It all began when Judge Dread artist Ulises Farinas took JL8 creator Yale Stewart to task for Stewart’s habit of creating pictures around tragedies to raise money. Working in politics, the fact Stewart does this has never phased me, as I see it every day with organizations’ opportunistic nature. As long as the money raised made it to the charities, I tended to not really care. The latest of those had to do with the tragedy in Ferguson.
But quickly, the dust-up escalated (as things tend to do online):
The discussion of Stewart’s fundraising habits quickly shifted to his habit of showing off his own member to women. Stewart has been accused of pulling an Anthony Weiner, sending texts of his privates to women, with some saying these were unsolicited. From there, things escalated more, with Stewart saying his mother was receiving rude/threatening calls, and Farinas also claiming threats.
Stewart then said he was taking time off from his work.
Stewart also deleted his Twitter account in the process.
Numerous individuals that I know claimed Stewart’s habits was an open secret, known in the industry and that there were photos showing both of Stewart’s heads, proving it was him. As expected, numerous online individuals rallied around Stewart, shaming those making claims and generally throwing vitriol their way (cause why believe the victim!?). Then 4Chan came to the rescue, turning up a photo of Stewart in the buff.
With photo evidence, Stewart has made a formal apology, (sort of) admitting to the exhibitionist acts:
As some of you may be aware, there have been some rumors circulating about my personal conduct with women in the comics industry. The accusation is that I’ve sent unsolicited intimate photos of myself to fans, colleagues, or possibly both.
Sexual harassment is incredibly serious business, and I believe anyone who has followed me for any period of time knows that I often speak against it. No one should be subject to such behavior. It’s invasive, disrespectful, and occasionally dangerous.
Have I sent intimate photos of myself to women before? Yes. I’ll absolutely admit to that. As a 26 year-old bachelor with a relatively healthy sex life in the internet age, these things happen. However, every photo sent was in direct response to either a photo received or a specific request.
Or so I thought.
Two years ago, I was engaged in two separate relationships with women whom I was sexually active with. Given the nature of these relationships, my experiences in past relationships, and various dialogues with these women, I thought it had been established within each relationship that intimate or explicit photos were acceptable, possibly even desired.
I GROSSLY misread the situation.
It has been brought to my attention that both of these women were uncomfortable with my behavior, and needless to say, I’m absolutely disgusted with myself. How I could so horribly misinterpret the situation confounds me, but that confusion pales in comparison to the shame of knowing that I did the very thing to these two women that I openly chastise people for on a regular basis. Also, beyond that, that these women felt this way for TWO YEARS without me knowing and attempting to make amends, which is wholly unacceptable in its own right.
I have reached out to both of these women and have made private apologies, but I felt it was my responsibility to make a public one as well. As stated earlier, I believe sexual harassment to be an incredibly serious issue, and while the harassment in question was a terrible and ignorant mistake, it does not change the fact that that’s what this was, and I accept full responsibility.
I strive to treat everyone with respect, as I feel those who know me personally or follow my comics work would attest, and as such I hope that helps frame how sorry I truly am that all of this happened. The best I can do is own up to it, acknowledge that I made an incredible error in judgement, and finally, make sure that I learn from this mistake and never repeat it moving forward.
In addition, if there’s anyone else out there who feels like I’ve made them uncomfortable, on any level, please let me know. Clearly I’ve misread situations before, and I don’t want to go years again thinking nothing’s wrong only to learn I’ve hurt someone.
Finally, I’ll be making a donation of $1000 to RAINN, as they’re an organization at the forefront of both preventing and aiding victims of sexual harassment and assault. Hopefully my small donation will in some way help them in educating even just one person, preventing another situation such as this.
My deepest, sincerest apologies to all.
While we don’t have hard evidence contradicting Yale’s statement, we have been told by a few that pics were received even though they were not dating Stewart, and in fact some were in a relationship with other individuals.
While sending pics like this is quite ok in a consenting relationship, doing so unsolicited is wrong, and harassment. Harassment is wrong, period, whether it was Yale sending pics to women, people calling Stewart’s mother, or things directed at Farinas. For each of these incidents that occur, it seems like the industry, and its fanbase, never learn long term lessons.
Hopefully Stewart has learned his lesson, and his positive actions going forward are honest and sincere (and for gods sake man, quit it with the dick pics!). It’s not impossible to move forward after one’s “sexual exploits” become news, just ask Bill Clinton, Anthony Weiner, or Eliot Spitzer (though Clinton is the one who’s made it to the other side the best).
But for now, Stewart might want to take some time off and think things through. When he returns, a pen name might be a good idea. We suggest Gustavo Stealth.