Eddie Berganza’s Years of Harassment Gets In-Depth Coverage
Harassment is rife in the comics community with known issues buzzed about and whispered with little repercussions for the harassers or those that protect them. Buzzfeed has released an extensive article covering the known issues with DC Comics‘ editor Eddie Berganza which has been covered extensively by Bleeding Cool for years (credit where credit is due). The article has numerous individuals on the record discussed not just Berganza but also DC “goodwill ambassador” Julius Schwartz.
Berganza’s career has been all over rising from group editor to executive editor and back again to group editor all the while women left the company due to the harassment and behavior. Berganza’s actions occurred years ago and no new allegations have arisen recently but with the numerous reckonings of people like Kevin Spacey and Harvey Weinstein the issue is back to the forefront again highlighting how men in power have kept their jobs and been protected in their careers while the individuals they abuse are left in their wake with careers at times ruined.
Berganza’s allegations involve groping and forcibly kissing female staff on more than one occasion with at least five individual having spoken to DC leadership. Three of those women spoke to Buzzfeed. None of the women who reported Berganza to human resources still work for the company.
The article paints the picture of a toxic environment full of “offensive jokes or line-crossing comments in the presence of or at the expense of women” including the statement that a character needed to be made “less dykey.” Despite that toxicity and multiple infractions and complaints Berganza is still employed by the company.
Berganza’s reputation was so known in the industry and out that women avoided working with the line of books he oversaw and women were discouraged from working with him in his department. Sophie Campbell is quoted as saying she turned down working on Supergirl because she’d have had to have worked with Berganza. It was an “open secret” though a “code of silence” prevented some from speaking out.
The most recent, and reportedly last, incident occurred in 2012 at WonderCon where Berganza again attempted to “make out” with an individual. Despite numerous issues Berganza kept his job but was “demoted” from executive editor to group editor. They still apparently valued him enough to keep him employed sending a signal to many.
In response to the article DC stated:
DC and WB are unequivocally committed to cultivating a work environment of dignity and respect, one that is safe and harassment free for all employees. We take all claims of harassment very seriously and investigate them promptly. Employees found in violation of the policies are dealt with swiftly and decisively, and subject to disciplinary actions and consequences.
It’s clear a toxic element still corrupts the industry with individuals protecting or encouraging this type of behavior for the sake of sales and actual impact to the instigator from behavior being minimal. Berganza is just one case but we’ve covered the issue more than once. We’ve gotten word of more that has yet to be revealed with other individuals at other publishers.
Hopefully with a renewed spotlight on toxicity in entertainment, and elsewhere, maybe changes can be made going forward within the comic industry but that won’t make up for the careers and individuals destroyed in the wake of what has already happened.