2020 Report Day: Day Three– Interviews!



I don’t know how many times during the course of all these recent controversies that I have screamed “Janelle warned you all about this five years ago” at a computer screen.  The people working at Best Buy are completely freaked out.

At the time I’m writing this intro, I haven’t sat down yet to write about the Scott Allie situation, but … I am pretty angry about that one. *You should be very angry*.  Because they were warned.  Everyone was warned.  Janelle warned them!  

WARNING NUMBER ONE:  Janelle warned people about Dark Horse in her 2015 article “Enough is Enough: Dark Horse’s Scott Allie’s Assaulting Behavior."  That article included this sentence-- this sentence: 

This isn’t the first time that Allie has behaved in this way although many sources we contacted were unwilling to speak on the record about the full extent of what has occurred in the past..."

The response? Mike Richardson seemingly attacked Janelle, calling her reporting “insulting."

WARNING NUMBER TWO: While working at DC Comics, Janelle warned people about Eddie Berganza, including (along with four other employees / ex-employees) warning DC’s HR Department. According to that reporting, it was made clear to the people running DC that women QUOTEdidn’t feel safe working with BerganzaUNQUOTE.  

The response?  According to Buzzfeed’s reporting, a promotion for Berganza! Whee! 

After hearing that women didn’t feel safe, “the new copublisher” of DC Comics in October 2010 (which was either Dan Didio or Jim Lee) purportedly promoted Berganza, gave him even more authority, and had him working even more closely alongside editor-in-chief Bob Harras than before… all perfectly setting Berganza up to be in the perfect position two years later  to allegedly try to get away with “forcibly kissing” a freelance writer’s girlfriend looking to network. 

That was also beginning the end of the careers for four women at DC.  

Comics were warned long before June 2020.  It was warned over and over again, by a great many people, but it’s hard for me to think of anyone who warned you as much as Janelle.

Anyways. Since that time, I understand Janelle’s made various changes in her life.  Some years back, I think I tried to mention in a little email to Janelle how much I enjoyed when I’d see her on my internet dashboards, talking about those changes; I hope I sent that e-mail-- her updates were just pleasant. New home, new work, new relationships.  Struggles, too. We all have struggles. I had a struggle at a local Best Buy recently--they threw a net on me! I didn’t even know they sold nets.   

But: she’s been living a life! And so: Janelle is someone I felt really weird approaching with my dumb questions. I feel bad asking her about this nonsense again, while she has a life to live. We thank her for her patience with us.  

So, Janelle… How’ve you been?  

I’ve been a little worked up lately! But I’m really hoping you’ve just been sitting on a porch, sipping some lemonade, watching the sunset, and just being like that one gif from the TV show Breaking Bad, during all this.  

I’ve been doing pretty well, I think. I live in Wisconsin now, which is not a place I ever thought I’d end up but love brought me here. I got married a couple months ago, so that is exciting, but of course, due to pandemic loveliness, we didn’t get to have exactly the day we’d planned. I lost my job in April, and that was disappointing, but I’m working hard to try to find my next full-time opportunity and also doing some freelance in the meantime. My day to day is pretty enjoyable – I hang out with my spouse and our cats, I talk to friends, I read a lot of Am I The Asshole on Reddit, I play video games, I read, and of course I look for work and do freelance.

It’s weird, because when I “left” comics almost four years ago, I was in a really bad place for a lot of reasons. I say “left” in quotes because I have continued to freelance edit comics and pitches and stuff for individuals, but I obviously took a massive step back from being in the public spotlight after I sold Rosy Press. I think that some people think I was driven out of comics by the harassment stuff, but the truth is that I just didn’t like who I’d become as a Comics PersonalityTM over the years. 

The higher profile I got, the more mistakes I made in terms of not treating other people well in a variety of ways or really just rarely thinking before I spoke. The power went to my head, which feels a little ridiculous to say because I wasn’t even that high profile, but it did. I believed my own hype. And while a lot of other stuff went down in my personal life, I really struggled to deal with the consequences of believing my own hype and that I was this awesome, infallible, righteous person. I am not infallible. I have made plenty of mistakes.

But, little by little, with the help of a lot of people, I’d like to think that I’m not the same person I was four years ago. I started DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) last year and when I first started, nearly everything made me want to kill myself. I’m not even joking. My therapy facilitator was constantly having to talk me off the metaphorical ledge (not to mention the other people in my life). Now, when I talk about my various struggles or whatever in therapy, my facilitator is quick to point out to me how much my response has changed because of the therapy. I have more tools to handle stress and while I’m DEFINITELY still a work in progress, I don’t feel as if I’m a constant danger to myself anymore. And I do feel that my mental illness played a role in the way I acted in comics, although I think it was not entirely to blame (I think that being ignorant and stubborn was also a factor) and I absolutely do not think that gives me a free pass to be an asshole. 

Anyway, my reason for going into all this here in response to your simple question is twofold: one, I think the general public should stop putting people on pedestals for doing the bare minimum right thing in certain situations the way I did; and two, I think that I’ve softened a bit in terms of my feelings on if harassers can be “rehabilitated” due to my own journey HOWEVER, I do think that it depends a great, great deal on the individuals involved and their actual willingness to change.

I wasn’t going to reach out to you for this but then… Scott Allie! Again!  Whee! Do you sometimes feel as though there’s another way things could have gone, had your 2015 article been received differently? Are you in a “oh if only they had listened” place with it?  

Or do you have … Sometimes I would look at Didio, and seriously just think, “I should have been meaner. I should’ve found a headshot argument that anyone who read it couldn’t walk away from. I should’ve been truly cruel. They’ve only ever seen me at a 6, maybe 7-- I could’ve gone to a 11.” I have this weird guilt, even though I know intellectually that… I don’t work in comics, and the people who actually work in comics didn’t seem to care, and so there’s nothing I could’ve done.  

Tucker Stone had a line years ago that he said in passing somewhere or another that stuck with me, that was something like-- “I can’t care about this more than these people do.” But I have a hard time with anyways-- I still feel a weird kind of guilt about anyways just because … I have a keyboard that connects to a global communications system! I should have been cruel!  

Do you feel that with the Dark Horse thing? God, I hope you don’t get that guilt, too!  Goddamn I hope you don’t get it because you just don’t deserve it, dude-- you tried so hard!  *I’m legit going to start crying during our e-mail interview, Janelle!*

I do carry a lot of guilt, about Allie, about Berganza, about my ex-husband Lucas Siegel in particular, and of course about all the unnamed shitheads I didn’t talk about publicly for various reasons. 

I know that I did not make those people act that way. I know that their actions are not my fault. The thing with Allie is a little more abstract to me – I’d maybe met him in passing at cons although I honestly don’t really recall, but if we’d met it wasn’t like we hung out in any capacity. I do have some Twitter DMs from him about an artist being a creep on Twitter and him asking me questions about hiring questionable people and how it should be a discussion on a panel at some point, which is hilarious in retrospect. I know the people he hurt and I think they’re really awesome people who did not deserve to be treated the way he treated them. 

When my article about Allie came out, I’d already talked with Shawna Gore about what he’d done to her and at the time we intended to do a second piece with Graphic Policy about that and about Brownstein and about other harassers in comics, but I let the ball drop because I just didn’t feel up for another round of that bullshit. I feel guilt about that as well, of course. Mostly, in terms of Allie, though, I feel disgust at Richardson and I have a lot of baggage about all the people who have chosen to work with Dark Horse since the Allie news broke in 2015 – I get that there are limited publishers in comics, especially at the level that places like Dark Horse and DC are at, but I personally wouldn’t want to work at a company that prioritized continuing to work with someone like Allie after all of that. 

Richardson threw me under the bus for what I wrote, and I didn’t appreciate it then and I don’t appreciate it now. I really feel that the only reason he changed his tune when Gore came forward is that Mike Mignola took a stand at long last. Mignola is too big for them to fuck with at their level, and so THAT, not the actual desire to do the right thing, is what made Richardson take a different approach now. That disgusts me. And I think that’s a common thread for me in terms of how I feel about these publishers that enable harassers/assaulters.

For instance, my relationship with the Berganza situation is pretty complicated. At one point in my career at DC, I counted him as a friend although I knew all the rumors and stories about him. He’d say dumb shit to me like asking me what “hot young friends” I’d have at my birthday party and I would laugh it off because oh, that was just Eddie. That’s what everyone at DC did. Oh, that’s just Eddie. Once, I was looking for a new artist for Birds of Prey and Mark Chiarello came into my office to ask if I would consider a female artist that he and Berganza had met at a foreign convention right before the conversation. He said that she’s talented and that they discovered her because “oh, she’s cute, and you know how Eddie is, he HAD to talk to her.” That was just a statement of fact. And that was AFTER the group of us had filed our sexual harassment claim against Berganza. 

But of course they promoted him anyway, even though they told us that Berganza wouldn’t have any women reporting to him as a result of our claim. They gave him the title and pay bump they’d promised him before our allegations and just took away a lot of the responsibilities. Lucky Eddie. I remember when they revealed the new org chart after the promotion of Bob Harras and Berganza into those roles, after we’d made our claim but they hadn’t actually told us anything about the results of HR’s findings, and we were all gathered in the conference room as an editorial department. I just remember squeezing my hands into fists, my nails biting into my palms, as I tried my hardest to not cry, to not rage, to not throw things, to not shout. That was the point at which I lost my shit with DC and I immediately began looking for my out. I can’t imagine how someone like Liz Marsham felt in that moment, given that he’d actually assaulted her. For me, it was more the microaggressions and the culture. 

And for THAT reason, much like I blame Richardson for his response to the Allie situation, I absolutely blame in particular Dan Didio for the culture and enabling of Berganza. Didio went from being a huge supporter of my career in comics to basically ignoring me because I spoke up about Berganza to him directly to the point that he had to take it to HR. I don’t have any use for him and when I found out he’d been ousted from DC, I’ll admit that I felt good about it in maybe a vindictive way. 

The last time I saw him at a con, he looked at me like a deer in the headlights and fast-walked away from me.

As far as Lucas goes, well, I think my guilt is a little different because I DID enable his behavior on a much different level than I did with Berganza. Berganza was a casual friend, a coworker I often drank with, but Lucas was my spouse and I didn’t see how bad his behavior was until it was way too late. This was someone that I’d protected for a long time and pretended like his behavior was okay when honestly, from the time I met him when I was 17 years old, it absolutely was not okay. I allowed him to think it was okay during a really formative time in our lives when maybe I could’ve tried to get him to see the error of his ways? I battle with that. I know objectively that his behavior is not my responsibility, especially not now when I haven’t spoken with him in 8 years except to reject his attempts to worm back into my life, but of course it’s just not that simple when you are in that kind of situation.

And like, in that way I feel kind of similar about Berganza and Lucas, because while Allie hasn’t (that we know of) done anything since I wrote my article in 2015, even after I tried to stop Berganza and Lucas’s behaviors, they continued. And so I carry that guilt as well. Like, Berganza, after we filed our sexual harassment claim and he was “punished” for his behavior, still went on to assault someone else I know. But you know, when DC fired him, I was kind of sorry for him, because I did feel like it was too little too late on the part of DC because he hadn’t done anything that I’d heard of in years and so it felt like punishing him after he’d already tried to change. 

But then the fact that Berganza would want to team up with someone like Eric Esquival tells me that they’re too busy patting each other on the back for being “changed” to actually make a change and make amends with the people they hurt. 

And certainly Esquival trying to talk to me publicly on Twitter about it after I made it abundantly clear how I felt about them and their endeavor made me feel gross. I think a lot about the way people make particularly public apologies and how so often, they are self-serving to make the person at fault feel better for what they’ve done. Real change, real amends, takes a lot more work than that. It’s putting your money where your mouth is. I know this from personal experience, although for me it continues to be a work in progress. 

I don’t think the industry OWES anything to these abusers in the way of facilitating their “rehabilitation” and I definitely don’t think the people they’ve abused in any way owe them forgiveness. It’s not as simple as a proper apology (which, 9 times out of 10, these people don’t even actually do), and particularly for repeat offenders, which most of these people are, they really have to put the work in to change. The amount of fans that want to forgive their behavior, or write it off as “boys will be boys” or “womanizing” or whatever, those people play into this as well, because the abusers hear that shit and then go on to talk about their “true friends” who support them through “tough times” and ignore the fact that they have, in fact, abused people. 

There are a subset of comics fans and even pros that excuse abuse for a variety of reasons, especially when that abuser is well-known and admired. That doesn’t help the situation, it just makes the abusers see themselves as the victims and dig in on this idea that they’ve done nothing wrong, or it’s been misinterpreted, or they didn’t know the power they had. 

Like, the idea that Warren Ellis’ “apology” included that he didn’t think he was powerful after the amount of success he’d had in this field is completely ludicrous. You know when you have power.

The Buzzfeed article about Eddie Berganza was published on November 10, 2017. Berganza was fired on November 13, 2017. One day later, I saw that DC editors were tweeting again… and I saw a twitter thread from one (whose name I’ll redact) that kind of made my blood run cold. Maybe you won’t have the same reaction having worked with these people, but…

Maybe you know this person. Maybe they’re a GREAT person. But as soon as I saw that, I knew it was over. I knew with the certainty of the evangelical that nothing was going to get done. It obviously wasn't this person's fault, but they were talking about who they are instead of what they were going to do-- which meant to me that DC wasn't going to do anything.  DC wasn't going to do anything about Didio. DC wasn't going to do anything about Harras. It was over. Instead: DC editors were going to tell us about how “Brave” and "honest" they were being. It would be like nothing had ever happened. Rollo Tomasi.   

And I look at this moment and I keep thinking, they’re going to do it again, they’re just going to change the subject, they're going to wait it out-- it’s already over. It’s already over and people just don’t know it yet.  

But I’m saying all that as someone who’s just … very upset about politics; very upset about my extremely-shitty mayor; extraordinarily upset about the U.S.’s handling of COVID. I’m just totally bereft of hope, generally. And so I just… Do you feel like this time is different? Do you think anyone can learn anything?  

Look, I want to preface this by saying that while we haven’t talked in a while, I do count [that person] as a friend and I think he’s a great dude. We started at DC at the same time, in the same role of assistant editor but in different groups. I know that he was disgusted by what Eddie had done, we’ve talked about it many a time. He is the one of the four of us peers who all started together that remained at DC, and I would be lying if I said I hadn’t over the years questioned that decision. 

But the thing is that if all the good people leave a company like that, what do you have left? It’s not the choice I would’ve made, to stay, but obviously I feel like I was much closer to the Berganza situation just because of my gender. And certainly it says something that all the women affected by Berganza’s behavior left the company over time.

I do think the culture at DC when I was there was toxic in a lot of ways. Didio would get so angry he would throw things and shout and slam doors – the door frame to his co-publisher office had a crack around it because he’d slammed it so many times. I once saw him throw lettering copy at an associate editor in a rage. He threw his office phone to the ground once and then was so angry about it being broken that you could hear him bellowing for his assistant down the hall to get him a new phone. 

One of my favorite personal Didio stories is that we were doing Batman and Detective Comics annuals and Mike Marts, my boss, had allowed me to edit a two page story in each featuring the first published version of Dustin Nguyen’s Lil Gotham stuff. Nguyen had been doing those drawings on his own for a while and we really liked them but never had a place for them, until these annuals came along. 

Anyway, Didio found out we were putting “kiddy shit” in mainstream Batman comics, and he lost his mind. Someone, I don’t remember who, popped into my office and told me that Dan was furious upon seeing the lettering and that he was going to come down to scream at me. Marts told me to leave for the day (it was already like 5 anyway) and that he would handle it, so I scampered. Marts got the brunt of the ranting and screaming that was meant for me. I felt guilty but also relieved, you know? I don’t hold up well under screaming. 

And of course, a few years later, they published longer form Lil Gotham stuff to great critical praise which made me laugh. 

My other favorite personal Didio story is the time I tried to hire Jamal Igle to draw Birds of Prey while Gail Simone was writing it. Igle had done some fantastic character sketches and Simone and I were super excited to work with him on it. I’d gone through the proper channels to get the hiring approved, including Marts clearing it with Didio, but apparently it hadn’t registered until someone had a problem with the hiring that they took to Didio. 

Didio called me to his office to tell me I needed to fire Igle and hire someone with a different style. To explain what he wanted, he started miming with his hands large breasts in front of his chest. I said to him, Dan, please stop making those gestures, to which he responded “what?! I’m Italian!” as if that made it okay?

Anyway, the point of me saying all that is that I honestly think that Berganza was one of the least of their problems, and that’s why it sort of confuses me why so many good people would stay there so long or even return to the company after leaving or work there for the first time knowing what the culture was like when so many of the problems were still there. Maybe now things have changed – after all, I haven’t worked there in 9 years, which is a long ass time and there’s been a lot of turnover. 

But I do think a lot of the people who work at DC have had to compartmentalize their desire to make comics away from the actual culture at the company. The good thing, though, is that as time goes on, more and more of the shitty people are leaving for whatever reason and the people I think are quality human beings are getting promoted into roles where they have more power to create a better environment. I think that’s true in a lot of industries and companies, because there’s obviously a pretty sizable chunk of old straight white cis dudes who are not good people but who have been in charge of things for a long time, and now as we’re seeing them retire or get ousted, there’s more of a chance for change. 

It’s like, I think about how I read some quote about a conservative guy complaining about how people support Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and how they want to fill government with millennials and it’s like, you DO understand how time works, right? Eventually the bulk of government WILL be millennials because that is who will be of an age to serve and lead.

Brian Michael Bendis mentioned you in a 2014 Vulture interview because at the time you had gotten some people upset for writing about a comic book cover. And Bendis mentioned “just a bunch of shitty anonymous people being awful to [you] online,” and he said something I think of as being one of his go-to lines in interviews (usually to talk about fans-- not really fellow creators, but):  

I think that a huge problem is people who read comics and don’t understand the point of superheroes, which is to be the best version of yourself. You love Captain America? Well, you know what Captain America would never do? Go online anonymously and shit on a girl for having an opinion. I would like there to be more of a connection between why people read these stories, and how they act.

And I was just thinking about that idea that… All of these guys are constantly making comics where they go on and on about heroism, and how heroism is Wolverine throwing a car at the Joker or whatever. And for me, and based on the life experiences I’ve had, to me the heroic act includes saying something people may not want to hear but that is true nevertheless. To me, there is a heroism to that. Because I’ve seen other people who’ve done that; I’ve seen the risks in doing that; I find it very moving.  

And you did that! You actually did that! You were the person who actually learned a good lesson from a comic book! The only thing I ever learned from comics was from hentai, and it was to avoid sempai’s. I learned nothing else! 

Did you feel like comic creators were appreciative to you, back when?  

I have complicated feelings about this question, because as I said earlier, I do feel I’ve made a lot of mistakes and that the things I spoke out about in terms of harassment were just me doing the bare minimum of what I could do to try to heal a terrible situation. I don’t know that I deserved accolades for that. I’m definitely no hero. 

That being said, I will say that the majority of comics creators and editors and whatnot that I know have been very supportive of the things I spoke out about. Privately and publicly, a lot of people have reached out to me over the years, including recently, to thank me for what I did and/or offer their support. The list of people who supported me is far, far, far longer than those who hated me or harassed me for what I said. 

There were a few people I counted as friends who distanced themselves from me very clearly because of my work on harassment in comics, which really disappointed me. If it had been because of me being a shithead, I’d get it and would deal with those feelings in a different way. But it’s a sad feeling to think about people who you admired and trusted and see them pull away from you because you feel that no one should be sexually harassed or assaulted in comics. It makes it clear that those people were not who I thought they were. And of course, all of those people were straight white cis dudes, unsurprisingly. 

Because definitely there were people in the middle who confronted me about making guys feel bad for their shitty behavior when it wasn’t as clear cut as, say, Scott Allie nonconsensually grabbing Joe Harris’s crotch and biting his ear being wrong. 

There was one situation where I was drunk at bar con during SDCC one year and I was talking to someone I wasn’t super familiar with who brought up a comics writer I knew who at a previous recent convention had been really rude to me about me being uncomfortable about him walking a female friend who was inebriated back to her hotel room. I’d confronted the writer at the time and tried to insist on going with them, but he was really pushy and she said she was fine and I was drunk so I just let it go, but I definitely didn’t trust that writer any more even though my friend said nothing had happened. It just doesn’t seem like a good situation, you know? 

Now, obviously, the writer didn’t assault anyone, he just crossed a line that was a bit inappropriate. Anyway, I spilled all this to the guy I was talking to during SDCC and he apparently was close with the writer and it became a Big Thing on a lot of levels and I felt like an idiot for even saying anything. And of course the writer did not like me after that, which I think was a fair response, although I still maintain that refusing to see how a situation like that could go badly isn’t a very aware position to take. 

Sometimes I really have failed to understand when I should keep my mouth shut, for better and worse. I appreciate the support I’ve gotten over the years, very very much so, and I hope that those people have supported all the other people who have continued that work since I stepped away from comics. If you’re not supporting people speaking out about harassment/assault now in addition to people speaking out about representation, LGBTQ rights, racial justice, etc, then I don’t really feel like you learned anything from what I was saying all along. (And, as an unimportant aside, it’s always chapped my ass that Bendis referred to me, a then-31-year-old woman who he did not know at all, as a “girl” in that statement, but… you know, whatever).

So, all these people are popping out of the woodwork in June saying “I need you to hear about this pain I’ve experience” or “I need you to understand how gnarly things are behind the scenes in comics.” But the thing that kind of shakes me up a little… There’s still a couple things I’ve heard (second or third hand) that no one’s mentioned. (Maybe because they're not true!  Maybe I've just misheard dumb shit from random yahoo passerby's, but).  

And when I have that thought, I gasp because I think, “If I know 2 things, that means someone like Janelle who was plugged in might know about 2,000!”  I feel this sort of terror of like …

Okay, we’re seeing the tip of the iceberg, but: how big is the iceberg??

I think a lot of the big ones I knew about have been outed at this point, but there are a lot I didn’t know about that have come out recently. 

For instance, I saw someone on Twitter complaining about the fact that I’d used Brendan Wright as a source for my Allie piece in 2015 because Wright is also a terrible human being, we know now. I didn’t know that at the time and hadn’t heard anything to that effect when I wrote the piece. Wright has sent work my way occasionally as well, although I don’t think we were ever at a level that I would count as friends, and it makes me sick to think of what he did to Bekah Caden at what seems like the same time he was talking to me about the inappropriateness of Allie’s behavior. It’s awful. I don’t like that he was a source or a colleague in any way. 

But I’m not omniscient. I don’t know of every single harasser and assaulter in comics.

Similarly, when the details about Cameron Stewart came out recently, I was appalled. Stewart I’d had a closer relationship with tEan Wright because we’d worked together a few times over the years. I knew he was a flirt and that he liked women and women often liked him, but I’d never witnessed anything inappropriate from him. Of COURSE that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen – I 100% trust the people coming forward about the things he said and did to them. I just mean that I thought I knew Stewart well enough to know if he was a shitty person, and I didn’t. 

There’s this guilt you have when you don’t see these things, and I know that’s something the entire comics industry is grappling with, really, at this point.

It’s weird, though, because I am well aware that even seemingly decent people can make mistakes and say the wrong thing to someone and it’s hard to know how to anticipate who those people are that have done that. I think the major problem people are the ones for whom it’s a pattern of behavior, obviously, because those are not people who understand what they’ve done is wrong. But because so much of this happens in pockets of the industry, it can be hard to put together the pattern of behavior without calling out someone publicly so that people can connect the dots. 

For instance, there’s an artist that I worked with quite a bit who I really and truly counted as a friend who one night at a bar during a con told me that I was “lucky” that I was married with a wink and a nudge and a look. As if he himself wasn’t married with kids at home and NOT in a poly situation, and as if I needed that legality as, what, protection? I laughed it off at the time because I didn’t know what else to do, but I’ve tried to avoid him ever since (which obviously is much easier not having been at a con since 2016…). 

I don’t know what to think about that guy, in retrospect. Was he the trusted friend and creator I’d known for almost a decade who just said the wrong thing in a moment of weakness? Or was he a predator who was laying groundwork? I don’t know.

For so very long, women in most industries, especially male-dominated industries, have had to talk about the missing stairs they work with. The ones they tell other women to warn them but are afraid to talk more publicly about, you know? There may be some people who refer to this as a vast conspiracy and a “whisper network” but the truth is that there’s no secret ulterior motive behind it beyond just warning other people who could be victims. This isn’t about getting men out of comics so women can replace them, it’s about getting PREDATORS out of comics so that they can be replaced by people who are NOT TERRIBLE. (Obviously not just men harass and not just women are victims, but I think that’s the more common situation by far.)

But of course if you don’t acknowledge the real and present danger of harassment and assault in our industry because you are a misogynist, then sure, you might see this as a conspiracy against you. There’s no arguing with those people because they’re convinced that straight white cis men are the victims of discrimination because we’re finally calling bad behavior out, privately and publicly.

I mean, you know me, you know I don’t give a shit about speaking up about this stuff, but there are names I’ve left out of this interview for my own reasons. Coming forward is not all sunshine and roses because while, yes, there are a fair amount of supportive people in the industry, there’s also a lot of baggage that goes along with it. It’s a very difficult thing to do, I know both from my own personal experience and from talking to a great many people who have been harassed and assaulted who have tried to make the best decision they can about coming forward. 

It’s been nearly 20 years since I was sexually assaulted by someone (far outside of comics) who I have never named publicly because I just can’t. Maybe if I did, it would reveal a pattern of behavior, which is what I suspect, but I don’t know that it does me any good at this point to speak his name. 

It takes so much strength to come forward about these situations and these people, and I cannot understate the importance of support from the community (as well as, of course, mental health support) in those moments. I think that this won’t be the end of what we hear in terms of harassers/assaulters in the industry, and maybe it will be a problem forever, but I do have hope that it will at least be a diminishing problem as time goes on.

I would encourage anyone who has been harassed or assaulted who is considering coming forward to weigh the cost to them personally with the possible positive outcomes. It’s okay to prioritize your own mental health and safety above outing someone who has acted that way. It’s important to talk about these people and try to connect the dots when we can, but it’s not worth sacrificing the very people we’re trying to protect. 

I’ve always tried to emphasize that with the people who have come to me with their stories of harassment and assault, because once you’ve gone on the record with those things, you are changed. Your life is different. Your Google results are different. There are companies that won’t hire you, there are people who won’t work with you, but fuck ‘em. If you are in a place where you feel ready to talk about what has happened to you, you should do it. 

Because, like I said, seeing a pattern of behavior is part of identifying the truly problematic people in a profession and that is so often only achieved by very, very brave people coming forward to tell their stories. 

I don’t think that work will ever be entirely complete, but I do think this is a turning point. I have to hope.