Okay a lot to catch up on here at the Week in Sexual Harassment.
• As you all know late on Friday, Buzzfeed published a well reported piece on sexual misconduct by DC Group Editor Eddie Berganza over the last decade.
• While Berganza’s misconduct against his co-workers was well documented, more stories from non staffers are circulating as well:
Eddie Berganza groped me, made inappropriate comments, touched me without consent, asked invasive questions & attempted to get me to his hotel room by saying he could get me a writing job at DC… SEVERAL TIMES. I've been telling people my stories for years.
— Molly McIsaac (@MollyMcIsaac) November 12, 2017
• ON Saturday night DC announced Berganza was suspended while they examined he situation. Gossip since then says that he ahs been removed, but no confirmation.
• Supergirl and Flash showrunner Andrew Kreisberg was also suspended following allegations by 19 men and women that he had engaged in sexual harassment in his role as producer. Kreisberg worked closely with DC’s main television guru Greg Berlanti, and has written some comics in the past, including writing Vibe for the New 52 relaunch in 2012.
• Meslissa Benoist, who stars as Supergirl, released a statement on Instagram about Kreisberg’s suspension:
— Melissa Benoist (@MelissaBenoist) November 13, 2017
Cast member Emily Rickards also spoke out.
• Marc Guggenheim, a writer on both the Arrowverse and at DC comics tweeted the following which was criticized widely.
Sorry, but NO. Reverse sexism isn't the answer. Painting all men with the Weinstein brush isn't the answer. https://t.co/Gp1QLKwoXN
— Marc Guggenheim (@mguggenheim) November 12, 2017
§ While many past and present comics freelancers have spoken out about the Berganza allegations, artist Rafael Albuquerque made perhaps the strongest statement on his FB page:
I love DC Comics characters since I can remember. First watching them on TV then with Batman movies and those definitely brought me to comics, where I could find my voice, my home. Having spent almost my whole career working for this company made me feel part of a family. That’s how important DC Comics is for me, and I believe that I can speak for many creators who have similar paths.
Maybe, by writing this, I might be jeopardizing my career over there, but I can’t just stay silent about what happened with our colleagues who reported sexual harassment. They probably had the same feeling about DC Comics, and probably felt the same way I did when they became part of the family, and suddently their careers were harmed by someone who just didn’t realized, respected or cared enough to understand that a power position is a privilege that must be used wisely and fairly.
DC Comics, you mean the world to me, but it’s time for you to make the right call, not just for your image, but also to show that there is no place for this kind of behavior in this industry and neither in our society.
I spent the whole day afraid to speak out. I shouldn’t and I won’t anymore. Neither any professional should be anymore.
I just spent a good portion of my entire Saturday publicly talking to people over Facebook about my experiences at DC Comics, where I worked as an assistant editor from 2000-2004. And l likened the experience of having these impromptu conversations—especially with other people who have worked there in the past—to the movie IT. Specifically the 1990s version, where all the adults get together and reminisce in horror about their experiences in Derry facing off against Pennywise. Both women and men (and surprisingly, a lot of men)—reported these feelings that are pretty akin to trauma. Things that happened that were always hidden finally getting a chance to be said. All these visceral feelings of betrayal, suppressed discomfort, and just…just a terrible terrible heavy energy surrounding the experience of having worked there. A sense of horror at something that for all intents and purposes should have been great—working for the factory where dreams are made, where our modern gods were born.
• An indie comics micropress publisher has been accused of rape, anti-Semitism and other harassment by a number of women in extremeley consistent and credible reports. His name is making the rounds of social media.
• I don’t have time to go over all the new allegations and analysis of this but I’ll throw this in; It’s very telling to me that two of the main witnesses for the Buzzfeed story, a male freelancer and his girlfriend who was publicly assaulted by Berganza in full view of a convention after party – did not feel comfortable putting their names on the piece, such is the fear of being punished for speaking out, for being a problem. Maybe making women and men feel uncomfortable with unwanted touching and sexual innuendo is the REAL problem, not complaining about it.
• There are some historical allegations making the rounds that I think are extremely important to talk about but that will be in the next post.
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.