If Cassie Edwards Plagiarized, That’s Not Right

Posted January 11, 2008 by Holly in Discussions, News | 8 Comments

I wanted to take a minute to clarify something, from all accounts and the evidence presented, Cassie Edwards plagiarized. Until it’s confirmed, no one can say with absolute certainty that’s what happened, but it seems as if that’s the case. That is wrong. Very, very wrong. I saw the article done about this on AP, where Cassie Edwards said she didn’t know she had to cite her references. I think that’s crap. Absolute and utter crap. Unless she didn’t attend any schooling – which I highly doubt – or doesn’t live in the literary world – which I highly doubt – she had to have heard at least once that to copy/paste without acknowledging your source is wrong, wrong wrong.

You may be wondering why I started this post by saying, “let me clarify something”. That’s because there seems to be some concern, in regards to myself and other people, that we don’t believe plagiarism is a big deal, or that we don’t believe what Cassie Edwards did qualifies as such. That’s horse shit. Or it is on my part, anyway.

I have an issue with the way this news came about, and the source it came from. My very first thought after seeing the original blog post about this was, “There they go again, bashing CE.” My second thought was, “Cripes, can’t they leave her alone.” and my third thought was, “Isn’t their credibility on anything CE related pretty much shot?” Especially after the tone of their original post.

Since then, SB Sarah (I think, forgive me if it was SB Candy) has apologized for the tone of their original post, saying had she thought about it a bit harder, she would have toned it down some. Regardless, I think people are using the issues SB had with Cassie Edwards to take away from the real issue. I’ve been accused of this myself.

I couldn’t disagree more. I think had this come out in a different way, or on a different site, this would be a non-issue. As it stands, I’ve seen a lot of blog posts and comments stating things like, “Oh, shut up. CE was wrong wrong wrong and SB’s were right right right.” I agree. It doesn’t matter how this came out, the fact that it did is huge.

I can say, with complete honesty, I think the way SB’s constantly attacked CE in the past was ridiculous, however. There comes a point when you need to step back from something you find abhorrent and say, “Ok, you all know we think this author sucks, let’s move on” and unfortunately (I say this because everyone seems to be pointing a finger at SB’s now) they didn’t. That sucks. But it shouldn’t take away from the real issue. Something should be done, not only as punishment to Cassie Edwards, but also to prevent this kind of thing from happening in the future. What? I have no idea. I would love to offer some suggestions, but as I have no experience in publishing, writing or anything like it, I can’t. I hope someone does, however.

Now, having said that, I need to make something else just as clear:

I think this issue has moved past the point of “reporting the news” into something entirely different. Something sad and vile. I can’t help but think about the fact that Cassie Edwards is a 72-year-old woman. That doesn’t in any way excuse her behavior, but I would hate to think that we, Romance lovers that we are, might be so mean spirited that we’d want to see a woman of that age completely broken. And I think that’s where we’re heading. Am I saying we should walk away and forget the entire incident? That we should say, “Oh, well, she’s old, so it’s ok?” Absolutely not. Again, ABSOLUTELY NOT. Under no circumstances should something like this be excused, or overlooked, or go unpunished. But I do think constantly attacking her, calling her names, taking potshots at her, saying she’s a horrible author anyway, so who cares, laughing because finally, finally she’s getting what she deserves (after all, she’s a shitty writer anyway, so why not bash her as much as possible) makes us nothing more than vultures and makes us, as a community, look bad.

The romance genre and it’s readers takes a lot of hits anyway. As I said in my post the other day, it was only a matter of time before someone said, “Well, what do you expect, she writes romance!” And it has happened. And you know, it probably would have happened anyway. But seeing the comments on the posts up at SBTB, DA, KarenS’s blog, and many, many other places makes me almost ashamed to be apart of this community. Why? Because we aren’t proving anyone wrong when they say we’re to be sneered at, or laughed at. Especially when we’re so quick to turn on one of our own (and by this I do not mean to excuse Cassie Edwards, but I do mean to say I feel the tone of the comments should have been much, much different. Instead of saying, “Ha! Finally she’s getting what she deserves for writing such craptastic books” we should have been expressing outrage and sympathy for those who’s works were taken from. Yes, I know there have been comments and posts to that effect, but more often than not, I’ve walked away from posts and comments and the general tone of this and just felt dirty).

And so here I am, writing this post, partly to express my belief that what CE did was wrong, and partially to appeal to all my fellow romance lovers: Please, please remember we are not above others. It is not our place to judge, or throw stones, or be down right mean to someone, regardless of their actions. I think CE’s career is over, no? Chances are she’ll be sued, and ruined and not be able to hold her head up any longer. Isn’t that enough? Isn’t it enough that she’s been exposed, that her actions – her own actions, not those of others – have brought her low? Do we need to continue to kick her now that she’s down? Do we need to continue to make ourselves, as a community, seem bloodthirsty and bitchy?

All I would say is this: Plagiarism is wrong. Cassie Edwards needs to accept the consequences of plagiarizing. Those consequences should come from her publisher, the authors of whose work she actually plagiarized, RWA, etc. Even her readers or prospective readers should make a decision on whether or not to continue to buy her books. However, the public crucifixion of CE is completely unnecessary and just plain mean.

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8 responses to “If Cassie Edwards Plagiarized, That’s Not Right

  1. Well said Holls. As an English major and a Librarian plagiarism disgusts me. But so does the way people have been going about this whole situation.

  2. Personally from the post I put over on the blog I am a part of, Iwas not trying to bash Edwards, because I took and thinking the same as you. Gosh, she is a little old lady after all and after years or writing and 100+ books, perhaps she deserves the benefit of the doubt. That’s why I even said “alledged”. But if there is hard proof that she did plagiarize, then she must answer because this has become so much bigger than some blog being petty and “nah nah we got you!”
    Some people just don’t get it overall. They don’t understand it is the whole issue and not necessarily just about one person. I would hate for this one incident to blacken an industry I so adore.
    I will not boycott the publisher or stop buying any author from them either so there!
    Part of me wants to say this is not a big deal, maybe Edwards did take something information and worded it differently. So what? Life goes on right? What will truly happen is it comes out that she intentionally did this and mabye for years?
    I hope to god not because it makes me so sad and heartbroken.

    Did I ramble too much? LOL Great post Holly!!

  3. Ack, I think the Internet ate my last comment.

    In essence, I said that I don’t know what I expect the outcome of the Cassie Edwards thing to be. I figure the woman’s not going to lose money over this, and she certainly never had me as a reader to begin with, so it’s not like I feel the need to boycott her work. I feel that the investigation with RWA and the publishers brings some legitimacy to this whole kerfuffle, and honestly, I would love it if we could get back to talking about other things without so much shrieking and hand-waving.

  4. Holly, I agree with you 100%.

    There is more going on here than CE is wrong. What’s happened here is disgusting but sadly, not surprising. Not too long ago I was attacked personally. It went past attacks on my professional life and turned into brutal attacks on my personal life and most importantly, my family. Yes. My family was dragged into it. There is no line anymore of what separates right and wrong.

    Sadly, our community has become a free-for-all, where no one is safe from attack.

    No, back to CE. SHE WAS WRONG. NO EXCUSE FOR WHAT SHE’S DONE. NONE. (had to put that in). Nevertheless, what should have been a reporting of the facts and kept to reasonable debates and discussions, sank so low that I too, am ashamed of what I’ve been reading out there. Blogs ripping her apart, tearing anyone to shreds who dares to questions THE TONE of the attacks. This has become a virtual lynch-mob. With the AP involved now, brining more eyes on us all, it’s shameful that this is what people are seeing when they look at us. It was bad enough that CE cast a shadow over us. What came after only made us look like a pack of rabid dogs.

    I wonder when this community will settle back down and these brutal attacks, not just on CE, but on whichever reader/author is the new “target of the week”.

    And yes…CASSIE EDWARDS WAS WRONG!!!! Lately, you need to keep repeating this or else your seen as a defender of plagiarism.

  5. I think I’m the only one around here that had no freaking clue who Cassie Edwards was.

    Never even heard of her before this; even now have no idea what she’s written LOL And the paragraphs posted at SB are too damn long so I’m not reading them *yawn*

    I agree with Holly.

    CE plagiarized (or not). It’s wrong. We get it. Just move on already. I’m not sure how writing 100 posts about it will make her a worst plagiarist.

    Renee, I’m sorry your family was attacked 🙁 I don’t know what happened to you, but my advice would be to read everything and only post where you know you’re safe from the crazies.

  6. I agree totally that plagarism is wrong – I don’t think anyone is arguing that. But I do agree that there is no cause for the visciousness of the attacks against CE or against other bloggers. Some of the posts I’ve read – and yes, I’m guilty for reading them – seem to express such glee at ripping people apart that’s it’s truly sickening. Whatever the outcome, I don’t think it calls for such out and out cruelty.

    I’ve heard of Edwards, never read her, but then I can say that about a lot of authors. Would I be more upset if I had been a fan, or less? I can’t answer that.

  7. I went and read what was ‘reported’ and I remembered how when I was a kid we were told about plagiarism. Basically you could write the same sentence but change a few words to make it your own. This was in the 70s!

    I guess I’m wondering what her education was and if she truly didn’t think she was doing anything wrong.

    I was saying to my buds that my empathy gene is working over time. A 72 year old woman is watching her life’s work get torn apart. But then, I think she must have heard about Janet Dailey and Nora Roberts. If that wasn’t a wake up moment for her then nothing would have stopped her.

    And I think the SBs have heard reason and have even asked people to not call her names. Uh, ‘kay.

    That’s my wordy way of saying ‘I agree Holly ;)’

    CindyS (yes plagiarism is wrong but it doesn’t stop me from imagining what the author, who is from a completely different generation, is going through)

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