As mentioned earlier today, ECCC is the first big con of the year, and a ton of comics creators will be there to talk to fans and one another.
However, Australian writer Tom Taylor, known for writing the best selling Injustice Gods Among Us and Injustice 2 comics and co-creating the animated series The Deep, won’t be there. Given recent changes to US immigration policies, he’s cancelled ECCC and all future US shows, as explained in a FB post:
While this may seem alarmist, Taylor undoubtedly took heed of the way 71-year-old Australian children’s book author Mem Fox was treated, by immigration officials when she flew to Los Angeles en route to a book conference, a two hour interrogation that left her in tears.
The interview continued. “By this time, I must have looked like a bent old lady in a story,” Fox said. “I was close to collapse. He told me that I was travelling on a visa illegally, which I knew not to be correct, but I was not about to argue . . . I said, ‘It’s probably going to be my last trip to the United States anyway.’
“At this, he reared up and said, ‘Did you say that before to anyone?’ I was determined to maintain my dignity. I told him that perhaps I was too old to work and travel so intensively, and perhaps younger people could give speeches. And he said, aggressively, ‘Well, maybe you haven’t been teaching them well enough!’ ”
Fox is the author of Australia’s all time best selling children’s book, and has traveled to the us 116 times previously without incident. So you can see why Taylor might be troubled enough to decide to stay home.
Here’s the full text of his statement.
Sadly, I won’t be attending Emerald City Comicon in Seattle this week.
I have also turned down all other US signing and convention invitations so far this year.
I know I’m far from the only person concerned about traveling to the States at this time, but I wanted to explain my decision.
I want to start by saying this decision was incredibly difficult. I was really looking forward to this trip. I have traveled to the US regularly since 2009. This year, I have four different books with three different publishers, and a TV series to promote. Beyond this, I have fans and colleagues I was looking forward to meeting. I also have many good friends in the States, and I was looking forward to catching up with all of them. Truth be told, I’m missing them.
But America, through no fault of most of its citizens, doesn’t feel like a safe or welcoming travel destination at this moment.
There have been reports of interrogation, phone data downloads, requests for social media accounts, returns and five-year travel bans and everyone from children to the elderly being detained. All of this has many people I’ve spoken to reconsidering or cancelling their US travel plans.
I’ve had friends and people I work with suggest I leave my phone at home, or delete my twitter account for a month before I come.
I refuse those terms.
My twitter account isn’t complimentary towards the current administration, but it’s far from inflammatory and shouldn’t need to be scrutinized to gain entry to a country where free-speech is so highly valued.
Traveling fifteen hours on a plane is bad enough. Travelling towards uncertainty, half-worried about being caught in limbo by overzealous border security, with my wife and children wondering why I haven’t called, is nightmare fuel.
However, there is something else which bothers me more than all of this, and ultimately decided me in talks with my family.
And that’s the idea that I have nothing to worry about. The idea that I could be let in without the extra scrutiny, without incident, without a care in the world… purely because I’m a straight white guy.
I don’t want to happily visit a country that is in the process of denying entry to so many, purely because of where they were born or what they believe. And so, I won’t.
I truly hope things change soon. I hope America becomes the welcoming place it has been for me, and so many others, for so long. I hope I can again visit without trepidation, and I hope the country, once again, welcomes refugees who need America more than I ever will.
Until then, I will continue to write stories of America’s greatest fictional heroes every week, and hope that real American heroes step up.
Hopefully see you soon.
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.