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Multiple women have come forward on social media alleging that writer/artist Cameron Stewart engaged in sexually predatory behavior with them.

The first allegation came when artist Aviva Artzy revealed on Twitter that Stewart had groomed her when she was 16 years old and Stewart was in his early 30s.

As Artzy’s tweets circulated, other women came forward alleging that Stewart had done the same to them. Writer/artist Kate Leth tweeted that she was either 20 or 21 when a 32-year-old Stewart groomed her.

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Several other women have come forward in replies to both Artzy and Leth to say that Stewart engaged in the same behavior with them, though they did not reveal specifics.

Stewart’s pattern of alleged behavior appears to have been an open secret in the comics community for some time. Marsha Cooke, wife of the late Darwyn Cooke, tweeted support for Artzy and said that she witnessed Stewart’s behavior, and that “there will be others” who come forward about him.

Con organizer Andrea Demonakos also tweeted about the nature of Stewart’s behavior as something that was “widely known” in the Toronto comics scene.

Artist Babs Tarr, who worked with Stewart on Batgirl and Motor Crush, also tweeted her support for Artzy, who Tarr said contacted her “a few months ago” to let her know about Stewart’s behavior.

For the unaware, grooming, in this context, is when an older person establishes a relationship with a much younger person (typically a minor) with the goal of engaging in sexual activity/abuse. In Canada (Artzy, Leth, and Stewart are all Canadian), the age of consent for sexual activity is 16 years old. However, the Canadian criminal code (section 172.1) defines “luring a child” as applying to communication between adults and “a person who is, or who the accused believes is, under the age of 18 years” for the purposes of committing a criminal offense. One of the criminal offenses listed under that section is “sexual exploitation,” which specifically says offenders may be those “in a position of trust or authority towards a young person.”

We can’t know for certain what Stewart’s motivations were for engaging in these relationships, nor has anyone accused him at this point of anything beyond establishing age-inappropriate relationships with these women. But it’s the power dynamic that’s at the heart of the allegations against Stewart. Making comics is something anyone can do, but Breaking Into the Comics Industry is often as much about who you know as it is how talented you are. As Leth put it this morning, those engaging in grooming behavior “usually have some kind of power […] that draws girls in”. For someone like Stewart, that position of authority comes from industry connections and “clout.”

It’s also troubling to see people talk about how Stewart’s alleged behavior was known to them for some time. As Demonakos tells it, so many people knew about Stewart’s behavior that he ended up moving out of Toronto. But who knows how many people have been victimized, not just by Stewart but by any number of abusers, because the culture of open secrets in comics has allowed them to continue to target people who were unaware of their prior actions.

As of this morning, Stewart has locked his Twitter and Instagram accounts, so it’s unclear if he has issued any statement or comment on the allegations against him.

(header photo source)

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38 COMMENTS

  1. Nightmare of Solomon: Okay, I’ll bite – Is this an open secret as well? Have any women come forward? Or are you making stuff up?

  2. So…I’m confused here. If these women had been 19-21 instead of 16 when first approached by Stewart, would that have been considered “grooming?” Would he still have been a predator?

    And what are the details here? Did he specifically tell these women: “sleep with me or I’ll have you blackballed from comics?” Or were these consensual situations, albeit where the women were young and naive?

    I mean, if he’s simply a guy who prefers dating/sleeping with 18-23 year old women, maybe don’t target the fan girls at the cons or girls who want to work in comics. There are dozens of college bars in the Toronto-area with young women who are perfectly willing to date older guys.

  3. Cameron Stewar said nothing about his creepy behavior.

    I had no idea about him, i bet many teenage girls also didn’t knew about it, it is good that everyone knows now

  4. “So…I’m confused here. If these women had been 19-21 instead of 16 when first approached by Stewart, would that have been considered “grooming?” Would he still have been a predator?”

    yes. do you have a problem with that?

  5. “yes. do you have a problem with that?”

    Only if YOU have a problem with accepting that, by your definition, “grooming” is just another way of saying “flirting”, and that there’s literally absolutely nothing wrong with it.

  6. “yes. do you have a problem with that?”

    I’m 38, my girlfriend’s 24.

    No ‘grooming’ involved, we simply met through work and started dating.

  7. It’s not just an age difference, but also a difference of power in the field. For example, young women may reach out to Stewart in admiration of his art, or wanting to pick up tips, only to then be hit upon. It’s not illegal, but it’s icky as fuck.

  8. Sorry, this is a whole lot of nothing. So the guy likes pretty young fangirls. So what? Do we cancel every rockstar? I don’t see accusations of statutory rape, or even inappropriate harassment. Just flirting. “But the power dynamics” blah blah blah. Take a biology class.

  9. Sorry, this is a whole lot of nothing. So the guy robbed a convenience store with a handgun. So what? I don’t see accusations of him actually killing anyone, or even just shooting somebody. Just threatening. “But the power dynamics” blah blah blah.

  10. The age thing whether they were of legal or not is an issue though. A 30 year old is in a way different position than a 20 year old on multiple levels. And using a normal social situation where the two people don’t know each other like a bar or a personal anecdote where it does work is unfair as it is not an accurate comparison.

    The situation I think we have been seeing in comics is a form of predatory behavior as it centers an age group who are coming to the individual for advice, mentoring, and are in the same profession as the individual so there is a power structure and relationship imbalance in place.

    It comes back to something I struggle to understand in general which is the apparent belief that because you have power over someone you can use it however you wish. It seems that for every good story you hear about a positive interaction you have multiple Dirk Manning’s or Cameron Stewart’s. It can be disheartening as I want to believe comics as a profession is better than this.

  11. It can also go both ways. I don’t know CS; so I can’t comment on him or the situation, but I’ve been flirted with by young (did not id them to get exact age) girls looking to use their youth and beauty to get an “in” to work. I’ve had two girls who looked to be underage give me their hotel room number and invite me up. I’m happily married and that type of thing creeps me out.

    We are a sexually broken culture and both men and women, young and old people, display inappropriate behavior. Cons are a hotbed for indiscretions.

  12. Michael… are you seriously drawing some kind of equivalence between flirting with younger girls and robbing a convenience story with a gun? That’s deranged. This whole “scandal” is utterly deranged. There’s nothing wrong with dating younger.

  13. Jamie… it just sounds she’s miffed she was dumped or used for sex. Where’s the criminality? Where’s the scandal, even? Why drag a professional’s name through the mud for no good reason? This isn’t right.

  14. It was commonly known in the science-fiction community that some older writers went to conventions for the opportunity to sleep with young fangirls who idolized them.(I could name names, but I won’t.) Should we surprised that the same thing happens in the comics community, whose conventions grew out of sci-fi cons in the ’60s?

  15. This guy is a creep and the more i read, the more it seems he deserves to be cancelled. Evelyn’s account was just….something else. This dude is going after teenagers and using his fandom. Gross.

  16. A lot of you guys are comfortable with a guy in his 30’s going on a date and carrying on some sort of romantic relationship with a 16 year old girl. That’s not a guy you should want to defend.

  17. The 16 year olds situation, that’s gross and predatory. The 19 to 25 year olds situations, those are 2 adults and no evidence of criminality given. Dating websites, bars, truck stops, or conventions all have men and women looking for cheap hookups. Please distinguish between the criminal cases and the regretful consenting adult cases. If Cameron Stewart is accused of criminal behavior or professional harassment, those issues need to be handled as such.

  18. Females need to SPEAK UP and not stay silent because they “are trying to make it in the comics industry”. I am NOT saying this makes them complicit in their grooming but seriously. SPEAK. UP. Have zero tolerance. When I was 14 and had a D cup I would shut that shit down when older guys displayed a close interest in talking to me. I’m not interested, I’m not tolerating it. Granted, I was never trying to become a comics professional but the silence just enables these guys to do it to someone else. Facts! If the comics industry is as wonderful as the nerd community likes to claim it is, no one is going to ostracize a YOUNG GIRL for speaking out!

  19. Using your job or clout in an industry to prey on young hopefuls to get laid is gross and wrong. Why is that so difficult to get?

    BTW, According to Aviva its up to 14 girls now that have had similar relationships with this guy. He’s a serial predator going after teens.

  20. A lot of the above numpties don’t seem to understand that while something may not be criminal (as in: sex with a minor), it can still be creepy (as in: coercing, stalking, manipulating, abusing your status, etc). Guys like the numpties above here (and yes, I do think it’s guys, weirdly) are the very reason why girls don’t feel comfortable coming forward. They don’t want to face the braying “show me the dirty pants or it didn’t happen!” and “destroying a man’s career for attention!” mob. Sjeesh!

  21. If you’re 20 or 21, it’s not grooming. It’s called normal social interaction in which one adult wants to have sex with another adult. It doesn’t even appear that he worked with any of these women, so the “power dynamic” stuff goes out the window.
    Apparently in Canada, even the stuff with the 16 year old was legal.

    This guys only offense seems to be that he’s a moderate looking dude in his thirties that wants to bang 20 year olds. If he looked like Brad Pitt you wouldn’t hear any complaints.

  22. I’ll just say this as a Canadian. While the age of consent in Canada is 16, a 32 year old pursuing a sexual relationship with somebody who just became “legal”? Beyond gross, to many Canadians, both women and men (…never mind that the official age of consent is a topic rife with intense, frequent debate to this day…), including, obviously, myself.

    Unrelated, but Stewart’s Batgirl often felt infantilizing to me after Gail Simone’s admittedly much darker run. “Oh, we can’t have Batgirl go up against anybody actually menacing or dangerous, that simply won’t do!” She just defeated a terrorist group, guys, and took on multiple serial killers, all while coping with tremendous trauma. It always felt an odd shift. Just popped into my head.

  23. They can feel however they want. What they shouldn’t be doing is trying to ruin the guys life because he flirted with them.

    But I guess it serves him right. He clearly didn’t have enough money/power to bang girls in their 20s at his age.

  24. It’s these comments from males above that indicate how troubling it is for society at large. Instead of trying to understand why someone is considered a predator and what is wrong with what he did, he’s instantly excused – the behaviour is instantly defended. THIS is why people do not speak out because why try when you’d just be shut down by those who are threatened by a reality where behaviour they’ve believed to be correct is revealed to be wrong. It also suggests that the industry needs to make changes as so often minors are sexualized frequently.

    I’m a Canadian. It does not mean that 16 years of age is cool for everyone to have sex with, and it is pointed out above what dictates criminal behaviour. Stewart took advantage of a teenaged girl in hopes of having sex with her. He knew he was in a position of power, he was older, he was the star glittering in the girls eyes and he used that to his benefit. He manipulated a minor into sleeping with him and to believe he was her friend. That she believed this was something a friend would do suggests that she wasn’t mature enough to make that decision. For empathy’s sake, imagine you find out your teenage daughter’s teacher has been having sex with her, would you be that quick to dismiss the teacher’s behaviour? Would you, after learning that for years that a trusted individual had convinced your daughter that he was a friend and could help her achieve a career in whatever course she wanted and sex was just icing on the cake for her because that’s what friends do, would you dismiss her claims by suggesting he was just flirting with her?

    As for those women who were aged 19+, it is still problematic at best because this person in a position of power manipulated women, or attempted to, in order for him to profit by it. In a professional setting this is not something one does. In any case, these women are not putting themselves out there to just maliciously bring down a male creator. They are risking their reputations by speaking out and if it was found they were lying, they would be losing more than just their jobs.

    It is also disturbing that beh . aviour that is so well known was not called out before. How many males in powers were aware of this and did not speak out against it? Were they threatened? Were they afraid of losing their careers and not be able to feed their families or something because of an industry, like so many others, where it is deemed acceptable to make sexual advances toward teenagers or young women, manipulating and exploiting them in unfair positions of power? This is a time of accountability. The pandemic has allowed people to come together in a way they haven’t been able to before and this needs to be called out and it needs to be changed. Yes, it is troubling. It should be troubling! But, we can learn from this and move forward and hope that the industry will be a welcoming place for all people without the fear of being sexually exploited.

  25. This is disgusting. No, not a man hitting on women above the age of consent. That’s normal and healthy sex positivity. What’s disgusting is ComicsBeat using its power and influence to falsely accuse him of being a child molester for hitting on legal adults. It’s nothing more than an attempt to criminalize heterosexuality. You idiots realize this is why nobody respects the media anymore right? And why nobody believes claims of sexual assault anymore? I hope he sues you for defamation, and he easily could. The two requirements for a successful defamation case are that the thing you said is provably false (that one’s easy) and that the victim suffered economic harm due to the lie (so the second he gets fired, or disinvited from a con, he’ll have everything he needs to make you the next Gawker). You should probably keep a lawyer on speed dial.

  26. …What?! What are you even yammering on about? Want to be straight? Congratulations. Nobody is trying to force you to be otherwise. I’m straight. I imagine many of the other men criticizing Stewart’s abominable behavior are straight as well. We don’t have to carry ourselves like he did to express our heterosexuality. One has absolutely nothing to do with the other. Sheesh.

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