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On Nathan Edmondson, Marvel, and the Cycle of Harassment (Updated)

We’re NOT afraid…

nathan-edmundsonA year and a half. That’s how long I’ve been researching allegations swirling around comic writer Nathan Edmondson. In that year and a half I’ve talked to a lot of people, ran into a lot of dead ends, and most importantly, been told consistent stories of sexual harassment and poor treatment of collaborators. I’ve had first hand accounts, second-hand accounts, and promises of actual evidence, only one of which has been produced. And after a year and a half, while I absolutely believe Edmondson’s an asshole and did what he’s accused of, as a journalist who believes in checking sources and facts, I have not had enough to run a story I felt I could defend in court. Because, I’ve been warned numerous times, if I ran it I should expect to be sued.

Why is this all coming up now?

Red_Wolf_1_CoverWhile sniping has been happening against Edmondson by other creators for quite some time, this news has been covered by so many due to Marvel‘s announcement that Edmondson is the writer on their new Red Wolf series. While the series is great in that it features a Native American lead character, as well as a Native American, Jeffrey Veregge, providing covers, character design, and “consulting,” it also has the troublesome Edmondson as the writer. This has led many to wonder and question their support of the book as a whole. It absolutely makes me again question Marvel’s decision-making process, and their commitment to progressive and positive change.

Some of the accusations against Edmondson have been covered already here, here, and here. I encourage folks to read those three articles to catch up. But for those that don’t want to, here’s what I know.

I know of his involvement with The Leadership Institute, an anti-gay, pro-life, right-wing organization. There’s photo evidence of this, and being conservative is not a crime (though makes me question why he’s been put on some books he has). I have been told second-hand of sexual harassment (attempts at first hand accounts have gone nowhere). I have been told first hand accounts of “troublesome” dealings with other creators. That was never ran as it would have identified the claimant and there was no way to run it anonymously. I have been told both through first and second-hand accounts of a general disrespect towards women. I have been told of an incident at a party where homophobic statements were made, and I have an email apologizing to attendees about the behavior (that email has yet to be verified).

activity15_coverThe series he was to do with the also troublesome Adam Baldwin, Ranger with Dark Horse, has become vaporware. I had hoped with 56 (Red Wolf is 57) series already announced and no Nathan Edmondson, that publisher has also decided to sever their relationship with the creator. That hasn’t happened. Marvel seems to have no issues with what is a “known” issue in the industry. They were after all running short on male, white writers, since their All-New, All-Different team of writers is only 83.33% male and 97.62% white. They needed Nate to fill in a slot.

Without “physical” evidence I can verify, without a first hand account of the harassment, I chose not to cover this story (until now). That hasn’t stopped me from continuing to investigate. I personally have also chosen to not support, or cover, any series Edmondson writes. To do so would be hypocritical.

Some who have been vocal have said some victims haven’t been talked to, and the reality is, I probably don’t know about them. Names have been vague to me. And those that I have been told about? They’ve not wanted to talk about any of this. And why should they? The comics industry has a history of not supporting victims. The track record is abysmal in supporting victims.

Some have said sites are scared to run stories about harassers due to the threat of lawsuit or loss of access. I can refute this by stating the following:

We here at Graphic Policy are NOT afraid to run these stories.

We here at Graphic Policy are NOT afraid at losing access. Retaliation against us becomes a story we’d run too.

We here at Graphic Policy will DEFEND you the victim as best we can, and more importantly treat you with the utmost respect you deserve.

Please contact us, even off the record. I am the only one who reads our email. Use our contact form above. DM us a message. Message us on Facebook. Or contact me personally through email, Facebook, or Twitter. We can’t fight the good fight without hearing from you.

Out of the seven plus years we’ve existed I’ve been contacted twice about harassment in the industry. One is this Edmondson story, and I’ve explained above what I know, what I have, and why I have not run the story. The other was someone I not only was told about, but witnessed as well. That was run as a blind item with a proper guess in the comments.

While we’ll listen and advocate, we will also do our research and investigation. We need to do our due diligence. By not doing so, we do the victims an injustice by not being able to properly defend the story.

Until there’s buy in across the industry, to point fingers at journalists is misguided. I know of a dozen other bloggers/journalists who have worked on this story, many for longer than me. They too have run into similar issues I have. We can’t run stories on hearsay, we need first hand accounts and evidence. There’s a lot of recent talk of lifting up the discourse in comics journalism, and that’s what this is. To not, would make us a second-rate TMZ. A rag run on rumors. That’s not what this site is, and I stand behind the decisions made up to this point on this story.

We, as well as my fellow bloggers, can only shine a spotlight on the trouble makers, it still takes a decision by other creators to refuse to work with these individuals, and publisher to not hire or support their work. There also needs to be an effort to support, not shame victims. Those who have been brave enough to come forward have consistently talked of being pariahs whose careers have been frozen, and the work has dried up. Not to mention the abuse and additional harassment flung like the feces it is their way from anonymous keyboard jockeys who think they’re funny and doing it for the lulz.

There’s a lot that needs to be done on all sides, but to focus on only one facet misses the big picture. If this is to end, we all need to work together.

Updated: Some information regarding Edmondson’s relationship with Image has been updated and stricken after being reached out to directly by a publisher who clarified the relationship. The lack of releases is explained as chronic “delays.” We have seen internal communication and statements that his behavior was a known issue at the highest level.

46 comments

  • shit like this is why you’re not taken seriously as a journalist.

  • You should clarify, concisely, what was stricken.

  • No, you aren’t afraid, but you are a joke. You try to plaster this man as something with no fucking proof. What’s really funny is that you probably wouldn’t be bothering if this man didn’t have conservative ties. People like you are turning comics into a joke.

    • Yup, you caught us. That’s why we wrote exactly 0 stories about his conservative beliefs and exactly 0 stories about all of the other conservative creators out there. Oh darn, you saw right through us.

    • You also forgot to include calling me and the site SJWs and White Knights.

      • Hey, if the jackboot fits, wear it, buddy. You dress yourself up as a protector of the poor harassed women and use that as an excuse to throw wild smears around without evidence. That’s SJW to the core.

  • Reading your article and all those others you linked I can safely say one thing, you guys are only going after him cause of his conservative nature. Judging by how all those “wrongs” the people “outed” in the sites are just people saying their conservative, tells the whole story. You have nothing, and are just trying to drive someone out of the industry again. Is this just some grab at relevance and a hope you will be seen as a good guy?

    By the comic book sales over the last ten years, it doesn’t matter, the industry you live off is dying and you probably should find a new job, as the only thing keeping comics alive at this point are the Marvel and DC movies.

    • I’ll repeat it here since you didn’t read my other comment to the same idiotic comment by the person above.

      “Yup, you caught us. That’s why we wrote exactly 0 stories about his conservative beliefs and exactly 0 stories about all of the other conservative creators out there. Oh darn, you saw right through us.”

      And yup, the comic is a dying industry. It was only up 4.39% year to year to $540.4 million, http://www.comichron.com/monthlycomicssales/2014.html

      But, you clearly know the industry better than us all. I’ll make sure to head your advice.

  • i have no investment in Edmondson. i don’t remember ever having read any of his work. and i don’t care about his politics. maybe he did these things. it’s all about your FAILURE to prove it.

    this article is just offensive. a real editor would never let such libel see print. and the reporter who submitted it would be told to seek work in a profession with a less demanding code of ethics. have you no shame?

    • You’re back? With no investment, you’re visiting this post and commenting a lot. And the reporter is me. And the person that runs the site is me. I’ll consider your advice and talk with me about firing myself and after I fire myself, I’ll look into something less demanding.

    • And please point out the libel. I’ve had multiple lawyers check off that it’s not.

  • So people told you he is a serious harasser, but (except in one case) failed to produce evidence. And you call that “checking sources and facts”? I call that hearsay.

  • “I know of his involvement with The Leadership Institute, an anti-gay, pro-life, right-wing organization. There’s photo evidence of this,”

    Ha ha, what? So he belongs to a political organization, and you crow “THERE’S PHOTO EVIDENCE OF THIS” as if you had pictures of him handing a briefcase full of money to a Congressman? Buddy, you’ve got problems. You can’t imagine that anyone could disagree with you, and you’ll destroy them for that.

    • You got us! That’s why we have a long history of going after all of the other conservative comic writers out there. Yup, totally saw through our liberal bias agenda. Jackboots and rainbows for everyone!

      For your insight, you get a picture of Obama riding a unicorn shooting rainbows out of his hands.

      Obama Unicorn

  • Oh no! A rude, conservative white man (so problematic) is writing a comic book. Grow up.

    You people are so full of shit. Way to “listen and believe” asshole. I mean, if enough people say something, it must be true.

    I totes agree, this guy is definitely a problem and this has absolutely nothing to do with some bullshit “cultural appropriation ZOMG a white man writing a native american comic book character!”

  • Nice smear campaign you got here.

  • Eltingvilleclubsandwich

    Guys stop trying to harassplain this writer, don’t you know facts are literally rape? Twitter is the only ‘evidence’ you should need (although “””evidence””” is scientific and science is a white-male-cis orientated institution designed to keep the la-li-lu-le-lo in power).

    It’s his site and he can smear anything he wants on the padded walls.

    I am so triggered right now I can’t even.

    I literally, LITERALLY can’t.

  • “I have absolutely no proof this happened, but it totally happened, you guys. I swear it did, for real!”

  • “While sniping has been happening against Edmondson by other creators for quite some time”

    Sounds like he’s on the *receiving* end of the harassment.

    “We here at Graphic Policy are NOT afraid to run these stories.”

    Apparently, you’re also not ashamed to run vicious character assassination pieces without actually saying what the person in question has allegedly done that was so bad, let alone provide evidence which shows that they did it.

    And the histrionic “we are not afraid” pathos takes the cake. Joining a witch hunt is not bravery, it’s quite the opposite.

  • I have a number of serious problems with this article, but most simply, it is just bad journalism. There’s a number of reasons professional outlets don’t take a story to print without the facts to back it up, and it isn’t simply a case of worrying about a libel suit.

    For starters, there’s the obvious problem of basing a story entirely on the hearsay of others. As much as the liberal media likes to push this “always trust the victim” ideal, there’s the sad fact that even victims can distort the truth unintentionally, exaggerate their claims, or even outright lie. Perhaps Edmondson is acting badly, but I’m certainly unable to discern that from the fact that some sources you are unable to name have told you such, without any convincing proof.

    Secondly, your timing is awful. By waiting for Edmondson to be given a big opportunity like this new book before going live with this story your intentions become unclear: and to many it will simply look as if you want to sabotage his apparent success. If this story was about protecting future victims or exposing the bad side of the industry, you could’ve gone public with your (lack of) information at any time, or focused on more than one creator who is an example of this supposed bad behavior. Instead, you’ve solely soloed out Edmonson at the exact moment he is receiving praise for his new book, which makes your motive unclear at best, malicious at worst. Maybe you have the best of intentions, but its impossible for readers to not sense something amiss.

    To add to this, let’s say you do eventually find solid proof of Edmondson’s misdeeds. Unfortunately, you’ve already soured the broth with this piece, as there is now clear evidence that you were looking to attack Edmonson even before you had any proof of his wrongdoing. Again, your motive comes into question, and any proof you discover will be questioned as well. Is your proof solid, or were you simply looking for something to back up your baseless accusations from before?

    Then of course is the (sadly overzealous) claim to be taking a bold moral stand. This is perhaps the worst part of the article, as it looks almost as if you are simply posturing for the accolades of your peers, for being so brave to stand up to… who or what exactly? You’ve taken no risks here, yet you claim “we are not afraid.” If you’re not afraid then show us whatever evidence you claim to have, tell us who these sources are, give us anything! You’ve published a piece which states absolutely nothing, and are using it to claim that your outlet is a shining example of journalistic integrity? If all you wanted was for potential sources to come forward, you could’ve published this simple blurb.

    “We are currently investigating the writer Nathan Edmondson regarding potential problematic sexual behavior. If you or someone you know has information regarding this, please contact us.”

    That would’ve been good journalism. This is just a lazy slur piece mistakenly believing its something far greater.

    • Also, you have some serious people in your comments, let seem only to be tackling the most easily dimissed with some memes. If you believe this piece is worth defending, ignore the trolls and tackle the real challenges.

    • I think the women who have come forward since in private would disagree with you. And there is evidence.

      But that’s not the point of the article. I’d suggest reading it again and parsing through what it actually says, not what you think it says. Reading is fundamental.

      • I suggest you do the same, because clearly your intentions don’t match what you’ve actually posted. You’ve put a picture of an accused harasser at the top of your page and a cry for the industry to shine a light on troublemakers at the bottom, and are now feigning incredulousness at the idea that a reader would read that as you labeling Edmonson a troublemaker.

        • If you have evidence? Why not post it? It’s not libel to post the truth.

          • 1) That wasn’t the point of the story, again, read again and actually figure out the context of the story
            2) The evidence is some of the people he’s harassed, and I have no obligation to name them. I actually have an obligation to protect them.
            3) Again, not the point of the article.

  • The evidence “is” the people he’s harassed? Or sourced from them?

  • What I’m asking is, is your evidence entirely the word of others? If so, are multiple people corroborating the same supposed events?

  • Brett , in reading this it’s pretty clear if you had an editor he would have stopped you from posting this piece. Because a journalist deals in facts in a story. Look at the article you posted. It’s basically “rumors” you heard but can’t confirm. You posted a rumor piece with no facts beyond a man being part of a right wing group. You should have waited til you had real evidence and wrote the article. Because I agree with the poster who said your actual article if you get evidence will be tainted by this rumor piece.

  • I’ll be keeping an eye out on your site (and others). I’ve looked into this myself previous to this and I’m inclined to believe there is fire hidden under the copious amount of smoke.

    Also, I appreciate being informed of a comics creator who actively works (or worked) against reproductive rights and marginalised groups on the basis of their sexual orientation. Belonging to an organisation which exists in part for achieving these goals is newsworthy to me, especially as a comics consumer.