Earlier this week, new revelations came out about the behavior of comic editor/writer Scott Allie including harassment, retaliation, and emotional abuse towards others in the industry. This is beyond the documented 2015 assault on a comic creator that happened at San Diego Comic-Con.
Hellboy Creator Mike Mignola and comic publisher Dark Horse were quick to distance themselves from Allie stating they would no longer be working with him. But, both Mignola and Dark Horse continued to work with Allie after 2015 despite his admission of the assault and concerns from staff, some of who have come public with raising concerns with management. It wasn’t until 2017 that Allie “left” Dark Horse though he continued to edit their top titles including Hellboy, which he would later pen some issues in that universe, and on Gerard Way’s Umbrella Academy. He continued to work with the company on a freelance basis and his role became even MORE PROMINENT after 2015 as he began to write issues. Despite Allie’s reputation for abuse, he was still chosen to provide “oversight” on the Image benefit anthology after the Las Vegas shootings. He was replaced after the outcry.
The protection of Allie went beyond Mignola and Richardson and is a prime example of the industry unwillingness to put action to words.
While Dark Horse quickly made a statement that echoed their 2015 statement, yesterday, the company founder Mike Richardson spoke up.
As has been pointed up by so many, Richardson’s statement rings hollow. In 2015, he stated among other things:
Dark Horse agrees 100% with the EEOC Guidelines.
So are we to take his statement above that Dark Horse HASN’T been doing what’s legally required like no retaliation and zero tolerance? If Dark Horse, and Richardson, agreed with guidelines in 2015, what have they done in the five years since?
They “rehired” Allie as a freelancer.
Mike Mignola expounded upon his short Tweet from the day the news broke in a post entitled “I Believe and Completely Support Shawna Gore”:
About Scott Allie—
Scott was my second editor on the Hellboy series at Dark Horse. He was only meant to be my temporary editor, just for the one comic (THE CORPSE) and a more senior editor was supposed to take over after that. But, as the story goes, he saved me from making a rather big mistake on that one comic and I requested that he stay on as my regular editor, and we ended up working together for something close to 25 years.
From the earliest days I heard stories of his drunken behavior at conventions—stupid stuff like jumping fully clothed into fountains. It was joked about and I was not aware that there was anything at all more serious going on.
The drunken incident in 2015 made it clear that there was a much more serious problem that needed to be dealt with. I spoke to him about it. Others spoke to him about it. He agreed that the drinking was a problem and we were all led to believe he was getting help for that. And to the best of my knowledge he DID get help for the drinking problem.
Around this time I started to hear rumors of other past incidents—alcohol-fueled behavior that seemed limited to drunken, juvenile pranks. There was nothing specific and I never heard the names of any specific persons involved in these other incidents. I continued to write these off as just more of his stupid drunken episodes. I became aware that some people did not like working with Scott. While our working relationship had always been good I know his editorial style could be aggressive and off-putting and I honestly believed this, coupled with the past drinking problem, was the reason for the trouble. The truth of course is that after a very long and very productive working relationship I did not want to believe there was anything more to these stories. I was blind because I wanted to be blind and that’s on me and it’s something I have to live with.
After the news about Cameron Stewart and Warren Ellis broke last week, Scott’s name started to bubble up on social media again. Until yesterday I had never heard about Scott’s assault of Shawna. I wish I had known. I understand there are many reasons why no one would approach me with something like that—the shame and embarrassment of course and, sadly the perception that Scott and I were good friends. Had I heard any of what I’ve heard in the last 24 hours I would have severed all contact with Scott Allie at once.
But where there is smoke there is almost always fire and after a while there was so much smoke—clearly I had to finally take a hard look at the situation, had to contact some friends and associates, people who had been close to Scott and find out what had really been going on—and I was horrified but what I started to hear. I wish I had asked this questions much sooner. After so many years I wanted to give Scott the benefit of the doubt—as the son of an alcoholic I wanted to blame the booze. I was fooling myself and I will regret that forever. My heart goes out to all his victims. And Shawna—I have known Shawna almost as long as Scott and have always considered her a good friend– and now to discover that she has been living with this all these years — I am heartbroken. And of course I am furious at Scott and at myself for not realizing what was going on so much sooner.
I’m writing this now because I need to address Scott’s victims. Their stories need to be heard. They need to be believed.
Comics need to do better. We all need to be more accountable. All companies need to have responsive HR departments. Companies need to recommend training about what to do when they hear about assault, harassment, or inappropriate behavior from co-workers or colleagues.
As a creator I need to do better, I need to set a better example, both in the stories I tell and the people I choose to tell them with.
As many have said, Mignola is part of the reason that Allie was allowed to stay around and his behavior was excused. There was a fear that if Allie was fired, Mignola would leave and Dark Horse would struggle. In other words, dollars mattered more than lives. Artist Amy Reeder spoke up to say exactly this:
You were the reason he still had a job, they feared repercussions from you. Maybe he manipulated you, I don’t know. All I heard is, they couldn’t fire him because it’d cause Mignola to leave and the entire company would fold. It was tough to hear that about a fellow creator.
Allie’s behavior wasn’t a secret, it was known to the point that Dark Horse made jokes about it publicly calling him “Bitey.”
Former employees have spoken up:Former editor Jim Gibbons Tweeted:
Scott Allie is far and away the most despicable, abusive, and awful person I’ve ever worked with. The amount of trauma he’s caused the people who have worked with him is extreme.
Another former staffer wrote that:
Scott Allie’s continued abuse of staff was an open secret employees were actively discouraged from speaking about at Dark Horse. While head of editorial, he was not allowed to have women in his office w/his door closed bc he repeatedly shouted or otherwise harassed staff to tears.
Regular Hellboy colorist Dave Stewart has spoken out:
I am with @ShawnaGore. Scott Allie is and was a manipulator and liar. I stopped working with him a couple years ago when I found he was a predator using alcoholism as a cover for his bad actions. I found that out by digging around and asking questions.
Former Hellboy creator John Arcudi has some of the most damning statements. Not only does he mention learning of Shawna’s assault in 2017 but telling Mignola which then would go on to employ Allie until this past week:
Former Hellboy collaborator Guy Davis would indicate the toxicity of the Hellboy team went well beyond Allie:
regarding DarkHorse/BPRD~ I quit the series in 2011 because of the toxic behavior of Allie, Mignola, Arcudi and cut all contact. In 2015 with news of Allie’s assaults and DH “response”, I cancelled The Marquis HC from DH (which never had a contract for them to solicit)
To clarify my leaving BPRD in 2011, that was due to a toxic work environment with the team. I had no knowledge of Scott’s harassments until announced in 2015
The above shows there’s a rot that has infested Dark Horse for almost a decade (at least) and gone unchecked. Excuses are made and basic legal requirements not followed. What’s to believe that 2020 is any different than 2017 or 2015? Actions speak louder than words and in the five years since our initial reporting, all we’ve got is words.
If you are a U.S.-based victim of sexual assault in need of help, contact RAINN at 800-656-4673 to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.