Home Publishers Dark Horse Dark Horse announces new anti-harassment and discrimination policies (UPDATED)

Dark Horse announces new anti-harassment and discrimination policies (UPDATED)

The policy changes come in the wake of last year's severing of ties with former editor Scott Allie.

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Dark Horse Comics has released details on new anti-harassment and discrimination policies the publisher has been developing. The information was released publicly via social media this afternoon.

The post, seen above, reads as follows:

For transparency, updates from Dark Horse Comics:
With the help of outside HR Consultant, McGeachy Consulting, Dark Horse leadership has been reflecting, discussing and implementing new and updated policies to ensure the safety, happiness, and well-being of all employees.
Here are the measures that we have instituted:
• An updated Code of Conduct policy that we are asking all employees, creators, and business partners to uphold
• A more in-depth anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policy, which includes a clear reporting policy, for employees across all departments and divisions
• A newly formed Employee Relations Committee that manages, guides, and directs any significant employee relations issues that arise at Dark Horse
• A newly formed HR Executive Committee focused on implementing HR strategy, planning, and policy
• Identification and introduction of new company values assembled into a Culture Document helping to define and inspire our workplace culture

Beginning this year, an annual series of harassment and discrimination prevention training sessions will be implemented for all our employees. Dark Horse will continue taking the necessary steps forward to prevent harassment and discrimination within the workplace. We can and will do better.

We are optimistic about the future as we continue to improve and update our company policies. It continues to be our goal to be a company in which every single person feels valued and where every person feels safe from harassment or discrimination of any kind. While there is more work to be done in the many months ahead, we remain deeply committed to positive change in the workplace.
The new policies and practices represent a first public step for Dark Horse following last year’s surfacing (and resurfacing) of sexual assault and harassment allegations against former Dark Horse editor Scott Allie. Allie was first reported to have groped creator Joe Harris in 2015, at a time when he was editor-in-chief at Dark Horse. In September of that year Allie stepped down to become executive senior editor for the publisher, a month before the groping incident was first reported. Following the report Allie continued on at Dark Horse until 2017, when he departed the company. In the intervening years he continued to freelance edit books for Dark Horse, including Mike Mignola‘s Hellboy titles and Gerard Way‘s The Umbrella Academy. Following last year’s assault allegations, Dark Horse finally severed all ties with Allie, though the fact that it took them that long to do so given Allie’s (well-known) history proved troubling to many in the industry.
Still, one can see room for ambiguity and/or improvement in Dark Horse’s new policies and how they’re going to be enforced. The Beat has reached out to the publisher for clarification on several of the pieces of the policy, which we’ll update this story with once we receive.
UPDATE 1/15/21 – Dark Horse has provided some clarification and additional information regarding their updated policies and procedures.
Questions were asked regarding “asking” employees and creators to follow the Code of Conduct without requiring it; what the consequences will be for failure to follow the Code of Conduct; who will be required to take part in the harassment and discrimination training sessions; and why those sessions were not held in years past.
In response, Dark Horse sent the following:

We are inviting individuals to join us rather than demanding to encourage greater buy-in and so far, we’ve had extremely positive feedback with this approach. Penalties to those who exhibit inappropriate behavior and do not adhere to the code of conduct remain unchanged (from disciplinary action to termination), there is no loosening of the rules.

While training sessions have occurred in years past, the new training being implemented is more comprehensive. The training sessions will be required for all employees.

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