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8rnFDa1U_400x400.jpegWriter Warren Ellis has released a statement regarding the many accusations of sexual misconduct that have been leveled against him this week. Spurred by accounts of the misconduct by artist Cameron Stewart, many women have come forward to accuse Ellis of predatory behavior and using his status as a much admired writer to coerce them into relationships — only to abruptly end contact.

The allegations started when publisher/photographer Katie West described his behavior in a now-deleted Twitter thread. However, she summed it up with a few tweets:

I deleted that thread. I don’t want this to ruin my life, and I don’t want it to ruin anyone else’s. This is not about one person. The people who are making it that way are missing the point. This is about a pattern of behaviour and our collective complicity in that behaviour.

Yesterday I posted about men abusing their power in the comics industry to groom, emotionally manipulate, have sex with, or serially Bluebeard young women. My intention was to protect young women from being harmed by these types of men in the future.
Brian Wood has since reached out to me to apologise and acknowledge his past behaviour. He’s proven growth and reconciliation are possible. We have had a really good conversation and I believe Brian is listening and learning and taking responsibility for his actions in the past.
I’m currently listening to 35+ women tell me of their experiences with Warren Ellis. And that number keeps growing. If you have something you want to talk about you can reach out to me or Jhayne @Foxtongue

Other Ellis associates, including musician Meredith Yayanos and artist Zoetica Ebb, also spoke out about past misconduct. Yayanos wrote:

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I met Warren when I was 22 [later amended to 23-24] years old. We were very close, for many years. I severed all ties with him at least 5 years ago. With good reason. My former friend is a complicated man. He is lovable. He is capable of immense generosity and kindness. Also, he’s a fucking Bluebeard. Figuring that out is what finally moved me to cut Warren out of my life. So many stories, from so many young women, most of which were worse than my own. I believe them. I care about them and their lives and safety far more than Warren’s. So. I stand by Katie West.
I have fuckall to say to the women who are, as I type this, actively defending a serially exploitative and emotionally abusive straight cis white dude with a long history of grooming, coercing, collecting, and using young women. Blocked ’em ages ago. They know EXACTLY why.
Ebb wrote:
Some of you are here because of Warren. Because of this, and the fact that I appear in the documentary about him, I’m implored to confirm that, yes, it’s all true. And yes, it happened to me, too. And yes, he has done a lot of good, but the systems? They have to burn. Another thing about Warren Ellis: this is not about him. The #MeToo movement is, among other feats, shining the light of accountability at the murky spaces between the cut-and-dry criminal cases, where predators once felt safe. This is a conversation about the scope of consent. 
An argument I keep seeing: this is about “consenting adults”. No. None of us consented to being manipulated, or to becoming a disposable part of a remote stable. You can not give consent if you don’t have the entire picture.

Writer Jhayne Holmes has been collecting accounts from other victims and, in a tweet, said she now has more than 50 women who have evidence of Ellis coercing and grooming them.

Amid the growing outrage, Ellis has finally released a statement via Twitter and his newsletter:

Hello. Please forgive the lateness of my appearance. I have been speaking to people, and listening carefully, for a few days.

Recent statements have been made about me that need to be addressed.

I have never considered myself famous or powerful, to the point where I’ve made a lot of bad jokes about it for twenty-odd years. It had never really occurred to me that other people didn’t see it the same way—that I was not engaging as an equal when gifted with attention, but acting from a position of power and privilege. I did not take that into account in a number of my personal interactions and this was a mistake and I own it.

While I’ve made many bad choices in my past, and I’ve said a lot of wrong things, let me be clear, I have never consciously coerced, manipulated, or abused anyone, nor have I ever assaulted anybody. But I was ignorant of where I was operating from at a time I should have been clear and for that I accept 100% responsibility.

I hurt people deeply. I am ashamed for these mistakes and I am profoundly sorry. I will not speak against other people’s personal truths, and I will not expose them to the toxicity of the current discourse. I should have been more aware, more present, and more respectful of people’s feelings and for that I apologise.

I have had friendships and relationships end, sometimes in bitterness, often due to my own failings, and I continue to regret and apologise for the pain I have caused.

I have always tried to aid and support women in their lives and careers, but I have hurt many people that I had no intention of hurting. I am culpable. I take responsibility for my mistakes. I will do better and for that, I apologise.

I apologise to my friends and collaborators for having created this situation, and I hope they will be treated kindly. Mistakes and poor choices in my personal life are not on them, but only on me.

We have a responsibility to one another, every day. And I have, in my past, let too many people down. I hope to one day become worthy of the trust and kindness that was placed in me by colleagues and friends.

I will continue to listen, learn, and strive to be a better human being. I have sought to make amends with people, as I have been made aware of my transgressions, and will continue to do so.  I have apologised, I apologise, and will continue to apologise and take total responsibility for my actions without equivocation.

I am going to be quiet now, to listen more than I speak, for other voices matter far more than my own right now.

I will be closing this newsletter.  Thank you for your past support. Look after yourselves.

Many observers will — and already do — feel Ellis’s belief that “I have never considered myself famous or powerful” is particularly hard to swallow, given his status as one of the most influential comics writers of the century. And as more accounts of his predatory behavior — complete with receipts — are poised to come out, that status is likely to be completely revised.

Believe victims.

Believe women.

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.

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14 COMMENTS

  1. You cannot “groom” adults. Stop using that term for people who are old enough to drink, smoke, or vote. It GROTESQUELY diminishes and trivializes children who have really been groomed by actual predators.
    Wow. So it turns out the guy who had a decent amount of talent but built his career and persona on being “edgy” and “ subversive” and “pushing boundaries” didn’t conduct himself in his private life like a virginal high school freshman who just wants to hold hands? Shocking.
    As someone who used to interact with Ellis online back when some of his accusers were probably in kindergarten, that apology is just sad. He’s either got a bad gambling/drug habit, made some spectacularly poor investments, or was never as successful as he pretended. Warren Ellis should have been able to write the best “sorry I’m an a-hole” statement of all time. That groveling mess of verbiage reads like exactly every other such apology ever made.

    Mike

  2. Sorry, but I don’t think women should always be believed. There’s a long history of white women falsely accusing black men of rape and assault. In the past, this was used to justify lynchings and other racial violence.

    I rarely agree with Mike, but he’s correct that it’s ridiculous to talk about “grooming” people who are legally adults. If grown men are having sex with underage girls (or boys), that’s one thing. But if they’re with women who are old enough to vote … sorry, it might not look pretty, but it’s not a crime.

    In a perfect world, guys like Ellis and Stewart would be in long-term monogamous relationships with age-appropriate women. But that’s not the world we live in. And this is nothing new. Read up on Charlie Chaplin and his child brides.

    BTW, it’s not just men who engage in “predatory” behavior. Every year, lots of female teachers land in jail (and lose their jobs) for having sex with underage male students. But the women Ellis apparently preferred were in their early 20s. They weren’t underage. They may have been stupid, but they weren’t children.

  3. If all these women were adults, and he had no influence or control over their careers then I don’t see the problem. Being a shitty person is not a crime.

  4. So what we are seeing is that Warren Ellis was a player who seduced women using his position and the charisma created by his reputation and influence. That makes him unethical , but it is done thousands of times. In the end it comes down to the women appear to have been adults. This is why we teach our daughters to beware men in power trying to seduce them, because the men are only interested in sex. This is something to be disappointed in Ellis, but it shows a lack of moral character, not a true menace.

  5. I was never much of an Ellis fan, and I don’t particularly want to defend his deplorable behavior, but it is correct that “grooming” isn’t the correct word (although it is clearly an extremely fashionable word these days, being bandied about to violently that the word has become really creepy, and hence probably too volatile to be applicable here). I think we’re really talking “seducing”. As it appears, he basically slept with his groupies, just like a rock star (do we cancel all of those as well?), only with additional bits of deceptive sweet-talking, letting the female fans think that the relationship was deeper and more emotional than he really intended it. As I said, deplorable, dishonest, manipulative and unendorsable behavior, but not (yet) illegal, and not amounting to assault. It still takes two to tango. Feelings are hurt, but which woman hasn’t had that happen to her before? Lots of “normal” men are like that; in regard to women they are driven by physical rather than emotional gratification. The main problem is that men and women can’t communicate very well, and don’t understand each other very well. Sadly, this often works to the disfavor of the woman, who is burdened with many unnecessary insecurities by society. Look at the standards for monogamy vs. polyamory and promiscuity – most women want monogamy most of the time, but this is an idea that the patriarchal society has inculcated in them in order to control their sexuality and confine them to the domesticity of the nuclear family. There is never going to be gender equality until women has as free, passion-driven and uncontrolled a sexuality as men do, so it is actually in all our interests to stop having monogamous expectations. What we need more of is honesty, love and tenderness. Free love is the way forward; the freedom to love more than one person at a time. Jealousies only come from insecurities. I realize a lot of women are simply too insecure and lacks the confidence to engage in polyamory, but it is this insecurity that we must fight by increasing gender equality and agency, and fighting toxic masculinity. But the way to fight it is not to be pro-monogamy. The way to fight it is to undermine the patriarchy as a whole and give women more power, better wages, fewer burdens, more confidence. Ultimately, the female of the species need to be the selector in the process of natural/sexual selection, not the selectee.

  6. Andrew Pepoy from Archie Comics is a creep and a douchebag. He hit on me twice, bragged about his swinger lifestyle, and then stared at my 14 year old cousin’s butt blatantly from his table. At Baltimore Comic Con 2019 he made one girl cosplayer feel so uncomfortable she went into the food court and was uncomfortable returning to the show floor. Pepoy is very outspoken about his multiple partners and I know other people have stories about him.

    And that being said, I’ve been going to comic cons since 2000 and 98% of the male creators I met were awesome, friendly, paternal, patient, and total gentleman. Pepoy was the only uncomfortable and wrong encounter I ever had and Scott Lobdell made a penis joke to me when I was 17. But I do want to say the majority of comic creators I’ve met were so great. Not all of them are predators by any means.

  7. I echo Mike’s thoughts. We really need to separate the Ellis accusations and the Stewart accusations and I don’t think it is fair to the victims of the men involved in these allegations to lump them together.

    Stewart by all accounts did legitimately creepy, borderline illegal things by targeting underage girls. Ellis, by all accounts, went after women that were in their 20’s. Still young, but also old enough to be adults and make their own decisions (for better or worse).

    If people no longer wish to buy Warren Ellis books because of his actions, I fully support that, but I also don’t think he deserves to be “black-listed” by the industry unless evidence comes forward that shows what he did went beyond a pretty standard trope of “famous” men using their positions of power to sleep with fans.

  8. I suspect there’s a lot of wounded vanity and career disappointment among Ellis’ accusers. They thought they were being taken up by a big-time writer* and imagined that they were on the verge of their own talents being recognised, and the truth is he wanted someone to help him toss off over the internet. It must be galling.

    *The “I never thought I was important” bit is a particularly craven lie. What was his forum called again?

  9. The idea behind “believe women” is about the facts of their experience, yes. More importantly, I think we all need to “believe women” around their emotional experience and damage as well.

    So if you feel comfortable arbiting your personal understanding of someone else’s emotional experience and diminishing it, just because you personally think Ellis was just some kind of scampish cad who was so winning with the ladies of a certain age and type that he just could not help himself? Go ahead. Believe THAT. It’s nauseating and immature thinking, but hey.

    I believe not just the facts of these stories, but the impact of the emotional damage done by this man, in a clear pattern designed to leverage his power and influence to get his own rocks off at the expense of anyone in his eyeline.

    You don’t get to decide how you “believe women,” my fellow dudes. You do, or you don’t. And if you don’t, shut the fuck up.

  10. No, Matt, we will not “shut the fuck up”. So he slept with his fans? Good for him. They were “emotionally damaged”? How exactly, by being dumped? It happens every day to millions of women AND men.

  11. In light of both Ellis and Stewart, should a concerted effort to promote mentoring from female creators of other female creators be made? I know comics media has made it a focus to promote female creators; this sounds like the logical next step. If that sounds like segregation on the basis of sex and gender, I deeply apologize. I just don’t see any other way at the moment, as I don’t know how you vet every male creator for that sort of thing.

  12. OK I don’t think much good will come of the comments here.

    This has been a rough week for me personally, and my heart aches for those who have been badly hurt by all this. I’m angry and disappointed by someone who I very much admired and who had a positive, life changing effect on hundreds of people…and an entire industry.

    All that said, we cannot police the world…only our own spaces. We need to take a hard look at those we know who are abusing their power and privilege and call them out on it. Even those “defending” Ellis here admit his behavior was creepy and inappropriate. When we see things that are creepy and inappropriate we need to call them out and protect those who are being abused. That is the humane thing to do. Don’t be the problem, be the solution.

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