Author and “zipless fuck” pioneer Erica Jong is seventy years old now, and her brand of feminism looks a bit naive in perspective, but it’s nice to read her priorities are still in good order. Here she is calling out the greedy, ideological shapeshifter Arianna Huffington for refusing to pay all those writers who helped make her online publication such a lucrative venture:
The idea that everybody’s writing for free is hurting writing as a profession. I wrote many articles for Arianna when she was establishing her aggregator blog and attracting all those eyeballs.
When she got $300m from the AOL acquisition, I said, ‘OK, Arianna, we all helped you get there so now you’re going to pay writers.’ She said, ‘No, I pay my editors.’ I’ve known Arianna for years…
I knew her when she was anti-feminist. I knew her when she was right wing. I knew her when she turned left wing. We promoted our first books together in the UK a million years ago… I admire her energy. She can be very interesting and she’s very clever.
But ‘there is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women,’ as Madeleine Albright once said. Artists who turncoat and exploit other artists — I have no words.
Arianna ditched the writers soon enough. That hurts… Now authors are blogging everywhere for free, and it’s not a good development. They are starving.
I care about artists — the oxygen of society. Suppress them and you asphyxiate discussion and change. Arianna was a writer once… She forgot her origins… We need to be paid! We cannot barter poems for food…
Clarification: I never gave Huffington any freebies and I’m not posting this because of a personal grudge. I just think it’s important for writers to call out con artists whenever their names come up.