Posted on 01/10/2020 at 03:30 PM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Still thinking of attending the Romance Writers of America national conference this summer?

There are some key players you won’t be seeing there: namely Harlequin and Avon.

The CEO of the former said Wednesday in a letter that the imprint would neither attend nor sponsor the conference because “it is important that all authors feel included, respected and heard,” reports the Associated Press.

Avon Books, meanwhile, tweeted that it would avoid the conference because it stood in “support of inclusive publishing.”

The very shortened version of what drove these announcements: When the RWA sought to sanction author Courtney Milan and ban her from leadership positions, over her description of another author's work as a "f---ing racist mess," many of her fellow writers rallied around her immediately.

More authors spoke up and protested after it emerged that the RWA had not sent the ethics complaint to its regular committee but rather a secret panel, prompting the RWA to retract its censure and announce an independent internal audit.

Still, in the weeks since these revelations, much of the RWA board has resigned, including the president; the RWA canceled its annual awards because so many entrants had withdrawn; and members have left the organization in protest.

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