I regularly receive requests from people asking me to link from this site to their sites. More recently, the demands have at times been the opposite: people are sending me e-mails asking for removal of links from this site to their sites. I refuse in both cases. The reason is simple: all the links on this site are editorial. I have added links exercising my editorial discretion, and while I use AdSense, I have not placed a link on this site in exchange for something, whether money, favours, or for a link in return in the main textual content of the site. In other words, I stand by my editorial decision to include links on my pages, and equally, I shall not be removing links, since they are editorially chosen and justified.
The vaguely threatening e-mails are the worst, telling me that keeping this or that link on this site to their site will result in this site being penalized. This site does not have a manual penalty imposed by Google, and it has not been affected by any of the black-and-white animals as far as I am aware. Their sites may be under penalty, but I have no idea. If they are worried about an outgoing link from this site, then they are free to add this site to their disavow list. If necessary, they can even point to this page, and tell Google that the webmaster of the site has stubbornly refused to remove the link despite an outreach and a good-faith effort.
This is an ego-site, in the sense that it is a one-person operation, written by and from the perspective of the first person singular, and if people are asking about link removal from this site, then they must be in desperate straits.