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Editor Brendan Wright is Removed From Projects After Being Named in Harassment Accusation

Editor Brendan Wright has been removed from numerous projects after being accused of harassment and stalking another individual within the comic industry. Wright is a former Dark Horse Editor and the former Executive Editor and VP for SBI Press.

Wright has been dropped from numerous projects including the Shots Fired benefit anthology which was recently Kickstarted. Numerous other individuals and publishing teams have announced they have parted ways with him as well.

Suspicious Behavior Productions released the following statement:

White Cat Entertainment also announced they would no longer working with Wright Tweeting:

We have terminated our relationship with Brendan Wright, and as of now he will no longer be working on Rise of the Kung Fu Dragon Master.

Starburns Industries Press, his former employer but Wright was still working on projects with them, also released a statement:

Wright met the accuser at a party where she provided him with her information in hopes of building out her connections within the industry.

She went on to describe Wright as “calling/texting constantly, showing up at my then day job” and even showed up outside of her apartment building.

She would go on to Tweet:

Brendan would remind me all the time that he knew more people than I did, that he could get me on projects if he was feeling generous, all the while telling me how much he was in love with me and how badly he wanted to fuck me.

After he quit DH we started working together freelance. Once, in a bar (I always insisted on meeting in public), while we were going over notes on a script, he again told me that he was in love with me.

I asked him to stop saying that and he responded with what he considered a joke saying, “Even though I want to fuck your face?” He laughed. Loudly.
Another time at a work meetup, I drank too much and ended up having to crashing at his place (I’m going to stop you here if you’re thinking this is my fault. I drank too much. It happens. I didn’t want to drive, the buses had stopped running, and this was before ridesharing).

He let me sleep in his bed with him on the couch. I locked the bedroom door and was so uncomfortable that I kept waking up to check that it was still locked.

In the morning he asked why I’d locked the door. I asked why he’d been trying to get into a room where an intoxicated person was sleeping. He then made another “joke” about the sweats I’d borrowed to sleep in “smelling like pussy”.

I allowed our acquaintance to continue because I’d convinced myself that my career was worth it. I wasn’t picking up very much work at the time and he approached me with projects that were already green lit and getting published.

When I finally cut contact, all of my work went with him. I didn’t work for months.

These are just two of many memories I have of him.

Brendan Wright used his position of power to torment and harass me in an attempt to satisfy his own obsessive sexual urges.

We’ll add to this article as more individuals come forward. We’ve asked for a comment from Wright but have yet to hear back as of the time of the article’s release. We’ll update it if any is received.

Warren Ellis Releases a Statement about Accusations

Creator Warren Ellis has released a statement through his social media and email list where he addresses the multiple accusations against him.

You can read the full statement below.

Hello. Please forgive the lateness of my appearance. I have been speaking to people, and listening carefully, for a few days.

Recent statements have been made about me that need to be addressed.

I have never considered myself famous or powerful, to the point where I’ve made a lot of bad jokes about it for twenty-odd years. It had never really occurred to me that other people didn’t see it the same way—that I was not engaging as an equal when gifted with attention, but acting from a position of power and privilege. I did not take that into account in a number of my personal interactions and this was a mistake and I own it.

While I’ve made many bad choices in my past, and I’ve said a lot of wrong things, let me be clear, I have never consciously coerced, manipulated, or abused anyone, nor have I ever assaulted anybody. But I was ignorant of where I was operating from at a time I should have been clear and for that I accept 100% responsibility.

I hurt people deeply. I am ashamed for these mistakes and I am profoundly sorry. I will not speak against other people’s personal truths, and I will not expose them to the toxicity of the current discourse. I should have been more aware, more present, and more respectful of people’s feelings and for that I apologise.

I have had friendships and relationships end, sometimes in bitterness, often due to my own failings, and I continue to regret and apologise for the pain I have caused.

I have always tried to aid and support women in their lives and careers, but I have hurt many people that I had no intention of hurting. I am culpable. I take responsibility for my mistakes. I will do better and for that, I apologise.

I apologise to my friends and collaborators for having created this situation, and I hope they will be treated kindly. Mistakes and poor choices in my personal life are not on them, but only on me.

We have a responsibility to one another, every day. And I have, in my past, let too many people down. I hope to one day become worthy of the trust and kindness that was placed in me by colleagues and friends.

I will continue to listen, learn, and strive to be a better human being. I have sought to make amends with people, as I have been made aware of my transgressions, and will continue to do so.  I have apologised, I apologise, and will continue to apologise and take total responsibility for my actions without equivocation.

I am going to be quiet now, to listen more than I speak, for other voices matter far more than my own right now.

Cameron Stewart and Warren Ellis Accused of Sexual Misconduct

Multiple women have come forward on social media recounting their encounters with comic creator Cameron Stewart. He’s accused of predatory behavior including grooming young women.

Artist Aviva Artzy revealed on Twitter that Stewart had begun to groom her when she was 16 years old and he was in his early 30s.

Other women came forward including Kate Leth who said she had a similar experience when she was 19 and he was in his early 30s.

Both Marsha Cooke and Babs Tarr, who worked with Stewart on Batgirl and Motor Crush, voiced support as they both said they have witnessed the behavior. Others have spoken up that this was a known behavior of Stewart’s within the Toronto comic community.

Grooming is when an older person builds a relationship with a younger individual (often minors) with the goal of sexual activity/abuse. The age of consent in Ontario is 16 but “luring a child” applies to those under the age of 18 for the purpose of committing a criminal offense which can include sexual exploitation. It’s unknown what Stewart’s motivations were but as recounted on Twitter, many of the discussions turned sexual.

In the discussion of Stewart, Warren Ellis‘ name also came up on Twitter also describing his behavior as grooming. Though details are emerging one person has described him as a “bluebeard.” That’s someone you have a relationship with until you find out they secretly have a boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, or wife. More information is coming out with specifically what he has done but others have spoken out about their experiences, though vaguely, describing similar manipulation as done by Stewart.

The accusations against Ellis sounds similar to Stewart in that he would contact younger women (19 is the youngest mentioned so far) and then would engage them in chats about the industry acting as a mentor and then discussions would eventually turn sexual. While “grooming” is often associated with minors it can be done to anyone of any age. One description of it is “Grooming is the slow, methodical, and intentional process of manipulating a person to a point where they can be victimized.” This describes much of what has been said about Ellis as well as Stewart.

One person described their interaction and history:

  1. He found me when I was young/vulnerable/uncertain.
  2. He acted like a mentor, gave me so much appreciated attention..
  3. but pushed boundaries.
  4. He said I was his world/we were best friends/he was my thrilling secret/he supported my career so I didn’t feel like I could say no.
  5. He dropped me. I blamed myself.

Others have posted screen shots of conversations or described them:

I have years of emails from Warren Ellis leading me to think we were friends, then leading into sex chat. It was like a clang in my head when I joyously mentioned talking to other creators and he dropped me. Like hot garbage.

These are stories of psychological manipulation that are unacceptable and rumors have swirled for some time about Stewart. It’s another form of abuse and the shitty behavior that has swirled within the comics community for decades as those in power take advantage of their positions. It shows there’s a long way to go until we have a safe and inclusive community and there are issues beyond physical assault that need to be dealt with.

Neither Ellis or Stewart have made statements as of this article. Stewart has locked down his social media to private.

(images courtesy of The Beat)

Hope Nicholson Shuts Down Bedside Press

Bedside Press

Bedside Press has posted a statement that the independent comic publisher will be shutting down. Earlier this week, owner and comic creator Hope Nicholson admitted that the person in 2018 article about sexual assault was her. While she disagreed with calling it assault, she admitted that the events were largely accurate.

Nicholson’s admission received backlash as it took autonomy from the victim away who kept her anonymous in the original article. Her follow up Tweets and statements centered it all around her.

Subsequently, she deleted her personal Twitter account leaving just the publisher’s account which has Tweeted out subsequent statements including the news of the closing. Some creators who were being published through the company had already announced they were pulling their publications before the announcement.

You can read the full statement below.

Comic Creator Hope Nicholson Named in Sexual Assault

A year ago, writer Tres Dean went public with an article on Huffington Post recounting a sexual assault that he experienced by a female comic creator. While he doesn’t name the creator, he does talk about the events in a broader article about men and sexual assault.

Dean recounts at an industry event he had a fellow comic creator stick “her tongue down (his) throat” and did it twice more. The creator made further “drunken passes” both physical and verbal towards Dean through the night.

Dean’s article focuses on the stereotype of men when it comes to events like this and how men are treated when they come forward regarding allegations of sexual assault.

While Dean doesn’t name the creator and goes out of his way to keep her name anonymous, the story is back in the news as the creator has admitted to the events on Twitter.

Hope Nicholson Tweeted that while she doesn’t “think that’s the case” as it being assault, she does admit to events in that she “hurt” Dean and would indicate the account of kissing him is correct. She goes on to say the article is “largely accurate” saying she was “…rude. An idiot. A messy drunkard. A pest.” And that doesn’t excuse her actions.

Nicholson is the latest individual to be named when it comes to assault in the comic industry.

If you feel you have been assaulted and need help, visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.

Update: The article better reflects the original HuffPo article ran a year ago.

Comic Creator Jai Nitz Accused of Predatory Behavior (Update x2)

Jai Nitz

You may not know the name but you most likely know Jai Nitz‘s creations like El Diablo, a character who appeared in the film Suicide Squad. Nitz is also now the latest comic creator to be accused of harassment.

On the site Her Campus, a University of Kansas student recounts her experience with Nitz who graduated from the school in 1998 and was a guest lecturer of the journalism class of the student.

The victim recounts how what she perceived as a mentorship turned into something more sinister. Drinks turned into sexual talk and then a forceful kiss after the victim made it clear she wasn’t interested.

Nitz attempted to use his position, a power structure inequality, to take advantage of a student. And she may not be the only one.

I’ve been told that I’m not the only one to experience this behavior from him.

A Title IX complaint was made over the behavior and the victim was informed that “the school of journalism wouldn’t be inviting Jai back.”

Nitz deleted his Twitter account earlier today as news broke (update 4/1 – he has reactivated his account but set it to private). We’ve reached out for comments from publishers. Nitz currently has a series Astro Hustle being published by Dark Horse and the series Suicide Squad: Black Files wraps up this week for DC Comics.

Update (4/1/2019): Dark Horse has responded with an updated comment to their original statement released Saturday:

Dark Horse takes all allegations seriously. We have cancelled future issues of Astro Hustle. While we were unable to prevent our distributor’s shipping of Astro Hustle #2, we are also suspending our professional ties with Jai Nitz.

Update 2: Nitz was to appear at Planet ComicCon this weekend and has left the convention and not returning. The below photo was taken 1:52pm today. The photo reads:

Sorry Folks! Jai had a family emergency & will not be back this weekend. Have a great con!

Photo used with permission from @Shoelais

Correction: The article has been updated to make clearer Nitz’s role in the journalism class. He was originally titled the co-professor of the class when he was a guest.

Eric Esquivel is Now Off Nightwing and Tweets a New Statement Addressing Accusations of Abuse

In early December, comic creator Eric M. Esquivel was accused of abuse, both physical and mental, by a former co-worker. Since then numerous other accusations have surfaced, his series Border Town was cancelled, and he was dropped by SBI Press. Now, he’s off DC ComicsNightwing.

DC Comics has informed retailers that Esquivel will no longer be co-writing Nightwing #58 which is to come out in March. He hadn’t yet been announced on the issue, as March’s solicitations are just being released. While his name will appear in the January DC Previews, he will no longer be involved. DC hasn’t update the credits though, so it’s unknown as to who will be taking over. The issue was thought to be a try-out for Esquivel on the series which he would then take over. That is likely not happening either.

While DC didn’t say why they made it’s change, it’s the latest fallout surrounding the accusations. Accusations that Esquivel addressed again December 19 after releasing an initial statement on December 14.

You can read his new statement from Twitter below:

Well-meaning entities in my life have discouraged me from saying anything in public. I’ve been told that the best strategy right now is to “hold tight, until this all blows over”…But I don’t want this to “blow over”. Either in my own life, or in Culture-at-large.

What I want, is to apologize. To serve as a cautionary tale to others. And to change.

Hearing my past behavior described to me this week has been the most surreal experience of my life. My perception of events, relationships, and personal dynamics are so far removed from the way they’ve been recounted, my knee-jerk reaction is to deny them outright…

…Both publicly, and to myself.

But the sources of these accusations are women who I not only respect, but who I genuinely love.

These are people whose presence in my life has changed me for the better, and who I am infinitely grateful to have known. People who I’ve kept in intimate contact with since the years we’ve been apart.

So it doesn’t make sense that they’d simply be making things up. They have nothing to gain, and everything to lose.

The odds suggest that I have a problem. Or, rather, that I AM a problem.

And, honestly, that’s something I’ve been at least peripherally aware of for some time. Everything I’ve ever written has been about a young man, operating at a deficit because he grew up without a father, trying his damndest to figure out what it means to be a “man”.

And that’s because I was pulling from my own experience. I grew up without any male role models. So I looked to Pop Culture for instructions. A lot of what I learned was useful: the sobriety I reverse-engineered from Batman, the compassion for animals that I aped from Aquaman,etc

But the stuff I learned about male sexuality– from James Bond, Arthur Fonzarelli, Gene Simmons, etc– were completely inappropriate.

(To be clear: I’m not blaming Pop Culture for my actions. If I didn’t grow up behind a library, I would’ve found other archetypes to emulate. Possibly even shittier ones)

I was, and continue to be, insecure in my masculinity.

In my twenties, I tried to combat that by doing everything I could to muster up external validation: getting into fistfights, pursuing the spotlight, and behaving extraordinarily promiscuously. Especially with other men’s wives and girlfriends.

It kills me that I have to say this, but: I never engaged with anyone who was unwilling. Not only is that downright evil, it wouldn’t have accomplished what I was trying to accomplish: which is to feel wanted and appreciated.

I became conscious of my own toxic behavior about two years ago, after a close female friend suggested that I examine myself from that perspective.

I’ve attempted to change the way I’ve lived since then. I’ve volunteered at various community-oriented charities, taught writing classes to formerly-incarcerated youth, used my platform in The Arts to amplify the voices of disadvantaged creators…

… but I never reached out to the women from my past, to make sure that I hadn’t unknowingly harmed them. Mostly because I am a coward, and feared hearing that the answer was “Yes, of course”.

I don’t know what to say about that. I don’t know how to make things okay. I don’t know how I can be of use to culture, going forward.

Is it by encouraging other men to examine themselves, and their behavior? Is it by documenting my recovery from sex addiction in public, to show that it’s possible? Is it by fucking off into the night forever, so nobody has to deal with me ever again?

Honestly, I hope it’s that last one. Because that’s the easy way out. &, as I’ve mentioned, I’m a coward.

…But I suspect that it’s not. I suspect that I’m not operating on a level of awareness that allows me to see the answer yet. But I’m going to try to get there. I promise.

Eric M. Esquivel Releases a Statement About Allegations

Border Town #1

Earlier this week comic creator Eric. M. Esquivel was accused of abuse, both physical and mental, by a former co-worker. Since then, the other creators working with him on his Vertigo series Border Town quit. SBI Press cut ties. And Border Town‘s next two issues have been cancelled and the four issues released have been made returnable.

But, we haven’t heard from Esquivel who deleted his social presence beyond a Twitter account which is now private and almost all Tweets deleted.

Late today, he released a statement to iO9:

I was recently accused of misconduct by a former romantic partner. Not recent misconduct. Misconduct which allegedly happened many years ago. Out of respect for her and our prior relationship, I will not publicly name names.

I’ve taken a few days to respond, because I wanted to make sure I wasn’t talking over anyone. We’re in the midst of a very important cultural conversation right now. One I wholeheartedly believe in.

Never in my life did I expect that I would become one of the accused. I will not speculate as to her motivation for making these reckless allegations, but I want to make it clear that they are false. Though our relationship was unconventional, we always treated one another with dignity and respect.

I heavily encourage, and will fully cooperate in, any forthcoming independent investigation of these claims, which I am confident will show that I have been falsely accused.

I have been notified that DC Vertigo has canceled the book I was working on. My heart breaks for the book’s supporters, and my creative collaborators. They don’t deserve to be negatively affected by this unfortunate situation.

DC Cancels Border Town and Makes Previous Issues Returnable

Earlier this week comic creator Eric Esquivel was accused of physical and emotional abuse by a former co-worker. Esquivel was an up and coming writer with a recent hit series in Border Town, the lead launch title from the newly refocused Vertigo imprint from DC Comics.

While DC hasn’t had an official statement we now know that Border Town is officially cancelled. A cancellation notice was sent to retailers and fifth and sixth issue of the series will not be published. On top of that, all previous issues are being made returnable.

This isn’t too surprising as Esquivel’s two collaborators on the series quit after the accusations became public and they found out about them.

Esquivel has also been sacked from SBI Press with whom he was writing a series.

Esquivel has still not commented on the accusation and has deleted his social media presence except his Twitter account which he has made private and deleted all Tweets other than two.

SBI Press Part Ways with Eric Esquivel Over Accusations

This week, comic creator Eric Esquivel was accused of physical and emotional abuse by another creator. You can read about that here. At the time of the initial article, we reached out to publishers he currently works with to see if they had a statement. Tonight we heard from SBI Press for which Esquivel writes the series Fantasmagoria.

So sorry to not get back to you sooner. We’ve been understandably distraught over what has happened and what we have learned. In light of what we have learned we are halting publication on Fantasmagoria and are not working with Eric Esquivel on any publications or in any capacity going forward.

– SBI Press official statement

While we had heard that the publisher would be parting ways with Esquivel and had just been awaiting an official word.

We’ve heard there will be a statement coming from DC Comics whose imprint Vertigo Esquivel publishes Border Town. Two of his collaborators on that comic have announced they would be parting ways from the project.

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