Tag Archives: Cyber Bullying

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Pop Culture Hero Coalition Making a Stand at C2E2

Pop Culture Hero CoalitionPop Culture Hero Coalition is making a stand for heroism in real life at Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo. The first-ever 501(c)(3) organization that uses the phenomenal popularity of TV, film and comics for real-life heroism, Pop Culture Hero Coalition stands against bullying, racism, misogyny, cyber-bullying, LGBT-bullying, and other forms of hate. The Coalition works in schools, comic-Partners include the United Nations Association, the NOH8 Campaign, the Anti-Defamation League, and the International Bullying Prevention Association.

The groundbreaking Coalition was founded in 2013 by actress Chase Masterson (Star Trek, The Flash) with world renowned experts Carrie Goldman (author, Bullied: What Every Parent, Teacher, and Kid Needs to Know About Ending the Cycle of Fear; Harper Collins, 2012) and Matt Langdon (Founder, The Hero Construction Company and Hero Roundtable).

C2E2 (Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo)

Sunday, March 20 • 1:15 – 2:15 pm
South Building, McCormick Place • RM S403

End Bullying: Becoming a Superhero IRL

Been bullied? Turn kryptonite into your own personal strength with Pop Culture Hero Coalition’s powerful panel, back by popular demand! Topics: geek, cyber, sexist & LGBT-bullying, and heroism IRL. Learn strategies from celebs & experts, TBA. Moderated by Coalition Co-Founder Carrie Goldman (Author, Harper Collins’ Bullied: What Every Parent, Teacher and Kid Needs to Know About Ending the Cycle of Fear). With Q&A.

C2E2 panel participants include actor Ming Chen (AMC’s Comic Book Men), Amnesty International USA’s Ernest Coverson, DC comics writer Amy Chu (Poison Ivy, Deadpool, X-Files), journalist Katie Schenkel (The Mary Sue), Dr. Kortney Peagram (Bulldog Solutions), and Rina Campbell (anti-bullying expert).

Goldman is also holding a panel in the Family HQ Stage:

Social Media and Social Conflict: How to Have Healthy Online Interactions
Friday, March 18 • 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM

Join award-winning author Carrie Goldman for a must-attend workshop on how to resolve social conflict without letting it deteriorate into cyberbullying. Topics to be addressed include:

  • Using Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and other media in a positive way
  • Strategies to manage screen addiction
  • Understanding when to take social conflict offline
  • Teaching kids how to be educated consumers of sexualized media

Goldman will be available intermittently through the weekend at the Coalition’s booth, #531. Masterson is attending the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York this  week; the Coalition is one of the only media-oriented organizations attending this global event.

Coalition Partners include the United Nations Association, the NOH8 Campaign, the Anti-Defamation League, and the International Bullying Prevention Association.

Anti-Bullying Gets the Spotlight at WonderCon

Pop Culture Anti-Bullying CoalitionBullying and harassment are big topics, and it’s being addressed by the Pop Culture Anti-Bullying Coalition at WonderCon this coming weekend. Learn how to convert kryptonite into your own personal strength with Pop Culture Anti-Bullying Coalition’s powerful panel, back at WonderCon at the Anaheim Convention Center by popular demand.

Jesse L. Martin of The Flash and Law & Order and the United Nations Association San Diego President Bettina Hausmann join the panel, along with celebs & experts Anthony Breznican, Deric Hughes, Dr. Andrea Letamendi, Jenna Busch, and Coalition Founder Chase Masterson.

Topics of discussion will include geek, cyber, and LGBT-bullying, becoming a hero IRL, and analyzing how media affects our attitudes toward bullying and aggression. There will be a Q&A.

End Bullying: Becoming a Superhero IRL

Sunday, 4/5/1510:30 am

Room 208

The unprecedented Coalition, which is all-volunteer and self-funded, was formed in 2013 by Chase Masterson and author Carrie Goldman (Harper Collins’ Bullied: What Every Parent, Teacher, and Kid Needs to Know About Ending the Cycle of Fear).

Coalition Partners include the United Nations Association, the Anti-Defamation League, Cartoon Network’s Stop Bullying: Speak Up, CW Seed’s Husbands and several national non-profits with initiatives to end bullying, including GLSEN, International Bullying Prevention Association, Girl Scouts of America, Brave Girls Alliance and the NoH8 Campaign.

Valerie D’Orazio is Quitting Twitter due to Violent Threats

DOrazio TwitterIf you missed it, comic creator Valerie D’Orazio spoke out on Twitter about being harassed in the past from blogger/comic creator Chris Sims. Sims was announced as one of the writers behind X-Men ’92 from Marvel (how many months since Marvel’s anti-cyber bullying covers?). Sims also blogs for Comics Alliance (overlook the conflicts of that I guess…). Comics Alliance condemned Sims past, and Sims apologized only after being confronted through the Tweets. The Outhousers have done the best job of documenting the situation, stepping up where other sites failed to live up to past actions concerning similar situations.

You can imagine the asshats that this brought out of the weeds, and D’Orazio has decided she will be closing down her Twitter account on March 31, due to “messages of a disturbing and violent nature.” She’s keeping it open until then “to allow journalists to document her statements on cyber bullying.”

I think it goes without saying, but harassment of any nature is wrong, uncalled for, and disgusting behavior. This whole affair has seen some serious issues on many sides, especially from some blogs, and creators, but the worst behavior are those who have seen this as an opportunity to spew hate and harassment. This is nothing new in our community, and we never seem to learn any lessons from it. We might have made steps as far as having more women in comics and creating comics, but we still fail time and time again to stand against the bullying and exclusion some think are ok. Harassment of any sorts is wrong, and those who promote it or partake should be called out. Those who receive it should be supported. D’Orazio stood up, called out bullshit (and hypocrisy), and suffered for it. Thank you Valerie for standing up, we commend your strength, and are so sorry for what you endured.

(via The Outhousers)

Theaters, Sony, and Paramount Cave to Terrorists and Cyberbullies & Why that’s Bad

interview_xlgIn what can only be described as stupidity and cowardice, national theater chains including AMC, Regal, Cinemark, and Cineplex, and eventually Sony Pictures Entertainment have pulled the December 25th release of The Interview. For those who might not know, The Interview is a film starring Seth Rogen and James Franco that has them traveling to North Korea to interview Kim Jong Un, and are tasked to kill the leader. The country didn’t take the comedy too lightly, and instead North Korea (likely, it’s hard to verify) waged a cyber-war against Sony in retaliation.

That cyber attack proved an embarrassment for the American subsidiary of the Japanese conglomerate. Sensitive documents were released, and have been fodder for sites over the past week. That coverage of leaked documents, and the subsequent reaction (which we’ll get to), played right into the hackers hands. Really, the hack showed the continued ineptness of Sony to protect itself in a digital age. They’ve had numerous hacks, dozens of times, that have exposed user accounts, and more.

In the end, the hackers threatened a physical attacked reminiscent of 9/11 if The Interview wasn’t pulled from release. This led to major theaters to cancel the release of the movie. Those theaters account for 18,000 screens of the roughly 40,000 screens in North America. Other theaters stood strong and would have still released the film. Sony eventually completely caved, and as of this post they were unsure if they’ll ever release the film, even on demand (I’d expect a torrent any day now).

The hacks, and even threat, are an example of cyberbullying taken to extreme, and by caving to demands, that bullying has shown to work. It’s akin to attacks on female creators (which include physical and death threats) in the video game industry, and have gotten some women to quit the industry. Its happened to comic creators and critics by those who disagree with what they have to say. It continues because it’s perceived to work.

What the pulling of the film does is encourage more of the behavior in the future, especially from the North Korean regime. The country has been building a cyber force that supposedly comprises 1,800 individuals. The cancellation of the film by theaters wasn’t likely out of safety concerns for movie goers (North Korea doesn’t likely have the ability to act on their physical threats), it’s more likely theaters are looking out for their own necks, and fear a cyberattack on their own systems, and what would come to light if it happened and documents were released. Documents that have been released showed Sony (and other film companies) conspiring against Google, and really consumers, in the battle over piracy. A battle ironically where Sony, the MPAA, RIAA, and other content producers use similar bullying tactics as were just used against Sony. They’ve also bad mouthed their own films, actors, and the direction of the subsidiary. Imagine what would be revealed about movie theater chains if a similar event would occur?

2014-12-18_1602The caving to the threats, and the embarrassment, have already had a chilling effect.

A planned adaptation of Guy DeLisle‘s Pyongyang by New Regency has been pulled. That film was to star Steve Carrell and be directed by Gore Verbinski with a script by Steve Conrad. The film has been described as a “paranoid thriller,” which has me a bit worried about what it might have been, when in reality DeLisle’s story is more like Lost in Translation. Luckily you can still purchase the brilliant graphic novel. What’s to say a threat and attack isn’t in Amazon’s future to stop the sale of the book though?

Paramount has barred theaters from showing Team America in protest of the cancellation of The Interview.

12 people were killed and more shot, plus numerous other incidences, during the opening week of The Dark Knight Rises, that film was kept in theaters. The Warriors opened in 1979, and lead to vandalism and killings, and only had security added to theaters, and continued to show.

Cyber threats which couldn’t be corroborated, and experts have dismissed the capabilities, are more than enough to stop this film, and more. Where actual physical proof of probable violence existed, a film wasn’t pulled. Think this is about our “safety” or that of protecting the theaters’ digital secrets?

In the coming weeks, and months, this most likely will increase the call for needed cyber legislation, most of which will be draconian, hurt civil liberties, and punish the consumer. Legislation like CISPA, SOPA, or PIPA, will be rammed through like undead zombies infecting and destroying the world before we notice and it’s too late. The attacks also have done more to promote a film which likely have done just ok in a theater (and built up a buzz that it’d be crazy to not release it digitally and capitalize on the hoopla).

This isn’t the first time a hack has led to company secrets being stolen. This isn’t the first time intellectual property has been stolen. The difference here is, that demands were met, and corporations caved to threats. They’ve shown this sort of bullying works, is easy, and effective. It encourages it to be done in the future, creating a chilling censoring effect.

This isn’t the first time issues over a movie and North Korea have come up. In 2002, Bond film Die Another Day depicted a North Korean villain which resulted in the country going on a PR offensive (instead of a cyber one). With these latest threats, the country moves closer to being a real life Bond villain.

Similar issues arose in 2004 of Team America: World Police, and in 2012 and 2013 things changed up a bit with the release of Red Dawn and Olympus Has Fallen. Both of those films featured North Korean terrorists. Those two films, the country used footage for their own propaganda to show off their military prowess.

It’s all ironic since former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il was an avid fan of the James Bond franchise (and movies in general). Jong Il was so obsessed with films he kidnapped Japanese and South Korean actors and directors to star in movies he some times wrote himself.



Marvel and Stomp Out Bullying Team for Variants and Awareness Program

SOB-logo1select_color_V4Marvel is enlisting its biggest Super Heroes to bring added awareness of the problems of bullying. This October, Marvel will join forces with STOMP Out Bullying, the leading national bullying and cyberbullying prevention organization for kids and teens in the U.S., to launch a special variant cover program to commemorate National Bullying Prevention Month and support STOMP’s relentless efforts to stop this growing epidemic. Throughout the month of October, the world’s most popular Super Heroes – Captain America, The Avengers, The Guardians of the Galaxy and more — will be featured on all-new variant covers to spotlight both National Bullying Prevention Month and STOMP’s Blue Shirt Day World Day of Bullying Prevention.  The variant issues will be available exclusively at comic shops.

STOMP Out Bullying focuses on reducing and preventing bullying, cyberbullying, sexting and other digital abuse, educating against homophobia, racism and hatred, decreasing school absenteeism, and deterring violence in schools, online and in communities across the country. It teaches effective solutions on how to respond to all forms of bullying. It educates kids and teens in school and online, provides  help for those in need and at risk of suicide, raises awareness, conducts peer mentoring programs in schools, creates and distributes public service announcements by noted celebrities, and engages in social media campaigns. An additional focus educates parents on how to keep their children safe and responsible online.

In 2008, the organization created Blue Shirt Day World Day of Bullying Prevention to signify the importance and bring awareness to the fight to stop bullying and cyberbullying. Taking place the first Monday of October – this year on October 6, 2014 – Blue Shirt Day World Day of Bullying Prevention is designed as a sign of solidarity against bullying by having kids, teens and adults wear blue and make that the day that bullying prevention is heard around the world.

The following comic books, on-sale in October, will feature special STOMP Out Bullying variant covers:

  • Rocket Raccoon #4
  • Guardians of the Galaxy #20
  • Avengers #36
  • Inhuman #7
  • Hulk #7
  • Captain America #25
  • Legendary Star-Lord #4

Online Harassment Isn’t Just Wrong, It’s a Crime

StopMuch has been written, and much of that better than I could do, about the unfortunate and wrong online harassment in geek communities, especially geared towards women. Those women did nothing more than participate in our already marginalized community. They expressed their opinions, thoughts, and in general just communicated, for this they’ve been attacked by anonymous bullies. The fact they have thoughts and opinions seems too much for some online, who have threatened them with death, and threatened them with rape. Some have gone even further, attempting to access email accounts, bank accounts, and more.

First, it is unacceptable in any situation to threaten death or rape. There is no situation where this would be fine. And it especially is not ok to respond this way for someone having an opinion you don’t agree with. Going that route shows you have no original thought, lack maturity or the ability to communicate like an adult, and is a piss poor attempt at intimidation. But, the point of this article is, it is also a crime.

Through all of the discussion that’s been going on, and with all of the various comments made, numerous crimes have been committed. Some of them, like attempting to access bank accounts, are pretty serious, and can bring jail time if prosecuted. I won’t even go into the time and money suck if it’s just investigated (lawyers like to get paid!).

For those making these comments and committing these acts, pause and ask yourself, is it worth going to jail, because you disagree with someone about an opinion over a comic book? Think about trying to explain that one to your cell mate.

Harassment as defined in the U.S. computer statutes is generally when someone:

…use a computer or computer network to communicate obscene, vulgar, profane, lewd, lascivious, or indecent language, or make any suggestion or proposal of an obscene nature, or threaten any illegal or immoral act.

Threatening death, and/or rape falls into the above. This is also usually different from cyber-bullying which has a definition unto itself. If you don’t believe online threats, even “jokes,” aren’t taken seriously, I give you this story of a teen who faces jail time for online “terror” threats. Here’s another example. And another. I could go on and on.

For the complete morons who think attempting to access bank accounts is intelligent or funny, this is a Cyber Crime. Not only do you have federal law to deal with, but many states have laws as well. Many countries too have adopted legislation and laws that make what I’m describing above a crime.

Penalties for violating cyber harassment laws vary widely by jurisdiction. In most cases, cyber harassment is charged as a misdemeanor. The more serious crime of cyber-stalking, however, may be a felony in some jurisdictions and punishable by a lengthy prison sentence.

I ask again to the “anonymous” harassers, is disagreeing about comics a big enough deal for you to go to jail for?

While freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the first amendment, the results due to that free speech are not, and in reality not all speech is protected either. You have a right to say what you want, but the fallout due to that, you get to deal with as well. Speech with the intent to “harm or intimidate” is not protected. The Supreme Court itself has said it is “statements where the speaker means to communicate a serious expression of an intent to commit an act of unlawful violence to a particular individual or group” Rape threats, and death threats qualify.

Many have spoken out saying we all need to speak out about this intimidation whenever and wherever we see it. I agree with that completely. But enough is enough. Crimes have been committed on various websites, in forums, over email, on social networks. We all need to stand up, we all need to take this all seriously. We need to speak up when we see this. To the people who these threats are directed towards, these acts perpetrated against, I encourage you to turn in these criminals to their and your local police departments, their and your attorneys general, and the FBI. This is serious stuff, crimes are being committed. Documenting them not only helps you, but others who might also be experiencing the same thing from the same individuals.

This site stands for equality and inclusiveness, we log IP addresses for comments and messages to us, and will turn them in, no questions asked. I encourage other sites to stand up and join us in cooperating and not tolerating this behavior. This is our community and this site our corner of that community. It is our responsibility to make it open and welcoming to all.


Pop Culture Anti-Bullying Coalition at C2E2

The Pop Culture Anti-Bullying Coalition will present three panels and an off-site mixer for celebrities, press and fans this weekend at C2E2. The event is expected to garner major celebrity participation and press. Several national non-profits with anti-bullying initiatives, including the Anti-Defamation League, are partnering with the Coalition at C2E2, in addition to local organizations. The coalition was formed by actress Chase Masterson and award-winning author Carrie Goldman.

The Coalition and C2E2 will sponsor the “I Am” Campaign, photographing celebrities and fans with an “I Am” sign, on which they write an assertive fact about themselves. Celebrities including Stan Lee (“I Am Stan the Man”), Hulk Hogan (“I Am Content), Seth Green (“I Am a Red-Headed Weirdo”), William Shatner, Felicia Day, Greg Grunberg, and Chase Masterson (“I Am Making a Stand for All of Us”) participated in this Campaign at New York Comic-Con.

The Coalition will also sponsor the:

Pop Culture Press Mixer & Anti-Bullying Blast Saturday from 7 pm – 12 am Duffy’s Tavern & Grille 420 1/2 W. Diversey Avenue, Lincoln Park, ChicagoFan Admission $10 • All proceeds go to support the Coalition’s work

The Coalition will have Booth FV3024 in C2E2‘s Fan Village.

Panels include:

End Bullying in Schools!

4 PM Friday & 5:30 PM Saturday on Fan Village Stage
Join author Carrie Goldman for a one-hour free workshop on how best to respond to bullying in schools, including strategies to manage cyberbullying, verbal taunts, and victim blaming.

End Bullying! Responding to Cruelty in Our Culture

Friday April 25, 5:30 pm in Room S403
Panelists include Masterson, Goldman, and other celebrity guests, and discussion topics include geek bullying, LGBT bullying, and cyber-bullying.

Planned Anthology Spotlights Bullying and Benefits Charity. Get Involved.

Details are being worked, but there’s some good coming out of the recent blow up concerning the bullying of a transgender comic book creator. Some who took a stand on the right side, and against bullying, are putting together.

Comic book writer and blogger Joey Esposito is helping to put together a a comic anthology, with proceeds benefiting a non-profit organization that still is to be determined. This is all still in the planning stages and those involved are gathering interest, which has already been impressive.

To get involved, email Joey Esposito.

Updated: Larry Doherty and Larry’s Comics at it Again. This Time Hate Speech Towards Transgender People.

What started as a friendly discussion on Twitter about digital versus print comics quickly devolved into a string of hate speech and Trans Bashing between the owner of Larry’s Comics, Larry Doherty, and Christian Beranek, a self described “Comic book writer, geek girl and rocker.” The discussion started in a friendly nature.

But quickly devolved from there.

The issue with Larry’s response is the word “sir.” Christian is transgender. Meaning she identifies herself and lives day to day as female. So, you can see how the word “sir” might make one uncomfortable and is insulting and degrading. In fact Christian politely asks Larry to stop using the term.

But, Larry being the agitator he is, continues.


And the insensitivity continued…

This is Trans Bashing and Cyber Bullying, no other way to put it. Larry was aware of Christian being transgender and continued to use the words “sir,” “dude,” “man” and “fellow” when referring to her. All terms belittling Christian. But, this isn’t the first time this behavior has come from Larry. In 2011, he also made insensitive racist jokes about the new Ultimate Spider-Man before the character was introduced and just rumored to be black.

This is the latest example of a comic book industry struggling with inclusion, whether that’s race, gender, sexual orientation, religion or gender roles. Mandy Curuso took to the internet to describe the harassment she experienced this past weekend at New York Comic Con. She described it as her “first truly skeezy experience at Comic Con.” And that’s the thing, this is a minority that’s causing these issues. The majority of fans are inclusive and welcoming and like sharing the hobby and entertainment they enjoy with others.

Unfortunately, incidents like this or what Mandy experienced don’t result in repercussions. The film crew Mandy dealt with will still get press passes and Larry will still have his ass kissed by publishers and creators who overlook his behavior that gives a black eye to the industry. When will we all say enough is enough?

Christian was kind enough to respond to my inquiries and provided the following quote about the incident:

Brett, I’ve been following Larry on twitter for awhile now. I appreciate his viewpoint as a retailer dealing with an ever-changing industry in which digital is becoming more and more important. Last night I made an admittedly cheeky comment about webcomics in response to a post about Marvel. It was meant to get a discussion going and it did. Larry is very passionate about print comics and often makes condescending remarks towards those of us who work in digital. Usually it rolls off but last night he called me ‘Sir’. I let pronoun misuse slide because I understand people are still getting used to me living as a female. I always ask the person to please make an effort to correct themselves and most times people are pretty cool about it. Last night Larry was not so cool.

Larry points out that print comic sales are rising. I think that’s great for the Big 2 and others benefiting from it. But there are loads of us who are working hard to tell different types of stories in different ways. Many of the people who make comics online have never even been to a comic book convention let alone a comic book shop. Many feel they are hostile environments. I think the “Boy’s Club” mentality of comics holds us back in a lot of ways. To be fair those who act this way are in the minority but they are extremely vocal and many of them hold positions of power.

I think manners and common courtesy go a long way. I’m not trying to censor anyone’s thoughts, I just think we’d have a much more pleasant and thriving community if we considered the lifestyles, backgrounds and viewpoints of other people.

Just take a moment and listen from time to time. People will surprise you and many times you’ll learn something new. Heck, Larry and others like him might even increase their business further because of it.

Thank you for the opportunity to have a say on this matter.

I would have reached out to Larry for a comment on the matter, but he’s had me blocked on Twitter for my opinions for well over a year.

Update: After numerous hours Larry has issued an “apology.” I have my opinion, but I leave it to you, the readers, to decide how truly heartfelt it is. And thanks for the shout out as the “vindictive blog” Larry and thanks for the traffic! *hugs*

Update 2: It seems Larry clearly doesn’t understand why this was an issue, deciding to make a joke about it all.

No Larry, it’s not the same thing, but thanks for showing us you can not learn a lesson and move on.

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