Victoria Bitter (victoriabitter) wrote in bitofearth,
Victoria Bitter

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To Whom It May Concern

It is the policy of to maintain our site with the utmost attitude of respect towards Sean Astin, Peter Jackson, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the other talented men and women who have given us such pleasure through their time and effort. This policy, we hope, is reflected throughout the site, both in the material we choose to publish and that which we do not, but as a fan community, we are reflected by our membership as much as, if not more than, by the site itself.

Unfortunately, it would appear that this respect is not shared by all, and we were greatly disheartened to see the recent article written by Bit of Earth member MsAllegro (a.k.a. Shawna Wells). While this article most directly concerns Elijah Wood, not Sean Astin, we believe that the actors have made it extremely clear that they are deeply connected to one another in a beautiful example of real-life Fellowship, and any individual showing such blatant disrespect to one member of the Fellowship by extension disrespects them all, as well as giving us no reason to believe she would refrain from creating a similar essay concerning Mr. Astin. has confronted the issue of character and actor sexuality before, and once again, we will re-iterate our stance. "Slash" or homoerotic fan fiction, as it concerns only the fan writer's interpretation of the character of Samwise Gamgee, is neither encouraged nor discouraged by, but merely accepted with appropriate warnings under a neutral administrative opinion. RPS, or Real Person Slash, however, is not accepted by, as we feel that it runs contrary to what we perceive to be a respectful attitude towards Mr. Astin's clearly loving and devoted marriage, as well as infringing on the personal life of the actor(s). It must be said, however, that RPS, regardless of whether we personally may disagree with it, is disclaimed as fiction, and while we do not allow it on the site, we do allow shared links with sites which may contain RPS, and do not attempt to forbid our members from being active in the RPS community.

This said, we feel that MsAllegro's article crosses a line of decency and respect well beyond that of RPS. She presents a selection of gossip, rumour, blind items (from sites with such names as and subjective observations, and then attempts to thus demonstrate her opinion about the actor's personal sexual orientation to be fact, or at the very least, a strongly supported probability. This, in our opinion, skates dangerously near the edges of slander. maintains no position regarding the sexual orientation of any individual, and personally, the administrative staff could not care less whether Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, or anyone else is gay, straight, bisexual, asexual, or omnisexual so long as they are happy, but we also believe that simply by sharing their talents with us in a public media, they grant us no permission, explicit or implicit, to make claims about their personal lives.

MsAllegro has, we regret to say, crossed that line of respect in the view of the BitofEarth list owner and webmistress, and we feel we have no choice in good conscience but to withdraw our association with her. Due to her financial generosity in establishing our webhosting, we will retain her name on the Credits and Contributors page, but we will no longer maintain any links to or receive images from the Bag End Inn, nor will we continue to host any essays or creative works by MsAllegro (unless they are jointly credited to other authors). This is not a matter for debate. If, perhaps, she chooses to withdraw to a more respectful position concerning the actor's personal lives, we would happily welcome her back as an appreciative fan of Lord of the Rings and Sam Gamgee, but for now, we must part ways.

The Administrative Staff of
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