When Jonathan Ross was invited to host the Hugo Awards this year it caused a huge rift in the British Science Fiction community. Many felt the choice of Ross was totally inappropriate, as Ross is not involved in the community of Science Fiction authors and publishers, and some concluded it must be a cynical grab for more American attention.
A huge firestorm of criticism erupted on Twitter, with personal attacks being hurled not only at event organizers, but at Ross and his wife as well. In a post made to his Neil Gaiman’s Journal yesterday, Gaiman reveals that he had acted as the go-between for Hugo Awards organizers in reaching out to Ross in the first place, and goes on to comment on the whole mess. From Gaiman’s Journal:
Twitterstorms are no fun when people are making up things about you or insulting you for things you didn’t do or think or say. When scores of people from a group that you consider yourself a part of are shouting at you, it’s incredibly upsetting, no matter who you are. And these things spill over and get bigger — I was saddened to learn that Jane Goldman, Jonathan’s wife, one of the gentlest, kindest people I know (and the person who, with Jonathan, got me onto Twitter, back in December 2009) had deleted her Twitter account because of all this.
I was seriously disappointed in the people, some of whom I know and respect, who stirred other people up to send invective, obscenities and hatred Jonathan’s way over Twitter (and the moment you put someone’s @name into a tweet, you are sending it directly to that person), much of it the kind of stuff that they seemed to be worried that he might possibly say at the Hugos, unaware of the ironies involved.