In an article in Vox titled “Bad Romance”, Constance Grady (staff writer on cultural issues) talks about the long simmering issues in the world of romance publishing that have come to a head over these past few months:

… For years, the Romance Writers of America members of color had felt stigma and hostility … they’d felt unwanted, disrespected, or simply shut out. So had the queer members, and the poly members, and everyone else who didn’t quite fit into the traditional romance mold. And in December 2019, all those years of slights, of aggressions both micro and macro, of implicit and explicit bias, would finally become impossible to ignore.

RWA imploded in a spectacular public meltdown, an imbroglio that led to the resignation of the president, executive director, and, eventually, the entire board. It was a wildly convoluted controversy that involved secret backroom committees, public denunciations, and no small amount of schadenfreude from popcorn-munching onlookers in publishing and media.

There’s an unkind stereotype that romance novels are for sex-starved spinsters with too many cats. So to those observing on social media, the spectacle of one romance figure after another toppling like dominoes appeared to be coming out of nowhere. “Who knew that romance novelists were so wild?” was the general response. But the chaos was the culmination of a long-simmering culture war within the insular world of romance publishing, one that played out for years through microaggressions, attempts to censor queer authors and storylines, and the refusal to recognize the work of authors of color…