As the death of an unarmed black man killed at the hands of police in Minneapolis sparks protests, a local literary agency owner is being criticized for notifying police about so-called “looters.”
Literary agents who worked at Red Sofa Literary Agency, located in the Minneapolis twin city St. Paul, have been announcing their resignations on Twitter and letting aspiring authors know their queries may go unanswered due to owner Dawn Frederick’s actions. It’s in response to the uprisings in Minneapolis and other U.S. cities over the death of George Floyd, who was killed after a police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes on May 25 to place him in custody for alleged forgery.
On May 28, Dawn said during protests she called the police to alert officers to what she viewed as looting and property damage.
The people who did this had busted the doors and many people were running out with items in their arms, jumping back into their cars, and hightailing it off the block. It was straight up looters.
Please note: there were NO protestors present. Zero protestors.
She continues in her statement on the agency’s website that she’s participated in protests in support of Black, Indigenous and People of Color. She also added she’s “incredibly saddened” by George Floyd’s death, especially since it happened in her city.
Having seen people get arrested when protesting, I’d never under any circumstances call the police on someone for protesting. That goes against everything I do when it comes to honoring (and participating) in protests.
But her fellow literary agents disagreed as they were still resigning as of Saturday afternoon, the height of protests across the U.S. marching in solidarity over police brutality. Kelly Van Sant, Amanda Rutter, and Stacey Graham shared their resignation letters on Twitter. According to the list of agents on the website, Dawn and Liz Rahn, who hasn’t tweeted in weeks, may be the only ones left.
Abby Jimenez and Barb Curtis are two authors who expressed they’ll be leaving the literary agency along with their agents. Some aspiring authors announced rescinding their queries to and contracts with the agency. Beth Phelan, the creator of the #DVpit Twitter pitch party for aspiring marginalized authors, shared the story to her 23,800 followers that may have helped it go viral on book Twitter.
She and other supporters quote-tweeted the agents who resigned and asked their followers to assist them in finding another job.
Dawn has owned Red Sofa Literary since 2008, according to the agency website. Her experience shows her dedication to the local literary community with being a co-founder of the MN Publishing Tweet Up and a member and teaching artist of the BOD for Loft Literary. Book editor Jake Klisivitch stood in solidarity with Dawn but received backlash on social media for his support.