Horror Author Matt Shaw Had a Meltdown When a Reviewer Said He Couldn't Write Women Well

Matt Shaw has self-published hundreds of books, and now he's creating a different kind of drama. Here's what we know about his public meltdown.

Jennifer Tisdale - Author

Aug. 21 2023, Updated 3:57 p.m. ET

Matt Shaw and Hailey Hughes
Source: Instagram/@matt.shaw; Instagram/@haaileyaan

Matt Shaw and Hailey Hughes

The Gist:

  • Self-published author Matt Shaw is under fire for his response to a negative Goodreads review from a BookTuber and trauma therapist named Hailey Hughes.
  • He wrote a snarky dedication to Hailey on one of his books, uploaded a video ranting about how unfair her review was, and then took to his Facebook group to continue complaining about her.

Nothing is sacred or safe from toxic behavior, and that includes reading books. Tearing through a good piece of literature is so satisfying and is often equated with such cozy, joy-filled imagery. Who amongst us hasn't dreamt about reading in front of a roaring fire on a cold evening? Alas, we simply can't have anything nice. This beautiful corner of the world has been infiltrated by some truly baffling individuals.

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Hailey Hughes is a trauma therapist who, in her free time, makes "bookish videos like reading vlogs, reviews, wrap-ups, book hauls, and much more," per her YouTube Channel. In December 2022 she did a roundup of, in her opinion, the worst books she read that year. One of those was written by Matt Shaw, a self-published author in the extreme horror genre. When he got wind of this, Matt responded in a pretty alarming way. Here's the drama surrounding author Matt Shaw.

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The drama from author Matt Shaw all began with a review.

In Hailey's review of A Roll of The Dice, she initially praised Matt's concept, which involved a character living his life by rolling dice. The book is interactive is and is basically a "choose your own adventure for adults." You roll the dice and then flip to the corresponding page based on what comes up. Unfortunately, that proved to be pretty frustrating for Hailey, who often ended up rereading the same pages.

She was troubled the most by two things. First and foremost, the lack of plot and gore in a book that falls under the extreme horror umbrella. She said it also had "weird sexual themes" that involved bestiality with a pet that didn't serve a purpose. "I hate when I can hear an author's thoughts in real-time and it removes me from enjoying the fictional plot of a book," she said. "I have never run into this more than in the extreme horror genre."

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What she found the most disappointing about this book, and other extreme horror books by white male authors, is they don't seem to care about female, LGBTQ+, or POC readers. As a woman who is a member of the LGBTQ+ community, Hailey felt confident in speaking on this issue. Unfortunately, Matt did not take this review well — and what he did next is shocking.

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Matt Shaw dedicated a book to Hailey that he wrote after her review.

Matt Shaw's reaction to Hailey's video was documented in a lengthy Twitter thread by @exclusivePBL. In it they note that "In March 2023, Author Matt Shaw responded with his book Moist Gusset where he dedicates the book in the most disgusting and insulting way to Hailey. And then goes on to give his 'authors note' = POV." Evidently this book was Matt's attempt in writing from a woman's perspective, by way of insulting a woman. It only gets worse.

The introduction is grotesquely revealing, with Matt claiming that women love his writing, as evidenced by the numerous ladies who allegedly send him photos of themselves masturbating to sex scenes from his books. Matt goes on to say he is "good in bed" and describes how many "pumps" it took him to ejaculate while having sex with a recent partner. Joke or not, he could not be proving Hailey's point further. It's real Big Loser Energy.

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Source: Twitter/@exclusivePBL

He then uploaded a nearly seven-minute video to TikTok that he since deleted wherein Matt ranted about the "unfairness of the review," using the only thing he could: Hailey gave Moist Gusset a one-star review on Goodreads, citing the fact that she wasn't going to pay to read a book inspired by her knowing he skewed towards torture porn.

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Matt grasped onto the fact that Hailey didn't read the book dedicated to her and twisted it into an accusation, stating Hailey never reads the books she reviews. That's not true.

Predictably, Matt responded to Hailey's review on Goodreads with a rambling tome poem that ended in an invitation to "come and have a real discussion with me on a podcast anytime you would like to talk about the genre as a whole, and the readers who enjoy it (and dislike it)." Naturally, Hailey did not feel comfortable doing that.

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He then moved his attacks to his own Facebook group, where it's clear Matt has decided on a narrative and is operating from it. Once again he ignores why Hailey left a one-star review on a book she didn't read, and instead says she has lost all credibility as a reviewer for not reading a book first. His lack of self-awareness is shocking, as he has bashed this woman across several platforms but thinks Hailey is not credible.

After insulting her ad nauseam, Matt is confused by her lack of interest in going on some mysterious podcast to discuss the extreme horror genre. Instead he tries to frame this as Hailey not taking an olive branch he extended because she's so difficult. He also paints himself as the victim. It's giving DARVO — deny what you did, and attack the victim in an attempt to reverse the victim and offender.

Hailey is not engaging with Matt and only pops up to respond to his vitriol, which again, is repetitive and not rooted in fact. She has since recorded a two-part series addressing ethics in the extreme horror genre, and Matt has set his Twitter to private whilst regurgitating the same accusations on Facebook.

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