email today that had me in tears two sentences in, lol.

          It has been humbling – and I’m glad you realized I wouldn’t have pulled it. My favorite stories are the ones I’m terrified to write. ♡

          Like

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