Why are men with multiple sexual harassment allegations still working?
With the recent Red Wolf announcement has been met with both excitement and frustration. Excitement, because the character hasn't had a major release in decades and there's barely any representation for the Native American community in comics. Frustration, because Nathan Edmonson is attached as the writer, and he has a long history of volatility, abusive behavior, and multiple allegations of sexual harassment. And he's not alone.
A no-win situation
Now readers are faced with an impossible choice. Do we support Red Wolf, because this kind of representation does matter? Or do we withdraw our support, because the industry needs to stop hiring known harassers? How do we make it clear what vote we're casting with our dollar either way? When the voices of both communities (those under-represented in comics and those who have been harassed) have been marginalized so completely, what can we as fans do to support them?
For starters, we can listen.
Writer Alex de Campi and creator Tess Fowler both spoke up after the announcement, and more followed. It seems that every women in the comics industry either has a story about harassment, or knows someone that does. Which seems pretty hypocritcal, considering both DC and Marvel are trying to appeal to women right now. Marvel in particular, with their All-New All-Different line seems to be invested in at least looking like they care about diversity. Yet it's one thing to say it, and another thing entirely to actually mean what you say. How many women does Marvel employ? How many nonwhite people?
How many harassers do they hire?
"Not only does protecting these people disrespect female readers, it disrespects all the creators and editors working hard at those companies to make awesome comics for all readers. DC and Marvel are not the Augean Stables. There are many, many good people at these companies, and things have gotten immeasurably better over the past decade for readers who are not cis/het white dudes. But we’re not done. Diversity isn’t a fad senior management can get away with giving lip-service to. You can’t celebrate black culture and not employ black people. You can’t hold up female heroes while coddling male harassers. WE SEE YOU." -Alex de Campi
Do we though?
The comics industry is far from transparent. And the unfortunate truth is that in pretty much every industry, there's always going to be a few jerks. The question is: Why is the comics industry so hospitable for those jerks? Is it nepotism? Is it part of the community culture? Is it because there's so little job security for writers and artists in the industry, which means it's even more dangerous for anyone to speak up when these incidents do occur?
How long are we willing to wait for the industry to catch up with the 21st century?