Fake Names & Brownface: Why Queer Fantasy Author “Taylor Barton” Has Been Accused of Catfishing
Writer Taylor Barton (a.k.a. Taylor Brooke or Brooklyn Ray) was accused of racism and bullying in June of 2020. When new Latinx author Jupiter Wyse appeared on the scene this year, eagle-eyed fans uncovered a new and disturbing piece of the story.
Who is Taylor Barton?
Taylor B. Barton is the trans author of The Ninth Life and other books with queer and fantastical themes. They also wrote and published several science fiction books using their middle name, Taylor Brooke. Under the name Brooklyn Ray, they published queer paranormal romance and erotica. Taylor B. Barton, Taylor Brooke, and Brooklyn Ray—are the same person writing under different pen names.
Accusations Plague the Author
In June of 2020, a series of accusations against Taylor B. Barton surfaced. Multiple Twitter users came forward to share their personal experiences of being bullied or mistreated by Barton. Several claimed that Barton had said or done things that made them feel persecuted because of their race or gender identity.
After claims of racism, bullying, and other questionable behavior, Taylor posted an apology and promised change.
Their original apology post has since been deleted, but screenshots are still available:
Following that apology, Barton said they would be leaving Twitter and encouraged individuals who felt harmed by them to reach out directly.
Many found the choice of donation to The Trevor Project, an LGBTQ+ charity, particularly tone-deaf in response to racism claims.
Barton later clarified that they would also be donating royalties from their book Full Moon in Leo to Black Visions Collective.
Unfortunately, as a result of these accusations, publishers announced that they would stop publishing both The Ninth Life and Full Moon in Leo, meaning there will be no future earnings to donate. Barton was also dropped by their agent.
A Twitter Meltdown
After receiving negative reactions to their apology post and being dropped by their multiple publishers, Barton took to their alternate Twitter account (under the Brooklyn Ray pen name) to go on a drawn-out rant in which they aggressively engaged with their detractors.
Barton called out other trans authors Ray Stoeve and Aiden Thomas, who they claim engaged in and encouraged their bullying behaviors.
Despite the previous apology, Barton insisted they had done nothing wrong and repeatedly demanded proof from their alleged victims. They even admitted that they only posted the original apology because they were told to by their publishing team.
In an apparent appeal to sympathy, Barton said that they were "just trying to pay [their] bills", implying that the loss of their career would affect their health and wellbeing. They went on to claim, "I have literally nothing left."
Barton posted private DMs between themself and other authors in an attempt to prove their point, but many saw it as a technique to threaten and ultimately suppress their critics. They also threatened to sue some of the individuals who spoke out against them.
After eventually deleting several accounts and dropping off social media, it seemed the literary community had seen the last of Taylor Barton and her pen names.
Enter Jupiter Wyse
So who is Jupiter Wyse? Well, when recent “newcomer” Jupiter Wyse was paired with a literary agent for a new book, a few clever lit fans started to dig up evidence that Jupiter was, in fact, the same person as Taylor/Brooke.
Comparisons of astrological charts, Christmas trees, and home decor by an anonymous user made a solid argument that the same individual was behind the different names.
In addition to still being criticized for previous bad behavior, the author’s use of the Jupiter identity came with new major problems —mainly that Jupiter claims to be Latinx and the real author, Taylor, is white.
Coopting a Racial Identity
In several posts, Jupiter Wyse specifically claims to be Latinx.
They also participated in a Twitter pitch event intended exclusively for Latinx authors seeking agents.
In a previous bio, they identified as "qtpoc", which typically means "queer, trans, person of color."
Ironically, they devoted one thread to discussing diversity in paranormal books, saying that the paranormal genre has been "whitewashed" and "your white clients got the chance. now make room for us."
They also used exclusively dark-skinned emojis, chose a darker-skinned avatar, referred to themselves as a “brujo”, and post content that further implied they were culturally Latinx (like a shot of Abuelita hot chocolate and a photo of their face obscured by a sugar skull bandana).
Wyse was also co-writing a book about immigration and Latinx culture with another writer who is of genuine Latinx identity.
Coopting this identity felt especially offensive to those who already saw Barton as racist and now saw that she was taking opportunities intended for Latinx people.
More Fallout for Barton/Wyse
Jupiter Wyse’s agent, Tara Gilbert, says that she was lied to about the author’s identity and even their publishing history. In a Twitter post, she explained that she no longer represents Wyse.
Maybe the most interesting context came from Jupiter Wyse prior to the controversy.
This certainly seems to be the end of Jupiter Wyse, but it's unknown yet if we will eventually hear from Wyse, Barton, Ray, or yet another incarnation of the author in the future.
Have you been following the drama behind Jupiter Wyse or Taylor Barton? Have we missed any details? Tell us in the comments...