Former Dark Horse Comics editor Brendan Wright has been accused of sexual harassment by a former colleague. Freelance editor Bekah Caden made the allegations on Thursday, saying that Wright harassed and stalked her “for over a year.”

In a series of tweets, Caden described meeting Wright, the escalating nature of his behavior towards her, and how he held the prospect of work over her as leverage.

Wright, who worked for Dark Horse from 2008 until 2015 before becoming a freelance editor, has most recently been a VP and Executive Editor for Starburns Industries Press. Reached for comment on the allegations against Wright, the publisher said Wright would no longer be involved with the company:

First and foremost, we want to stress that is important to place trust that women are speaking truth about experiences of harassment. We believe Bekah Caden is being truthful. 

While we had already reduced Brendan’s involvement at SBI Press prior to these revelations – after reviewing the information available to us – we absolutely condemn it and will be ending our working relationships with Brendan. He will certainly not be involved in any future projects with us. 

A look at the publisher’s website, which had this afternoon listed Wright as an ‘Executive Chef’ at the bottom of the first page, shows that his name and all information about him has been removed from the site.

Wright had also currently been involved with the Shots Fired anthology to benefit charities dedicated to preventing gun violence. In a note to the project’s backers on Kickstarter, Sean E. Williams, co-founder of the book’s publisher, Comicker Press, announced that Wright would no longer be a part of the anthology:

I am writing to you to let you know that Brendan Wright has been removed as editor of SHOTS FIRED. His name won’t be on the book in any capacity.

Multiple other publishers and creators also took to Twitter to announce they were ending their working relationships with Wright in light of the allegations:

 

The behavior that Caden described — Wright’s use of the promise of future work as leverage over her — is an all-too common tactic used by harassers in the comics industry. We saw it with Brian Wood. We saw it with Scott LobdellWe saw it with Scott Allie (who, while no longer an editor at Dark Horse, still writes for them as a freelancer). While some people would argue that their victims should have simply avoided their abusers, and that doing good work is enough to get noticed and break into the comics industry, the fact is that’s simply not the case, and to a certain degree a successful career in comics is as much about who you know as it is how good you are. Those power dynamics are obviously not just a comics problem, and it has to be up to the people with that power and influence (even if they apparently don’t realize they have it) to make the choice not to abuse it before anything will truly change.

So far, Brendan Wright has yet to release a statement regarding the allegations against him.

If you are a U.S.-based victim of sexual assault in need of help, contact RAINN at 800-656-4673 to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.

 

24 COMMENTS

  1. By her own statement she thought it was worth going along with it to get work. You can’t do that and then come the injured innocent.

  2. I wonder if this will ever end? What is this, number 3 this week of accusations? It’s falling into a standard pattern, accusation, accused presumed guilty, removed from what ever project he is working on… To tell you the truth I’m torn. While I would like to believe the women, I know that no human who ever lived hasn’t lied at one time or another. Once the accusation becomes proof there is no real hope of truth being revealed or even paid attention to if it ever is. All that we have a long strain of accusation, denial, maybe a counter accusation, admittance apology or defiance and no apology and the only thing that often happens is that the accused career is either over or crippled. No trial, no hearing… Just that part of his life is over.

    Never been a woman, never been in the comic industry (and with what I’m hearing I’m beginning to never want to be in the comic book industry, despite a dream from childhood, it sounds far too dangerous) and there is no way for any of us to know the truth. We can only go on what we believe. I am however reminded of a One Day At A Time episode when Anne Ramano was accused of sexual harassment. I have the feeling that sooner or later a woman is going to be the accused. Who is going to be believed then?

  3. I have zero problem believing Brendan Wright behaved exactly the way Bekah Caden described.

    I’m not thrilled with someone losing their job and possibly their career because of one evidence-free allegation, but I’m not entirely sure how you get creeps to stop doing this without that kind of drastic penalty.

    But Bekah Caden needs to take responsibility for her own behavior. She admits she continued to have a connection with Wright to help her career, even after he was no longer an editor at Dark Horse, and maintained that connection close enough that she allowed herself to drink to much and have to sleep overnight at his place. That’s not the behavior of a grownup. That’s the behavior of a child who isn’t considering the consequences of her actions.

    It may be unpleasant to acknowledge but one of the reasons men behave the way Wright is accused of is because women behave the way Caden admits to.

    Mike

  4. No, I don’t agree. Being an adult works both ways. If you know something is wrong, you don’t do it. If you have power you don’t abuse it. In fact if you have the sort of power that an editor has, you especially have an extra burden of self control because even if a woman is throwing herself at you it is still a professional relationship and boundaries can not be crossed. I think in the military there is a rule officers and enlisted in the same chain of command can not have a physical relationship and common sense says that should go in these sort of situations, for the simple reason that it can blow up as it has. She may not have been right, but the responsibility always lies with the person who has the power and in this case he did.
    Trouble is; there is no way to tell here. Or rather there is a way to tell, but no process exists for a formal hearing with an impartial jury or judge to determine what was done. There is only the fear from the publisher that they’ll get blacklisted or suffer a bad press cycle and to avoid that and loss of money (and money is the key here, just as it always is) they’ll put the guy into cement shoes and toss him into the river. That’s the sort of thing that’s happened for as far back as I’ve studied history. When fear rules, justice can never walk.
    If this is to be avoided in the future some better guidelines have to be set out and a formal process created. Otherwise at some point some innocent is going to suffer.

  5. Does a comics publisher really have to be run like the military? More to the point, in this situation who was really using who? The guy sounds like an idiot who the right woman could have twisted round her little finger.

  6. This seems like the Ellis and Stewart allegations from earlier this week: a guy acted like a jerk. But being a jerk isn’t against the law, as long as it doesn’t involve people under 18.

    In what other field but comics (or science fiction) would nerdy writers and editors have groupies, like rock stars? It must be heady for these unglamorous guys to go to cons and see cute young things swooning over them, like they’re Robert Pattinson or a young Brad Pitt.

    If Washington is “Hollywood for ugly people,” comics and sci-fi are “Hollywood for people who are too ugly for Washington.”

    BTW, drinking too much at a “work meetup” doesn’t sound very professional to me. Did she ever think of calling a cab or a friend, instead of crashing at the home of a guy she already found creepy? We need to stop treating adult women as helpless children at the mercy of evil predators.

  7. Shouldn’t be run like the military, I merely used that to point out the responsibilities of those who have power. And and if the story changes that why you need some sort of formal procedure and that is the responsibility of the employer.

    And it really doesn’t matter what the behavior of the person under you is, if you know better you should act better. If you have the keys to the kingdom and someone is throwing themselves at you then you have to realize that having the keys means you should be responsible enough to know better. If you start a relationship with that person then shunt her over to another editor and make it clear that the relationship is not a guarantee of future employment. It’s pretty simple to do and if after you make it clear then the person breaks it off with you then you’ve benefited from the encounter in that you’ll get a rep of not being the guys who sells himself and you’ve saved yourself trouble down the line.

    I agree acting like a jerk is not against the law, just as well because we are all jerks at one time or another. But again if you have a position of power you should know better. There shouldn’t be a casting couch in any profession, and if there is one there should be a better way to deal with it then firing the person as soon as the first accusation is echoed by another one. Because right now anyone can be ruined at any time.

  8. As with Stewart & Ellis, if the allegations are true (have no reason to doubt them), each individual should be offered the chance to apologize & learn from their behavior. Part of what scares me about these stories is the “mob mentality” that forms that seems intent on attempting to destroy people’s lives & livelihoods in the name of some sort of off-brand, outlaw justice.

    That doesn’t mean that people should not be held accountable for their actions, but it DOES mean if someone legitimately works hard to learn from their past actions and mistakes, the public is willing to acknowledge that.

    Finally, I think it is worth noting that comic creators should probably learn not to “shit where you eat” a bit more. I get the profession in unique in that is demands a lot of social solitude and many creators/fans aren’t exactly people person’s to start with. Still, many of the issues being brought up in the last week could have been avoided had comic creators just avoided having romantic relationships with people above or below them in their field. Easier said that done I know….

  9. I’ve been in the comics industry for 38+ years, 12 in distribution, 23 in publishing, and almost 4 as a consultant to publishers. I attribute my standing and longevity in the business to be directly related to the number of respectful, convivial working relationships I have established with both male and female co-workers, authors, vendors, and partners. As a male, I was free to build these relationships without having to worry if someone was giving me time because they wanted to have a sexual relationship with me. When are you boneheaded men going to understand it is not this way for women in comics or any other occupation and stop blaming them?

    If I have to read another slippery, mealy-mouthed “apology” from a “creator” (what other industry creates runaway egos by labeling authors as “creators”?) for his sexual misconduct I am going to hurl! Maybe it’s just me but I have found many of the men who end up in these jackpots to be rather disagreeable to work with in a professional sense. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe in forgiveness and second acts but think our primary concern needs to be for the long-lasting pain inflicted on women who should be allowed to build the relationships necessary for success without having the awkwardness of being pursued romantically.

  10. Should these people be pushed out of their jobs as punishment? Listen, the comics industry is not as big as people think it is and there are lots of people who would love to work in it. Replacing bad actors with good ones is a win for the industry.

    As for drinking too much at a work meetup: Anyone who thinks that’s not typical has never worked in comics publishing and/or has never been in their 20s. Goddamn, why not just ask how she was dressed at the time?

  11. “As for drinking too much at a work meetup: Anyone who thinks that’s not typical has never worked in comics publishing and/or has never been in their 20s.”

    I’ve never worked in comics publishing (thank God), but I was in my 20s and I didn’t get drunk in meetings with co-workers where work was discussed.

    It seems the atmosphere of cons — a big, booze-soaked party — carries over into every aspect of comic-book pros’ lives. No wonder peoples’ judgment is impaired and they end up in bed (or in a hot tub) with the wrong people.

    And from what I’ve read, it’s not just people in their 20s who do this. Read Grant Morrison’s book, “Super Gods,” for an account of this sort of thing. If Morrison is to be believed, British comics people spend every waking moment drunk or on drugs.

  12. Re Mike W’s comments:

    I learned from experience to avoid romantic relationships with co-workers. Office romances almost always end in disaster, one way or another.

  13. I think comments should be closed for these sexual harassment allegations as soon as the article is posted to the Beat, because each one seems to follow the same pattern of “discussion”. It’s frustrating and annoying reading these. Nothing is solved or illuminated.

  14. Heidi & her team can do whatever they want (its their website after all), but I think most of the comments have been pretty respectful (outside of maybe 1 or 2, which is always bound to happen on the internet). I don’t know why the solution to being confronted with something that annoys or frustrates them is to then shut down said discussion in an attempt it doesn’t exist.

  15. I don’t think anything can ever be solved on an internet discussion, but I don’t think the discussion was pointless either.

  16. I don’t know how someone who does not take no for an answer and who stalks a woman by showing up unannounced can be considered to just be acting like a jerk. Whether there is guilt on the woman’s part or not, there is no defending that guy’s actions.

  17. As someone who has PTSD from an abusive relationship, the condescending victim blaming going on here is pretty disgusting to watch.

    MBunge in particular, you’re going out of your way this week to showcase whatever it is that is the alt right equivalent of virtue signaling.

    “Vile Signage?”

    We get it, you’re edgy AF.

  18. Does anyone remember the first “trial of the century”? It rocked the nation from one end to the other and set up more legal precedents than any trial I remember. But for all that that story was the same; powerful man, beautiful woman… I guess it will never change.

  19. “Does anyone remember the first “trial of the century”?”

    I don’t remember it, but I’ve read about it: Harry Thaw’s shooting of Stanford White. The beautiful woman they both wanted was Evelyn Nesbit. Several books about it, and a great fictionalized treatment in “Ragtime” (novel and movie).

  20. “She may not have been right, but the responsibility always lies with the person who has the power and in this case he did.“

    She stablished she knew he was a creep “in love with her”. She had the power to not get drunk, specially around him, and also had the power to take a cab or a bus. Nevertheless “it happens”.

    The guy is a creep, yeah, never less you don’t round them and much less go to their house drunk. It makes the whole allegation “fishy”. Bad behavior is bad behavior; both harassment and getting drunk without taken care of yourself is bad behavior and unprofessional.

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