Reader warns Goodreads is deleting user reviews

@haileyannhughes/TikTok sdx15/Adobe Stock (Licensed)

‘On to StoryGraph I fear’: Reader gets ‘disgusting’ book written about her. She can’t believe Goodreads’ response

‘I’ve never used good reads but I’m with you girl. I won’t use them.’

 

Charlotte Colombo

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A BookToker has issued a PSA for readers after Goodreads removed her review of a “disgusting” book written about her.

In the clip, which has now amassed 875,700 views as of Saturday, Hailey Hughes (@haileyannhughes) called out the website for purportedly siding with author Matt Shaw and having “no interest in hearing [her] out or hearing [her] side of things.”

Matt Shaw, Hailey Hughes feud explained

Hughes and Shaw first clashed after the author got wind of her December 2022 review of his book, “A Roll Of The Dice.” While she praised the premise of the book, which involved a character making life choices based on rolling a dice, she said the plot overall was thin. She also expressed concern over “weird sexual themes” in the book, which involved mentions of bestiality. 

She said, “It felt like an 11-year-old boy learned that he could be turned on and then just started writing a book that made no sense because he’d read a few of those Choose Your Own Adventure books and wanted to be like that.”

In response, Shaw released “Moist Gusset”—a sexually explicit comedy that included a direct dedication to Hailey. “Evidently this book was Matt’s attempt in writing from a woman’s perspective, by way of insulting a woman,” Distractify journalist Jennifer Tisdale writes. “It only gets worse.”

Currently, “Moist Gusset” has an average 2.03-star rating, based on 325 Goodreads ratings. But these reviews, apparently, don’t tell the whole story. 

@haileyannhughes goodreads stands with matt shaw. all reciepts in the 20 min yt video linked in my bio #booktok #booktokfyp #bookrecs #bookreviewer #goodreads #horrortok #extremehorrorbooktok #booktokdrama #mattshawdrama ♬ original sound – hailz

Hughes calls out Goodreads

Hughes began the video calling for others to delete their Goodreads account because, she claims, the website has purportedly chosen to “stand with” Shaw. 

“If you don’t know who I am, I am the unfortunate reviewer who was attacked by an extreme horror author last August,” she said. “He pretty viciously attacked me across the internet, and dedicated a disgusting book [Moist Gusset] to me.”

She then went on to accuse Goodreads of removing not just her review of “Moist Gusset,” but a “ton” of others too. 

“Now, if you’ve never read the book, and you just read it at one star, you shouldn’t have done that to begin with,” she said. “But if you did read the book and give it a genuine review, you need to reach out to Goodreads support and let them know that they deleted your valid review.”

“Personally, I’ve been using StoryGraph to track my reading for the past three, three and a half years,” she added. “So I’m fine over there. And I encourage you to make an account there too because it is very clear where Goodreads stands.”

Shaw shares his side of the story

In an email to the Daily Dot, Shaw denied the allegations that Goodreads was “siding” with him in a feud he “has no interest in.” He claims he has tried his best to stay out of the “drama” and that he is the one being harassed by Hughes and her followers, not the other way around.

“The book was a satire romance written through the eyes of a woman, by a man and, until the hate campaign started against me, had positive reviews from people who saw the joke,” he wrote. “The person who the book was dedicated to decided to tell their followers I wrote torture porn about them (a lie) and have been stalking them (a lie).”

He continued how he has the book YouTuber [Hughes] blocked on every channel and referenced how she refused his invite to his podcast to talk about “how we can make people feel more safe within the community given they believe they’re NOT safe. This was met with ridicule.”

In regards to Goodreads deleting reviews, he claims it has nothing to do with him personally.

“Goodreads does have a policy in place that they do not allow fake reviews and a lot of the one-star reviews I received after that attack essentially said they haven’t read the book and won’t be reading it either but laughed at the fact they were giving me a ‘one-star review to cry about,’” he wrote.

He recalled Goodreads also removing one of his comments on the site when he invited Hughes on his podcast, stating, “Goodreads emailed me and stated the site is not for authors to engage with readers. The fact I am now being blamed, once again, is just someone stoking the fire to try and get more engagement and uproar.”

In the end, Shaw said, “No one should be telling other people what to write and who to read. We are all free to make our own choices. It is one thing to say you dislike something and recommend something you did like, but it is entirely different when you demand people fall into what you do and do not agree with. Unlike what others have said, this was never about receiving a negative review and everything to do with censorship and one person dictating what people can and cannot do.”

The Daily Dot reached out to Hughes via email and TikTok comment. We also reached out to Goodreads via email.

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