From NY Post: Members of an underground pro-Hillary Clinton Facebook group are livid after the operator announced she would be cashing in on the page with a book deal.
News that Pantsuit Nation founder Libby Chamberlain would be putting out a tome next May based on comments from the popular page — which has some 4 million members — prompted a flood of angry comments calling the Brooklin, Maine, woman a sellout.
“Libby you should be ashamed. This is a disgusting betrayal of trust and using others’ stories to make money and gain fame,” wrote a Pantsuit Nation member named Jamie Bryant, who describes herself on Twitter as a “radical feminist bitch.”
The Pantsuit Nation Facebook page was started last October as a place where enthusiastic supporters of the Democratic presidential nominee could gather and talk about their favorite candidate. The page grew by millions in just weeks, and by Election Day, Hillary-loving users posted pictures of themselves in pantsuits going to the polls, hopefully to elect the first female president.
Members were devastated when Clinton lost to GOP nominee Donald Trump and flocked to the page to commiserate.
Clinton herself even seemed to give a shoutout to the page during her concession speech, when she thanked “private Facebook sites” for supporting her campaign.
But when Chamberlain, a part-time school worker with two kids, announced Monday that she was doing the book — which she called “a permanent, beautiful, holdable, snuggle-in-bed-able, dogear-able, shareable, tearstainable book. Your voices. Your stories” — many users felt stabbed in the back.
“Libby, this is a betrayal of safe space,” group member Ellen Byrne wrote. “You can’t invite people to share intimate thoughts . . . then summarily, as an individual, change those terms. Something sacred has happened on this page and I don’t believe it belongs.”
Some were particularly upset that in her announcement, Chamberlain bragged the book would be on “nightstands and coffee tables all around the world.”
Member Ada Y. Sheng wrote: “Can I point out the pathetic irony that 4 million people drawn together behind the incredibly strong and smart woman that we hoped would be the leader of the free world is now . . . going to produce a coffee table book. Seriously?”
Others went on Twitter to mock Chamberlain’s book plans. “5 Million members of Pantsuit Nation and the best they can come up with is another edition of Chicken Soup for the Soul,” wrote user Ijeoma Oluo. “NRA=5million members & a stranglehold on American politics. #PantsuitNation=4million & decided to use that to sell book,” tweeted Saadia Muzaffar.
Chamberlain could not be reached for comment yet she did post this on Facebook (after all the backlash):
“I’m going to clarify some of the issues that have been raised in the last day about the book and our non profit status. I won’t be able to address them all right now, but I will continue to share as much information as possible. But after reading so many of your comments, after absorbing as much pain and hurt as I could, this is the overarching message I would like to offer you. If you trust me, if you trust what I have created here and fostered, along with our 100+ volunteers, through thousands of hours of work and care and attention, then I ask you to trust me further. I will not let you down. This is the most important project of my life, with the exception of being a mother and a wife. My goal is to do good. A lot of good. With your help. If you do not trust me, and if you do not trust this group. That’s ok. This space cannot be for everyone. If you’re not sure you can trust me, then I invite you to stick around and let me continue to show you what this is all about. We’re two months in. We have so much left to do.
Participation in the book is voluntary. No post, image, comment, name, or other information shared in the group will be used in the book without explicit, written permission (and a legal release to use the material) from the author and/or photographer. I have not shared anything from within this group with anyone outside the group. I will personally be in touch with every potential contributor to the book to clarify this process, answer any questions, and make sure that permission is being given with a full understanding of how the post and any accompanying information will be used.
Proceeds from the book will support Pantsuit Nation and the causes that are central to the group. I asked the publisher of the book to let me announce it as early as possible (they would have preferred I waited for another month until more information was available), but that means that we literally announced the book on the same day that our non-profits were formed. These projects are two sides of the same coin. The book will support the non-profits and the non-profits will support the book. The non-profits will be fully transparent, and will engage in the work of advocacy, education, and political activism. We will also use the Pantsuit Nation non-profits as a way to raise money for other likeminded nonprofits (like Planned Parenthood, ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center, etc.), by matching contributions given by our members for our weekly calls to action, for example, or through direct fundraising. This is all coming down the line. There is huge potential here to mobilize our passion and energy to do good in the world. The Pantsuit Nation book is one piece of the puzzle that gives us a path forward. I believe it’s a particularly beautiful solution as it both manifests one of the central ideas of our group – that powerful stories inspire meaningful action – as well as provides an initial source of income. Rather than ask each of you to donate money, we’re collaborating on a book that reflects the best of what Pantsuit Nation offers – stories, truths, meaning, light. If you’d like to support this cause, that’s wonderful. If you don’t, you are still most welcome here. We’ll keep this group going as long as possible and no one will be turned away because they are not interested in the book. There will be so many ways to contribute that don’t involve purchasing anything or donating money. We can all play a part, and simply by being here, by listening to each other, by sharing your stories, you are doing something. Let’s keep pushing this forward.”