Author Topic: RESOLVED: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction (Update Pg 7, #161)  (Read 37189 times)  

Offline Elizabeth Barone

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RESOLVED: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction (Update Pg 7, #161)
« on: September 01, 2017, 03:59:20 pm »
The other day, I updated the pricing of my latest release, a f/f romance (Any Other Love). It had previously been on sale for $0.99 and I flipped it to $3.99. This was the only change I made; the content remained the same.

Yesterday, I received an email from Draft2Digital informing me that my book had been rejected by Playster for "erotic content."



Mind you, the book had already been accepted by Playster, twice: once for pre-order, and again for final upload before release date. I was also surprised because, though the book has a steamy heat level, it's far from erotic. Furthermore, my m/f romances have the same heat level, and none have them have been rejected.

I replied to D2D via email:



I haven't heard back from D2D yet.

I'd hoped that maybe it just depended on who reviewed the content, but after talking to several other authors of LGBT+ fiction, it seems that Playster is specifically targeting LGBT+ fiction, regardless of heat level or genre. For example, I spoke with an author of LGBT+ SFF. There isn't even romance in her book, and Playster rejected it. An author of sweet LGBT+ romance was rejected, too.

Each of the authors who reached out to D2D or Playster for comment have yet to receive responses.

I've posted about it on my personal Facebook and my Twitter account, both of which are publicly shareable.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elizabethkaylene/posts/1338405346284899
Twitter: https://twitter.com/elizabethbarone/status/903305523113721856

If you are the author of LGBT+ fiction and Playster has rejected your book(s) for "erotic content," please let me know. Please also write D2D and/or Playster to complain; the more of us who push back, the better.

Playster does have content guidelines that prohibit sexual content. However, if they're going to reject my f/f romance, they should also reject my m/f romances. There's no reason to reject SFF with LGBT+ characters, though, nor is there reason to reject sweet f/f romance. It seems that Playster is rejecting fiction solely on the grounds of having LGBT+ characters, and that is not okay.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2017, 07:15:59 am by elizabethbarone »
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    Online Paranormal Kitty

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    Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction
    « Reply #1 on: September 01, 2017, 04:28:24 pm »
    It's messed up that people are still doing stuff like this. :( And not even up front about it either.

    Offline Elizabeth Barone

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    Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction
    « Reply #2 on: September 01, 2017, 04:34:02 pm »
    Heh, I just replied to your thread!

    It's messed up that people are still doing stuff like this. :( And not even up front about it either.

    It really is. I've never had anything like this happen to me. It's not a nice feeling. I wrote this book because there isn't a lot of f/f romance. I also wrote it because there are no books -- that I know of -- with LGBT+ characters who have chronic illnesses. I'm somewhere between angry and sad on this one.
    . . .

    Offline X. Aratare

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    Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction
    « Reply #3 on: September 01, 2017, 04:41:10 pm »
    You aren't alone. They rejected my gay romance book: Cursed: Broken. I contacted Draft 2 Digital by phone and said: (1) its not erotica; (2) its not erotic romance; (3) its mild romance. So the reason for not allowing it in is because its gay.  I told them its completely not okay for Playster to hide behind gay = porn. Because it's simply NOT true and if they are allowing heterosexual romance in then they should let gay romance in. 

    I haven't heard back either.
    « Last Edit: September 01, 2017, 05:01:32 pm by X. Aratare »

    Offline PhoenixS

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    Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction
    « Reply #4 on: September 01, 2017, 05:48:43 pm »
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    Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction
    « Reply #5 on: September 01, 2017, 10:33:40 pm »
    Content removed. I don't consent to the new TOS of 2018.
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    Offline Nic

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    Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction
    « Reply #6 on: September 01, 2017, 11:01:34 pm »
    My LGBT content has gone, just the hetero content is left. This is unconscionable. I will email them and pull my entire catalogue with them.

    Offline Theora

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    Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction
    « Reply #7 on: September 02, 2017, 02:30:01 am »
    An author I'm following had this problem as well:
    "Also, some sad news. Playster opted to remove Penumbra from its list due to erotic content. Which I guess is their choice, except that my fellow authors have noticed that theyre targeting LGBT books, and not mainstream romances. Anyone whos read my stuff knows that romances get quite a bit more explicit than I do, and yet theyre not pulled down. I havent checked this out thoroughly so my perception may be skewed, but right now Im very suspicious. If they are targeting LGBT content, I hope theres an outcry against it." (post link)

    I don't even know what 'Playster' is but I guess a company can do what it wants, right? In this case it seems like a pretty stupid move unless they hate making money.
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    Offline UK1783

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    Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction
    « Reply #8 on: September 02, 2017, 05:30:53 am »
    This sucks. I dunno what's going on with the Internet lately but there seems to be this huge censorship drive going on.

    A friend of mine had his YouTube channel shut down because of it's content. I guess all of these companies can do what they want as they are private companies. The problem is though is that they masquerade as being public.

     :'(

    Offline unkownwriter

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    Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction
    « Reply #9 on: September 02, 2017, 05:45:59 am »
    Quote
    The problem is though is that they masquerade as being public.

    Well, no. Private companies are private. None of these are "public". They are not run by the government, so can't censor as such. They can have rules about what they allow, and enforce as they choose. I think they're making the wrong move removing only certain books while leaving similar ones up because they are "straight". There's going to be a backlash, and it ain't going to be pretty.

    I guess I'm glad I never got around to uploading there. Saves me the work of taking stuff down.

    Offline UK1783

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    Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction
    « Reply #10 on: September 02, 2017, 05:57:34 am »
    Yes, they are private. So they can choose to publish whatever they wish according to their rules.

    These rules from many different internet platforms are starting to push people away. It's not a good idea at all.

    Offline C. Gold

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    Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction
    « Reply #11 on: September 02, 2017, 06:13:29 am »
    They have the right to refuse LGBT content, and authors have the right to refuse ever doing business with them in the future and posting to social media about their discriminatory practices. Seems fair to me. Let the market sort them out!

    Offline Elizabeth Barone

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    Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction
    « Reply #12 on: September 02, 2017, 07:01:09 am »
    I guess the part where it says "Playster has rejected this book for erotic content which does comply with their current content guidelines" is a typo on D2D's part?

    You caught that too, huh?

    If you can validate this -- and it looks like you're in process of doing just that -- then a whisper (or a tweet) into a few well-placed ears such as The Advocate and OUT would be a great next step. Playster can certainly choose not to carry targeted content, but publishers can choose not to provide their content and customers can choose not to subscribe there because of it.

    It's situations like this one's shaping up to be that I wish our catalog was wide just so I could pull our books in protest.

    It may be because it's Saturday morning and I haven't had enough brain juice yet, but what do you mean by validating? Getting other authors together, then giving names, dates, etc to media?

    Because I'm happy to do that.

    They have the right to refuse LGBT content, and authors have the right to refuse ever doing business with them in the future and posting to social media about their discriminatory practices. Seems fair to me. Let the market sort them out!

    Couldn't have said it better myself.

    In their TOS, they do say they can reject content for any reason they deem inappropriate. It's very obvious to me what is happening here.
    . . .

    Offline RandomThings

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    Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction
    « Reply #13 on: September 02, 2017, 09:12:41 am »
    They are a private business and can choose to list whatever they want. If that means they choose not to list LGBT books, then that's fine. They aren't banning authors for writing them since those with hetero and homosexual books are able to keep the hetero stuff up.

    For me, if I take my books wide, I will put my LGBT series in other places and put my other work on their site with a note at the back saying, "check out this great series on *list of sites*" If they want me to encourage people to buy elsewhere... that's their choice.

    Having social media and such sites kick up a fuss about it is not going to help anyone. Make people aware that they can find their gay fiction elsewhere by all means, but no need to start lighting torches and gathering pitchforks.

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    Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction
    « Reply #14 on: September 02, 2017, 09:13:32 am »
    I just removed my children's book from their store. I won't publish with them until this is resolved.

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    Offline Becca Mills

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    Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction
    « Reply #15 on: September 02, 2017, 09:22:55 am »
    This is grotesque. Writing to D2D now. In fact, I might actually bestir myself to blog about it.

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    Offline PhoenixS

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    Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction
    « Reply #16 on: September 02, 2017, 09:29:21 am »
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    Offline Queen Mab

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    Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction
    « Reply #17 on: September 02, 2017, 10:02:16 am »
    I had never heard of them before Elizabeth brought it up, but I certainly will avoid them!

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    Offline Used To Be BH

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    Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction
    « Reply #18 on: September 02, 2017, 10:06:08 am »
    Having social media and such sites kick up a fuss about it is not going to help anyone. Make people aware that they can find their gay fiction elsewhere by all means, but no need to start lighting torches and gathering pitchforks.
    I'm not usually a torches-and-pitchforks kind of guy, but the only way discriminatory business practices ever change is by raising public awareness about them--particularly when there are probably pressure groups on the other side pushing hard the other way.

    The landmark civil rights cases I'm aware of concerned customers, then later employees. Vendors are obviously in a different legal situation, but that's partly because what rights vendors may or may not have hasn't been litigated, at least not to my knowledge.

    Notice that Playster is excluding content based on LGBT material but not saying that's what it's doing. That could mean Playster is trying to pull a fast one and doesn't want to get sued for discrimination. If that weren't the case, why not say what they are really doing? Dropping LGBT content is eventually going to lose that audience, anyway, so it isn't concern about customer backlash.

    I would imagine we all agree that a book store could say no to a particular genre if it wanted to. Erotica would be a good example. Bookstores sometimes also exist to cater to a particular religious or political ideology or even to specific interest. There's nothing wrong with that, either. Eliminating all books with LGBT characters and relationships, regardless of genre, from a general book store, is an entirely different situation.

    I wish I were wide, so I could pull my books my Playster. I'd also suggest D2D drop Playster from its vendor list, though I can see why D2D might not.
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    Offline Elizabeth Barone

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    Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction
    « Reply #19 on: September 02, 2017, 10:18:50 am »
    Exactly. Just so you have a preponderance of evidence that it's an intentional act against LGBT books and not that there is some other commonality that may be involved. Doing due diligence and not just conclusion-jumping. By which I don't mean that the conclusion is wrong! Just that the media will want to be sure there's something there. You probably have enough here even to broach them, and then let their investigative reporters take it from here, if they're interested in the story. If not, THEN you'll want to regroup and take on the challenge of doing that deep-dive investigation yourself.

    Sounds like a plan.

    I'm not usually a torches-and-pitchforks kind of guy, but the only way discriminatory business practices ever change is by raising public awareness about them--particularly when there are probably pressure groups on the other side pushing hard the other way.

    The landmark civil rights cases I'm aware of concerned customers, then later employees. Vendors are obviously in a different legal situation, but that's partly because what rights vendors may or may not have hasn't been litigated, at least not to my knowledge.

    Notice that Playster is excluding content based on LGBT material but not saying that's what it's doing. That could mean Playster is trying to pull a fast one and doesn't want to get sued for discrimination. If that weren't the case, why not say what they are really doing? Dropping LGBT content is eventually going to lose that audience, anyway, so it isn't concern about customer backlash.

    I would imagine we all agree that a book store could say no to a particular genre if it wanted to. Erotica would be a good example. Bookstores sometimes also exist to cater to a particular religious or political ideology or even to specific interest. There's nothing wrong with that, either. Eliminating all books with LGBT characters and relationships, regardless of genre, from a general book store, is an entirely different situation.

    I wish I were wide, so I could pull my books my Playster. I'd also suggest D2D drop Playster from its vendor list, though I can see why D2D might not.

    You said it better than I could've.

    Sure, they have a right to reject whatever content they want to. The problem here is, they're only rejecting LGBT+ fiction -- some of which they'd already accepted. Hetero fiction has remained on their marketplace.

    That's not okay, and I'm not going to sit quietly. People need to know that this is happening. They can draw their own conclusions and make their own decisions as to whether they want to continue to do business with a place like Playster. I'm not looking to tar and feather Playster, but I am going to speak up for myself and others.
    . . .

    Offline RandomThings

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    Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction
    « Reply #20 on: September 02, 2017, 10:53:34 am »
    Nope. As has been pointed out before, it is discriminatory if they say they are pulling LGBT because they believe that their particular deity frowns upon it. It is not discriminatory for a business to decide that they want to target groups of people who have a deity that gets it's panties in a bunch over LGBT fiction. As long as they just say, "we don't want to sell it anymore," then it is entirely their choice as a business to do so.

    By all means, make people aware. Send out a message saying that if you want to buy or sell LGBT works, you can't do it here. That won't happen though because as we already see here, people are talking about going to the press and raising a stink on social media. Before you know it, this whole thing will be a constant attack on a business merely because they choose not to sell a certain type of fiction.

    The minute, heck the second, they come out and say they won't sell it on their site because it's those dirty gay cooties, then I will light all the torches you want and sharpen every pitchfork I can find. Until that happens though, as a private company, they can choose to sell or not sell whatever they like and we have no reason to get all wound up about it.

    They are the ones missing out on making money as far as I can see, but they might be able to look at their numbers and say that the number of emails they get saying someone won't buy from them because of LGBT books is more than the number of people buying LGBT books. We don't know the reason for the decision and getting everyone riled up about this as it stands is just plain wrong.

    Offline Becca Mills

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    Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction
    « Reply #21 on: September 02, 2017, 11:29:02 am »
    If you're sufficiently bestirred, let us know so we can reblog and tweet it.

    Here you go, Mark: https://the-active-voice.com/2017/09/02/is-playster-rejecting-lgbt-books/

    Thanks! :)

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    Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction
    « Reply #22 on: September 02, 2017, 11:33:52 am »
    Nope. As has been pointed out before, it is discriminatory if they say they are pulling LGBT because they believe that their particular deity frowns upon it. It is not discriminatory for a business to decide that they want to target groups of people who have a deity that gets it's panties in a bunch over LGBT fiction. As long as they just say, "we don't want to sell it anymore," then it is entirely their choice as a business to do so.

    By all means, make people aware. Send out a message saying that if you want to buy or sell LGBT works, you can't do it here. That won't happen though because as we already see here, people are talking about going to the press and raising a stink on social media. Before you know it, this whole thing will be a constant attack on a business merely because they choose not to sell a certain type of fiction.

    The minute, heck the second, they come out and say they won't sell it on their site because it's those dirty gay cooties, then I will light all the torches you want and sharpen every pitchfork I can find. Until that happens though, as a private company, they can choose to sell or not sell whatever they like and we have no reason to get all wound up about it.

    They are the ones missing out on making money as far as I can see, but they might be able to look at their numbers and say that the number of emails they get saying someone won't buy from them because of LGBT books is more than the number of people buying LGBT books. We don't know the reason for the decision and getting everyone riled up about this as it stands is just plain wrong.

    IMO, doing what they seem to be doing is a lot worse than just out-and-out saying they don't accept those books. Doing it the way they are, it's like having their cake and eating it too. They deserve to be called out for it so people know.

    Offline RandomThings

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    Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction
    « Reply #23 on: September 02, 2017, 11:47:27 am »
    They have a half dozen books tagged as LGBT and several music sets specifically labelled as part of Pride. Not a huge selection, but clearly they still have something up so you can't really say they are targeting everything related to the LGBT crowd.

    I have an online store through my facebook where I list all my works (LGBT and otherwise) and a number of other authors too. Now, if I looked at the numbers and saw that the main demographic to my store was the type to buy only the non-lgbt stuff, I would de-list it all and fill the space with more non-lgbt books. I would have a link somewhere on my author page telling you where you can buy the lgbt stuff, but it would be a business decision that benefited me. This company can do the same thing.

    The only thing they need to take a moment to do is to ensure their TOS state explicitly what content they are willing to sell and ensure their site complies with that. You can't force people to sell your work. They are providing a service and if they choose to remove every single book with a red head on the cover without debating it with the authors, they can do that. So long as they do not come out and say, "We're dumping all books with redheads because we find them icky," they are not doing anything wrong.

    What exactly do people want to come from this? A business to shut down or to be forced to list the books you say they should list?

    Offline Becca Mills

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    Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction
    « Reply #24 on: September 02, 2017, 11:50:37 am »
    The minute, heck the second, they come out and say they won't sell it on their site because it's those dirty gay cooties, then I will light all the torches you want and sharpen every pitchfork I can find. Until that happens though, as a private company, they can choose to sell or not sell whatever they like and we have no reason to get all wound up about it.

    Sometimes companies only admit they won't sell something because of "those dirty gay cooties" when they get called on it and have to make a choice to 1) be publicly honest about their practices, so that consumers can make informed choices, or 2) changing their practices. Until they're called on it, they try to have it both ways -- say nothing that sounds discriminatory so as not to push away Group A while hoping word quietly gets out within Group B that this is a site where their kids can't get a hold of LGBT+ content. I don't think we know yet whether Playster is actually trying to play both sides of the fence like that, but the only way to find out is to shed some light on the situation and see what the company says.

    If you made me guess right now, I'd say this will turn out to be a dumb decision made by someone pretty far down Playster's food chain. I don't see any sign in the company's web presence that it's trying to focus on a very conservative market segment. Rather, all their imagery is young, young, young, and today's young folks support LGBT rights in very substantial majorities here in the U.S. If they've made a high-level choice to exclude LGBT+ books, well, it seems weird and self-sabotaging.

    ETA:

    What exactly do people want to come from this?

    Speaking just for myself, a clear public position, so that authors and readers can make informed choices.
    « Last Edit: September 02, 2017, 11:53:17 am by Becca Mills »

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