Dark Horse president Mike Richardson releases statement on harassment


In light of the incident involving Scott Allie and several attendees of the Boom! party at San Diego Comic Con that was brought to light earlier today, Dark Horse president Mike Richardson has released a statement:


I applaud Ms. Asselin’s Intentions in dealing with sexual harassment in the comics industry.

I also want to make one thing very clear: Dark Horse as a company, and myself as an individual, take the kinds of inexcusable incidents reported by Ms. Asselin very seriously—doubly so when it involves one of our employees. In cases such as these, we have been proactive in our response, with a variety of professional services involved, all with the goal of changing behavior. Additionally, a number of internal responses are acted upon, including termination if such behavior continues. Under no circumstance is any individual “harbored.” In this particular case, action was taken immediately, though we did not, and cannot, perform a public flogging, as some might wish.

Secondly, there is no “us-against-them” attitude here. I have an open door policy and every employee, no matter where she/he sits in the company, is invited to come in to my office with any complaint or observation, at any time. I restate this policy constantly. I won’t go into the assumptions made here that are just untrue, because my intent is not to undermine the purpose of her piece, but no one here has ever turned a “blind eye” to these behaviors, not in this case, not in any case. With regard to sexual harassment, it is simply not tolerated. Dark Horse agrees 100% with the EEOC Guidelines.
Ms. Asselin turns her eye toward me. I have never met or talked with Ms. Asselin. If she knew me, she would learn that I am extremely sensitive on this subject, being the father of three daughters and having experienced first hand the effects of sexual harassment and gender discrimination. I have fought against that harassment, not just in a social environment, but also within our own publishing schedule. I have also fought for gender equality in our school system and championed social and racial diversity both in and out of Dark Horse, activities I am still involved with. Her assumption that my longevity somehow “embeds” within me an attitude of inappropriate permissiveness is not only wrong, it is insulting.

I agree that harassment of any kind, routine or not, is unacceptable. It always has been. We at Dark Horse will renew our efforts to make sure that our company is never again mentioned with regard to this type of occurrence. As quoted in the article, our goal has always been to provide a positive, safe, and respectful environment for its employees, creators, and fans.

– Mike Richardson


Scott Allie has also released a statement to CBR, which has additional reporting on the incident:

I’m deeply sorry about my behavior at San Diego Comic Con 2015 and I apologize to everyone I’ve hurt. I’m completely embarrassed by my actions and how my behavior reflects on Dark Horse Comics, my friends and family. My personal approach and decisions for managing stress were bad. Dark Horse and I have taken the matter very seriously and since this incident, we have taken steps to correct and to avoid any behavior like this in the future. Although apologies can’t undo what has happened, I’ve tried to apologize to everyone impacted by my behavior. To my family, friends, co-workers, and to the industry — please know that I am truly, truly sorry.


  1. Al@ says

    Okay, good gosh. The apologies and such have been issued. So can we zero the meter, reboot and say: “as of now, any misbehaviour or innocent oblivion by you guys in the future is going to affect a paycheck and employment status”?

  2. Justin Time says

    I’d have bought Richardson’s statement had he mentioned action was already taken. His focus was mainly in showing how he was outraged by the article, given his own personal stands. So follow them, do the right thing and fire Allie.

  3. says

    I call BS on “my intent is not to undermine the purpose of her piece”. Also “With regard to sexual harassment, it is simply not tolerated.” Because leaving the guy on staff for years doesn’t really match “zero tolerance”. Plus, any guy who decides to bolster his bonafides with “I have daughters” just doesn’t get it.

  4. Todd DuBois says

    I read Asselin’s piece today and was unsettled by it, and I’ve read Richardson’s statement multiple times now. It doesn’t settle this matter, I’m afraid.

    The statement says he does not want to undermine the purpose of Asselin’s piece. Yet that is precisely what it does, because Richardson effectively denies every assertion it makes that doesn’t have to do with the specific incident at SDCC 2015.

    He’s saying there has been no blind eye, no long-term tolerance of misbehavior. Reading these two statements together, one would be led to believe the SDCC 2015 incident being apologized for is the first transgression being dealt with. Allie apologizes for nothing else, Richardson does not openly acknowledge any past incidents that were dealt with internally. All that is incompatible with Asselin’s piece says and what the sources it cites say about this story. Someone is wrong.

    The statement declares it won’t go into assumptions that are untrue, which is a negative statement on the credibility of the piece – and I note the following paragraph proceeds to nonetheless attack a specific assumption as wrong and insulting.

    So, if I read this right, per Richardson there is agreement the harassment problem in comics is real and there is agreement that it’s worth bringing attention to, but the company has nothing to do with it. The “intent” of Asselin’s piece is fine, just not most of the facts. Oh, well. Is that all?

    So how is that statement not a refutation? Of course it is one. And that raises questions, because it’s calling into question a number of unnamed sources.

    Someone is wrong.

  5. says

    If there’s a comic book adaptation of the new HBO Westworld series in the works, Scott Allie would be the perfect candidate for editor.



  6. Gianluca Glazer says

    This is almost as bad as that nonapology, apology that Scott Lobdell gave a couple of years ago when he harassed someone at a show.

  7. Eva Hopkins says

    This is gonna be a little all over the place, sorry. There’s a couple of turns of phrase in Mr. Richardson’s statement that make me wanna knock things over yelling “Hulk smash!”

    I had some contact w/ Scott Allie in a professional capacity when Dark Horse was working w/ J.M. Linsner. I didn’t witness any unprofessional conduct from him at shows, but that’s not in question, as Mr. Allie’s admitted his issues, himself.

    I sat across from Mike Richardson at a steakhouse in Atlanta, GA, one year, at a dinner held for Dragon*Con guests. He seemed like a decent enough fellow, nice conversationalist. I’ve bought a fair number of Dark Horse comics, mostly Hellboy.

    That said:

    When someone tells me that they’re sensitive to issues of feminism or sexual harassment because they have daughters, it causes me to eye their whole statement with an extra layer of scrutiny. It smacks of a similar chestnut flavor as “I’m not racist, but -” or “I’m not homophobic, I have gay friends!” (Kim David recently rolled that one out. The lone gay friend responded to the media that he didn’t really like her.)

    Someone shouldn’t have to have daughters, or a sister, or a wife, or even be close with their mother, to understand that women are human & deserve the same workplace – & on the street – protections that men have. Though with the pair of incidents of inappropriate behavior being discussed here, the objects of said behavior were both men, this time. T

    he question shouldn’t be only – would you want someone to say or do XYZ thing to your sister, mother, daughter or wife: it shouldn’t take that relationship to have men see women as fully human equals to themselves. It should be: why say XYZ thing to anyone? Why do it?

    Would you yell “hey nice ass” at some random man on the street? Would you tell a strange man you didn’t know “Smile, sweetheart” &/or follow them if they didn’t respond to you? No. & not just because you don’t want to have sex with said random man, but because deep in your ape brain, you know there’s a real risk that other guy could kick your ass. Some men have routinely taken advantage of their physical power & institutional power to pull things on women they’d never try on another man.

    It’s a pretty disgusting state of affairs. & sometimes when women try to explain this to guys – the good guys, the ones who want to help & listen – their experiences get disbelieved, or made too little of. “You’re too sensitive / crazy”. “She was asking for it, look what she was wearing.” It’s sad.

    To bring this back to Mr. Richardson’s statements above: I don’t think anyone was asking for a public flogging, & despite using such loaded language, I don’t believe Mr. Richardson does either. He likely wants to distract the public eye from what’s gotta be a very difficult PR moment for his company & to cast doubt on Ms. Asselin’s article & unnamed sources without flat-out saying she’s a liar. His phrasing is classic deflection.

    What would make the existence of a Dark Horse strong anti-harassment policy more believable isn’t a “public flogging”. But anyone reading DH’s cheery PR of September 11th wouldn’t have had cause to think anything was behind shift in editorial positions. If there had even been a single sentence referring to this harassment situation – ie, politely making it clear that Allie’s new job was a step backwards or downwards, a response of some kind to the problem at hand – then I’d find the idea of Dark Horse’s being proactive a lot more believable. Instead they are reactive – reacting to someone else revealing that information.

    In his response, it reads to me like Mr. Richardson is trying to make Dark Horse sound like the victim here; DH is being persecuted by Ms. Asselin’s accusations. In reality, if this was an ongoing problem with their editor-in-chief, & his “demotion” is to the next job down – vice-president editor? I’m not title-savvy – I don’t know how seriously to take Richardson’s claims of being concerned. A flogging wasn’t necessary, but surely a two-sentence statement would’ve been possible at the time the decision was made. Likely would’ve avoided the topic becoming the scuttelbutt is has. People should get ahead of things, not just react when fingers are pointed.

    It’d be fascinating to get a truly anonymous employee comment form for Dark Horse, to see if they feel that statement is true, that they can walk in Mr. Richardson’s door with any concern they have.

    In the “real world” – in other industries – employees are directly accountable for their actions, HR gets involved. Comics has quite a ways to go to catch up.

    CBR’s coverage of DH’s press release for Mr. Allie’s new job (& a couple of other editorial appointments):


  8. Eva Hopkins says

    Thanks for chiming in, Anonopotamus. Sadly confirms the tone I was getting from Mr. Richardson’s statements.

    I hope you have a better job now BTW. *fistbump*

  9. Di says

    This is not an apology. This was a super long statement of “I’m insulted that you dragged our dirty laundry and made our customers made at us because of something that dozens of people in the industry are confirming about this sort of behavior and others like it, so I’m use my daughters and friends as shields instead of telling people what I’m going to do about this in the future!”. As a longtime Dark Horse fan, this did not make me feel any more at ease about Allie or how you’re going to handle it. And don’t just fire him and say it’s done, more than enough people have commented on how toxic this boys club environment has become. You have the power. Do better.

  10. says

    I have two comments on the above…

    One. I will never understand why companies continue to employ employees who have committed such acts. Not at Dark Horse, not at DC, not anywhere else where it has happened. I’m not necessarily against giving some a second chance. But, from a purely business standpoint, there are generally many capable individuals who could fill these positions if the employee is fired and there is always the risk of great liability if the employee continues to be employed by the company.

    Two. I would also be insulted if someone made light of how my 31 years of marriage to the best, most caring, most competent person I have ever known was dismissed in any appraisal of how I choose to conduct myself and deal with the world. I would also be insulted if someone made light of how my having a daughter who fills me with pride – two daughters if you could her best friend, who has been like a daughter to me – informs my world. That’s insulting and bullshit. If we are not informed by the people we know and love, we are incapable of growth and understanding.

    As members of the LGBT community will attest, their concerns are greeted with more support and understanding by those who know members of the community and/or count them among their family members.

  11. James says

    The point is that you should be capable of recognizing someone’s humanity regardless of whether or not you have a friend or loved one in their demographic. No one gives a shit if the guy who sat back and let employees be abused feels insulted.

  12. Jeff Trexler says

    Without disagreeing at all with Tony’s point or criticizing the Dark Horse statement above, I think there’s an intuitive negative reaction the perceived use of family or friends as an ethical human shield. That may not be the intent, but it can come across that way.

  13. E. R. Fox says

    I see minimization here. Cause and affect not seen for what it is. When one offers no real change (say by firing or diminishing Allie’s role in the company.) and one offers excuses for behavior (his mishandling stress) one shows they don’t understand the seriousness of the incident, and the affect it had on others.

    I’d like dark horse to do more than issue a statement. How about hiring more women? How about offering a workshop in regard to womens issues in the work place? How about making a handbook with real guidelines and rules of behavior?

  14. chris says

    Sounds like Allie has a problem he needs help for. Sad stuff.

    I don’t get the point about bringing up his daughters; you shouldn’t need to have daughters in order to understand how harrassment affects people.

  15. Bobby Steels says

    For fuck’s sake! Not tolerating harassment is very, very easy. Just fire the guy.

    And this sort of stuff usually starts at the top. Serial harassers don’t rise through the ranks because the guy in charge takes dealing with allegations seriously.

  16. Steve Sanders says

    Everyone in this lame-ass thing known as the “comic book industry” needs to attend some harassment training MANUALLY. The shit that goes on here is, well, disgraceful. This boy’s club needs to grow up and act responsibly. Losers all.

  17. Burrell says

    If Scott Allie is on a panel at NYCC, will an audience member ask him if he has assaulted anyone this weekend? Please!

  18. Burrell says

    As a matter of fact, if this question is asked at EVERY Dark Horse panel at EVERY con, regardless of whether Allie is present or not, Dark Horse might get tired of their company being associated with assault and remove him.

  19. jon says

    Plenty of misogynists have been married for decades, Tony. Plenty of people who have enabled harassment or engaged in it themselves have daughters. You or Mike Richardson being insulted by that reality means absolutely nothing.

  20. tom says

    2 things.

    1. Whats the endgame with this specific case? What are we really asking for besides a complete culture change in the entire industry? Are we asking for heads on a lance? Fired and blacklisted from the industry forever? I feel that as horrible as these accusations are, the thirst for blood and stringing a noose from a tree from fans and industry pros is even worse. This guy could be a monster, but do we want to see him get help or just personally get destroyed?

    2. In regards to this letter. Its a nice sentiment but DH seems to be like so many other small to medium sized businesses. Open door policies at small companies are most usually just a token statement people throw around as a morale booster. Employee handbook rules…oh those only apply to mid and junior staff members when you need legal cause to fire them. Not to managers or partners.

    You really think the intern or the 25 yr old junior staff member wants to risk their job and career by filing a formal harassment complaint about a huge industry name and senior staff member? This has nothing to do with men and women but just a culture of small business power trips.

    Without a video or some sort of undeniable (to a lawyer) proof, that’s like walking into an office and demanding to be fired. Its just better to cut your losses and find a new job most times. These types of things are culture issues and its enabled from the top all the way down.

  21. LB says

    Another layer in the ongoing foundation of this problem is the culture of the comics industry itself. Being plastered should never be acceptable at any industry event nor should any professional in comics be shrugged off for drunk behavior with the thought process of “oh, that’s just so-and-so”- whether they assault people or are the most charming drunk ever it’s just not good behavior and not good for business. As for assault and harassment, it’s really very easy: zero tolerance. Fire them. No rationalization, no essays, no debates. They fucked up, they’re gone- and, where cases of potential assault and sexist behavior are concerned- they’re banned from the industry. Seriously, this shit goes on because it’s enabled for so long- these people get cultivated and spoiled by a system that has allowed them to go on for so long- why would they stop?

  22. says

    Mike Richardson’s “apology” is going to go down as one of the worst ever by a corporate head in any industry. He looks more annoyed than apologetic.

    What’s so weird is that Scott Allie’s apology, on the surface, appears sincere. He didn’t deflect blame or weasel out. He owned his actions and seemed truly sorry. It’s very possible that the reason he’s still employed by DH despite the lengthy history of harassment and drunkenness is that he seems like he wants to make amends for his behavior.

    I hope he really does want to change. I hope he recognizes that his employer gave him a second chance when other employers wouldn’t have, especially given the horrible act he pulled on Joe Harris. I hope he gets help.

    And I hope someone close to Mike Richardson explains to him just how bad his statement was, and how he’s amplified the damage to Dark Horse.

    And someone needs to tell Joe Harris he’s awesome. (Also, Heidi, Janelle, Val, et al.)

  23. Justin Time says

    How many second chances a serial harasser has had in the course of a decade… or two? It’s clear Allie needs help for his substance abuse. It’s also crystal clear his victims have probably had never been helped.

    Or at least one can assume, given the company’s head has not apparently taken action in the past. A guy who is so worried about bad press he’s dragging the DH’s name deeper in the mud each day he avoids doing what any company in other fields would have done by now.

    I love the comics Dark Horse publishes, and those gave me an idea they were so above this type of bullshit. I don’t know, Richardson’s statement strike me as he could be holding his cards too close to his chest on this – and I’m not buying that bluff.

  24. Trevor Gavin says

    I don’t understand why the people who he bit didn’t just bite him back…doth not our Bible proclaim this to be the appropriate reaction?

  25. says

    I’m going to close this thread as well and clean up any comments here and in the other one that I think are over the line.

    Whatever you think of Mike Richardson mentioning his three daughters, there is actually research that shows that men with daughters are more sensitive to women’s issues and make better bosses for women.

    It’s sad that this isn’t universal, but it is an actual thing.

    Also, no matter what the actions of individuals, we’re not having a trial by internet here. These matters need to be resolved by the mutually agreed on laws and practices of our society. We have laws and principles for a reason…the same reason we have trials by jury. Justice needs to be dealt out by a democratic system NOT by a mob.

    Also, Dark Horse is a great publisher and a great company with a great legacy of comics and creators. None of this should affect anyone’s enjoyment of any of the many great comics they publish no matter who worked on it when. That is not the issue. The issue is growing up and moving forward as an industry.