Literary Agent Gets Cancelled, Fires Her Whole Staff

Marisa Corvisiero didn’t want them “caught in the crossfire.”

Literary Twitter has responded in all manner of ways to the death of George Floyd and to the subsequent nationwide outrage. Anti-racist book lists abound, black-owned bookstores get great press, and people continue to call out the publishing industry for racism. Most recent is Marisa Corvisiero, founder and agent at Corvisiero Literary Agency, an NYC-based boutique agency whose clients include Maze Runner author James Dashner, who publisher Penguin Randomhouse dropped in 2018 over allegations of sexual misconduct.

“Make your point, take a stand, and don’t hurt other people or damage property in the process,” said Corvisiero yesterday in a now-deleted tweet. “No violence is acceptable ever. The whole point is to be heard and seen to help make things better.”

In response to this statement and to the agency’s representation of Dashner, many members of Corvisiero’s staff resigned this week. And if things ended there, this wouldn’t be news. Instead, Corvisiero doubled down by firing her remaining staffers. 

“Given the negative attention my tweet yesterday about protesting peacefully has garnered, I  think that it is better if we all part ways,” she said in a leaked email to her remaining staff. “I have owned up to my comments and clarified my position as well as apologized for its incorrectness, but in today’s atmosphere that is not enough. I don’t want you all to get caught in the crossfire.”

“I left Corvisiero as of Monday (prior to the news below) because I didn’t agree with Marisa’s representation of Dashner. After the ordeal mentioned below [in the leaked email], it only solidified my feelings,” said agent Tara Gilbert in a tweet. The former staff has also responded to the authors they represented in a joint statement, linked here in full.

“This right here is an asshole. She’s done her staff a favor, frankly, tho I hope they sue the shit out of her for wrongful termination,” said writer N.K. Jemisin in a tweet. “May her clients find a better agent ASAP.”

 

Katie Smith

Katie Smith is a Philadelphia-based writer. Find her on Instagram @saddy_yankee for cat pics.

19 thoughts on “Literary Agent Gets Cancelled, Fires Her Whole Staff

  • June 5, 2020 at 3:22 pm
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    What exactly was incorrect or offensive about her tweet? People shouldn’t lose their careers because they expressed a well meaning mainstream point of view. I’m not sure why she fired everyone though. Perhaps the firm was having financial problems already due to the virus etc.

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    • June 5, 2020 at 9:26 pm
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      Wow, a comment that actually includes a logical statement. Are you married?

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    • June 6, 2020 at 12:54 am
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      Exactly my thoughts too, Freddie Bicknese. What is protested by destroying and burning stores serving their communities and providing jobs, therein…except to “score” looted goods for your own heartless self? And how does beating and murdering innocent people who have caused no harm to anyone help protest violence against innocents?! To the extreme contrary, the only thing all this destruction and violence does… is champion, glorify and promote destruction and violence! I applaud her on her tweet which she should never have deleted but should have stood behind…because she is absolutely correct!

      Reply
    • June 6, 2020 at 2:42 am
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      When you see a man get killed while doing nothing wrong. A woman get killed while playing video games with her nephew, A child get killed while walking home…(it goes on) all while being law abiding, you don’t get to tell people how to grieve. You don’t get to place a limit on how they react. Kneeling at football games is a problem. Not standing for the anthem is a problem. Everyone has a problem with how peaceful protests occur while black people are killed by the police. While there are many people peacefully protesting, there is no attempt to try to understand what people are feeling as we endure it again. She seems outraged by property damage but not by murder.

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      • June 7, 2020 at 11:01 am
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        Andrea, when you see these horrible things, that are evil, you are then justified in looting, robbing, and even murder?

        I think the black retired police captain who was murdered by cowards would vehemently disagree with you. So would all the people who spent a lifetime building a business to provide for their families, only to be destroyed by out of control anarchists.

        What happened to Floyd and others and others was terrible and must be stopped. However, rewarding evil for evil will change nothing.

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      • June 10, 2020 at 6:29 pm
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        Andrea,

        People have been killed — this is not just about property.

        Yes, something went horribly wrong when George Floyd was killed, and, yes, it goes beyond Derek Chauvin alone. There is something wrong with policing in the USA.

        But to condone the looting, arson, and murder in response makes you just as guilty as the three cops who did not stop Derek Chauvin.

        Corivisiero did the right thing. People like you who condemn her are just as guilty as the three cops who failed to stop Chauvin.

        Dave Miller in Sacramento

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    • June 6, 2020 at 6:16 am
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      What was offensive is that black people have asked every which way to be treated as human beings. Peacefully, in writing, in demonstrations, lobbying, sit ins, boycotts, petitions, enlisting in the armed forces to defend the nation’s interests, and also in violent protests. And still we’re likely to be locked up and or killed over minor infractions. Her tweet ignores the senseless loss of George Lloyd’s life. It doesn’t address the violence perpetuated on black lives, or that George Lloyd’s murderer and his accomplices walked free for 4 days. It doesn’t address that the black community and Lloyd’s family were supposed to be appeased with the officers only losing their jobs as penalty.

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    • June 6, 2020 at 9:36 am
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      Diversity is Hatred
      Cultural Appropriation bans are ignorance
      Social Justice is unfair!

      Unity is Love
      Cultural Sharing is Understanding
      Blind Justice is Equality

      Reject Wokeness, reject violent mobs, reject the toxic identitarian trash fire that is Twitter!

      Reply
  • June 6, 2020 at 2:43 am
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    I published a public prayer for George Floyd on Amazon KDP under the title A Prayer for George Floyd. I kept getting harassing and badgering emails from a Doreen G telling me to remove the ebook or be fired and not paid. Amazon and Jeff Bezos closed my account and put it in writing that they will never pay me the royalties I earned. So Jeff Bezos is a crook. This explains how he became rich.

    Reply
  • June 6, 2020 at 2:45 am
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    I don’t know why she fired everyone though. I see why people left but firing everyone? I would she would want to keep those that stood by her.

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  • June 6, 2020 at 2:55 am
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    Her comments are fair, reasonable, and non-offensive. Accordingly, her termination is not justifiable. She should sue under a 1st amendment violation.

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    • June 6, 2020 at 3:29 pm
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      Under the Constitution, only the government can violate your right to free speech.

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      • June 10, 2020 at 6:35 pm
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        Steve,

        Under California law, an employer cannot fire you for political speech.

        We can argue over whether it is a good law — a consistent libertarian would say it is interference with private enterprise — but out here it is the law.

        Of course, this is not relevant to Corvisiero’s case.

        Dave Miller in Sacramento

        Reply
        • June 10, 2020 at 9:23 pm
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          While the piece just touched on this, I believe that there was a long history of complaints and general dissatisfaction with the agency. The tweet was just the final straw during the most heated moment imaginable.

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    • June 8, 2020 at 4:15 pm
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      Who is she suing in this scenario? She fired other people for criticizing her “everyone just be polite” stance. Are you saying the people who were fired for being critical should sue HER?

      Reply
  • June 6, 2020 at 6:03 am
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    God I can use an agent.im trying to sell the rights to my first book: The ThangThat Ate My Grandaddy’s Dog. Check out my Facebook page.

    Reply
  • June 6, 2020 at 6:29 am
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    as a general rule,protest always starts out peaceful.then they meet the resistance of whatever or whoever they’re protesting.i can’t help but think of the old Buffalo Springfield song For What It’s Worth.(there’s something happening here).Yeah. The Times (to quote Dylan)They Are A-CHANGING!

    Reply
  • June 6, 2020 at 11:16 am
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    Thanks for the interesting discussion, everyone. Welcome to Book and Film Globe!

    Reply

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