Hear me out. I know she’s wildly popular, almost to an “untouchable” point. For example, I bet some people won’t read this article all the way through yet will criticize me because I am fair game, but Mrs. Rachel Hollis isn’t. I don’t disagree with everything she does. I am not being a hater, and while I think my approach is vastly different, our messages are similar. I am glad she helps people live better lives. Like I say in my book though, “You are not for everyone,” and she is not for me.
These articles raise valid points. I don’t agree with every word of them, but I can see where the authors come from and think their perspectives are worth considering.
If I were simply one of the people who did not like Hollis, I would not bother writing about my issue with her. There are plenty of things and people I don’t like, but you won’t see me writing about them often, if at all. I will sometimes speak out on things I believe to be dangerous, misleading or unethical though.
This is one of those times.
I’m honestly afraid to. My blog isn’t huge like hers. I don’t have the resources and connections she does, and I certainly don’t have the social media following. All this leaves me vulnerable. But I need you all to know this truth.
Rachel Hollis steals other people’s work. She claims credit for quotes she did not author.
Speaking truth to power is risky. I know this isn’t politics or religion. I know it doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it is. If we allow #1 New York Times best-selling authors to plagiarize, creatives suffer. Aspiring writers are going to have their work stolen right from under them, because we, as a culture, have decided it’s okay. If you are popular enough you can get away with it.
I wish it weren’t true, but it is. She sometimes rephrases things, but even with that, it is not enough to say, “I see your idea and have expounded on it,” rather, she is profiting off of someone else’s work.
We can’t allow this. If you are a fan of hers, I want to ask you to call this to her attention. People have tried. I’ve casually observed the phenomenon for a few months now. On a few occasions, she has blatantly posted someone else’s quote and put her name on it (therein lies the problem). People call it to her attention, and inevitably, other people jump in and call that person a hater or a troll. There is a difference between hating on someone and calling them out for their mistakes.
I know that in this day and age, the internet is filled with #allthewords. I know it may seem like not a big deal, but it is. Imagine if I took credit for your hard work? Just like it would be wrong for me to put my name on photographs I didn’t take, it is wrong for Rachel Hollis to take credit for sayings she did not create.
Not only is she taking credit, but she is building her brand off other people’s work. She sells us motivation and encouragement using words other people penned. She preaches authenticity while earning money off other people’s ideas and words.
Why does she do this? I don’t think it matters, but I can’t help wondering. Is she worried her work wouldn’t be as helpful to her target audience if she didn’t plagiarize? She’s an author who has spent a long time on social media owned and her husband worked for Disney, so I am confident she knows a thing or two about ethical business practices. I don’t get it. It seems like the work of someone who doesn’t believe in their ability to succeed on their own.
You might think I am taking this too seriously. You might think it’s just some quotes, but it is so much more. As a writer, the thought of my words, which are often the pourings of my heart, being credited to someone else makes me feel sad. And helpless.
What is to stop other big name people from stealing work from creators? I’ve seen it in other industries, particularly graphic design, photography and writing. It is easy to steal images and quotes, slap your logo on them. Back in 2015, a friend of a friend had photographs of her cakes stolen and used by a very well-known baker. I was upset then, and I’m upset now. I spoke out then and I’m speaking out now.
I am no one special. I mean, I’m special and worthy and I love myself, blah blah blah, but I am not any kind of internet star, and I realize the likelihood of the below scenario happening is zilch, but bear with me.
Imagine if Rachel Hollis found this post. And subsequently, found my blog and/or my book. Now, imagine she liked one of my quotes enough to want to take it. The next thing you know, she gets credit for my work, and it robs me of the ability to get the credit back. Because again, she has wealth, fame and connections that I don’t. How would a little writer with a big dream compete with someone who has PR firm and hundreds of thousands of loyal fans? In short: I couldn’t.
We cannot be okay with such blatant plagiarism. We would suffer consequences if we plagiarized papers in school. We can’t let someone openly engage in unethical and, sometimes, downright illegal practices, no matter how much we like them.
Again, please don’t mistake this for ill will, pettiness or jealousy- all of which I am capable of and will admit when it is true. I was jealous of Jen Hatmaker when I first heard of her. There, I said it. Now please don’t label me a hater just because I am posting a valid critique of someone.
Like Jen Hatmaker and Rachel Hollis do, I want to make a living off the content I create. I want Rachel Hollis to make a living off her content. Hers. Not Jim Rhon’s. Not Robin Sharma’s. Not Kobi Yamada’s. Not yours. Not mine.
I challenge Rachel Hollis fans to encourage her to give credit where credit is due. She can still share the phrases, but ethics and decency say you should at least cite the originator of those sayings. If she does, you will benefit. The message of self-love and wholehearted living has been around for generations, and we have plenty of people sharing a similar message. Wouldn’t it be good for you to know more of those people?
Sometimes, she doesn’t claim credit but doesn’t give credit to the author, which is also against the industry norms. If I read something amazing from another writer or blogger, I will share it, but you will know where it came from.
What’s most ironic about all this is I’m quite certain she would tell you to stand up for yourself if someone else was claiming credit for your hard work because girl, you are worth it.