A Statement About Santino Hassell

Posted March 13, 2018 by Holly in Miscellaneous, News | 14 Comments

Recently some allegations have come out about MM author Santino Hassell. It seems he was caught catfishing. There are a good number of reviewers and authors who feel betrayed by Santino Hassell.

For those of you who aren’t plugged into the online romance community, let me sum up: MM author Santino Hassell cultivated an online persona and became friends with a goodly number of other authors and readers. He presented himself as a bisexual single dad with serious health problems and massive medical bills. He asked for readers to donate to help with said bills so he’d be able to continue writing. It was then revealed that he was married, and did not in fact suffer from liver cancer liked he previously claimed. It seems there is also some question about whether or not he’s bi-sexual or if he said so to take advantage of the LGTBQ community. This is a brief summary and I’m sad to say there are a lot of accusations against him, including deceit, abuse toward readers – specifically those in the LGTBQ community – and much more.

If you want the full story, the entire thing is laid out here on Tumblr: The Santino Hassell Debacle. Riptide Publishing has broken all ties with Santino Hassell. Santino Hassell posted an apology, though, as far as I can tell, it admits no wrongdoing and only asks that other authors aren’t abused because of the allegations against him.

To be honest, Rowena and I are still sorting through the entire mess. Not everything is clear to us at the moment (there is just too much to get through and we haven’t had time to read through it all. As a result we don’t fully understand all that’s happened yet). However, we at Book Binge do not condone the abuse of readers, nor do we support those who Catfish, Doxx or deceive readers for personal gain. We have removed all Santino Hassell content from this site and will not post any in the future. Our hearts go out to those who have been victimized and hurt by the actions of this author.

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14 responses to “A Statement About Santino Hassell

  1. This whole thing sickens me. Not the alter-ego thing, or the misrepresentation of his/her sexual relationship(s). It’s the abuse and accepting money for his/her “cancer” that I can’t stomach. Appalling.

    • Same. I spent most of yesterday reading through everything and every new thing that was revealed made me sick to my stomach. My heart hurts for everyone that was hurt by SH. From the accepting of money for the fake money but also the people, whose stories he used in his books without their permission. That’s such a huge violation and I can’t even imagine how they’re feeling right now. What a mess.

  2. Diane Sallans

    Thanks for explaining what was going on – I’d seen some reference, but couldn’t figure out what people were upset about. I agree that it is abhorent to plead for money for a cancer that the person doesn’t have.

  3. Nikki H

    I could care less about the fake name–lots of authors use different names and there’s no harm there. But to ask for money, claiming cancer and being a single parent is really despicable.

    • The fake name was nothing. It was the building up a fake life and then accepting money for that fake life that pissed everyone off and then the abuse he put his readers and other authors through. Yikes. So bad.

  4. I am grateful that this person’s reviews are being removed from blogs. They do not deserve the kudos of being reviewed by any website. I was one of the authors Santino Hassell attacked. I cottoned on to the Patreon scam in Dec 2016 and wrote a blog post about author/reader boundaries. In an attempt to silence me he set his fellow hanger-on authors and his fan base of adoring women on me to try and damage my career. Lies were spread, bloggers who worshipped him were told to ignore my work or leave bad reviews, I had to turn off the comments in my blog and remove the contact page for my website because of troll messages.

    I would urge readers who have ever purchased a Santino Hassell book from Amazon to contact them and get a refund. They are offering no questions asked refunds, no matter when you bought the books. I am sure their is more to come from this mess.

  5. I agree, using a pen name isn’t uncommon or bothersome in the least. Creating a fake persona to go along with your pen name isn’t even that bothersome to me. But lying about health issues and taking money under false pretenses is a major deal.

  6. TeriWu

    This breaks my heart but bottom line is – i am a reader. That is the only reason I even read these posts . I love , love, love Santino Hassell the author whoever they may be, I just want this all to go away and more books to be published.

    • Emily

      How incredibly selfish. So you don’t care that young gay men were manipulated into sexual relationships thinking they were with a man when it was just a woman behind it? You don’t care that their content was stolen and added to books without consent? You don’t care that to get where ‘he’ was, Santino Hassell trolled, bullied, lied, stole and tried to ruin other authors careers?
      Seriously, are you THAT deluded that you think an author who took SEVEN YEARS to co-write the 4 ICoS books can suddenly write 16 books in two years?? It’s still not known whether ‘Santino’/Alicia wrote them at all. You have been duped and are still buying into the lies.
      Shame truth wrecked your buzz, but no book is worth the amount of pain and suffering ‘he’ has caused.

      • There’s an interesting line here I think. Recently Rowena and I were discussing this. As book reviewers who often criticize books, we’ve said more than once that a Book is not its Author. When we criticize the works an author has made public, we aren’t criticizing the Author. I remember Anne Rice going off the rails ages ago and being so confused about why others vowed to stop reading her. The author being a person I wouldn’t be friends with in public doesn’t change the fact that s/he writes good books.

        The difference in this case, for me, is that the things Santino Hassell did mean I don’t want my money going into his pocket. I do not want to financially contribute to someone who used real life situations with others to tell stories (without their permission) or lied about being ill to gain sympathy and money.

        Generally speaking, do the actions of the author take away from the quality of a book? Not at all. An author doing crappy things doesn’t change the fact a book was good. Just as an author being a lovely person doesn’t change my feelings if I think their books suck.

        But we aren’t talking about an author keeping their crappy personality separate from their writing. We’re talking about an author using others in real-life situations in order to steal that content to write books – not as muses, but actually stealing real life, private, content with the sole intent to make money off that. No consent was given. No consent was even asked for. No thanks.

        On the other hand, I don’t believe in telling others what they can and can’t read. If you want to continue to support the author, that is your right. I’ve chosen not to.

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