triggers: sexual assault of children, physical abuse
I’m still reeling. Last night I was happily reading my current issue of Entertainment Weekly (which can be slow to cover uproars in some of our community, which is why I’m a month behind in finding this out), and I get to the book section, where the main story is about Marion Zimmer Bradley. This may be old news to you; it’s the first I heard of any of this.
I knew her husband was a convicted child molester who died in prison. I did not know that last month her daughter came forward to say that her mother—MZB—abused her sexually and physically.
I did not know how many people early on excused MZB’s husband’s sexual predations, saying teenagers were capable of deciding if they wanted to have sex—including MZB. She covered for him. She says as much in the deposition transcripts that are attached to the post Jim Hines did, the one that’s attached here.
Actually, Jim thoughtfully attached everything that’s to the point to his post. You can look at it all, if you can stand it, and make your own decisions about separating the art from the artist.
I know so many women who published stories with MZB’s magazine and in her book collections, like Jim. I wonder what they’re thinking. I hope they’re okay. I’m very grateful that one dear friend passed away a couple of years ago, so she’ll never know how this writer she adored betrayed her.
For my own part, with regard to her books and other writings, I’m pretty well untouched. I wasn’t a fan, and from her writing (we never met), she struck me as the angriest person in print. But I know so many people who respected her and loved her because her books were the right books when they needed them. She betrayed them.
And I am livid with the people of the community who knew what her husband was, and that she excused him, and said “oh, that’s just Walter,” (the husband), and let him molest boys. They didn’t blackball him, but let him come to cons where they saw him chase boys and molest them and still refused to kick him out, and they made no conditions with her that her husband not attend. They were allies to his abuse, just as she was (she testifies that she told him not to “do it”—abuse another boy—again). There were people who refused to have him in their homes, who locked their children in their rooms, who wouldn’t attend cons if he was there. They knew this was wrong. What happened with those other fans? Why didn’t they warn people at other cons?
I’d like to think it’s better now, that we know more now. But when something like this happens, the earth feels like soup under your feet.
I hope her kids have found some degree of calm and safety. I think her daughter Moira has more courage than I would have under those circumstances.