For anyone who has been hurt by Santino Hassell, I’m sorry. I’m so very sorry. It breaks my heart to read the accounts of victims. I had no idea this behavior happened/was happening, and I don’t condone it in any way. I’m sorry if my initial statements didn’t express this accurately, as I hadn’t realized the scope of the accusations at the time.
From the time I met him online, I believed what he told me, that he was a bi man who wrote books, and I never doubted that, as I had no reason to. I befriended a person I was told was his roommate. I know some people have been asking me, how can you know for sure he was the one you co-wrote with? And I can’t be sure. We never wrote in the same room, but we lived in different time zones, and never had a reason to write in each other’s presence. Who he was in person matched who I talked to online. I’ve been looking back at all our interactions and I’m only left more confused. Some people have asked me if I tried to piece together things he told me. I took most of what he told me as fact and tried my best to respect his privacy. He was my friend. Our friendship was built around writing and books and talking about our daily lives, not rehashing our histories. I want to say that I one hundred percent never lied for him in an effort to deceive anyone.
I’m sorry if my actions in defending him led to the silencing of victims in any way. That was never my intention, but I know intention doesn’t matter here. I was aggressive sometimes at those accusing him, and I blocked accounts, because I genuinely feared for his safety, and even mine as well. Now I look back and see a lot of this was me being gaslit and in turn gaslighting others. This is one of my biggest regrets and thing i’m most sorry for.
I’m sorry to the authors and publishing professionals who I introduced him too. Knowing I might have broken the trust of some of my peers kills me. I’m sorry to my readers–I know many of you are conflicted and that breaks my heart. You mean so much to me, and I can’t thank the readers enough who have stuck by me.
All I can say is that for three years I believed one thing to be true, and it’s not easy to accept in a snap that all of that is not true. I hope I can be afforded some time to come to terms that I was victimized as well. I wasn’t the only one duped, as the accounts of things he’s done is long. Which I’ve only learned the truth of in the last few days.
I will be removing the four Cyberlove books from publication on all platforms as soon as possible. I will still write and publish books, because that’s what’s in my heart, and what I love to do.
If you read all of this, thank you.