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:
- He found me when I was young/vulnerable/uncertain.
- He acted like a mentor, gave me so much appreciated attention..
- but pushed boundaries.
- 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.
- 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)