Why Fellner Removed His ALC Post
For those still interested in the ALC/Fellner story, I spoke with Steve Fellner over the phone on Saturday. I want to share his side (with his permission) regarding why he took down the original post that vehemently condemned Seth Abramson’s MFA application consulting firm.
There was much conjecture here last week that perhaps Fellner had been threatened with a lawsuit, or that he was worried about his ‘career,’ or something equally as exciting. As that conjecture got louder, Abramson posted a response, saying that he had never contacted Fellner to threaten him, nor would he ever do such a thing to obstruct worthwhile discussion. Fellner remained silent until his ‘Final Words’ post, which addressed everything but the cause for the original post’s removal.
Anyhow, we talked a bit about the removal of that post during our conversation. I didn’t take notes, nor did I record our voices, so you’ll have to forgive the lack of quotations and just trust me on this. It’s pretty simple, really.
Basically, according to what he told me, Fellner took down the post because a few hours after it went up, and as word started to get around, one thing happened that ‘freaked’ him out. An anonymous commentor responded to Fellner’s post, saying something like this: Seth Abramson is a lawyer; don’t ever forget that. I don’t know the exact comment, and obviously, we can’t find the exact comment online anymore. But it was enough to cause Fellner ‘to freak out.’ He did not know much about libel and how it translated to online content, and he also decided that such a legal issue was not something he could afford to handle, both financially and emotionally (even if that legal issue was merely an abstract event on the horizon). So he decided to close it down and wait it out. He wanted to emphasize that there was no direct threat from Abramson, nor was there a direct threat from anyone else, so that’s that. He also wanted to emphasize that he did not remove the post because he was worried about his ‘career’; he pointed out that he has often been very critical of other poets, Mark Doty for example, on his blog.
That’s all I’ve got. Questions? Comments?