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In July 2009, Realms of Fantasy magazine published its first edition under new management. The cover featured a fish-woman with bare breasts (but no nipples). SF author K. Tempest Bradford spoke to the editors about this at a party (report on her blog), asking whether the new management would also have naked men on the cover sometimes. Defensive responses, etc, ensued. Bradford posted a parody cover created by one of her commenters, which mentioned Harlan Ellison in a negative light.

Ellison lashed out directly at Bradford, with ad hominem attacks and racist comments such as:

For those of you who lust to box the ears of the Terminally Moronic whose pustulent idiocy has made the internet a plague-spa, one of my casual friends has pased along the name of the looneytune who started this whole "REALMS OF FANTASY-Ellison is a sexist" offensiveness.
Her name is Kay Tempest Bradford.
And she has a blog, I guess.
She has dummied-up a truly insulting mock-cover of REALMS that is intended to be offensive to anyone who values my sixty years' work. Now: watch your step. She is apparently a Woman of Color (which REALLY makes me want to bee-atch-slap her, being the guy who discovered and encouraged one of the finest writers and Women of Color who ever lived, my friend, the recently-deceased Octavia Estelle Butler). And she plays that card endlessly, which is supposed to exorcise anyone suggesting she is a badmouth ignoramus, or even a NWA. Ooooh, did I say that?
Well, folks, if you'd like to give this termagant a taste of her own approbrium, you got the Public Name in a Public Place, so have at it. Even those of you who are Merely Women, or even Women of Cuhluh.
Hey, Kay, mama, y'wanna get into it with me, bring it swineherd!
Yr. Pal, Harlan

Various people took him to task for this, and he apologised. Tempest accepted his apology. However, other parties were critical of the apology.


Phase 1: original discussion of Realms of Fire cover

Phase 2: Harlan Ellison Backlash