When I see injustice has happened, I pipe up. There is still injustice happening at the GrubStreet Writers organization. And leadership has failed to enact a swift response to the Chunky Monkeys (three director-level positions) conduct as a result of the revealing documents on the Larson vs. Dorland case.
Also, I can’t stand bullies. I can handle a bit of snark in a writing group here to there, but nothing like what the Chunky Monkeys have engaged in is even remotely acceptable.
The problem that I have with Alison Murphy’s continued employment at GrubStreet Writers is that she maintains a position of power, and could pose a potential threat to new or developing writers, based on her behavior and lack of ethics.
For me, Alison Murphy’s conduct is an ethics and morality issue, a conflict of interest, along with what I view as a Human Resources complaint violation of conduct unbecoming of a director-level position.
Let’s dig in.
Court Documents Show a HR Complaint Against Sonya Larson was Filed
According to legal documents, Dawn Dorland, the targeted victim of the Chunky Monkeys writer group, filed a personnel complaint regarding Sonya Larson. This was communicated to Eve Bridburg, the director. Eve copied Ian Chio on the email to get it addressed. Alison Murphy was then copied on another email, along with her cohort Christopher Castellani.
Where they both part of the “investigation”? Why are they being copied on a “farewell” email from Eve Bridburg if the matter was “private”?
During that time, fellow Artistic Director Christopher Castellani stated to other Chunky Monkeys members that he was going to make it his life’s mission to seek revenge against Dawn Dorland. This occurred during Dawn’s tenure with GrubStreet Writers.
The complaint was not handled well, obviously. Dawn Dorland, unsatisfied with the outcome of the “investigation”, later would resign her position. I probably would have too. She could sense the leadership was corrupt, and the handling of the complaint was not executed as it should have been.
GrubStreet Writers Conflict of Interest with Chunky Monkeys Member Alison Murphy
Alison Murphy, who was engaging in terrible, disparaging discourse with her fellow Chunky Monkeys group, engaged in a planned group assault on Dawn Dorland behind her back. The weapons she utilized were what we call “icing” as well as weaponing the race card of fellow writer Sonya Larson, for her nationality.
Alison Murphy suggested that the authors of color could in part, band together as a collective to silence and squash Dawn Dorland, if Dawn pursued her rights to a copyright infringement complaint.
Alison Murphy had also urged Sonya Larson to post The Kindest in a Grub Writers of Color area, so that if Dawn ever pursued the infringed material, they would “draaaaaag” her publicly.
Alison Murphy Holds Position of Power & Influence as Director of Online & Special Programs
Alison holds a director seat position at GrubStreet Writers. As a director in a non-profit organization, you are often held to a higher standard. Often times, and this may be true for most non-profit organization, there are codes of ethics that are to be adhered to, codes of conduct both inside and outside of the organization, social media policies, conflict of interest policies, personnel handling complaint processes, and so on. It would be interesting to know what kind of policies GrubStreet Writers had/have in place to handle these things.
GrubStreet Writers Ethics in Question
Albeit a code of conduct or conflict of interest policy, Alison Murphy as a matter of basic ethics, should have recused herself from any Human Resources complaint matters. The fact that she is copied on an email related to that complaint topic is troubling. How much was she involved? She knowingly was taking part in a group effort “takedown” of the very complainant with her group, the Chunky Monkeys, some of which also held director-level positions.
There is no possible way for her to conduct an “investigation” or be an unbiased witness to the discussion against a fellow Chunky Monkeys member ethically and without bias while actively being a part of the group’s collective effort to sabotage Dawn Dorland’s writing career. Mocking her, laughing at her, and making plans together to discredit her own writing.
My friends, this is a perfect example of corrupt abuse of power and gatekeeping within the writing community.
And because this personnel complaint wasn’t handled appropriately, and involved Alison Murphy (possibly moreso than what that one email reveals where she was copied on the topic), who failed to recuse herself from the issue knowing full well of her involvement in the underlying behavior, she probably didn’t both to mention anything to Eve Bridburg. Because how embarrassing would that be, right? GrubStreet Writers needs to get their house in order. Fast.
Let’s Allow this Person with a Clear Conflict of Interest Handle the Investigation
Let’s just say Alison was a part of the complaint addressing process, or was questioned by Ian Chio, another director (finance department headed with HR?)
It’s the equivalent of having a murderer put in charge of his/her own investigation.
Detective: “Hey murderer, see any evidence of wrongdoing here? Did you find the weapon or the body?”
Murderer: “Nope. Nothing to see here.” <hides weapon under bed, tosses body out the window>
The GrubStreet Writers Leadership has Trouble
This is why the current leadership at GrubStreet Writers is in trouble. They have multiple members with director-level positions who have been known to “ice” other writers, weaponize the race card inappropriately, have launched private and group attacks on other members of the literary community, and seem to have no shame for doing so. Celeste Ng, included [re: Sarah Dessen fiasco].
And all this has come to light in this Larson vs. Dorland lawsuit, for the world to see. If I was a backer or donor of this organization, I would be seriously questioning my further involvement or participation, if this is the kind of behavior and ethics their directors maintain.
Alison Murphy has shown no ethics. No boundaries. No morals. She needs to be removed from the GrubStreet Writers organization immediately, pending investigation. This will help writers who are affiliated with the organization know that if they have a problem with management or staff, their concerns will be handled professionally and with the highest of ethics. Because right now, their writing house doesn’t project that confidence at all.
I am here to help the rest of the literary community protect authors and writers from all walks of life. This is unacceptable. And this organization will only perpetuate more harm to writers if this kind of director-level behavior is allowed.