Updated 6/26/2020 12:00 PM: Another woman has come forward with allegations against Jason Latour that go beyond verbal harassment. Artist Bridgit Connell, in a post shared on Twitter yesterday, has accused Latour of assaulting her.

(CW: Sexual assault)

In the post detailing events that occurred during Heroes Con in 2011, Connell says Latour, ten years her senior and with whom she had been acquainted before, approached her outside of the after-hours art auction and invited her to go somewhere alone with him. After she declined multiple times, she says Latour grabbed her and kissed her, before leaving her with her friends.

Connell goes on to describe conversations she had with Latour afterward in which he apologized and made excuses for his behavior, including having been drunk at the time. She said seeing others come forward with their stories about Latour made her decide to come forward as well.

Connell recognized what Latour was trying to do, and she didn’t go anywhere alone with him, and she was still assaulted. It may be easy for some people to shrug off the allegations of harassment against Latour as ‘just words’ or ‘being a sex pest,’ but reading Connell’s post, along with all the others about Latour and his pattern of behavior, and seeing how quickly that harassment escalated into an assault, makes it impossible to ignore.

Original Post: Today has brought another allegation of misconduct against a high-profile figure in the comics industry. Writer/artist Jason Latour has been accused of harassment by artist and designer Lauren Tracey. The incident reportedly took place at 2017’s Thought Bubble Festival.

In a post shared on Twitter, Tracey described Latour approaching her at a bar after the first day of the festival, and how he continued to pursue her throughout the weekend after she rebuffed his advances:

This is my story of when I met Jason Latour. This is not about a rape or assault, but rather about harassment in the industry and the toxic environment surrounding it.

In 2017 I attended Thought Bubble in Leeds where I met Jason. Our first meeting was on the first night of the con, at the bar where everyone from the convention mingled. He approached me and asked me did I know who he was, and when I said no he asked me did I know any of the titles he worked on, including Spider Gwen. I said I really didn’t know who he was and he responded by saying he would give me free comic books if I came to his hotel room with him. I declined, and after a brief conversation went back to the group I had been sitting with originally.

I was a little shocked when this happened. Jason was twice my age while I was in my very early twenties at my first international con. I tried not to think too much of it as I didn’t expect to see him again after this, and joked about it with the people I was with even though I was uncomfortable. The next day when I went to the con I passed by his table, and although he was doing some signings he put up a sign saying he was on a break and approached me (this kind of thing would continue to happen throughout the con). He said he had been a little drunk the night before and offered to get me a coffee. I accepted thinking the whole thing would blow over and I appreciated that he attempted to make amends.

When we went for the coffee he asked me for my email, my number, etc. and said he wanted to be friends. He said he could introduce me to whoever I wanted, that he was good friends with my favorite comic artist and he would introduce me to her, and he said he would still like to give me some comics. He mentioned he was sleeping with a girl in England casually, and that he was in Ireland quite a bit for conventions as he liked the Irish scene there. He suggested he could come see me if he ever came to Ireland.

When we got back to his table he gave me a few comics, which I ended up giving to friends at the con who admired him instead of reading them myself. I started to avoid the side of the con he was on as I knew he’d approach me if he saw me, and at the bar in the evening he would also be looking for me. Another woman who was in the group I was hanging out with at the convention told him to leave me alone and stop harassing me and later a comic artist intervened when he approached me at the bar. The people I was with knew he was a pest, and did their best to help me avoid him when possible. I spent my days at the con having the group ask if he had approached me that day yet, when I should have been focused solely on having a good time and connecting with people.

I left the bar on the last night very stressed. I had Jason on one side at the bar, and another guy I didn’t know on the other side who was also trying to start a conversation with me, saying he knew me from the con when he clearly did not. I found myself crowded in at the bar and started to panic. A comic artist came over and took Jason’s attention away from me, and I left and got a taxi back to my hotel. Jason text me asking why I had left early the next day. He said sorry if he made me uncomfortable. I again tried to brush it off, appreciating that he apologized. I also made sure to let him know I wasn’t interested in seeing any guys in my messages. He asked if we could stay friends, to which I said yes. Despite me telling him I wasn’t interested, he still text me on three separate occasions, once asking if he could sleep on my floor in Ireland and other times asking if I could come visit him at cons, joking that he would lend me the money to come when I said no to him. The last time he asked me about coming to a con, he text, ‘Last chance for you to come hang out. (Actually it’s not).’ I stopped replying to him altogether after this and blocked him on some social media platforms. At that stage I knew his apologies weren’t real and that he wasn’t actually interested in any form of friendship with me.

I had spent my first international con feeling uncomfortable, having to avoid a guy while I was at the convention itself and also while I was relaxing at the bar with my friends afterward. I had a few small bad run-ins with different guys at Thought Bubble, but Jason’s is the one that sticks out in my mind the most. When I first arrived at Thought Bubble I was bright eyed and excited to network with people in the industry. When I left, I felt thoroughly disillusioned with comics and decided it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. It seemed to be a place where this type of behavior ran rampant, and everybody knew about it but you just had to deal with it. I felt like I had seen behind the scenes of how the comic community actually worked, and there wasn’t a place for me there. I dropped my dream of being a comic artist shortly after and fell into a depression while I tried to figure out how I could have my future still be art related. I’ve hardly read a comic since.

I originally wasn’t going to name Jason or mention any of this, but the reason I’m posting it is because a statement Jason wrote about recent allegations against Cameron Stewart came up on my Twitter timeline, and he said some things that really got to me. He said he had been in situations with girls where he thought the ground was level, but failed to realize at the time that it was not. How can the ground be level when you’re approaching a young girl asking her to come to your hotel room for free comics, based solely on your name and your works? He also mentions how women want the time they invest in the comics space to be rewarding, and then goes on to say that sometimes they are looking for love, intimacy and casual sex out of it. I feel he completely missed the mark on why people have been coming forward about the problems that are happening in the comics community and is also putting the onus on women. Women aren’t coming forward right now to fight for casual sex in comics. They’re coming forward to fight for their right to be respected as equal coworkers and not to be seen as mere sexual objects to their male peers.

I’m not writing this with any intention to ‘cancel’ Jason or harm his career. I’m writing it to bring awareness to the fact that young girls are coming into the comics community and being treated like this by people who are more powerful than them and have more leverage in the community. There has to be a complete overhaul of this kind of behavior in comics. We need to look out for each other and put a stop to bad behavior instantly when we see it. There’s no place in comics for harassment, sexual or otherwise. And the men in comics need to shape up and take responsibility for the fact their actions have a far more negative impact on women than they realize.

Thank you for reading,
Lauren.

The statement of Latour’s that Tracey refers to is this one, made last week in response to the allegations made against Cameron Stewart and the conversation that ensued (and that still continues):

As Tracey’s post circulated, numerous others chimed in to say they had either witnessed Latour’s behavior towards her or others, or had been the target of it themselves:

 

 

Artist Hannah Blumenreich also said she was harassed by Latour, and that she lost work on a Latour-written issue of Spider-Gwen as a result:

Latour initially replied to Tracey’s account, saying he couldn’t deny what she said happened because he couldn’t remember it, and apologizing for his behavior. He has since deleted those tweets, replacing them with another that reiterates his apology and says that he didn’t his replies to “distract from [her] space further.”

Latour’s alleged behavior towards both Tracey and Blumenreich follows a similar pattern we’ve seen previously, where creators with influence attempt to use their supposed clout within the industry, whether it’s connections to other artists or the promise of work, as leverage over women.

The seemingly widespread acknowledgement of Latour’s behavior as, as Tres Dean put it, not even an open secret but something everyone who knew Jason Latour was aware of, is indicative again that the responsibility of protecting those who might fall prey to this sort of harassment — and of calling out the people doing the harassing, even when doing so is uncomfortable — falls on everyone in the community.

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.

Header photo credit: © Luigi Novi / Wikimedia Commons

26 COMMENTS

  1. Looks like a petition has started demand Sony remove Spider-Gwen from the next Spider-Verse movie… Real good news. I hope it goes through. The character is like a love-letter to fridging.

  2. Man, that letter from Latour is just awful. Why it is so hard for these guys to pen a semi-decent response to the allegations is beyond me. Much like the Ellis letter indicated how tone-deaf he has become (I really didn’t think I was a big deal), the Latour letter basically screams (I’m horny and socially awkward like other comics folks and cannot help myself).

    I loathe cancel culture, but the accused creators ain’t exactly doing themselves any favors in terms of how they respond to the allegations.

    I guess Southern Bastards is even more dead than it already appeared to be….

  3. There are several clever ways by which Marvel could kill of Spider-Gwen. They should bring in Garth Ennis to write it. Spider-Gwen travels once again to the 616, where the Green Goblin tosses her into the Grand Canyon. Miles webs her as she falls – SNAP! Her neck crack like a burst egg, she is dead the way she was meant to die. Plus then Miles finally has some cool guilt motivation.

    I know, this is somewhat similar to the Transparent series wrap up movie, where they had to deal with Jeffrey “Panty-Sniffer” Tambor’s recent firing. They revealed at the beginning of the episode that Tambor’s character had been cornered by a gang of Evangelical Mexicans who cornered her in an alley and knifed her to death. But it still works. Poof! No more Spider-Gwen!

    Plus at the beginning of Spider-Verse 2 they could reveal Gwen died of Covid or something, then never mention her again.

  4. It is amazing how everyone seems to know but no one did anything. However as I said in another thread this could dissuade any woman from thinking of a career in comics.

  5. MBunge – That is a horrible thing to do. Take one issue and try to weaponize it to further your own pissy agenda. Hmm, my ass. You’re as pathetic as your supervillain leader. Curious.

    Mark- A bunch of people DID do things. Plus this is a great time for women to get into comics, becaiuse we are finally done with this shit.

  6. Too many men in this industry think that a bit of nerd fame grants them unlimited license to carry themselves like some 70s rockstar. Those guys were trash as well, but its that whole “don’t you know who i am? the world is my groupie…i take what i want…whatever happens backstage stays there” attitude.

    You read her story, and it’s like “what sane person would operate that way?”

    The comics industry is also at fault here for breeding this. Behind the scenes dudes watch their heroes do this so that becomes the normal. All business and networking events centered around hotel bars. The idea that if you’re not there mixing and drinking, you’re not relevant. Plus we parade creators around like nerd gods to be worshipped.

    Burn it all down, start over.

  7. Also the recurring theme of creators being like “oh yeah everybody knows he does this” after the first shoe drops is also weird phenomenon. I mean whisper networks don’t protect people on the outside…who get preyed on. I dunno, there’s gotta be a different way.

  8. I agree, they’ve made this the norm. Elevating guys who would otherwise be awkward and nerdy- which there is absolutely not a damn thing wrong with- empowered in an imbalanced way against females. Also, it always irked me that anyone could be considered a “creator” of Spider-Gwen, a character which always kinda bothered me. It’s just an alternative reality version of a pre-existing character who got a male’s powers and blueprint in a secondary way… yeah, real empowering and original.

  9. I just don’t see how all these people that saw him harassing her and other women and didn’t say anything ever… aren’t just as bad…?

  10. Rex

    Are we ever done with this? As I noted in a related thread this reminds me of the first ‘trial of the century’, and I’m sure you can go back to pre-history. Powerful men victimizing women as their whim and the opportunity presents. People keeping silent is not new either. It is very simple to suddenly gasp in horror after the little boy points out that the emperor is naked, but that does not absolve the guilt of everyone who maintained that his clothing was perfection up until that moment.

    I can easily see why no one would speak up. Aside from the social exile there is the simple economic fear. It’s not like there are a lot of comic book jobs out there and there are lots of editors willing to give newcomers a chance. Comics themselves haven’t been in great shape for decades now. Getting into the business is hard, staying in it is hard and fear is everywhere in that sort of environment. Even if you’ve got all the money you need and are staying in the business for the joy of creation the idea that it can all go away once you’ve been labeled as a ‘troublemaker’ is enough to keep most silent. Reputations are easily destroyed and hard to rebuild. Ask anyone in Hollywood who went though the Blacklist phase.

  11. Superhero comics draw nerdy guys with no social skills. They regard women as a strange, alien species. Putting them in positions of power is a big mistake, especially when there are female employees in the office.

    If you’re still buying new superhero comics past the age of 40, you have deep, serious problems.

  12. “Yes, George, also if you’re reading comics past the age of 12.”

    That’s when you stopped reading them, right, “Daxamite”?

  13. Somebody told me tonight that Dennis O’Neil was often unfaithful to his wife. Can anyone confirm? He still has a story coming out, we can keep it from ever being published.

  14. Joe Sinnott died yesterday – a great comics craftsman and one of the last survivors of silver age Marvel, but the Beat hasn’t seen fit to mention it. Has anyone got a story of him committing sexcrime 60 years ago?

  15. This industry is a bunch of white, cis, straight losers who jack each other off for being boring and unoriginal. They want a cookie for writing female and Queer characters. Hiring actual females and Queers is hard won.

  16. This title and the abusers who create it need to sit the fuck down. In the current climate, this book is tone deaf.

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