I was just made aware of something today. Something very interesting that there appears to be a secret cabal that lurks in the shadows too deprive or hold down the number of successful men writing comics. With a powerful and systematic campaign to publicly smear a single person. If your not sure what I’m referring too I am speaking of Chris Sims a senior editor for the Comic Alliance and the recent announcement that he will be penning X-men 92′ and the resurgence of an issue hopefully many of you were already aware of.
The long and the short of it is before Comic Alliance hired Sims as a freelancer he over a period of 3 years harassed and tortured a fellow blogger and comics writer Valerie D’Orazio. To the point where it caused great harm to this women. In D’Orazio’s own blog she has detailed in great length the long lasting effects of Sims systematic and relentless online harassment which seems to be have spurned by nothing more the fact that she was a women writing comics.
Here is an exert from Comics Alliance current statement on the situation.
“Someone was targeting Chris not out of a sense of justice, but because they wanted to destroy his success. The campaign may also have been one of several efforts we’re aware of to discredit Comics Alliance. These are not the tactics of progressives concerned about harassment in comics, but of agitators looking to tear down progressive voices — of which Chris is certainly one — using methods of harassment. (Notably, the messages referred to D’Orazio as “David’s wife,” rather than recognizing her as a person in her own right.)”
This is where the cabal comes in apparently, it seems to the be contention of Sims and CA that this very public and much spoken issue of Sims actions. That his actions and attitude towards a women working in comics were all kept a secret because the benefit to them is that at some point in the future they could bring it up too bring down a “progressive” writer who is concerned about harassment in the industry.
Comics Alliance speaks about efforts by people to discredit them I find absolutely laughable. They discredited themselves the day they hired him hot off the heels of harassing actions in private practice on his own blog. They discredited themselves in there statement too paint Sims as the “real” victim in this situation they discredit themselves in doing nothing earlier, they discredit themselves by defending his actions as that of something that was not truly performed by Sims but by the person he was years ago.
When you point a finger three more are pointing back at you and now because he finally sees the fingers pointing back he hurriedly issues an apology in an effort too do seemingly nothing but protect himself and his interests in writing assignment at Marvel.
From Sim’s apology
“ By the time I was smart enough to look at what I was doing in a larger context and ask myself if I was making things better or worse, irreparable harm had already been done. So if you take one piece of advice from me over all of this, it’s to ask yourself that question now, keep it in mind going forward, not just for yourself, but for those around you. I’m very lucky to have had people around me, both friends and people that I work with, that have done that for me, and it’s one of the reasons I try to be better and keep working to an industry where things I regret doing have no place. “
In the same breathe he attempts to evoke sympathy and a good old fashion lesson to the reader about not harassing and cyber bullying people when he has experienced exactly zero consequences for his own actions is hypocritical.
In the statement by Comics Alliance they recognize that in his message was not targeted at Val D’Orazio but only referring to her as “David’s wife”. But again he to my knowledge has not been chastised legally or by his current employers or even by his own continence. A very old saying came to mind while I was thinking about this situation sunshine is the best disinfectant. This subject needs to be out in the open we must discuss it in order to have any sort of integrity as an industry. It seems as if he has apologized to half a dozen people who are more involved with his career aspirations then to D’Orazio herself.
Current Marvel editor-in-chief Axel Alonso addressed the issue saying
“ We had no knowledge of what transpired on the Internet between Chris and Valerie. We have since come to understand that several years ago both were active voices in the comics community — both were bloggers and Valerie wrote a couple of stories for Marvel, including a “Punisher” one-shot that I edited — that some sort of bad blood developed between them, and that Chris crossed lines in his treatment of Valerie that were indefensible, as he himself acknowledged.”
I challenge this statement and this attitude from a representative of Marvel itself. You simply cannot have this both ways being outspoken advocates against bullying and harassment in all forms and then reward someone who has acted with malice intent to a women who’s only crime was writing for your company. Again this is the sticking point for me as of yet Sims has faced no repercussions to his actions legally or personally. While yes he has taken a leave of absence from working for Comics Alliance he also took great pains too how this absence would be a great disruption to his income yet again trying too paint opinion in his favor.
Marvel I ask you truly consider your actions in giving this man a book you invite hypocrisy and scorn not only to yourself but to your loyal readers – Of which up til now I have been a proud and happy MMMS member.
Readers I ask you do you want this kind of attitude and discrimination in the comic book industry? That it took whispers on the Internet to bring this back to the surface and NOT by professionals and colleagues. If Marvel and the Comics Alliance and any one publishing or properly critiquing the industry want progress and change. They need to start by seeking out and encouraging women creators and holding up to the light it’s own faults and how they deal with these kinds of situations.
If you feel the same as I do please tell @Marvel and @comicsalliance and @axelalonsomarv why you don’t like this. You have a voice and I ask you use it but please be kind and articulate. The battle for equality dies with us if we do nothing.