After a horror and sci-fi podcast aired shocking accusations against Borderlands owner Alan Beatts, the local press has confirmed these charges from the alleged victims who made them, his daughter and ex-girlfriend.
There may be some buyer’s remorse today for those of you who helped crowdfund the survival of 23-year-old genre bookshop Borderlands Books, after it faced imminent closure in 2015. A podcast recorded last week aired some profoundly disturbing secondhand allegations against Borderlands owner Alan Beatts, which included accusations of a forcible attempt to have sex with his own daughter in 2012 (she was 19 at the time), and a violent assault of Beatts’ girlfriend at knifepoint in 2016. These stories have been making the rounds on social media over the least seven days, but today Mission Local got firsthand confirmation of both women's stories, including the sexual assault and domestic violence allegations that were lodged in their name against him.
The news stories on tonight's podcast will be upsetting to some. No shame if you have to turn us off, or skip ahead to an excellent discussion with @katiesmovies & @Nick_Hanover about the toll reporting on pop culture sexual misconduct has on journalists. https://t.co/KZpdp0V4pC— BrianKeene (@BrianKeene) July 2, 2020
The rumors started swirling after a July 2 podcast called The Horror Show With Brian Keene dedicated an entire two-hour episode to reporting on sexual assault in the horror and science fiction literature sector. They begin discussing the allegations against Beatts at the 1:02:30 mark, and a verbatim transcript of the conversation is available to view on Google Drive. People, it goes without saying that these allegations of incest and drunken assault with a knife are going to be difficult to read.
Friends, my childhood friend is speaking out against a predator in the genre book world. pic.twitter.com/HYmySTiBSh— Sarah Read (@Inkwellmonster) June 20, 2020
The above reference to “He tried his damndest to rape DoveStep Beatts” refers to his daughter. Alan Beatts himself declined to comment when reached by Mission Local, but that publication reached DoveStep, who did confirm the accuracy of the allegations made on the podcast.
The full, lurid account is on the podcast and in the transcript, but the overall gist is that “She alleges that her father tried to have sex with her after the 2012 San Francisco Pride parade. She was 19 years old at the time.”
The two apparently had a conversation about her interest in the Folsom Street Fair and BDSM culture, and things went sideways. “He finally came out and said it. ‘You realize I'm saying I would want to have sex with you,’” the daughter reportedly said. This escalated into a forcible attempt at sex with her back at her apartment, which the younger Beatts was ultimately able to physically struggle and talk her way out of the situation.
Borderlands was my home bookstore. I've launched and read there, and attended the launches and readings of others. Jude has always been great, and I've had some of the best moments of my life inside.— Meg Elison (@megelison) July 8, 2020
But I can't support Alan Beatts, so I am done supporting Borderlands. https://t.co/IrtHLbgAAZ
The second alleged victim is an ex-girlfriend who went to Mardi Gras with Beatts in 2016, and Mission Local directly confirmed that she too stands by every word of the story attributed to her. "Alan and I stayed out late bar-hopping. Alan ended up getting shitfaced. I was drunk but still alert and functional,” the woman who prefers to remain anonymous said, describing an encounter once she got him back to the hotel room at which they were staying. “When I leaned in to check on him, his eyes snapped open and he grabbed a handful of hair at the back of my head. He removed his large folding knife from his belt, snapped it open, and pressed it against my throat."
The woman describes a situation not unlike the one four years earlier with his daughter in which she had to calmly talk her way out of the situation after Beatts allegedly spent an extended period of time threatening her with the knife and discussing making her "bleed out."
“He started crying and I ended up soothing him until he stumbled to the bed and fell asleep,” she added in her account that was confirmed by Mission Local. “The next morning he claimed not to remember what had happened and said he wasn't ready to quit drinking."
Both the ex-girlfriend and the daughter say they are estranged from Beatts.
This is so awful. Borderlands has been my oasis, my community space, and the place where I've always held my San Francisco readings. But this...it's unconscionable. https://t.co/RfdiqbPf8q— Annalee "we are going to survive" Newitz (@Annaleen) July 9, 2020
The podcast hosts added that “The Horror Show heard from a third witness who spoke to us off the record and can verify some of these allegations.” They also note that “both of these women have told me, on the record, they don't want to ‘cancel’ Alan.” But the same cannot said for Borderlands Books’ upcoming virtual events, for which the participating authors are cancelling their own appearances.
Image: Andrew D. via Yelp