Why Do We Keep Talking About Creeps and Abusers?

(TRIGGER WARNING)

Because The Patriarchy List Keeps Growing – updates made when possible

Updated as of June 26, 2020

The Mary Sue was at one time keeping a list of comic predators. Since 2017, there have been more plus people have been openly sharing stories from many years ago. There’s a perception that when meeting at large gatherings in public, like “Barcon” or inside the conventions, classrooms, offices – that people are safe. The thinking is: who would be so bold as to harass someone right in front of witness? And this thinking feeds into the trolls who afterwards would demand “evidence” when they don’t believe a victim about what happened.

If you don’t need the details about The Patriarchy List or examples of backlash from the trolls, skip ahead to the much more succinct post about action you can take to help out.

Creator M.M. Schill tweeted how blatant some predators are. She gave specific examples of things that have happened to her. Being in public isn’t to blame, nor is it safe. A female writer at Ubisoft went on to briefly explain how a man tried to ply her with drinks to the point where she was hiding them around the room.

Apparently age doesn’t matter at all to of the predators in entertainment, but we knew that from people like Bryan Singer and other outed celeb pedophiles. Gross comments are things that are rampant when someone is cosplaying. That eventually launched the Cosplay =/= Consent campaign which some comic cons were willing to promote on large signs and on their websites. Unfortunately for the literary world, Bouchercon doesn’t even believe in having a policy against harassment and that’s a place that’s entirely different than something like NYCC.

  • Joseph Michael Linsner, the creator of the niche pin-up character Dawn, is known for abusing his staff and taking advantage of the cosplayers who pay tribute to Dawn. This goes back many years. I interviewed him for my YouTube channel long before I knew about this. Eva Hopkins was a friend to us at Comic Fusion this one hits close to home. She hasn’t been able to get comics work since coming forward.
  • Brian Wood had that type of reputation where, like many other men in any industry, he was considered so good it didn’t matter what abuse and harassment he inflicted.
  • Nathan Edmonson – pretends he’s not married with a kid. Creeps on women notoriously. Shoved me to my knees in a hotel hallway (not even take me to a room) where he wanted oral and I walked away.
  • Former Dark Horse editor Brendan Wright harassed and stalked Bekah Caden to whom he would give work as long as she played along.
  • Jeff Mach – mostly keeps to kink and steampunk events but usually has a crossover track for horror and comics; he’s been sued by Turtle Hill for continuing to use the Geeky Kink Even name and brand he even though he sold it to Turtle Hill. Though among the allegations he’s a known sexual predator also and harbors them. He’s tried to offer his subs to others without them understanding consent (underage also) and he’s offered his own sexual favors in lieu of payment to DJ Dave Ghoul.
  • Jeff Mach Events aka Just Magical Events also would not guarantee the safety of a victim of a rape from one of his shows nor would he stop inviting the rapist Professor Elemental to his shows Jeff Mach Events also made a habit of not paying people the amounts negotiated or promised.
  • Professor Elemental sent out a press release in 2020 about his new album and his plans to make a comic book tie-in. He has contacted comic media bloggers to promote him.
  • Eric Esquivel – plenty written about him already; we exchanged numbers and he kept pestering me to meet up at Detroit Comic Con where I was busy being emotional and financially used by Dirk Manning (two-for-one!).
  • Ethan Van Sciver – alt right c*micsg*te leader; not an intimate style abuser but known for his legion of trolls who threaten people, especially after EVS posts a new video.
  • Eddie Berganza lots already out there and DC Comics literally protected him by removing the victims rather than firing him.
  • Chris Hardwick – founder of The Nerdist among other things though he sold The Nerdist to Legendary (and they too don’t have a great reputation); his exgirlfriend, Chloe Dykstra, extensively documented abuse by him. Classic corporate “internal investigations” said nothing could be proved. Twitter was filled with #IStandByChloe and such tags in solidarity since emotional and financial abuse are extremely difficult, nigh impossible to prove.
  • Dirk Manning – 3 women coming out publicly while (one count had 15) others are too afraid to for fear of their jobs, reputations, embarrassment, and inevitable trolls. He lies about his family situation. Comic book editor, Heather Antos, used to work with Dirk Manning; though she won’t come forward with what she directly experienced, she believes all the women who have come forward and said she won’t work with him again. He gaslights and abuses women through other forms of manipulation like coercing them into buying into his Kickstarters and increasing their pledges when they can’t afford it. After being in my hotel room (other women got invited to stay in his room), he left he said, “for a business meeting” for hours and said we could meet up maybe later. Just left me there like I was a used tissue waiting to be thrown in the trash. As of 2020, he doesn’t seem to be working through Shadowline (a branch of Image Comics), but Source Point Press continues to publish and promote his works practically as a flagship status.

  • Adding Cameron Stewart to the list after reading tweets that he goes after teenage girls. [June 16, 2020]. Evelyn Hollow was 17 when Cameron Stewart began approaching her and his grooming behavior.
  • Katie West described the inappropriate relationship she had with Warren Ellis in her tweets (which she since deleted so that she could move on) on June 16, 2020; stating that she was 19/20 years old — he is much older — and he would ask for naked photos and explain in detail things he wanted to do to her. At the same time, she acknowledged that he has done a fair amount of good things for the comics industry, but that it doesn’t make him less creepy to young women new to the scene. Though Katie deleted the thread calling out this behavior from a specific person, I loved how she followed up the conversation:

tweets @katiewest

  • Among the Warren Ellis complaints was the public Twitter thread of Lea Seidman.
  • Gerard Jones was sentenced to six years for child pornography.
  • John “Roc” Upchurch beat his wife and made a come-back of sorts by using his name John instead of Roc.
  • Max Landis was known as trash behind-the-scenes for years and finally people started to speak publicly about his sexual assaults and other behaviors to land him on lists.
  • Jai Nitz made inappropriate advances at a college student and his comic was dropped by Dark Horse.
  • Hope Nicholson admitted to sexual assault towards Tres Dean and she closed Bedside Press.
  • Brandon Graham was exposed as a “chaser” of transwomen and it’s explained in detail at Women Write About Comics.
  • Fantasy author Paul Krueger (Steel Crow Saga) was also named in June 2020 as being the type of man who gaslights the women he dates. In a tweet by award-winning writer Amal El-Mohtar, she goes on to recognize that Krueger along with Sunil Patel are known serial abusers with publicly great reputations.
  • Not in comics but still pop culture and comic convention related is known abuser, voice actor Vic Mignogna. Screenrant.com called it an “abundance of sexual harassment allegations” against him. And even after that, he still gets books for anime cons. He’s clearly not someone safe to be around at conventions.
  • Scott Lobdell’s name is brought up time and again.

  • Claire Stribling posted a tragic story (June 21, 2020) about StarWars.com contributor, Tyler Westhause. His LinkedIn profile states he works at Electronic Arts (EA) as a games industry brand marketing professional. What he did to Claire would be considered intimate partner abuse and date rape. His possessiveness was so out-of-line that he put a GPS tracker on her phone and insisted that she drive on a route he approved. If she deviated from that route, he questioned her. He wouldn’t take No for an answer. He belittled her talents and knowledge base. He used guilt and shaming tactics to control every part of Claire’s life. She lived in fear and people close to her were worried about her safety. From one of the images she posted of her long story, Claire wrote: “When I would stand my ground long enough, he would threaten self-harm because I wouldn’t fuck him that day.” After repeatedly saying no and then being guilted into allowing him to get what he wanted, she would dissociate. For those who think that’s just a relationship — no, that’s sexual assault.
  • Jason Latour allegations sparked a lot of sadness and anger since he’s the co-creator of Spider-Gwen, a young female character of the Spider-Man universe that is targeted for young female fans. There are many and the stories came out because it was Jason Latour’s statement about the behavior of Cameron Stewart being unacceptable.
  • The Spider-Gwen fans were rocked by the story of Cara McGee and her experience with Marvel artist, Robbi Rodriguez. In her tweet, she said, “I’ve been quiet about it for a long time, but I’ve never been able to enjoy Spider-Gwen since shortly after the series first debuted, Robbie invited one of my best friends and I to his hotel room for a threesome.” She tried to shake it off and laugh about it in front of him, which is a reaction of discomfort by the way, so she and her friend could seek solace away from him later.
  • In that same thread of tweet, Cara McGee openly explained about the gross behavior of celeb author, Myke Cole. “Hey while I’m here, how about that time Myke Cole spent an evening leering at me at the ECCC bar, trying to pull me onto his lap, and told me he wanted to piss on me, until another SFF writer tore into him for being a creep.” (Updated June 26, 2020) Cole’s literary agent, is Joshua Bilmes of JABberwocky Literary Agency dropped him as did Angry Robot publishing. Vault Comics swiftly pulled their deal on his comic. Cole’s ex-girlfriend Kate Welch shared her stories about how gross and controlling he was.
  • Acting as a white knight to Cara when Myke Cole was being a dick, Sam Sykes intervened. Unfortunately, whose white knights tend to have patterns of their own troubling behavior. Made even more gross when you see allegations with the word “teenager” in it.
  • During this particular week of June 2020, the CBLDF finally forced the resignation of Charles Brownstein, known abuser and predator. Stories came out about him FIFTEEN years ago and the organization allowed Brownstein to continue conducting business like nothing was wrong. And then when this week started to resurface his reputation as a predator, the CBLDF allowed him to resign rather than fire him as he should have been.
  • Mark Lawrence sent his followers after author V.E. Schwab when she criticized his portrayal of female characters and writing so much sexual assault against them. She hadn’t even tagged him in her criticism. He had to look for her.
  • Gaming is a cesspool. Here’s merely one of so many stories about rape and harassment in gaming. It’s about Method, the pro team with leading whatever-whatever in Warcraft.
  • Men who were my friends in comics journalism, Lucas Siegel and Alan Kistler. The second one shocked me, the first one did not. I’m honestly surprised no one gave me a heads up. I’m so sorry about my ignorance on this.
  • Jason Ward, someone affiliated with Star Wars, has been trying to apologizing for being a racist and creep.
  • I foolishly had hoped Scott Allie was good on his word but apparently his behavior was not only while drunk. He sexually assaulted Shawna Gore and harassed her continuously while she worked for Dark Horse from the moment she started her job. It took over a decade for Dark Horse to state that they will not be working with him anymore. And it’s entirely plausible the only reason this finally happened was because their main star, Mike Mignola, spoke out in support of her. Was Allie allowed to quit like Brownstein? Who knows? Dark Horse’s statement says they won’t be working with him and not how it was concluded.
  • Scott Lynch and Elizabeth Bear are from the SFF publishing industry — disguising grooming as a polyamory with Alexandra Rowland who only wanted them as mentors. “Over the last five years, I have heard about four other women–all young, baby writers who were delighted to have professional and creative mentorship–who have been mistreated by Lynch and Bear.” Alex’s relationship and fallout with them shows how power dynamics work when one person is trying to break into an industry. It could be brushed off by people as a poly triad that didn’t work out; but when you get to the point of parties pro-blocking (keeping you from contacts and potential work) it’s more than a break up or misunderstanding of polyamory boundaries.
  • Charges were filed against Alan Beatts, the owner of Borderlands Books shop in San Francisco.

The publishing community as a whole is bigger than comics. Ann Aguirre started her own list.


What Backlash of Coming Forward Looks Like:

The ever popular “You must be lying because there’s no evidence” tweets in reply to KamiGarcia’s supportive thread on Twitter look like this (image below). They — the royal they of online trolls — try to make their points with other goodies like “your books suck” and of course it’s all part of the “SJW agenda” and this fabulous one that sounds like it comes right from Trump: “women can take care of themselves” which wasn’t too far down from the one saying “go have babies”.

trolls' tweets

It’s no wonder women delete their tweets or chose to never come forward. All that does is open up the door for even more abuse only from total strangers. This goes for ANY kind of abuse, by the way. You can see what it’s like in literally any industry. Here’s a thread by Cathrin Machin, an artist who shared a photo of herself standing next to a painting she created with a selection of screencaptures of abusive tweets she chose to share showing how pervasive it is to simply exist and be abused. Show business has creeps and abusers besides Weinstein. Not even a place like Nickelodeon is safe.

Sexism in these industries is a virus. It’s not up to the fans to tackle the issue. It’s not up to the victims to all come forward. The publishers, CEOs, presidents, and managers of the titles/product are to blame. When a woman isn’t invited to a summit while she’s actively a writer on the team, that’s sexism! It happened to Mairghread Scott when she was writing Batgirl for DC Comics! The people in power keep the structure that suits them — not the structure that elevates titles and products for the better nor structure that benefits the fans.

When we’re authentic to our own nature, to our own questions, to our own experiences, we travel together quite naturally. It’s our authenticity that keeps us together, side by side. While our refusal to be authentic, out of fear or pain, is what alienates us until we feel that life is random and that we are alone. — Mark Nepo, The Book of Soul

Just look at the language used by people who refuse to believe that entertainment creators are flawed individuals. The use of “they tried to get ___ cancelled” is classic and thoughtless. Victims don’t aren’t responsible for cancel culture, the perpetrators are. They are the ones who have been abusing, harassing, raping, and gaslighting other people while their employers allow it to continue even after they know about the incidents. Like Heather Antos’ promise to never work with Dirk Manning again, that’s the kind of response victims are looking for — for the colleagues or friends of these abusers to hold them accountable.

tweets

That said, there are plenty of marital cheaters in the world. Do we hold entertainers to different standards? No. But what the victims of these people wanted was truth and safety. They wanted conventions to keep these men away. They wanted to not feel obligated to give money they needed for daily life expenses to Kickstarters because the men would beg them and say how much it meant to have their endorsements. These women wanted to enjoy hobbies or get jobs such as in the Berganza case.

I love this thread by writer Stacy King. She explains how abusers interact with people to dip their toes in the proverbial water and see what they can get away with. If the other people seems fine with the inappropriate comment, then it’s a green light for them.

seanan mcguire tweets

Some people on Twitter have put Chuck Wendig on their lists because he was friends with Myke Cole and Sam Sykes. Particularly always having silly conversations with Sykes which would lead to stories being told in live time. However, Wendig issued a statement even better than Jim Hines and John Scalzi. He’s doing what survivors have been asking — he broke off all associations with them. He was willing to give Cole a second chance after that 2018 apology, but since that leopard didn’t change his spots, Wendig stepped up.


Performative Allyship:

On June 23, 2020, an image went around social media containing a #comicspledge. I first saw this pledge from Scott Snyder and then from Tom King, both of whom seem to be straight up and authentically decent people. Mostly, my timeline consisted of people tearing this pledge apart and calling it performative allyship. That the words are nice place to start, but that they are empty and meaningless unless those people start to offer seats at the table of the industry/industries. 

To the men taking this pledge:

(*note: I’m using women as anyone that’s non cis male because I don’t know what that would succinctly be called and understood and I don’t like using “non-men” because it puts the focus on cis men.*)

Look around you in your physical or virtual workspace. Are there any women* on your creative team? Are there any women in positions of power like running the entire Superman office, for example? How many women are invited to the summits? Are there any women and people of color on the panel discussions? Are there any women invited to be on streaming interviews? Are there women in the writing and art departments of the TV shows? Have any women ever directed your favorite TV series or movies? If you’re in TV/movies – do the female actors make the same income as the male actors? Do male directors make more money per episode than others?

I’ll transcribe it:

Comics Pledge Transcribed

MEN IN COMICS SAY NO

There are a lot of ideals we claim to honor in comics — hope, justice, unity, innovation, creativity, freedom.

None of them mean anything unless men in comics change our behavior and hold each other accountable for the safety of women and all people of marginalized genders and sexes.

I PLEDGE

  • To never abuse, harass, groom, or manipulate women and all people of marginalized genders and sexes.
  • To hold myself accountable for my own actions, be open to the comments and concerns of my peers, and educate myself.
  • To actively intervene when we see or know of abuse, harassment, grooming, or manipulation.
  • To ally for women and all people of marginalized genders and sexes experiencing abuse, harassment, grooming, or manipulation.
  • To actively call out our friends an peers, even when no one else is watching.
  • To commit to this pledge for the long haul and keep this conversation alive in the industry.

* We understand marginalized genders and sexes to include but not be limited to nonbinary and binary trans people, two-spirit, agender, and genderfluid people, as well as intersex people of any gender.

#ComicsPledge

comics pledge meme


I was called a Cry Baby:

 

This was how this post originally started.

Is that an insult? I’d rather have a full range of emotions than a sociopath who doesn’t. I cried when my heart was broken. I cried when I felt used and replaceable.

I cry less now but I have always cried.
I cried when my divorce papers arrived in the mail.
I cried when my ex husband was shot and injured on the job even though I hated him.
I cried during Hurricane Sandy from the stress.
I cried every time my ex girlfriend and I fought.
I cried when the mother deer who came to my backyard all time was killed.
I cried when I had to put my cats to sleep to end their suffering.
I cried at weddings.
I cried at a mass for a person who took his own life even though I didn’t know him.
I cried when Trump was handed the 2016 election.
I cried when I saw the body of a US soldier being dragged through muddy streets on the tv news.
I cried many times when I realized I couldn’t make it as an independent adult because I have needs and feel like a burden.

Yes, Trolls, I cry. I am cry baby. I am human who is adjusted to a spectrum of emotions not a sociopath. And for that, I am fucking thankful I cry authentic tears from my soul to water the soil where my future will grow.

 


Everyone Has Done Something Regrettable:

I know I’ve made drunken passes at a LOT of people. It wasn’t until after I felt like I was constantly being promised that creators would help me break in (give me a back-up stories to write, for example) that I took years to consider what was really happening. Some of those hook-ups were exactly what I wanted: con flings that were fun. Others, like the Nathan Edmondson incident, made me shake my head from drunk fun to WTF does he think he’s doing? and that’s when I examined my own role in whatever I’ve done. And to be honest, I’ve had so many times where I was black-out drunk and don’t remember things.

I still separate consensual fun that’s honest and open from being used and lied to. There are major differences to me.

If there’s anyone I’ve hurt, I’m deeply and profoundly sorry.


Related:

Part One – my Dirk Manning experience

Part Two – more science on abuse

How to Identify a Toxic Person

I Want an Apology

The Catfishing Continues

Choose a Call to Action

Rachel’s Story

Crystal’s Story

Jin’s Story

Turanna’s Story

 

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