by Elana Levin
At Thursday’s LGBTQ X-Men panel a Romani fan asked the panel about the representation of Romani people in comics and how they are often characterized as thieves or unstable.
Peter David responded in an elevated voice that when he was in Romania he saw a child being dragged by its parent. The child was unable to stand because their legs were bent upwards.
David asked his guide what was going on. The guide told him that the family was Roma and that Roma parents broke their children’s legs so that they’d be more effective at begging.
David said that because of his experiences he does not want to hear about the representation of Romani people in comics. He refused to discuss the issue further and told the questioner to go away.
No other panelists responded. The moderator said something about wanting to keep the focus on positive things and the panel then resumed.
Later in the panel, David acknowledged his outburst apologetically to the room but did not alter the contents of his remarks.
Other Romani fans approached him after the panel, while the room switched over. They told him that what he had seen was not reflective of the Romani people. One gave the example that just because the US has school shootings doesn’t mean everyone in the US is violent.
David maintained that the story he shared was indicative of the Roma culture. David has written Roma characters, most notably Pietro Maximoff in X-Factor.
Romani attendees have been asking other panelists about representation at other Q&As ay NYCC.
I approached David after the panel to say literally “I love you man but people used to claim that we [Jews] put the blood of Christian children in our matzo. That doesn’t make it true.”
He responded that he saw families like that one all over Romania.