We’re living in savage times, and resorting to physical violence is becoming more and more common, as is using metaphors for violence to make a point.
Mark Waid did that, unwisely the other day in a tweet now removed he wrote “It’s to David Gabriel’s enormous credit that he somehow chooses, every day, not to put his fist through Jude Terror’s smug ass face.”
This was in response to Bleeding Cool staff writer Jude Terror’s highly critical stance toward Marvel and the comics industry in general.
Given Waid’s reputation as a hothead, this tweet got a lot of criticism, as it was a n unfunny attempt at humor that made light of physical violence.
What happened next is what’s the most shocking. Terror’s boss at Bleeding Cool, Rich Johnston, agreed with the threat.
Bleeding Cool does not have an online masthead but he’s usually credited as editor, or editor-in-chief. While this does make it difficult to ascertain whether he’s above Terror as a direct supervisor he does have a more senior position at the site.
While comics writers advocating physical violence against critics is unacceptable, this kind of workplace harassment is shocking. Johnston should be fired immediately for harassing an employee.
In a post today on the site, Johnston seemed to be oblivious to ever agreeing with Waid’s tweet.
Except that he did talk about punching him in the face.
After widespread criticism of his own tweet, Waid has removed his twitter account.
Johnston’s tweet – and his denial about ever making it – are both still on the web.
— Rich Johnston (@richjohnston) April 2, 2017
Asked for an on the record response to his threat, Johnston asked for more time to answer.
UPDATE: Here is his response:
“Heidi, you asked me for comment, I asked for five minutes but you told me “OK I’m running the story then”. When I asked if you could wait just five minutes you said “I’ll update it. Anyway, Jude and I have an understanding in general about our social media rivalry, and that he understood I was kidding. It was posted to underline the ridiculousness of what Mark Waid had said.”
Perhaps all this is a joke…but who gets to choose what and when problemactic things are funny?
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.